Caution: Feelings Ahead
I’ve been toying on and off with resubbing to WoW. I’ve found myself at the battle.net page twice in the last three days (the third day was very busy and I didn’t really have time for pining). Both times, though, I’ve not gone through with it, leaving me feeling confused as to why I kept getting to that point and then balking.
As the decision began consuming more and more time, I decided to try to be transparent and rational about what I was feeling. WoW has certainly pushed me away and pulled me back several times, but never has it been much of a tough choice; when I was tired of it, I stopped, and when I wanted to play again, I started. It was simple before, but not so now. What had changed?
I figured laying it all out would be helpful, and in a way, it was. WoW feels like an MMO home to me, a place to leave but to return to, and that’s not changed at all. I’m relatively familiar with the mechanics, and I’ve got a strong investment of both time and items in the game. I like the lore, the artistic design, and the level of detail the designers have included. Additionally, WoW has created this online personality for me, something I had neither interest in nor content for before WoW (and as I mentioned last time, have had a harder time coming up with since stopping WoW).
But is that enough? What about fun? Shouldn’t that be the key factor?
Well, WoW’s fun – enough. In talking to my buddy about the decision, he pointed out that WoW, for him, had stopped being fun when he realized how much of a “police action” (meaning a very simple act) so much of the game was, and how the only real challenge, and, thus, fun, was the high-end raiding. When he’d become excluded from that, he’d lost interest.
He makes a good point. I’ve said before that while I have enjoyed some of the solo possibilities WoW provides, the lack of challenge means that I get bored with it before too long. That should be easy enough to fix, though. If I’m dedicated to challenge, then I can be dedicated to raiding, which means the police actions that go along with it shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Besides, I spent the last several months of WoW doing dailies, gathering, and farming. It should only be easier knowing there’s a higher purpose.
But still the hesitation remained. I continued to think about why I wasn’t just resubbing, when finally it struck me. I wasn’t resubbing with anyone any more. It would be another “cold” start, where I had to start by researching guilds and building relationships, my fourth like that in fact, and I’m just not sure I have it in me to be social with strangers any more. I’ve been bitten over and over again by “stranger danger” in a variety of game’s equivalent of LFD.
I’ve documented my WoW history well enough by now, but in quick summary
1) I started playing with my wife and buddy, but that guild died.
2) I moved to a “stranger” guild, built up my relationships there, but in the end realized I was being used to run raids without any support, which wasn’t ever going to change.
3) I quit for a while.
4) I resubbed to join my buddy’s current guild on a horde server. By the time I was max level, that guild had died.
5) I moved to my “best ever” guild with my buddy and my wife, but interpersonal problems with the GM that had nothing to do with me forced me out of the guild.
6) I quit for a while.
7) I started afresh with my buddy and my wife on a new server with a very promising guild that turned out to be not as advertised, so my buddy quit for good.
8) I floundered a while looking for a guild that worked, eventually ending up in a completely ineffectual ally guild on a different server with a couple of local friends.
9) The horrible management of that guild meant we couldn’t get to content challenging enough to be worthwhile, so I stopped raiding.
10) I quit for a while.
11) I came back for pet battles and just bumming around, but as noted above, it wasn’t enough to sustain me.
Is there a pattern there? I should think so, and what I learned as a result was a) buddy guilds never work out, b) stranger guilds never work out, so c) why bother?
I don’t want this to be the lesson I took away. The community – you, dear readers – that surrounds the game is made up of so many excellent people, but I just can’t seem to get there in game. I tried to name everyone who’s made WoW worth playing just so I had a reason to talk to each of you about it, but I got scared I’d leave someone off so I dropped the actual naming. Know that it’s you, though, dear readers, all of you, and I greatly appreciate those conversations.
But I don’t know if it’s enough to get back into WoW for. I truly don’t know if I have it in me to start cold again.
More thought is necessary.
Stubborn (and thinking)