I lost about four hours today to Dragon Age: Origins. I was going to record it. I was going to take lots of screenshots. I was going to use that gaming time as something productive. But then a few hours passed and I realized I hadn’t done any of those things for a few hours, that I was completely immersed.
And that’s just me in the hinterlands, being the completionist, tracking down the medicine to help the refugee breathe, convincing the cult to join us.

And this, you see, is why I quit WoW. Again.

It seems like a stretch but it actually makes sense. I eagerly resubscribed to Warlords of Draenor, convincing everyone I knew to do the same. I started playing and remembered why I loved WoW. It’s polished. It’s funny. It’s addicting. “It’s the best launch since BC,” I said earnestly to Payback. “It’s so fun.”

And it was! The storyline is great. I was feeling extra nostalgic, what with being back on what was essentially outlands 30 years earlier to my last expedition there. As I wandered what would become the wastelands of Terrokar, I could almost feel myself doing the same thing in the past (it became a bit of a time muddle, me in the past playing in the spots where future me was visiting the lands of the past) happy and new to game.

And if it was just leveling, I’d still be playing. But raiding? The raid was cool. It was well put together, forgiving of group makeup. Blizzard has done everything they could to keep people in the game, to make raiding accessible, and I’m actually in favor of all of that. But it doesn’t change the essential fact that raiding is still the same idea. Kill a boss, week after week, for loot.

When I first started WoW that was a remarkable idea and I bought in hook line and sinker. I loved Karazhan, my first raiding experience. It was fun, varied, hard as hell. And I was playing with people who would become friends that I still have now, 7, 8 years on. I still get a cold sweat when I hear “Run away, little girl,” in my headphones. I still remember the feeling of beating Prince for the first time, that perfectly executed fight.

But that’s not enough for me anymore. I want to play games that have a start, beginning and end OR which are sandboxes. I love leveling in WoW but to experience the whole story you have to raid and I don’t want to do that anymore. So what’s the point of leveling? You never beat the game.

I was slogging from one end to the other of the hinterlands today, stopping to collect herbs and ores. It could in fact have been WoW. I could have been surrounded by furlbogs and hippogryphs, but instead there were raccoons and rams and weird hairless rabbits. It was the same experience. But this time, I’m playing a game that has an end. What I’m doing, this perfectionist slog, actually makes my trip to end game easier. It’s not just a means to end.

So. WoW. I came back, but I think I probably will reference this entry when I think about doing so the next xPac. You were pretty amazing. You gave me some of the best gaming friends I could ever have. It’s not you. It’s me.

 

Goodbye, World of Warcraft.