It hasn’t left. It’s still there, and yet it’s not the same. And maybe that is a good thing, or maybe it’s just good for the gamer’s of the future.
I think that anyone that has played for more than a few years can attest the game is not the same as it was many years ago when we all started playing. They have streamlined leveling, reduced the time commitment to get to cap, to gear for what ever content interests you. Have improved the looks, taken time to make the game playable to as many as possible. Unlike PlayStation games you do not need to buy a new console every couple of years just to keep playing current games.
And perhaps that is a part of it. Although I was in my mid 40’s when I started playing WoW, I have grown up, my reaction times are slower, the amount of time I care to commit to playing a game has decreased, my eyesight is not what it was years ago. And the game(s) continues to evolve. To suit the desires of the players of the future, it is adapting, it is growing, becoming more competitive, no longer more about exploration, adventure, and discovery, it is now more competitive, more sports focused, more challenging. And that is the future. eSports is a thing, it will continue to pervade more and more of our culture and become as common as baseball or cricket.
I can either choose to continue to play what I can, or walk away. I asked yesterday if anyone felt that they, being Blizzard, didn’t care about us, because we only play one game. A lot of times I ask questions if there is something in my head, to see, Is it just me, or I may write a blog to put thoughts that are bothering me to paper. Rather than let it stew in my head, nagging away, I will write it down, sometimes even go back and read it again for typos, or bad grammar. But mostly, just to put the thoughts to paper.
The game is not the same as it was 6 years, going on 7 for me. There have been a lot of changes, some worked out well for me, others end up causing me grief. I know that I am not the type of player that they are focusing on. I play 1 of all of their titles, I have no interest in Hearthstone, Starcraft, Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm, or even Diablo, though I spent a great deal of time years ago playing Diablo, when I picked it up as a bonus for the preorder of the next WoW expansion, I played it one evening, and then set it aside, and have not been back. It was not the same game to me as it was years prior.
I have made an attempt at several games that have come down the road these past years. None has had the draw for me that WoW has. And I know that what I may find not appealing now, may change for the next expansion. When I see people I follow on Twitter posting about all of the games they are involved in, games they are in Beta testing for, or even the Alpha testing for Legion, I look at myself, and wonder why am I not doing that too. And then the adult in me yells and throws a temper tantrum about spending $60 on a game we may not like, when will we have the time to play, the grass has to be cut, the gardens weeded, the pool taken care of, an endless list of chores around the house, then there is work, demanding near 12 hours of my day from the time I wake up in the morning at 5am, to when I come home at 5pm or later.
There is plenty to do in WoW for me still, in fact, its a bit overwhelming at times. Finish the Argent Tournament, finish Draenor fishing, finish all of the Draenor reps, Dungeon achievements going back to Cataclysm that award mounts, trying to get myself into raiding, somehow finding the time to just send out missions on 2 alt’s. There are days it is overwhelming how much stuff they have added into the game to give everyone something to do.
The WoW I remember, the one when I first started and had no clue how to play, that I would rush home to eat dinner to log in and squeeze in 4-5 hours a night during the week, and even more on the weekends, is long gone for me now. The direction it has taken if different than when I started, it may be subtle, but there is a difference. And that’s ok. It has to change, it needs to be better. Is it frustrating seeing friends made year after year leaving? Absolutely. Of those I initially played with all those years ago, there are 3 left. Yes, I have made other friends through the years, and have lost as many again. It is the reality of getting older. Our lives change, our responsibilities change, our desires, what we feel is fun.
There may be some day in the future that I just look at the screen one day and decide that yes, this is the point where there is nothing compelling me to log in for. Nothing that gives me a few hours of joy. I’m not there yet, and I am sorry if some of these blog posts tend to have a negative aspect. Mostly it’s me working things out in my head. I am taking a Twitter break on Marathal, it is too easy to fall into the rabbit hole of negative thoughts when you start to feel that you are not anywhere close to being an equal to those you talk to daily, and that you are not worthy of interaction. We all have times of self doubt, seeing others do so much more than ourselves can add to it. I still like WoW, I just feel that the game has been designed now to go on hiatus after a certain time to allow you to play other games, and come back for the next. I could be wrong. Just how it feels. It might help if they talked a bit more about what the next 5 months holds for us, but I suspect the movie is putting a cone of silence on a lot of stuff they would like to tell us.
So have a great weekend, enjoy some fresh air, WoW will be here next week, next month, when ever you want to come back. And I will be here, probably sitting on the front stoop yelling at kids to get off my lawn, and recalling the old days when we had talent trees, and had to run everywhere, uphill both ways.