Every year I see more and more people I have come to know, just walk away from the game, from friendships. Sure their places have been filled with new friends, but those we played with years ago, those people we played with those first times we stepped through to Outland, the ones we did our Argent Tournament dailies with, those we did our daily quest for Valor. They leave our lives. But we always have those memories, of the times someone autoran through the entrance of ICC clear through to Marrowgar pulling the entire instance wiping the entire raid, the accidental click of an ability that started a fight too soon, the effort as we watched a single person popping every cool down to get that final 1% of a boss for our first kill. We all have memories, we all recall how things were.
This time next year we will probably be in the second tier of Legion, complaining about how things were so much better in Draenor, how Mists was the best expansion ever, how Wrath was the hey day. They are memories of the good times. We try to hold on to them as best we can, because it is not just the game that holds good memories for us, but the friendships made and lost. We all cross paths with people in our time in WoW, some stay for awhile, some we never lose. Real ID has helped us keep in touch with those that have moved on to new places, to new Blizzard games. It allows us to maintain friendships with those that at some point in our gaming career, shared a common goal.
When I look at the state of the server forums, I am a bit sad at how far many have fallen. There was a time years ago that if there were only 10 active topics going on in a day, it was a slow day. When they created the “New” forums, where you had to log in with your account, and authenticator if attached, as a means to cut back on the toxic postings, it killed off a small part of the community. People found themselves unable to log in during work to check and see what was going on, to interact with friends, to make friendly rivalry jokes about people or guilds of the opposing faction, to just talk to each other. The rise of Facebook and Twitter, and the use of them to integrate us more into a global world may have exposed us to potentially many more friends, but it has also caused us to overlook making new friends close to home.
I see how they have now combined the combined realm servers into joint forums, in a hope I can only guess, to bolster the feeling that there is a community alive there. When I think back on the times years ago, and look to the state they are now, it really does show how the game is changing. Gone is the small town feel for the game when you had to maintain a decent reputation to be invited to groups, where people respected others, not for some gear level, or progression, but for who they were as a person. Things have become, I almost want to say, impersonal. We queue randomly for groups, sometimes not even seeing a word spoken beyond, this group do this, this group is assigned to that. It is all about zoning in, getting something done, then zoning out. Things like a person saying congrats to someone getting that first achievement, people saying thank you for the run, or great group, thanks, are rarely seen.
I look at how things appear to be to me, and wonder why has it gotten this way, what happened, how can it be repaired. And it occurs to me that to fix something, some times you need to go back to the beginning, back to where it all started. Next month we will see many people start playing WoW for the first time, they will log in to some randomly chosen server, perhaps with friends, perhaps all by themselves. And they will be lost. Gone are the years of the class leaders, the people that use to post information on guilds, on things being done as a community. And perhaps that is a good place to start. Go to your server forums, create new guild messages, update postings, show to theses new people, that these are not just characters they are playing with, but real people that have played for years, that are willing to help.
We need to start looking closer to home to bring life back to the game, to make it more about having fun playing a game with friends and family. To make lasting friendships to share an experience that many of us have had for years. We need to stop being dust in the wind drifting from place to place never staying for too long. It is the time to take the initiative to bring back the way we treated others, to show everyone they have value, that there are people willing to help if asked. The alternative is the game and community becomes a desert filled with tumbleweeds.