Traveling the Multiverse

Aka Ironyca Stood in the Fire – gaming blog

The Double Edged Sword of Playing WoW

I was talking to a few of my study mates about games we liked, and whenever I do that with people, they say “yeah, you’re the WoW-player“. For some reason I’m known as the WoW-player, and I have no idea how it happened. I usually say that there are plenty of other WoW-players in our year group, some which are better and far more progressed than me, some that raid for real and have legendary weapons.

I then realised why I’ve become the WoW-player: I don’t play Far Cry, Fall out, Call of Duty – whatever. The game I have played the most and know the most about is pretty much WoW. So yeah, I am the WoW-player.

It’s not a game you consume

I then asked them “How come you don’t play it? It’s a great investment, it’s not a game you consume“. And it’s true, it’s not something you complete in the course of 7 days (by far). It’s a game that keeps on going and all the time you’ve invested already, will not be wasted, but will rather be another brick in your virtual self – your character. For me that is a major selling point.

But the game never ends either

One of them answered “well, that’s exactly what I don’t like about WoW, that it keeps on going“. It makes it compelling to play, but they’d rather not get hooked on the threadmill. The fact the game plays on without you, and that taking a break could have greater consequences than just pausing an ordinary game, acts as a stress factor.

I was going to reply that it’s easy these days to play on a very casual level, like I do, but I see their point. Everytime I talk to a non-WoW player or an ex-WoW player, they say the same: They are kind of uneasy about the prospect of getting too caught up that it’s safer to just avoid it altogether.

Investments can easily be lost

I came to think of the time investment I mentioned earlier. In the light of wanting to quit WoW, the time you invested would then be converted to wasted time – a wasted investment. What did you really get out of all the hours spent playing, you can ask yourself. And that answer will in some way have to correspond to a lot of good reasons to have played, a lot of good experiences while playing, that made it all worthwhile.

I get the strong feeling that a lot of players feel this way in the end – that the time spent doesn’t justify itself by all the awesome things that happened while playing. It’s the nature of this type of game – the farming, the grinding, the waiting, the sitting around. Typing /played can feel as daunting as having to check your empty bank statement, only the numbers are ironically reversed.

So is WoW worth the investment in the end?

I can’t help but wonder why so many WoW-players feel bad for having spent a lot of time in the virtual world of WoW. What would they have done with that time instead anyways? Watched all episodes of all seasons of Lost?

On the forums, you sometimes see the troll forum police telling people to “get a life” or “go outside“, despite the obvious irony of them sitting there themselves dictating the rest of us, as if that is a more noble doing than actually playing the game.

I’ve never seen it up for discussion: a lot of time played is bad, a little is good. Add that to the fact that good gear is good, bad gear is bad: so spending little time getting good gear is good. But this is at the same time what a lot of people dislike, because this caters to the casuals, to an easy play style. Casuals are the new noobs really, and tier 9 is their badge. Getting the best of the best, is still reserved to the raiders, which will take time, especially if you don’t want to strut around in your tier 9 set which reeks of casualness. So you will most likely have to face being a bad good player with good gear, or a good bad player with bad gear, or a casual – gasp!

Living up to the ideal is hard, when making more time investments is a double edged sword bleeding with waste and sparkling with achievements. How can you possibly win then?

One comment on “The Double Edged Sword of Playing WoW

  1. Tabathine
    November 17, 2010

    I don’t /play. I did one time at the urging of a guildy, and almost freaked out when I saw how much of my time was spent on my main. I then stopped myself and realized how many people I had met over the course of that time, and decided it was well worth it. But I refused to check the time on my alts. I rather not know. I love the people I meet, and know that if I wasn’t on WoW, I would be watching Hulu or sleeping, or stalking the internet in general.

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This entry was posted on November 17, 2010 by in Opinion and Discussion and tagged , , , , , , , , .


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