On my way home from work today, I called a long distance friend to catch up. We discussed work, pitched our latest book ideas, lamented that we missed buying tickets to PAX West – again – and talked about all of the games we’re currently playing and those we’re looking forward to in the coming months. With just a little over a month before the release of World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth, the game was one such that we discussed.
After we said our goodbyes, I found myself questioning whether or not I’d be answering the call to arms when the expansion releases. After some consideration, it really comes down to a question of life/game balance and whether or not I can still enjoy the part of the game I love most. This post is my way of getting my thoughts and feelings out on paper and organized.
In the years that I’ve been playing WoW, I’ve watched it grow into a much more casual, much more accessible game. In the years that I’ve been playing WoW, I too have grown, and my responsibilities and priorities have changed. Unlike in years past, I’m not sure about my ability now to balance out the demands of staying relevant in a game that, despite it’s evolution, still caters primarily to a hardcore player base.
So why play?
That’s the big question. I first popped WoW into my CD drive almost 15 years ago and, if you couldn’t tell, was obviously hooked. The game was… magical. It was vast, engaging, challenging, fantastically made and begging to be explored. But so are many, many other games, especially nowadays. I think most importantly then, was that Azeroth belonged to my friends and I. A world whose magic we could master. A world whose vastness we could map, who challenges we could conquer and whose secrets were ours for the discovering. An apt comparison, perhaps? It was our Dungeons and Dragons – just online and animated.
So why not play?
The why for me is the social experience. The why not, after some contemplation, is that the social experience may still require more time than I can give. Yes, I want to login and play but I know that raiding two nights a week for 3 to 4 hours at a time is not something I can commit to anymore. There-in lies the problem. To engage socially, my character needs to stay relevant and to stay relevant, I need to put in the time with end game content. Or so that’s how it’s traditionally worked.
What to do?
I don’t want the game to become a chore and I would like to experience the new expansion with the friends that serve as my reason for playing. What’s that thing about eating cake?
What are you thoughts, friends? Is anyone currently struggling with an MMO like WoW or even a different genre of game that they’d like to play more but find they can’t? How do you balance it out?