World of Warcraft: Cataclysm launched on December 6, 2010. The switch was officially flipped at midnight and there were, as I recall, at least 30 guildies online at the time. Some were rushing to try for realm first titles, some were excited to start levelling up the guild, and most of us just wanted to see the new sights. The year-long content drought between ICC and Cataclysm was one of the toughest for the guild and for me as guild leader, but as I looked at all the happy people online I figured it was all smooth sailing from here.
Five months later, 90% of the guild had quit WoW. There was no real drama at the time — we levelled some, did a few hard modes, but I think in general our hearts just weren’t in it anymore. I lost interest, and then a bunch of other people lost interest, and no one had the motivation to keep the WoW activities rolling along. I was kind of mad at Blizzard for a while for “ruining my game” in a number of ways, but although I still think mistakes were made I’m no longer angry about it and understand that after seven years things just get boring.
It feels weird today, though. Last night at midnight Mists of Pandaria launched, and I barely remembered. Years of my life, wonderful memories, and a main character who will always be my favorite, and today.. nothing. (That’s not at all to say that I begrudge the folks happily playing Pandaria. I hope they’re having a blast!)
My gaming in general has felt a little weird this year. I actively dislike Guild Wars 2. I am not interested in Mists of Pandaria. I never really got into the crazy gun collecting of Borderlands so the sequel doesn’t hold much appeal. The Secret World seemed a little morally questionable for my personal taste, and as much as I try (although it’s not a new game of course) I just can’t get over the terrible community in League of Legends.*
I really enjoyed Kurn’s recent post about quitting both WoW and guild leading, and it made me think a lot about my own past. I used to imagine that I’d be the last person left in the Cats, the digital equivalent of that creepy 40-year old at a college party trying to impress the kids with stories about my glory days in Molten Core. Kurn asks in her post, “How do you stop identifying yourself as what you’ve been for the last several years? … For me, I guess the answer is to find something else about which I’m passionate and create a new identity.”
As I read that, I realized that I don’t see myself as a guild leader anymore. I did for years even after we mostly quit WoW, but I don’t now. Now if I had to pick a hobby-related identity, I’m a blogger, a podcaster, and a forum moderator. I guess I found something else I’m passionate about, although the subject matter is sort of the same. (Good news, Kurn: It only took me like 18 months to stop thinking of myself as a guild leader. Ha ha!)
I dunno. It’s been a weird year for me and games, thus far. Maybe I’m growing out of my old hobby, or maybe I’m just growing into it in a new way.
* To be fair I had amazing fun for two weeks in Diablo III, and despite the atrocious, soul-crushing ending Mass Effect 3 is one of the greatest gaming experiences I’ve ever had.