I Play WoW and I’m Not Sorry

This post seemed like the inevitable follow-up to yesterday’s about why I’m not playing RIFT!

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I moved across town a few weeks ago, and as the movers were carrying a bookshelf into the new space the false back that I did a poor job of tacking on fell off. “Oh man, I’m sorry,” I said to the movers. “Excuse my crappy IKEA furniture.” One of the guys stopped and leaned against the bookshelf, and then replied kindly, “You know, everyone I move has IKEA furniture, and everyone always apologizes for it.”

I thought of this story yesterday as I was apologizing on Twitter for playing WoW again, which I think makes WoW the IKEA of MMOs.

So why do I feel guilty for being fully back into the Warcraft?

Certainly in part it’s that during much of the past few years I downright hated WoW. Its success paralysed the MMO genre, and other games that I would argue were better died on the vine in its shade. WoW has become a force for the homogenization of MMOs, and its producers seem to accept “fluff” content like costumes and housing only grudgingly, if at all.

I suppose it’s sort of similar to how ex-smokers often become radically opposed to smoking after they quit. While some friends have also slowly popped up in Azeroth again over the last couple of months, others remain steadfast ex-WoWers and give me withering virtual stares every time the game comes up. They’re disappointed in me, I think, for going back to the enemy.

Indeed, occasionally I’ve even been disappointed in myself over the past few weeks as I look up at the clock and realize that I have played WoW for the last 4 hours, something that for whatever reason I was hard-pressed to do in other MMOs. “Again, brain?” I ask myself. “We’re really going to spend our nights like this again?”

Even without the old 6-12 hours a week of raid leading, I find it stunningly easy to spend hours doing farm dailies and hunting down mounts. To be fair winter is coming, and I’m trying to save money, and cold dark cheap nights are the best time for games, but still.

Plus, honestly as much as I’m sensitive to the smell of failure on MMOs I’m equally sort of a game hipster and now I’ve gone back to the mainstream, maaaaaaaaan. (Why yes, I am difficult to please.) I mean WoW. It’s so 2008, am I right?

And yet.. here we are. Much like how yesterday I concluded that I simply got bored of RIFT, here I have to conclude that I’m simply having fun in WoW.

Because I really, truly am. And I suppose that’s nothing to be sorry about.

Author: Jessica Cook

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18 Comments

  1. 2008? By hipster standards I think that makes WoW retro. Worst case scenario just say “I was totally playing Warcraft back when it was just orcs, not even humans. We’d just mine gold.”

    I’ve stopped playing WoW and I don’t much care about it anymore. But that’s the thing: I don’t care; I don’t hate it or think it’s dumb or think that no one should play it. It’s a good game that I don’t play, just like many other good games that I don’t play. Yet for some reason people think they need to hate it to justify not playing it.

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    • Tangentially, Kleps’ description of his failing wow passion a long time ago, in another post, is still the best I have read to date: “wow went from a game I used to enjoy a lot, to a game I don’t enjoy any more” (paraphrased).

      This is really how we should try and treat all our MMO flings, even if it’s hard sometimes.
      Syl´s last post: Friday Linkage

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  2. I enjoyed the way describe what you felt about your WoW sessions after writing it off not that long ago.

    The thing is, it’s as you say: WoW has done as much damage as good to the genre, neither of which was deliberate. I think players like me have trouble reconciling the fun they’re having while games with different features, which we also enjoy, die because it’s not enough like WoW. Part of the blame is on the developers of competing MMOs who set WoW as the industry standard (it’s not), setting unrealistic goals and allowing them to define their success. For example, almost every game in the past few years defined success by whether they got over a million subscribers. It’s like saying you don’t make enough money if you can’t swim in it, yet that’s the stance they take. So I don’t personally blame Blizz for that, but their silence on the matter is damning.

    A lot of people may think the company could do nothing about the failures or successes of MMOs which whithered “in their shade” as you aptly put it. And that’s really the crux, isn’t it? I think players are as responsible for the games we get as industry leaders like Blizzard and diehards like Trion. We can talk all day about how buying these games we hate allows us to critique them and advocate for better games, but buying them is also de facto endorsement of the product as it is. We’re all dirty in this business: players for buying the crap we don’t like and companies for consistently putting out the crap we aren’t asking for because they don’t want to chance it on something that’s not made $1mil in the past.

    I can vote strongest with my wallet. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with playing and enjoying WoW. I think that if you found it problematic in the past, then I’d want to know whether you still do regardless whether you enjoy it or not. (we all enjoy problematic things, don’t we?) That might be a more interesting conversation than crucifying players for enjoying WoW.

    How would you answer that, Liore?
    Doone (@trredskies)´s last post: Faeria Interview with Abrakam

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    • I have to admit Doone hits the spot in regards to why I occasionally frown at people enjoying WoW. I don’t hate it; and just because I personally don’t enjoy it anymore that doesn’t mean other people shouldn’t.

      However, I do find myself a bit frustrated with seeing people leave WoW and denounce it, and then come back and play it anyway. I’m not saying you can’t change your mind, but there’s a point where inconsistency and hypocrisy become a bit annoying, especially if the person keeps going on about how more games should be less like WoW while still choosing it as their own main game.
      Shintar´s last post: A Bounty Hunter’s Tale

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      • I’m not saying you can’t change your mind, but there’s a point where inconsistency and hypocrisy become a bit annoying

        Ouch!

        I disagree, but more in a general blogging philosophy sense. I think if one starts getting too wrapped up in internal consistency and STAYING ON MESSAGE, then eventually you get the point where you shouldn’t write anything at all. We’re all just a bunch of video game fans, and for the most part no one claims to be an authority on any of this, so I’m not bothered when people change their tune over time.

        I guess instead of consistency I put much more emphasis on honesty in my bloggers. I don’t care if one has a radical change of heart, as long as they write sincerely about what they are thinking/feeling/enjoying (or not enjoying).

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        • Ouch!

          Lol, that was a generic you, not a specific you; maybe I should have worded it a bit differently. And like I said, I don’t mind people changing their mind and being honest about it, so I don’t think we disagree on that front. I have however seen several blogs where people have loudly talked about quitting WoW and how much it sucks these days and then when you read between the lines of subsequent posts you can tell that they are still playing it.
          Shintar´s last post: A Bounty Hunter’s Tale

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    • I think that if you found it problematic in the past, then I’d want to know whether you still do regardless whether you enjoy it or not.

      Yes and no. I think it’s less problematic now simply because it seems to me that MMO developers are finally moving beyond the notion that everything must be a WoW-clone. To keep using my metaphor, the sun is finally starting to shine on some other games.

      On the other hand, Bel mentioned this morning on Twitter that he lost a huge chunk of his followers and blog readers when he quit WoW, and I find that so irritating in kind of an intangible way. Often people who play WoW as their main game can be quite cultish about it, with tunnel vision that barely acknowledges other games or the neighbors who play them.

      (I do think that WoW ruined the game that I once loved to play back in 2008, but I also think that 5 years on I have changed how I play.)

      I’ve thought about it a lot since I posted this, and I think me playing WoW now is in part a response to feeling a little beat down about “the other guys”. I really loved RIFT, man. I bought mounts on their pre-F2P store, I went for the year-long sub offer, I recruited for guilds and wrote about it and made videos and even worked for a fansite. But even with that, between the cash shop, the failures of the expansion, and a lack of interest from a wider playerbase.. well, Scott Hartsman might argue about it, but I feel like the game is in a really bad place.

      And that happens! But my faith in voting with my dollars is a little shaky at the moment.

      At least playing WoW is a “wallet vote” for subscription games, which was actually something I considered when casting around for a “new” MMO to play.

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  3. Peer pressure can be an ugly thing. Anyone who makes fun of your for the video game you play isn’t really your friend. ;)

    We’re so media saturated right now that there is really no reason not to be as selective as possible about what we choose to enjoy. Realising that your most valuable resource is time also lets you worry less about spending cheap plentiful “real” money on the thing you really enjoy (connecting back to yesterday’s post).
    Coreus´s last post: Hearthstone

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  4. More power to you, Liore.

    I definitely agree that a lot of people almost feel like they need to justify playing WoW — and I suspect it’s because the stereotypical WoW player is something to be ashamed of. When we see the unenchanted/ungemmed player in LFR auto-attacking and standing in fire, we want to say “THAT’S NOT ME! DON’T JUDGE ME BASED ON HIM!”

    But many people still do, despite the fact my time spent in WoW is completely different than that player’s.

    “The thing is, it’s as you say: WoW has done as much damage as good to the genre, neither of which was deliberate.”

    I would dispute the fact that it’s done as much harm as good (I think there’s considerably more good than harm) and while I don’t think the damage was deliberate, I think much of the good was.

    But I still need to write the response to your other post so going to cut this short for now.

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  5. Wow is the taco bell of food. Unless it’s 3 in the morning and you’ve had 7 too many cervezas you shouldn’t be there. *withering virtual stare*

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  6. I didnt play WOW since 2009 (?) the end of the Lich expansion, anyways
    I don’t hate it, I just moved on
    it was “my first” – I had three amazing years until I called it a day
    alting, raiding, dailies, arena pvp, I’ve done and enjoyed them all
    I don’t see why anyone should hate it, I tried many of the games WOW has “killed” and none of them had grabbed my attention anywhere near the levels of WOW
    (Rift, SWTOR, LOTRO, AoC, GW2, TSW to name a few)
    now I play EVE, well over two years, it is the logical “next level” of mmo gaming, but it doesn’t make WOW any worse or lesser in my eyes
    if it wasn’t for WOW, I wouldn’t be playing EVE either

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    • I think that’s an interesting point, Rieth: as much as I think WoW caused the MMO genre to suffocate for a few years with the rush to make “the next WoW”, the game has also brought a LOT of people into the MMO player fold who otherwise would possibly not play them or even PC games at all.

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  7. You truly have no reason to beat yourself up over it. Even if you are a gaming hipster, nobody can deny that it’s the most popular game for a reason. Here’s an analogy that always comes to mind when I think about it: WoW is the Beatles of MMOs.

    WoW came out at the right time, was a great game, offering the right things, and took the scene by storm. It’s completely okay to love different bands even more, but relistening to a Beatles album still hits all the right spots.
    Ocho´s last post: Awesome Screenshot: The Island in a Sea of Electricity #TSW

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  8. I managed to get several close family members addicted to WoW years ago and they never stopped playing. So at Christmas at least, I inevitably re-sub for a few months because playing WoW with them beats any bad feelings I have over the development trajectory of the game.

    It was and still is a fun game to play with close friends and family, just for laughs.
    Telwyn´s last post: Azerothian Christmas

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    • I enjoyed your post, Telwyn! “At Christmas I could sit in a corner grumbling to myself about class nerfs and the loss of talent trees, or I can be in Azeroth slaying Internet dragons with close family and friends; which sounds more fun to you?” — well put. :)

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  9. Awesome read!! After 4 years of not playing WoW I have got a slight itch to liven up my account again. I’m way behind and I fear it would take some time to boost 10 levels and play catch up on the new tanking rules for a warrior if any. I wouldn’t be sorry if I started playing again .. but I wouldn’t spend a good 5hr/day stint on it thats for sure. The game is sooo freaking awesome!
    Prolifik´s last post: Siege Of Ogrimmar

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