New year is a time for new resolutions, as tradition has it. So what did I resolve? To give up World Of Warcraft.
Lets get some things straight here. I’ve been playing it on and off since it was released, so hopefully I am qualified to make these judgements:
1) It is one of the best computer games ever. Why? Because it thoroughly engages you like no other computer game. The gameplay is so vast, and options so immense that there’s always something new to do or try. Throw into this mix the ability to interact and cooperate with other completely unpredictable human players gives the game an interesting and exciting element. Once you get into the game you are guaranteed hours of fun and entertainment unlike any other form of recreation. It is truly hard to describe the experience without going through it.
2) It is horrendously addictive. I pull no punches here. It really is. The world dishes out small rewards as you play, new skills, new equipment, new rewards which progress you character further and deeper into the game. This gives the player a sense of achievement and further desire to play as achievements open up further options to gain more rewards. It is a viscious circle, the more you play, the more you want to play. Before you know it, you’ve spent an entire weekend playing. Not necessarily a bad thing, but once you get into the game you will enjoy it to the detriment of everything else. A point of fact I realised lately is that WoW is the only game I know of that people play ‘just to see what is going on’, in that people will log in for a few hours with no real goals in mind, and will log off much later not really having done anything productive.
I do worry for some younger players who have become so entrenched in this game that they have thrown away some of the most exciting and critical years of their lives. I do wonder if I would be where I am now in life if I had discovered this game in my formative years, or would I now be living like a neckbeard in a basement! Seriously, if you want to read some sad stories on the effects of Warcrack, just do an internet search.
So why am I giving it up? A few reasons. Firstly, I rarely get to play it with real life friends any more. Playing with real friends in Warcraft is truly awesome. Secondly, I think I have better things to do. The problem with Warcraft is that yes, it is entertaining but it has no real narrative. For example, watching a movie or playing a game such as ‘Dragon Age’ may be percieved as an equal waste of time, but it’s not. At the end of the movie you have progressed. You have followed a story, learned things and reached an end point. Warcraft doesn’t have that. There is no real story, it’s just fight monsters, gain loot, repeat ad infinitum. I’m still going to game… Probably as much as before, just with different games. I’ll probably spend more time watching documentaries and painting models. And at the end of it all, when Blizzard finally shut off the last Warcraft servers, I will have some random facts to impress my wife with, and some stuff to sell on ebay.