My posting frequency has been lower in the past month than it's been in a long while, and to be honest it's not due to a lack of time but more due to a lack of enthusiasm - not for blogging, but for WoW itself. I'm still playing and having fun, but it feels a bit like going through the motions and somehow I don't find a lot of things engaging enough to want to post about them.
I've always had times when I was less into the game than during others, so that's not worrying by itself, but I did find myself pausing when I heard the latest news about the patch 4.1 PTR going up and instead of getting excited about any of it, it just made me unhappy. Not because the return of the Zuls will be rehashed content, but because I simply don't want that patch to come out yet.
Are you crazy, you might ask, why would you not want new content? I actually wrote a post about the fear of change and being worried about missing out before, but that was about the revamp of the old world in specific. Nothing wrong with a major expansion shaking things up a bit.
The thing is, since around patch 3.2 and the introduction of the automatically upgrading badge system, I felt that each new patch has been like that, not so much introducing additional content as directly replacing old content with new. Blizzard might not literally remove the old stuff from the game every time, but they'll still work damn hard to make you feel like it's pointless. These days it feels to me that each new patch isn't so much adding new things for me to do, as it's stomping on everything I've worked to achieve in the last couple of months and telling me to go do something else instead.
Looking back at my blog archives, I was actually suffering a major crisis of faith back after the release of 3.2 too, what with everyone getting herded into Trial of the Crusader while I still had unfinished business in Ulduar. I did get that Yogg-Saron kill eventually, luckily. Leaving Trial of the Crusader's hard modes unfinished in favour of moving to ICC didn't bother me because I hated them anyway. And ICC was around for so long that I felt well and truly done with it by the time Cataclysm came out, even if I didn't kill the Lich King on heroic.
I'm not ready for tier eleven to become obsolete yet though. My guild has barely killed half the bosses on normal mode. I don't want to feel that I should go get my epics from heroics instead because that'll be more efficient.
Speaking of heroics, I have less enthusiasm for running them than ever, and it's got nothing to do with difficulty or bad pugs. Instead it's knowing that no matter how much time I put into running them to upgrade my gear now, I'll be starting over completely in only a month or two, running them again to replace all the gear that I got from them in the first place. And then again whenever 4.2 comes out. Better to not bother too much or I'll just burn myself out.
It's really rather disheartening. Maybe it's because I'm a bit of a hoarder in real life and enjoy collecting things, but I always liked improving my characters, gathering gear, seeing my efforts pay off. I never expected these virtual accomplishments to last forever, but getting to enjoy them for at least a decent while used to be nice. Thing is though, Blizzard has decided that this kind of gameplay is too unfriendly towards new and returning players. People shouldn't have an advantage for having played a long time. I understand the reasoning, but when you're a loyal and dedicated player yourself, it kind of sucks.
I've been continually subscribed to WoW for four and a half years now, with no interruptions. I used to enjoy watching my stable of alts grow and gear up. But lately... it just feels like I'm treading water and not getting anywhere. That nice gear I worked my arse off to get raid-ready is vendor trash only a few months later. To stay up to date you've either got to work harder, grind more, be better, so you can always push the edge of progression before Blizzard decides to trash the content... or you can give up trying until the next patch, when you'll be able to get access to all the same things with only a minimum of effort anyway.
The other day I looked at my subscription status page for the first time in years and saw that my game's currently paid until May anyway. Still, I'm seriously starting to wonder. I don't think that WoW has become a bad game, but it might have become less of a game that I want to play every day. I know that many people would say that it's always been a treadmill, but I used to feel that I was at least gaining something from running that virtual treadmill - getting fitter in a metaphorical sense and becoming a player that was better (off). I just don't feel that anymore. There doesn't seem to be any benefit to loyalty anymore.