The voices around us

I was going to write a post about the joys of pugging today, but after a Zul'Gurub run on my hunter left me fuming due to an extremely patronising druid who was tanking in cloth, I felt that I wasn't exactly in the right mindset for the subject anymore.

I've finally managed to catch up with all the blog posts that people have made during my absence, and this post by Rohan was an interesting inspiration to me. In it he talks about how one's impression of the state of the blogosphere is affected by personal experience. If you read a lot of blogs that have shut down recently, you might be tempted to assume that this is what's happening to blogs everywhere. You might also conclude that WoW as a whole is dying. Now, Blizzard did report losing a fair chunk of subscribers lately, but by itself that's hardly a sign of the incoming WoW apocalypse just yet.

Nonetheless a lot of people seem to agree that Cataclysm has done more bad than good for the game. Wait, who are these "lot of people"? Looking at my blog roll, it has half a dozen blogs at the bottom that have stopped updating, and at least another half dozen that still update frequently but whose owners have stopped playing WoW and regard it with a critical eye these days. Nonetheless I still enjoy reading all of them, and often find myself nodding my head in agreement with whatever points they make. Yeah, the game has really gone downhill...

Except then something funny happened: I discovered The Instance. Okay, "discovered" is a bit of an exaggeration as I had been vaguely aware of its existence before, but now I actually started listening to it. And wow, what a different picture of WoW did I get from that. I guess it's easy to love something that doesn't cost you any money (the hosts seem to have been given a lot of free play time by Blizzard), but still, their enthusiasm sounds very genuine. It's not that they are never critical of anything the developers do, but on the whole they spend a lot more time being excited about the parts of the game that they love than focusing on what bothers them. And you know what? I agreed with them as well. WoW is great!

But wait, which is it? I can't agree with both of them, can I? It certainly made me think about where my own opinions come from. Obviously I'm not just blindly following whatever someone else says, but I am pretty empathic, so it's generally easy for me to identify with different points of view. And it made me wonder what kind of voices I'm listening to as of late. Am I really thinking that the game is less fun than it used to be or am I just automatically nodding along when others say so?

When I started reading WoW blogs, they were all pretty positive and fun. However, over time a lot of writers that I follow have become disillusioned with the game. I'm still reading them because I enjoy their writing style, but it does make me wonder whether I'm not sucking some of my own enjoyment out of the game by spending too much time reading about how much things suck in the eyes of certain bloggers. Wouldn't my experience be enhanced by reading blogs that remind me of the things that are fun?

I'll have to be on the lookout for some more enthusiastic blog writers and podcasters. I'd like to have some sort of balance on my blog roll, so that if I ever get truly bored of WoW, I want it to be because of my own feelings, and not because I let other people's negative opinions of the game affect me too much.


  1. It is okay to love and hate the game. I am right there with you.

    I hate cataclysm and in a way I am hoping that blizzard continues to bleed subscribers left and right, so much so that they wake up and realize that what they did was bad for the game.

    On the other end I still have a great deal of love for the game. I am still playing after all and there has to be a reason. However, my reason for playing has very little to do with cataclysm and much more to do with the people I play with. They make it fun for me and that is part of what keeps me playing.

    Over all, what you hear will effect how you feel about things. If you keep hearing doom and gloom you will start thinking the end of the world (of warcraft) is coming even if you didn't before just the same as if everyone where happy you would be happy too.

    Over all, everyone complains, hell, I live to complain, it is my joy, but this expansion has given so many people things to complain about that you happen to be hearing about it more often then before.

    Stay away from the official forums, stay out of trade chat, have some luck with a few good pugs for your valor and tada, the game is awesome.

    Read to many posts over at the official site, hang out in trade to long, and get unlucky with a string of bad valor pugs and the game sucks.

    Someone used the line on me that said, if you don't like the game stop playing and I made a post dedicated just to that comment which explained why I complain.

    I complain because I like the game. If I didn't like it, it would not bother me if something about it annoyed me. Complaining in and of itself is sometimes a sign that people still love the game, they are just unhappy with something.

    When you stop seeing people complain because they do not care any more... well then you can say the world (of warcraft) is coming to an end.

    Link - http://thegrumpyelf.blogspot.com/2011/03/why-people-complain.html

  2. An positive attitude is just a sign of a lack of knowledge.

  3. @Grumpy: I remember that post; in fact it was what finally prompted me to add you to my blog roll I think. I had clicked through to your blog from Rades' blog roll several times before when interesting post titles caught my eye, but while I liked your writing style I did indeed find myself thinking "gosh, this guy is so grumpy, he must really hate the game". Then I saw that post and understood. Oh, and I loved your pug stories and how you always seemed to have lots of patience with people unless they were rude, which is an attitude I can absolutely get behind.

    @Kring: You're such a cynic. :P Are you still playing? And I do think I can do with less knowledge of just how many things people complain about at times.

  4. I've stopped paying last month.

    My 25 man raid was destroyed by the shared raid lockout patch.

    My 10 man guild raid didn't succeed because we were lacking healer and tanks - ironically because of the shared raid lockout because some player prefered to stay with their 25 man raid. This made the guildis no longer log in.

    And my friend list got quite short. I haven't added a new person to my friend list since the introduction of the LFD and the existing friends stopped logging on. I didn't feel like abandoning my 5 year old guild to join a new raid (thanks to making guilds and raids the same with the guild leveling system).

    There was nothing left to do.

  5. When those blogs start to write about other things than WoW is when you should start to worry. As long as they are angry they still care.

  6. Eh - I don't hate or love Cata - it's another expansion. I think a lot of players who have been around since Vanilla are just moving on - or wondering who moved their cheese. I certainly don't think the game is worse now than it was a year ago. Honestly, how many hobbies do you have today that you had six years ago? I mean, my wife makes jewlery, but even with that she changes metals, techniques, etc.

    For me the game now is about the players I'm with in my 10m guild. We'll all move on to ToR together when it's out, 1/2 of us will play BF3, etc. I'll know my love for WoW is completely gone when I decide that I won't/can't fork over the cash to transfer one character to a raid guild - then I'll know it's time to quit.

    Until then, I'm still playing, still blogging, and now leveling another alt - learning how to warrior again.