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.