You could probably already guess from my lack of posting here as of late, but I thought that I should make it official: my current WoW sub ran out at the end of March and it looks like my pre-WoD stint with the game has come to an end. I enjoyed my time in Pandaria and it was nice to see Blizzard go back to a slightly more "worldly" zone and quest design on that continent, with optional mini quest hubs similar to the ones in Northrend, and more "hidden" surprises out in the world that were worth discovering. (That time my pet tank unexpectedly fished up a Lurker-lookalike rare mob out of a giant fishing pool for example was awesome.)
I didn't exactly run out of things to do, as I still had a bunch of goals that I could have worked towards - but I just wasn't drawn in enough to prioritise WoW over other things. By the end I was only logging in to do a certain amount of "chores" every day and eventually I asked myself: why am I doing this when I'd rather be doing something else? To what end? And that was that.
One statement I often see when people go back to WoW after a period of absence is how it feels like going home, or how they think that WoW is still the best MMO out there. For me, this simply wasn't the case. For me, the experience has been more alike to meeting someone who used to be your best friend in childhood, but while you're happy to see them, you've developed into completely different directions in adulthood and it's pretty much impossible to have a non-awkward conversation about anything that isn't "the good old days". Really, that's me and WoW in a nutshell.
For example, WoW just feels too fast for me these days, in pretty much every respect. It's like the player base's unofficial motto is "wherever you are and whatever you're doing, you would rather be somewhere else already". I'm not expecting people to listen to every NPC conversation they've heard ten times before, but there are... gradients. There was this one time I decided on a lark to queue for a random dungeon on my lowbie ret paladin. I got into the last part of Maraudon with a tank/healer duo in full heirlooms that were clearly working together and were absolutely racing to the end, AoEing trash pulls on the go and skipping all the bosses but the last one. It seemed like every time I paused to loot something, they were already a mile ahead again, to the point that I spent most of the dungeon just jogging after the rest of the group and not actually hitting anything. I'm sure many people would have considered that a great run. Lots of XP for little effort! Me? I absolutely hated it. In fact, I was so disgusted that I didn't even want to touch my paladin for a couple of days afterwards, as if she had pug cooties or something. Every game has both its clueless players and its jerks, but if even getting into a pug with competent and not unfriendly people results in something that feels like a horrible experience to me, then I'm clearly playing the wrong game.
I also think that, in general, my standards of what I expect from an MMO have become higher. There have always been things about WoW that annoyed me, but I used to accept them simply because I didn't know anything else. Nowadays I know that WoW is not the gold standard for everything. Depending on what matters to you in an MMO, there absolutely are other games out there that do certain things better. For example I know now that playing a healer doesn't have to mean living on a constant rollercoaster of massive nerfs and buffs and play style revamps. I've also had friendly commenters chime in with genuinely well-intended advice such as "you just need to watch some videos / read this guide" or "you can download this addon" when I expressed annoyance about simple aspects of the game, and all I could think is: why should I have to do that when I can play other games without needing that amount of outside resources to "make" it fun? (For what it's worth, I was happily addon-less during the last four months.)
All these are things that matter to me and that seem to pretty firmly put me outside of WoW's target demographic these days. I still plan on checking out Warlords of Draenor eventually, if nothing else to have a look at this alternate Outland and to check out my old characters' new looks after Blizzard revamps the character models. I'm just not sure if I'll bother right at launch.
Thanks to everyone who stopped by to comment in the last couple of months, both old bloggers who still had this site on their blogroll and new readers that found me by clicking a random link somewhere. It's been nice to chat.
At Loose Ends on the Fantasy Front
10 hours ago