Lacking luster

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.


  1. I'm so with you, Shintar. Raids have always been what kept me going in WoW, but things have gone downhill for me there ever since the past few weeks. adding a few more personal reasons, I've decided to call quits on raiding - and after reading the current patchnotes on all the upcoming recycled content, I only feel confirmed in my choice once more.
    I've stopped my subscription for WoW a couple of times in the past and have come back 2-3 times to the game, but this time around I doubt I will. it's simply become too great a compromise, giving me very little back in return. playing should be fun and relaxing, if it's not anymore then it's simply time - for some of us sooner, for others later. :)

    I'm looking into RIFT a bit at the moment, and even if it's not a whoawhoa super-overwhelming novelty, it's fun to dabble at something new and it's very solid. we'll see what happens from here, there will always be games and MMOs that keep me entertained.

  2. Oh, I'm not quite near quitting yet (especially since I realised that I've pre-paid for several more months of game time anyway :P) but I'm thinking on cutting down on my play time since it doesn't excite me as much anymore.

    Raiding is one thing that still keeps me going right now, though as I said I'm worried at what will happen when Blizzard decides to effectively send another very good tier of raid content to the dumpster in order to keep people re-running the same couple of heroics.

  3. The few times I was in a similar situation in the past, i found that playing less and also looking into other games, can really re-kindle the spark for WoW, yep. so maybe that's the best way to go for you. =)

  4. I agree wholeheartedly with everything in this post, well, maybe with one exception. First up, what I have seen on the PTR tells me that Blizz are a long way from 4.1 going live, so I do think that we have 10-12 more weeks on Tier 11. Long enough to kill whatever is killable, so i don't think the content will be totally stomped before players are done with it. Another 10-12 weeks will be fine to get as far as people can get.

    Otherwise, I definitely have the "I don't care about loot, it all gets upgraded, meh" thing going. In fact, I felt like this since ICC, when I put a totally perfect ArPen feral DPS set together, with every damn item optimised within an inch of its life, and then put it in the bank for Cata. Initally, this somewhat depressed me (I never worked so hard for a BIS set). But strangely, now I find it quite liberating. I just don't care at all about loot now, I just want to play to my maximum (whether measured by dps or interrupts or utility in another sense) and kill bosses. Loot is just vendor trash with a time-limited ability to enhance your character.

    Incidentally, this has also liberated me from the heroic daily grind. That's all vendor trash too. I did do heroics for 2 VP pieces, when they were really good early on, but am I going to grind any more for the last 1-2 pieces? Hell no! I have better things to do, films to watch, other games to play.

    And one or two other ideas. First, I think that the "new instance trumps old instance" is indeed a very corrosive phenomenon. I don't like it. But hopefully Shintar you are in a good Guild of nice people that have the right attitude and will go back to Nef, even if they don't get him first time. I remember in TBC, people did still go back to kill Vashj or Kael even after MH and BT attunements were lifted. I think a good Guild would be able and willing to spend 1 night a week finishing Tier 11 as well as making a start on Tier 12. And I think that's OK.

    Second, I also personally have had a lot of success with "celebrating the win". What I remember fondly now of WotLK is not the loot (well maybe a little bit). Rather, it's about having the achievements recorded in my log, the fun loot items I have picked up, the killshots and videos I took, the groovy mounts I picked up whilst they were still current content. Maybe the items are easy to go back and farm now. But no-one now can go and get the fun of a LK kill at the 10% buff stage, or an Ulduar / Naxx Undying feat of strength, or a GotIR mount pre-Cata, or a set of fun videos of raids on Youtube. These are all tangible things that no amount of patching of new content can take away! Taking a moment to reflect on the victories and acknowledge them is really important.

    Personally, I don't much like the current raid content either. That's a completely separate topic, but I'm a firm believer that twitch gameplay and doesn't really belong in large-scale MMO gaming with mixed teams and latency. Some of the mechanics in the current tier just layer too much complexity and gimmickry in my view. I like twitch gameplay, but in FPS and 3rd person actioners please, not in an MMO, which I prefer to be about strategic thinking and teamwork. If I want 0.7s interrupt timers and bizarre sound cookies to dodge I'll play mario.

    We-ell, that was a longer post than I meant to make. But anyways, cut back, chill out, take it less seriously, and maybe it can become more fun again :)

  5. LFD Dungeons

    * Zul'Gurub
    * Zul'Aman
    * Random Cataclysm Heroic Tier 2

    I assume that means that you'll only get the VP from heroic tier 2. That would mean that you don't have to run the same heroics over again but only the two new ones... which would be even more boring.

  6. BTW, if Blizz has *any sense at all* then Tier 11 will still award VP.

    This will be great, because (1) guilds will be able to get something from finishing Tier 11 and farming it out, and (2) spending a night in Tier 11 will be a good alternative to farming the daily every day.

    If Blizz make it so that Tier 11 does not award VP, and heroic Throne of Tides does award VP, then I will probably flip out and maybe even make one of my six-monthly visits to the official forums to complain. That would be unacceptable!

  7. If T11 will continue to reward VP we'll have a new Karazhan.

  8. @Kring.....Hmm, you raise a very good point. So we are faced with two possibilities.

    (1) People run Tier 11 for VP, making it the new Kharazan. Well, that's not ideal.
    (2) Tier 11 doesn't reward VP, not even Nefarian or Al'Akir. But somehow, you still get 70 VP for zerging Throne of Tides.


    Well, this further reinforces my opinion that all loot should be treated as vendor trash, but with a 3 month time-limited period when it boosts your character. Only killshots are worth having! Boxerdogs.

  9. @Boxer: The experience of celebrating the win is definitely something that still counts, but well... I used to be motivated by a variety of factors, which included shiny loot, wanting to see the content and embracing a challenge, but bit by bit parts of that keep getting chipped away. I always think "well, that one development that I don't like won't ruin the game for me", but after a while it adds up.

    @Kring: Tiered heroics would be... interesting. I'm not sure whether in a good or bad way, but definitely interesting.

  10. Yep, I can't disagree that it's one more thing that's gone. Gear and planning and tactics is largely a thing of the past. In all honesty, the tacs so far in Cata are very easy (I occasionally moan about ppl not reading tacs posts, but I'm not sure they even need to). WoW seems to becoming more of a twitch game, 0.7 second interrupts, dodge flying discs. It's a lot more arcadey than it used to be. I'm not so worried about loot per se, but i do miss the fun of planning and gearing, whereas now its, take an epic in the current tier, they are all the same, or will be once reforged.

  11. I am in a similar situation, with only half of the bosses down and I was a little discouraged (on the news of 4.1) because I felt like we were just starting this tier.

    It could feel very short because of the relative time compared to T10, which was about a year. Also we had much more grinding to do to be ready for raiding than we had in Wrath which probably further limited time in the current content.

  12. I don't currently raid. I haven't raided since vanilla, when I decided that having to be online at a certain time x days a week felt too much like a job.

    So Heroics are my end game. I'm not really looking forward to them becoming the Wrath zerg fests they will be when a lot of players get their 4.1 epics.