About Us

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Siren Song

As I wrote about in my Things to do for 2011 posts, one of the items was to stop playing "that soul sucking" game.  Well, I have.  I canceled my account before we went on vacation in April and I haven't looked back.

Although, while listening to my Rammstein playlist on You Tube today, this happened on two different occasions. Notice the little ad for the Free Trial.  Yeah, its taunting me, but that's ok, I'm over it.  (Btw, it was sheer luck the first screenshot was of Christoph, so of course I had to make sure the 2nd one was too.)

A couple years ago, Mike and I started playing World of Warcraft, WOW.  I know, I know, among some purists you aren't supposed to make it known that you play this game, but whatever.  My blog, I'm going to say what I want.  If you object, you can send your make believe orcs after me.

In any event, it started out innocent enough, Mike and I played the game and we enjoyed playing together.  We're both big into video games on consoles, the computer and handheld - the DS. (Yes, I do have the Nintendogs featuring the Pembroke Welsh Corgi.  That was my first corgi!).

We were also playing with some friends of ours, both of which have a huge amount of free time on their hands.  One was unemployed at the time and the other worked shifts where he had 3 or 4 days at a stretch off of work.

If you've ever played WOW or perhaps any other MMO, (Massively Multi-player Online), you realize quite quickly that there is no end to the gameplay.  There's always something coming down the pipe to help extend your playing time.  For example, by my last count, the highest level you could attain was 85.  When we started, the highest level you could attain was 60.  Then, you bought an expansion pack and the highest was 70, then you bought another pack and the highest jumped to 80.  I remember starting out and being a lowly level 10 and seeing people's high level characters with crazy fancy armor, weapons and mounts and feeling a bit overwhelmed.  These people had what they call, "End game", items, which means they waste hours each day play a great deal and brought down some crazy boss in an equally crazy dungeon to win those items.  Except, there truly are no "End game" items because by the time you get them, there's a new expansion out with fancier "End game" items.  Its basically the online version of "Keeping up with the Joneses".

It was also a huge nuisance when you have someone like me who enjoys the journey, clashing with one of our friends who likes to hurry up and get there, because why would you want to take it slow, its a race, come on!  Its a race to see who can have the most pretend money, the best pretend weapons, the nicest and strongest pretend armor and who can ride around on a fantastic pretend mount.

During this time, it was our dark period because Mike wasn't working and I was shouldering the financial responsibilities.  If you've ever experienced this, its a huge pile of stress.  And, when you work a moderate-high stress job, its not pretty.  Thus, Mike started hanging out online with his two friends mainly due to boredom, while I was at work.  We continued to play our characters together, but as we neared the highest level at the time, 70, things started to change.

We were in a cry-baby drama soaked grouping of whiny boys guild that held these weekly raids.  Except, it wasn't as simple as everyone gets together, goes into the dungeon and a couple hours later the dungeon is complete.  It went something like this:

7.30 pm - Everyone that wants to be in the raid assembles online to get ready to start at 8.00 pm.
8.00 pm - Not ready to start, still waiting for people.
8.30 pm - Some people join up, still waiting for others.
9.00 pm - Finally everyone's assembled, we go into the dungeon, fight a few enemies and bring down a minor boss.
9.45 pm - We are stalled because someone has to use the washroom, someone wants food or a drink.
10.10 pm - We start up again.
10.20 pm - We arrive at another boss.  The leader tells everyone what tasks they are going to do... ie Tanks go to the boss, Healers stay back - Mike was a healer, DPS' - which was my character - stay back and use whatever spell rotation makes you happy, watch the aggro so you don't pull the boss onto you.
10.25 pm - Ready to attack the boss.
10.26 pm - Someone missed the instructions, repeat.
10.28 pm - Something else has happened and we are waiting again. (Candy starting to yawn and swear at the computer at this point).
10.40 pm - Now everyone's back and can start the boss.
10.41 pm - Need to repeat the instructions....and on and on and on...

The one and only raid I was in went down like that.  We stayed on til nearly 1 am.  Needless to say I was not in the best mood the day after.  I'm grumpy enough when I do sleep, far less when I don't.  I told Mike that I was not doing that ever again.  And I didn't.  Except Mike continued to, because really what else could he have been doing at 11pm?

By this time, a little ball of fluff joined our home, Oct. 2008.  Naturally, when one is faced with a choice of a corgi puppy and a computer game, you must go to the puppy!  So, for a couple months, I didn't logon.  Why should I, when I have Gimli to play with and train and cuddle?

Between that time and April, when I finally killed the account, my playing was sporadic at best.  During that wonderful summer of 2009, Mike and I played a great deal mainly because I needed to escape, to vent my frustration and if I could do it legally by killing monsters, then so be it.  But, it started to wane a little bit again.  Even after the latest expansion pack, Cataclysm, my interest wasn't in it anymore.  Even though I created a character named, 'Corgwyn', my excitement for the game was gone.

It seemed from level 1-20, it was exciting and the leveling was fast.  Then, from 20-85, you began the slow, tedious grind.  As you gained more levels, there was more loot to be had, of course, but that required you to go into dungeons and work to figure out how to bring down the Boss.  Some people would go onto YouTube and post videos of how they made it through a dungeon, other people would somehow have enough fodder to fill multiple blog posts.  (I have enough trouble writing about my dog!).  The dungeons required time and they required the right set of people with the right set of skills to bring you through.  All of this sounded like work to me.  I had just spent the better part of 8 hours pouring over log files, reproductions and grumpy customers, why would I then want to spend more time taxing my brain to figure out how to get past this dungeon so I can maybe get an item?  I was paying a subscription twice a year so I could then sit and work???  All those months where I paid the subscription and I chose to live my life away from a computer was wasted money.  I should have just withdrawn the cash and burnt it.

By the time March 2011 rolled around, I was toying with the idea.  Then, the final nail in the coffin as it were, came when a new cool game came out and we all had to switch to this new game so we can get more pretend crap because it was better than WOW in some respects.  There was no way I was going to play two MMOs.  Instead I canceled my account.

I remember completing an "exit interview" of sorts.  You had to provide reasons why you were canceling, purely for Blizzard's analytics, so they could come up with better ways to combat their loss of customers.  But, for every reason I gave, they gave a counter-reason for why I should stay.  Finally I completed the interview and I was told that I could come back at any time and resurrect my account and characters.

I'm done, I'll only play games where its on my terms, not on anyone else's.  Like Dragon Age and Rock Band... I miss those two.

No comments:

Post a Comment