I Just Can’t Keep Up

Male impotence

Sad guy? Consoling woman? Must be impotence

I know it’s a Sunday and I should probably be doing my weekly “best of the rest” article (I know, I know I’ve been slacking off with it lately) but hell, my blog, my rules. Plus I accidentally cleared all of the articles I’d been tracking in my RSS reader. But that aside, I wanted to share with you a bit of a personal frustration I’ve been having lately. Sure, if you’ve misread the title of this post then you’re probably thinking I’m about to share an issue I’m having with Little Gordon but, ladies fear not, that’s not the case at all. I am in fact talking about the rat race of leveling and gearing that plagues our MMOs.

It’s funny. You’d think that with Blizzard only releasing expansions every two years players would savour the content like it was their last meal on Earth but no siree, instead they scoff it down like fat camp at McDonald’s. “What’s the rush?” I mentally think to myself in my mind. “I’m in no hurry” I hear from my brain. And it’s true, I don’t want to hurry past all of the juicy new content in WoW just to hit some artificial game cap that’s in place and end up with nothing left to do for the next 24 months. Except my guild don’t see it that way at all.

No, my guild are racing through content like there’s no tomorrow. A ton of them hit level 85 within a couple of days and most of them are now half way through gearing themselves up with heroic loot for raids. Me on the other hand, I’m still only level 84 and plodding along like a three legged dog trying to keep up, always the last to figure out what the heck people are talking about and what all of the three letter acronyms mean (I just discovered what “CoC” means tonight after about five days of seeing it bantered about in guild chat).

I’m not a hardcore player and the hours that I do play (1-2 hours a night) are already enough to annoy my wife (fortunately she’s just as addicted to the Japan’s answer to Farmville, Sunshine Ranch, which buys me a bit of play time every evening). Oddly enough, I still remember having difficulty keeping up with all my guild mates several years ago in Everquest 2 when I was a bachelor and had, what I considered, plenty of time on my hands.

I suppose I consider myself one of those rare breed of MMOers who actually takes the games quite seriously and likes to really immerse themself in it yet still doesn’t plug in obscene hours (oh I used to a long, long time ago, believe me…). Everyone else I know is either incredibly casual and plays sporadically, logging in only once or twice a week, or super super SUPER hardcore and puts in more hours than a second job. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of folk in between.

In some ways it makes me kinda lucky that I’m able to walk this fine line and possibly epitomise the concept of a competent, serious yet casual player and that would be fine if I didn’t have this competitive streak in me. You see, I talk all this crap about taking it easy and not rushing through but deep down I still want to be the best. I want to be able to compete with my peers, play and be admired by my guild mates, and rule the WoW school. That though takes time and definitely gives advantage to those that can put it in sooner rather than later. By the time I hit level 85 and get round to partaking in some rated BGs, everyone else will be miles ahead of me in the gear department and able to batter my ass from one side of the zone to the other.

Oh well, I suppose I should console myself with all of the other great stuff in life that really matters. Like Little Gordon still being there when I need him. Bless.

-Gordon

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34 Comments

  1. Helen says:

    *la la la la la la la*

  2. Carson says:

    I know the feeling. Although it’s not so much a competitive streak, it’s just not wanting to be the guy that tags along to do stuff that everyone else has already beaten. If I recall correctly, in WotLK, my guild had every raid boss except Kel’thuzad and Malygos down before I even hit level 80.

    This time around, again we have very rapid levellers (including the server first level 85 hunter), people were farming heroics before I hit level 85.

    My solution? Rather than telling them I wasn’t ready to raid until I had some heroic gear, I just jumped in. Undergeared as I was. Didn’t seem to do too much harm, we still got Halfus and Magmaw down.

  3. rowan says:

    I totally understand what you mean. I feel like I play a moderate amount. It’s neither sporadic nor 5-6 hours a night. I am no hurry at all to hit level 85. In fact, I haven’t played either of my mains yet, preferring to explore the noob zones and play with my GF. I’ll get to the 80-85 zones when all the gluttons have moved on, and it is a little less crowded. Enjoy the story and the content. The “end-game” will still be there when you want it.

  4. Greyon says:

    I’ve formed my own “Slow Wow” movement (i.e. like the Slow Food movement!)

    I have two level 80 alliance toons (one is my main) which I haven’t touched since Cataclysm launch.

    Instead I’m levelling a Tauren Paladin in order to experience the revamped old world and a side of the game I’ve never experienced. I’ve been completing every quest in the zones (going after lore master), and thoroughly enjoying taking my time. I had heirloom gear and took it off because the XP bonus meant I out levelled dungeons too quickly.

    I’ve specced Prot, so as a tank I’ve been using the LFG to get straight into dungeons. I also jump into BGs as well. I mine/skin for gold. I’ll read the quest text, fully explore the zones I’m in and screen cap. I’m levelling cooking, fishing and first aid as I go.

    I’m enjoying the Horde side lore, and have got a real blast out of the quests Most LFG groups I’ve participated in via the LFG tool have been great: talkative, friendly and happy to be lead by a large hulking Tauren tank that tells them to “slow down”.

    Yes, I’m a tourist but I’m savouring every moment of the levelling process and taking it slooooooow.

    Sure, I could rush my 80 toons to level cap and get on the heroic LFG treadmill, but that burnt me out. Especially since I was a healer on my Paladin. I’ll go back to my Alliance 80s over the holidays once I’ve levelled my Tauren paladin (now 45 after a two weeks). Or maybe level a Worgen warrior. Or priest. Whatever.

    The revamped old world is a lot of fun. With the LFG, BG tool and archaeology there is an incredible amount to do prior to the “endgame”.

    But already I fear when I get to level cap we’ll see the same things that went wrong towards the end of the Wrath Expansion: over geared groups silently zerging through “heroic” dungeons for points, gear score elitists and/or jerks and their epeen.

    • Gordon says:

      I’m taking it slow because deep down I’m worried I’ll just get bored with the level 85 game. I’m not a huge fan of the treadmills of itemisation or grinding quests for reputation. I guess it will depend on how much decent PvP action I get and if I can find a guild that does rated BGs.

  5. [...] after a gear reset, everyone should be starting out roughly equal. In practice, this means that after a crazy rush, the really hardcore guys are already farming the heroics that medium hardcore players are [...]

  6. amcl says:

    “Like Little Gordon still being there when I need him. Bless.”

    I’m glad the magic still works ;-)

  7. Man i feel ya. I know exactly what you mean. Gordon you just said it best.

    I like to play competitive when i can, i like to keep up if possible and with gear. I like to put in the hard work that it takes when it takes. I was the 4th to reach level 85 in my guild and thats even after a 2 days delayed start on Cataclysm from lvl 80.

    WoW aren’t the only MMO i now plays these days, so that color my perspective a bit as well. So after hitting lvl 85 what did I do?

    Pulled up at the riverside stream with my mount, put up a camp fire, kicked back and went Fishing.

  8. Nym says:

    I couldn’t agree more…

    I get that there’s a competative streak in most MMO players that means they want to get the uber gear. What I don’t get is why people want to bypass content or grind through it as fast as possible just so they can then rinse repeat the same few raids over and over and zZzZzzzz…

    Might as well give people a /level 85 command that gives them decent armour and a game that just consists of 5 Raid dungeons. Dropping 95% of the game would save companies a fortune!

    Personally, much like Greyon I enjoy actually reading the quests and following the story lines, exploring just for the sake of it and having fun through all levels of the game. Taking it slow rewards me with new content and areas every couple of weeks and keeps me new stuff to see and do through most of the time between expansions.

    Each to their own I suppose

  9. Bhagpuss says:

    I think there are more players out there like you than you imagine, Gordon. Only they generally aren’t active on forums, or even in larger guilds.

    I play MMOs around 3 to 5 hours each weekday evening and most of the weekend. I probably still rack up over 30 hours play even on a slow week and that’s after a decade of playing these things. If I’m playing something new that I really like it could be a lot more than that.

    Luckily, Mrs Bhagpuss plays even more than I do (in that when she plays she actually plays, rather than tabbing out and posting on blogs and forums like I do!). And yet, with all these vast hours of played time behind us, pretty much all we do is potter about. It’s not that we aren’t interested in achieving things, it’s that we set our own goals and don’t let the games (or, god forbid, the Devs or other players) set them for us.

    Playing MMOs is a hobby, not a competetive sport.

    • Gordon says:

      “I think there are more players out there like you than you imagine, Gordon. Only they generally aren’t active on forums, or even in larger guilds.”

      It’s probably very true, Bhagpuss, as yeah, the casual peeps probably aren’t very vocal on forums. What I think I need to do is find a casual guild…

  10. Epiny says:

    I’m in the same boat… except my boat is a few miles behind you… so I guess we are in different boats.

    I had a 80 Priest and a 67 Shaman at the start of Cat and I had intended to play the Shaman. She could have been to 80 in another week. I made a Worgen Druid to check out that starting area… and haven’t stopped playing him since.

    So now I’m convinced I’m going to play a Druid, but like you I only have 2 hours or so a night to play. So I’m only level 36 and my guild is already running 10 mans.

  11. Dril says:

    I’m in a different situation. I level too fast, and I have a metric tonne (i.e. at least 35 hours a week on bad weeks) of playtime, but due to my schedule I can’t raid with the vast majority of the guilds out there, so I’ve reached the level cap and am now without anything to do; unlike in Wrath, where I could raid every day due to finding a guild that raided at just the right times.

    And it really vexes me. Really, really vexes me.

    • Gordon says:

      Have you thought about taking out a US subscription and playing on their servers instead (it always annoyed me how we can’t pick our location but that’s a topic for another day)? I used to play Everquest on the US servers when I was a student as it suited my midnight – 4am playtime :P

  12. Chordian says:

    I used to more or less race to the level cap in the two previous expansions, but this time I’ve been taking my sweet time and had several days in a row where I haven’t even touched the game. I’m not even level 84 yet. Most in my guild are level 85 and smell like they’ve been that for ages.

    For the first time ever I don’t really feel immersed in the game. The low polygon count and the “CSI:Miami”-style colors are getting to me more than ever. For now my plan is to reach the level cap and complete the quests in the high level zones, and that will probably be it. No raids, no crafting, no grinding. Maybe not even any dungeons.

  13. That’s an annoying feeling. I used to have that as well. Constantly looking over the horizon for things you might miss out on. That others are seeing stuff before you do.

    The thing is, as you are constantly looming over the horizon, you are missing out on things you cross at that exact moment. So, in effect, you are missing out on things.

    Maybe not entirely your situation, but that’s how it used to be for me. I got so annoyed at times that I wasn’t seeing this and that content, that in the end, I missed out on all the great stuff around me due to being constantly annoyed :p

    For the past couple of days I’ve been on the lookout for a smallish, casual minded, friendly guild (eu ghostlands). You know, likeminded people that don’t go beserk when you don’t have ilvl x or y. People that don’t necessarily have to do all the content in 2 days, but are willing to take it easy.

    Alas I have yet to come across one. It seems with the new guild perks all guilds do is recruit recruit recruit. And I’m not interested in joining a guild with 200+ members, just so I can benefit from the perks …

  14. Yaggle says:

    I have no idea why everybody rushes so much. It will be several months before Deathwing is engageable. There have been times when I did rush, because I was having such a great time. But I don’t think that’s what this is. I think it’s about people having anxiety about being left behind. I feel like the people who are playing right now are paying for beta, anyways. In a few months after they fix some things and have made everybody re-do their talents a couple of times, then I will probably play. And I’ll have 30 more dollars than anybody who is rushing to 85 right now.

  15. Bronte says:

    I completely understand where you are coming from. I used to play like a lunatic back in the day, but as life has become increasingly complicated, and i have had less and less time to deal with everything that continues to compound around me, my hours also dropped drastically. My whole modus operandi switched from doing everything I could think of in-game to trying to get the best experience possible for the amount of time invested.

  16. Chris Braun says:

    Much of the problem can be laid squarely at the feet of Blizzard. They encourage players to level as fast as possible so they can enjoy the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow — which is of course the end game content.

    They even have special achievements for server firsts like the first person to reach level 85 on each class and profession skill caps.

    In the good old days levels actually used to mean something as they were good indicators of player skill and dedication. Sadly levels are practically meaningless due to how companies like Blizzard have utterly trivialized them.

    The bottom line is to play these MMOs at your own pace and enjoy them on your own terms.

    • Epiny says:

      @Chris
      How is this Blizzard fault? One person on a server gets the server firsts, so a fraction of a percent of the population will get them. Blizzard just redid the ENTIRE leveling experience from 1-60. How is that encouraging people to hit 85 asap?

      It’s a landslide effect. A few people rush, so everyone thinks they have to rush, which results in everyone ACTUALLY having to rush in order to keep up. I know by the time I hit 85 my guild will out level me and wont want to run the dungeons that still have upgrades for me. I’m going to be left behind because I choose to level a new character.

    • Gordon says:

      I don’t think the blame lies squarely with Blizzard although I do agree about the special “server first” achievements. I really dislike them and just encourage the sort of rushing antics.

  17. Roger says:

    I played WoW a long time as a tank for my guild and eventually burned out under the constant pressure to be the best-geared this and most-prepared that with essentially the onus of whether the guild had a good time or not balanced squarely upon the fulcrum that was my shoulders. I’ve since moved on to LOTRO and EVE and resolved to take my time and smell the roses.

    I always got a big kick out of the hyper-perfectionism/competition aspect of hardcore raiding but now I feel way better just kind of relaxing. Sometimes it just pays to kick back. YMMV

  18. The Necromancer says:

    Thats just the way how some people play Wow like chugging a beer or stuffing marshmallows down your throat. To me thats fast food (my mortal enemy) and what you are trying to accomplish is eat fast food and slow food at the same time. Therefore a balanced diet, it all makes sense, there are others out there like you who walk the path of middle speed leveling.

    And that is the key to a healthy successful MMO life.

    All I am saying is either is fine but what you are trying to accomplish is playing on both ends of the spectrum and that makes for a good healthy game. :)

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