Thoughts On Returning To WoW
I say “returning” but the fact is I never really left, not in the sense of unsubscribing at least (I wonder how much money subscription games make out of people not bothering to cancel their sub?). Although I still logged in to dabble on occasion, I haven’t seriously played WoW since Diablo 3 came out in May and have been busy since doing other things like playing other games, working and enjoying the summer. Truth be told though, there really hasn’t been much reason to log in to WoW for a long, long time – the new patch and imminent MoP release has changed that though.
Going back to WoW is certainly an interesting experience. It’s got a comforting familiarity to it which proves to be a nice constant in a busy live and the experience of leveling alts and rampaging through PvP battlegrounds remains as enjoyable as ever. Plus the new talent system and class changes are very welcome, especially to someone like me who likes rolling alts and PvPing. Finally, I can PvP with pretty much any talent specialisation without the fear of being gimped. It’s rather liberating.
Likewise, having avoided the beta completely, I’m quite looking forward to the Mists of Pandaria expansion. I can’t say I care a huge amount for playable Pandas but I’m sure I’ll have fun playing through their starting area with an alt. The new level cap, new content, new dungeons and new PvP battlegrounds will probably also keep me occupied for a couple of months. Pet battles will probably amuse me the whole of 15 minutes but each to their own.
No doubt this familiarity and habitual coziness is something that has helped WoW thrive over the years. Playing it so darn safe and easy, it’s like a vacation for my worries (and my mind) as I whittle away a couple of hours doing absolutely sod all. It’s as gloriously lethargic as it is in making me feel guilty, knowing that I should probably be doing something more constructive with my time other than accumulate worthless honour points.
But it’s not going to last. As fun as it is, returning to WoW this time has filled me an impending sense of closure, a feeling that this venture into Azeroth is going to be my last. I guess there’s just only so long you can play a game before you get royally sick of it and, unless Blizzard finally hire a bunch more staff and light a fire under their asses to produce expansions faster than every two years, I think it’s probably going to be a while before I return to WoW after I tire of MoP.
Of course, this is no bad thing. No one said MMORPGs have to last you forever. I played Everquest and Everquest 2 for several years each before moving on and I look back at my time there fondly. It’s just part of the cycle of (MMO) life.
Another way of looking at all of this too is that WoW is going to tide me over until the RIFT expansion releases in November. Or ArenaNet ends their ridiculous self-inflicted digital sales embargo on Guild Wars 2. I heard a rumour that it will finally be available to purchase again next year. I might get to play it one day.