Sunday, September 14, 2008

It's Over 9000!!!

I've always had a strange relationship with the game World of Warcraft. For the most part, I enjoy the game. It provides a gaming experience unlike that of any other games or game genre that I currently play. It's fun, the combat is mobile, it runs smoothly on nearly any modern (ie. last 3 years) computer. The ability to perform fun activities with friends and accomplish stuff together is engaging and rewarding. Having had a slight addiction to it in the past, I do (when my account for it is active) currently classify myself as a casual WoW player. To hardcore, no-life players of the game, the term 'casual' would coincide with the term 'scrub', and it is for this reason that I hold my mild interest and enjoyment with the game with a certain pride and satisfaction.

However, sometimes I absolutely hate it. The PvP system is broken with trivial organised duels (arena) being the epitome and highlight of PvP achievement where two factions engrossing an entire world should be killing each other on epic battlefields. It doesn't have the emphasis on 'war' that I expected between the Horde and Alliance (unlike a recently released MMO) and in general, certain classes are significantly better in PvE and PvP than others. Sometimes I believe Blizzard have entirely lost scope on what they plan to do with the game and it is frustrating to see them make changes that are either illogical or make efforts or past accomplishments redundant (well not really the latter).

So the 3.0 PTR pre-WoTLK patch came out the day before my account became frozen, which means I have unlimited access to it until it goes live. Fortunately that means that I can't actually play on live servers as I should be doing uni work anyway. I did a few things, dps tests as destruction, affliction, fury, titan's grip fury, bladestorm, bladestorm titan's grib (lol!) and prot and was generally satisfied with the outcomes. PvP (ie. dueling) was a different story and rather laughable, people popping their new I-win buttons (including me) and seeing imbalance displayed in all its glory and numbers. While some of these are generally bugs, others, such as ret paladin burst dps (6 crits in a row with 483 resilience?) are apparently balanced and are quite possibly staying for live. Giving toddler's ferraris to drive is always entertaining, however.

Below: PTR warrior 41k+ autoattack bug

Below: Laizar and Razial's new looks in WotLK (maybe...)

But despite all this, the minor WoW activity I have engaged in after a few weeks break from it has got me thinking: how long will I be playing this game for? Already I have two friends who have both put foward their disinterest in the upcoming expansion, with another uni friend who, while keen, is generally not too concerned. I even find myself generally not overly excited, visiting forums less and less and generally not caring about whether locks/warriors are getting X and/or Y. Playing WoW just doesn't seem like something to be engrossed in anymore, or even something to consider a worthwhile time waster.

I don't think it's because I'm growing out of games. I think it's because my interests in the medium are shifting slightly, possibly towards more of the technical smokes and mirrors side. The technology you could say. On paper, WoW is an excellent matrix of mathematical precision, but visually it is ... just an average game. Not that there is anything wrong with that (hardware requirements anyone?). During this last semester of my last year, having to make two games and doing some (really bad) Direct3D coding has possibly shifted my interests towards a more technical perspective, which I think may be a good thing. A maturing, if you will.

So maybe when I try WotLK in November, as I certainly think I still will, I won't be as interested in obtaining the best PvP gear I can manage without being annoyed, and just play the game or not whenever I feel like it. Although there is nothing wrong with being hardcore and the best, or casual and average, I think being casual and average at WoW is a title that not even I want anymore.

After all, the only reason why I started playing it to begin with is to do something with friends and if that's not even going to happen anymore..... then sif.

Below: Jerziah and Laizar after a SM run.

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