If you’ve been following my blog, or have had any insight at all into my personal life, you know I’ve been a WoW nerd for the past year and a half. I’ve accomplished quite a few things in that time: leveled two characters to 70, been elected a Guild Master (not that there’s any glory in that, trust me), and went from wiping on Attumen in Karazhan to one-shotting Hex Lord Malacrass in Zul’Aman. I even set up a pretty cool website for my guild, Elitist Jerks.
For my friends and especially for Helene, I’ve been going at it pretty hardcore. For one thing, it took a huge chunk out of my videogaming habit. To put it simply, I just stopped playing any videogame except WoW for a very long time.
But by WoW standards, my gaming habits are described as “casual hardcore”. Sounds crazy, right? The key distinction is this: when you go hardcore on WoW, you start scheduling 3+ evenings in your week to raiding in WoW. If you look at the raiding guilds that manage world-first kills of end-game bosses, these are guys who go at it for 30+ hours/week until they achieve their goals. This game is no mere videogame: if you want to see it through, it demands dedication. It demands monogamy.
In other words, there’s a wall between “casual” and “hardcore” in WoW, and I’ve just hit it.
I’ve raided the 10-man content with my guild. We haven’t downed Zul’Jin, but we’ve seen him. 10-man raids demand dedication, but nowhere near as much as the 25-man content you have to go through if you want to see end-content bosses, such as Illidan or Kil’Jaeden.
And so I’ve been faced with two options:
- I suck it up, and crank up the amount of time I dedicate to WoW. I go into 25-man guilds, and raid 3+ nights a week.
- I come to the realization there’s always gonna be something I can’t do in WoW, and relax my desire to achieve these.
I’ve decided to go with option 2.
And just like that, some semblance of balance has returned to my life. I still play WoW a bit, but it’s more of a time-waster on long afternoons, than a real hobby right now. I’ve looked at the Wall of Hardcore standing in front of me, and decided the price to pay to cross it was too high. Who cares if I don’t kill Illidan or don’t visit Tempest Keep? These make sense mostly within the context of WoW, but outside the game they are meaningless achievements.
Does it mean my WoW habit has been kicked to the curb? Possibly. But seeing as the next expansion, Wrath of the Lich King, offers 10-man content until the end-game, there’s a chance the next time around, the game allows me to go through the entire content on a “casual hardcore” rhythm. And it’s entirely possible this makes WoW grow again and eat up my videogaming habits.
In the meantime, though, it’s nice to see the rest of the videogaming world, whether it’s singing songs along with Helene’s mad guitar-playing skillz in Rock Band, finishing the delightful Portal, or trying out Penny Arcade’s On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness.
I guess what I’m really trying to say is:
I love you, WoW, but I need to play other games. I hope you’ll understand.
Good to hear from you, man! I must say, I missed your blog entries. I hope you’ll keep updating regularly, you’re always awesome to read.
Game-wise, if you’re looking for something fresh and have some spare time, I absolutely recommand not only playing, but finishing ‘Prof.Layton & The Curious Village’ and ‘The World Ends With You’, which are both for DS. Amazing stuff!
Side-note: I now have a Wii, a 360 and a PSP at home but these things pretty much act as expansive shiny dust collectors compared to my DS. My relation/obsession with the console as reached ridiculous new meta-levels of awesomeness now that I’m actually working as a game programmer on a DS title. It’s a license title for a TV show – nothing that will set the industry on fire – but I’m loving every minute of it.
By the way, I’d be curious to know what you think of Ubi’s recent moves. Not sure where they’re going with this. Assassin’s Creed was trashed by the review circuit but was a huge commercial sucess, which seems to have created problems with their portfolio. The buzz around Splinter Cell: Convictions is that they’re going back to the drawing board to some degree because the title wasn’t groundbreaking enough to distance itself enough from Creed. They’re rebooting Prince Of Persia, obviously they want to keep the brand alive with the movie coming up, but can they really push both Creed and POP as two seperate franchises to the average consumer ? They have this weird line of self-help titles coming up (Stop Smoking, etc), which I admit they could be onto something with. And Beyond Good & Evil 2 is amazing news, but I’m surprised they’re willing to spend big bucks on giving the franchise another go, after the first one was such a commercial failure. And the new Tom Clancy franchises came of so far as very rental-ish. So what the hell?
Just one more thing: It’s a longshot, but going to the Tokyo Game Show this year, by any chance ? Still need to confirm some details, but it looks like I could be flying over there myself. 🙂
Hey man! Awesome to hear from you. 🙂
Thanks for the recommendations. Truth be told, I’ve neglected my DS horribly these last months… Well, WoW ate -everything- up, I guess. But I think I’ll dust it off and give “The World Ends With You” a spin. (I saw the Zero Punctuation on it, I’m intrigued.)
Besides that, for Ubi… The delays for Conviction were in the air for quite a while, to be frank. I don’t think the success of Assassin’s Creed has to do with the current rumors… I think the game’s difficulties are its own. There were resemblances to Assassin’s Creed, and I could tell you the insanity that led to that situation, but ah well… 🙂
For the casual stuff, I’m not so sure. I mean, it’s all good, but it feels they’re trying to copy Nintendo’s approach instead of analyzing the casual market in a new light. Right now they’re doing ‘Let’s find different ways of creating Brain Age-like benefits in the form of a game.’ We’ll see. By the way, I interviewed for Production Director for the whole casual division… I’m rather happy to be at BioWare instead. 🙂
For BGE2… I’m actually surprised they’re giving this a shot. I think it might get the big bucks because it’s Ansel, and nothing else. The guy created the Raving Rabbids, I think they probably reluctantly gave him a chance at this. But that being said… The teaser trailer was the most BORING TEASER TRAILER ever. I don’t understand how they thought that would be compelling.
For TGS… You know what, I might just make it this year!! Not sure yet. The draw isn’t TGS itself, but some of my friends from Shanghai (hey guys!) have a habit of converging on Shibuya around that time of the year… I might go there for the heck of it myself. 🙂
It’s be awesome to run into you there!