My last post may have seemed like a bit of a downer, but it’s an honest look at where I stand with WoW.
I still love many things about WoW; the rich story and lore experience, a vast complicated world, and a beautiful place to live.
When I look at other games to try, the one thing that stands out to me the most is how much WoW matches my aesthetic tastes.
I love the wire frame designs, the slightly skewed proportions of gear and architecture to people. The massive weapons, the big honking shoulder armor, all of that stuff. It’s been called cartoony, but I admit that I prefer the imaginative and slightly unrealistic designs to the ultra-realistic. I already live in the real world, I’d like to visit something else for my fun.
I love the artistic designs of the wildlife, the cat and bear forms on Druids, the Night Elf Druid epic flight form in particular. I love the smooth flow of creature animation. It’s a game where I can take joy in the simple act of watching an NPC snowy wolf take down a rabbit in Dun Morogh. Where I can enjoy watching the Spring Rabbit hopping around and leaving… erm, messes.
More than anything, I love the color palette.
The vibrant colors are exactly the tone that wakes up my eyes. The shimmer of the sun on the sands of Tanaris, the deep greens of Stranglethorn and Un’Goro Crater, the sunsets off Darkshore. The graphics of our spells and effects, of our enchants on weapons.
Yeah, it’s the look and feel of the game that keeps me coming back more than any single game mechanic, when I compare MMOs.
The one other component that brings me back to WoW is the community.
I’m not just talking about numbers of warm bodies playing the game. I am fairly certain that any MMO I pick up will have a suitable number of warm bodies playing it, and if I try really hard, I can meet up with some in game and chat and group and all thatkind of stuff.
The community I mean are the people who of their own initiative have built a network of information, suggestions, guides, conversations and enthusiasm outside of the game.
The people behind game database and quest research/comment sites such as WoWWiki, Thottbot and it’s spiritual successor Wowhead, MMO Champion, Ten Ton Hammer, WoW Insider. These are the big names (and there are so many, many more) all help feed a desire for news about the game taht we never even knew we had until they came along, and with their continuous efforts have helped us all gain a deeper understanding of everything surrounding the game; how it works, where to find things, what are the possibilities just waiting for me to discover as I gain levels?
They’ve built a support network so that, no matter what you may want to do in the game, there’s an answer to your question somewhere.
Then there are all the people who write guides, for their own websites or for the official forums. Is there anyone out there who has never used one?
Someone took the time, and had the enthusiasm, to want to write that guide to answer someone else’s questions and help folks out.
And how about those websites created to help you plan and optimise your character! Websites like Ask Mr. Robot, and of course the old, bold originals, Elitist Jerks.
Or all the people who program those kickass Addons we use, and support download sites for you to find them like Curse Gaming, without which we’d have long ago ripped our hair out in frustration.
And finally, of course, the game boosters. The cheerleaders. The bloggers that write about anything and everything, pouring their frenetic energy and enthusiasm for whatevers out onto the internets. The people that drive this ongoing buzz that helps build a feel of vitality into the game.
Without the people who do all those things, who drive everything, what you’ve got is what you see when you log in, and whatever you find on your guild forums, plus some basic community fora.
I keep coming back to WoW because of the look and feel, the art design and the pretty colors, and also because of everything that contributes to build this sense of community.
It’s why I keep flailing around in the game looking for something else to do that’s fun.
I am at that point where I keep looking for new things to do. I’m not going to lie, I don’t see a long term interest in growing a specific ‘main’ right now. I have little to no interest in ever pugging anything consistently. Everything I’m doing right now is in the pursuit of developing a new short term interest that may grow into something that has long term potential.
I’m playing my Mage with Cassie. She is playing a feral Bear tank while I do Frost DPS, and it’s been a lot of fun. We just hit level 70 last night, and bought our epic flight skills. She now has the beautiful purple flight form with gold jewelry. I’ve always thought that was a gorgeous design.
It’s not a long term interest, though, because at some point we will hit 80, or even 85… and then what? Cassie isn’t going to tank for strangers in PUGs, and I’m not really interested in pugging as a DPS/DPS.
We might get into PvP someday, but without my being able to toss heals her way, without that tank/healer survivability, it sounds painful. Last minute saves are fun! Although I could see my getting on my Druid, and the both of us doing Druid/Druid PvP someday. But then I’m not playing that Mage we leveled together.
So, we’re having fun, but nothing long term that will take us past a few months out.
I did do something else last night in the interest of trying to look for that potential long term excitement.
I sought out more of the community to get to know on another server.
If it’s the people that are at the heart of the game, I decided to go see some folks.
What I did, was I made an alt on Azuremyst-US Alliance-side, and joined up with Eff the Ineffable, a guild of nice folks that seemed to be seeing some serious growth last night.
I joined them eventually, after spending most of the evening annoying them by stalking the guild members that were online with my alt, and then Tweeting about them. Basically, I played a game of “Guess the name of Bear’s new alt”. Meh, it was a way to have some fun and mess around for an evening, it wasn’t supposed to actually be annoying.
I can certainly see hanging out with the Effing people on Azuremyst for a while, because if I judge a guild based on the kind of conversations they have, this one should be interesting and comfortable.
There wasn’t any stupid fratboy ‘I got so raped in PvP last night’, or some other immature ‘get a life’ BS.
Instead, there was an ongoing conversation on different ways to carry your newborn baby around comfortably, and the different ways you can safely hold your newborn while they sleep, and still be able to play videogames.
I could relate to that conversation, I recall Cassie wearing one of those chest carriers while laying down and playing the Gamecube, with Alex asleep comfortably on her chest.
Ahh, the days before he learned to talk. Or say that he didn’t like what we served for dinner. Just shut up and eat, kid! There’s gaming to do! /sigh.
(Just kidding. I wonder which readers had enough of a chip on their shoulder to take that seriously and get pissed? I know damn well SOMEONE did.)
So, that bodes well for how comfortable I’ll be hanging out. I’ve decided that when I’m not playing with Cassie in WoW, I’ll probably be on Azuremyst hanging out and playing my new alt.
Is it long term? Well, I have no idea, now do I? But it does have a lot of potential. And it will definitely be a lot of fun in the short term.