Chasing the Purple Nether Drake

16 01 2008

To be fair, I’m actually more on stage five of my WoW withdrawal. After a full two years of playing (at a casual, not end-game pace), I quit last July. Part of it was because I was in Montreal for two months, but had I not grown so weary of the game, I probably would have continued. I’m not sure why I had grown tired of it, really. Perhaps the tedium of it had finally gotten to me–I’m not really one for repetition, which makes it strange that I liked Assassin’s Creed so much. Or maybe it was the fact that I was trapped in Zangarmarsh, with no escape from the mind-numbing effects of the neon-blue sky. The colour was so thick, like a fart that filled the entire room, that I could feel my mind dulling every moment that I was there. Seriously, it gave me headaches.

So here I am, some six months later, and the desire to once again return to Azeroth is upon me. I’m not quite sure why–perhaps it’s the alluring effects of one William “TJ Hooker” Shatner–but I find myself tempted to spend some of the Best Buy bucks I received during the holidays on a WoW time card. It got me thinking about what it is that really draws me to WoW. I mean, I’ve tried every other MMO I could get my hands on: Eve, Everquest I & II, Final Fantasy Online (I refused to adorn that abortion with a numeral), Habbo Hotel, Maple Story. WoW is really the only one that caught my attention–that and Lord of the Rings Online, but we’ll get to that in a minute. Now, the simple yet complicated intricacies of WoW are known quite well, and we won’t go into them other than to say that part of the reason the game is addictive is because, well, it’s fucking fun. The other reason, of course, is because it’s positive reinforcement and therefore develops and continues to feed a strange addiction. Why I bring this up is because I’ve never been one to become addicted to anything. Not alcohol, drugs (of those that I tried), cigarettes, or video games. So I find it kind of unsettling that I have this compulsive urge to go back into a game I know I may dislike after two or three hours of playing it again.

This leads me to wonder if it’s WoW specifically, or just a good MMO in general, that I crave. Why, I could just as easily plow into LOTRO and probably become quite enamored with it. The difference is the social aspect–which, strangely enough, is one of the reasons I quit WoW. It’s hard to start a brand new game with the scale of an MMO, and it’s even harder to do so without anyone there to guide you or play with you, someone who is going or has gone through the same trials and tribulations that you are experiencing. WoW became that way, once my casual guild mates became far less casual, and I was left eating dust while they all glided to 70 and got their tier sets. I’d be interested in trying LOTRO on a regular basis, but not without the support of an established guild that is gentle on the backsides of newbies.

It is a pickle, no doubt about it. MMO’s are truly a strange beast. Maybe I’ll be able to resist this urge, at least until Burnout Paradise comes out, at which point I’ll be far to distracted to want to play anything else. One can hope.

kefka.gif Persepolian
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