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Riffing on a quick back and forth I had on Twitter, I thought I’d wax nostalgic a little bit about my WoW phase.

When I played WoW, I lived alone. I was unemployed and in-between job interviews and freelance gigs I’d spend 20, 30 or even more hours playing each week. These days if I spend 10 hours gaming in a week, it’s a big gaming week.

Because I spent so much time playing, I was in an active guild and knew everyone else in it. We’d be on Vent with open mikes, laughing, talking, cursing, and laughing some more. I knew my guildie’s spouses and kids (tho as often as not, said spouses and kids were in the guild anyway). I knew when person X walked the dog at night, and what time person Y got home from work. These people were my social circle at the time. We weren’t big enough to be a raiding guild but back then doing 5 & 10 man instances had enough of an end-game feel that they felt very satisfying.

When I wasn’t doing something with the guild, I’d hang out in Stormwind. There was a strong role-play community at the time and I spent hours just sitting around in the taverns in Stormwind, chatting with people while drinking real beer in the real world. Not having a job to go to, I didn’t have to go to bed at a reasonable hour and so got to enjoy “late night WoW” which, at the time, was a period starting at 1 or 2 am and stretching until dawn when a lot of the ‘noise’ of the server went away and the people left felt like a real community. We’d chat until all hours. Azeroth became, effectively, my local bar to hang out in. With so much time to play, I never felt pressured to hurry through anything.

Then life changed. I got a job, got a girl, we all were sort of feeling like we’d done everything we could in-game and people started trying other titles. I didn’t have time to keep up. The guild kind of drifted apart and I left the game.

I’ve tried to go back a few times since, but it’s like going back to the places you spent your evenings-out at as a young person. There’re still people there, but you don’t know who they are, and the music they’re playing is different, and the decor is different, and the guy behind the bar sure doesn’t know you…he was probably in diapers that last time you hung out there. You just don’t fit in any longer and it just feels kind of depressing.

And yet today I bought Wrath of the Lich King and now I really don’t know why. I know I’ll log in, feel incredibly lonely because my old friends are no longer there, and log out again. Maybe Cataclysm will change things up enough that WoW will feel like a new place to me.



Comments:
8
  • I hear you. I know exactly how you feel. The few times I log in to WoW, I look at the custom channel we always used to hang out in – now it’s almost always silent, or someone I hardly know have been invited. People have stopped playing, had kids, moved countries and servers. The community changed, the game changed. And I just miss the “good old days”. Not because the game was better, but because we just had more fun. Together.

  • Yes, yes, yes, this, yes!

    The appeal of WoW was the social scene. Now that it’s not here for me, I just don’t enjoy it as much anymore.

  • I played Guild Wars, it was my first MMO.
    Just before i started, it happened that i lost my job and got my first kid in a same month.
    In a next month, i got a new job, in next few, i moved to a new town.
    Playing with my guild mates kept me sane :)
    People in my guild knew what im going through, and hanging with them helped me a lot.
    So, yes, i know what you mean, i have been there to :)

  • Heh yeah, even in MMOs there’s something different about the middle of the night when most everyone else has finally buggered off.

    Ah, memories. Thanks for that. :D

  • Replace the words “World of Warcraft” in your article with “Everquest/Everquest 2″ and you’ve got my exact same life :) I used to play 4-8 hours a day a few years ago but now I’m married with a demanding job so I’m lucky if I get an hour a night.

  • I’m hurt. You know I still play, yet you never said a word about wanting to try again. Sis and I just started a new baby blood elf duo and are very squishy. We would love a third. Really wish you’d said something…

  • Methinks perhaps you’ve hit upon something more profound; that the general dissatisfaction people feel with most MMOs is not so much because the game has changed, but because the people have changed. I’m like you; I’ve quit WoW now until Cata, and my old guild’s drifted apart. Like you, I knew everyone and lots about them, and now…I just can’t get into that same friendship with other people. I don’t know why, but the fact that I can’t has really killed WoW for me.