Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Moments of zen at the dusk of Wrath

- My name is Larisa and I enjoy playing World of Warcraft.
- Hello Larísa!

It's actually true. I enjoy playing WoW. *Gasp* .

Not just in theory or in the past or the future. I enjoy playing it now. Maybe I'm juvenile; maybe I'm a clueless victim for the cunning marketing from the big evil company. Maybe I just lack good taste and insight of what constitutes a good MMO.

I don't give a crap. Because I actually like it. Stupid or not.

Time for a disclaimer: Of course there are moments when I'm not overwhelmed or thrilled. You could even call them a bit dull:

  • I get bored whenever I try to clean up in my bank. It makes me fall asleep and always ends in the same way. “Oh, at least I have five slots available. I can do that another time.”
  • I lose my gaming spark when I’m repeatedly killed over and over again in a BG and end up spending 90 percent of my time in the battlefield standing in a grey mist facing a spirit guy.
  • I find potion crafting rather tideous. To stand still on the spot to create 40 potions of speed and staring at the cast bar filling up over and over again isn'twhat I consider "fun".
  • I'm pretty sick and tired with most of ICC as I'm playing it with my mage (my resto druid is another matter). I don’t think you can blame me really. I’ve been there three times a week, starting in 2009. I don’t even want to think of how many hours that adds up to.
  • I get impatient quickly as I'm queuing for an instance, hanging around in Dalaran with nothing else to do but to see the stupid goldseller spam passing buy in one of the general channels.

I think we all have those moments of drudgery. That's life - online as well as offline. It isn't an endless stretch of fireworks and roller coasters. Sometimes you're just on a mental break, and I actually think we need it. That's when we recharge our power supplies.

However - if WoW offered nothing but lethargy, I'd definitely stop playing it. I wouldn't put in so many hours of my free time into something that offered nothing in return.

Moments of excitement
And WoW does still offer me moments of excitement and thrill that make it all worthwhile.

Copra gave me a good reminder about this in a comment to my post about the generation gap in WoW. I think he was trying to make me take a step back and stop bothering about what other players think about WoW. So what if the veterans are bitter and don't like to play the game? What matters is how I feel about it.

"It all comes down to the fact whether you are enjoying the game or not [....] Now, if you concentrate on this moment when you play, what others think doesn't matter. Only thing that matters is your own game, which you either enjoy or not. I know I criticise and whine about the game in my blog. That doesn't mean I wouldn't love it WHILE I play[…. ] As you know, when the flow is there, the raid moves on and there is nothing else in the world. That's when you are there."

Copra, I know exactly what you're talking about. Those moments of zen. Those are the major reason for me to play WoW, something I expanded on in a post last year.

And you know what? They're still there for me! I experience them here and now, as the sun is sinking below the horizon and the darkness is closing in on us. Not so much on my mage, admittedly. She's a little bit tired and in the need of the replenishment that comes with new bold goals. But let me dress up as my resto druid Arasil, and you'll find me completely absorbed. I don't even have to be in a raid to get those magic moments.

Like a few nights ago, when I was healing heroic Halls of Reflection. That instance is always a stretch to me, fresh and inexperienced as I am in the role of a healer. And it certainly doesn't get easier when the tank is a tad low geared and equally new to his toon, which was the case in this run. We barely made it through the first part. I healed and decursed and cleansed poison like I never had before, cursing at every global cooldown, making decisions on the fly, second by second, as focused on this encounter as if it had been heroic LK I was facing. I lost the tank once, but lo and behold managed to battle res him between two waves, and as by a miracle we didn't wipe. My sense of triumph and exhilaration was just as big as if it had been a major first kill for our guild. I was all absorbed, all immersed into the game and my blood was boiling. I have no idea if I got any drop that night. Probably not. But that wasn't the point. I got my zen moment, which is all I ask for.

Those moments of complete focus, clarity and flow makes up for any downtime, any frustration, any boredom I may experience as we're waiting for the launch of Cataclysm. I don't get them every second, not even every night. But I get them from time to time. And that's why I'm still around.

That's why I still, at this very point, enjoy playing World of Warcraft.


Syl said...

"I don't give a crap. Because I actually like it."

Finally u said it - I was waiting for that! ;)

and I hope that your most recent ventures (maybe also future ones?) into BGs with your druid are gonna be listed among the things you enjoy, too?

lonomonkey said...

I tend to loose sight of that. Even if I know it and keep telling myself I need to enjoy the game and stop worrying I loose focus of that.

Barrista said...

Yeah, that is kinda what Syl and I were getting at. Sigh.

The genius of WoW is it can be any game you want it to be. PvP, levelling, raiding, or even AH tycoon.

Larísa said...

@Syl & Brrista: I'm sorry to disappoint you, but I still stand for every word I wrote in the post about how I perceive the generation gap within the community from my perspective. It's always what I'm sharing at this blog since the start. WoW from the perspective of Larísa. And telling me "don't feel that way you sissy, *this* is how you should feel is just bound to piss me off.

Just because I think the whining from the veterans is destructive, annoying and excluding, it doesn't mean that I don't enjoy playing WoW. Quite the opposite, as a matter of fact. That was my standpoint all the time: that WoW has changed over the years, but that's it still can be fun, engaging and challenging if you approach it with an open mind.

jeffo said...

Whenever I read posts on forums or blogs whinging about how bad WoW is, how the game stinks, etc., etc., ad nauseum, ad infinitum, I want to just flat out say 'Just quit the game. That'll solve your problem.' I don't think I've ever actually come right out and said it, though. I'm glad you finally got that off your chest. As long as you're enjoying the game, it shouldn't matter what anyone else thinks.

Barrista said...

We knew you enjoyed playing WoW. We never called you a sissy any more than wolfshead called you dumb ( I read the post and never found that). Other people told you the same thing we did and yet didn't get treated as if they were wolf's doppleganger. You have always presented yourself as open minded. Guess everyone has their limit.

Ardol said...

I know exactly how you feel, and its why I'm still leveling alts; challenge and the focus it requires can still be found there. I remember solo-ing a level 72 elite while my shaman was level 69. It was so intense and the satisfaction I felt afterward so great that it was like I was playing a new game.

Redbeard said...

The best part about WoW is that you can make it what you want.

If you want to sit around, fishing over in Borean Tundra, chatting with friends and guildies, go for it.

If you want to go hard core raider or run a PVP Arena Team called "WE PWN NOOBS", you can.

If you want to cackle with glee watching your "investments" in the AH yield profit, sounds fine to me.

Or, if you want to RP in a small corner of Silvermoon, carrying on the never ending rivalry between Farstrider Rangers and Blood Knights, that's awesome.

Carson 63000 said...

I knew that first link went to Wolfshead before I even moused over it. :-)

spinksville said...

Don't be fooled into thinking that Wolfshead speaks for a majority of veteran gamers. He's got some very fixed ideas on what he wants to see, and while some of them do overlap with the virtual world emphasis of older MMOs, many of them don't.

Anyway, good post. I think I'll put up a few frilly posts illustrating some things I love or have loved about Wrath. I need a good excuse to go take some farewell screenshots of the Barrens anyway :) I do love screenshots.

Larísa said...

: It’s really easily done. But that’s one of the things you can use a blog for: to capture those moments we cherish. And in times of misery we can go back and be reminded about it, and hopefully think: “I’ll experience more of that at some point on the future”.

@Jeffo: The whining is overwhelming sometimes. I suppose it’s in our nature. It’s way easier to rant about stuff that annoys us than things we like. Inspiration often comes from misery. But I agree we need to highlight the sweet moments more than we do.

@Ardol: I agree! I think the thing is that you have to free yourself from the bragging-right-thinking and start to focus on the experience in itself. Do you challenge yourself? Do you get exited and immersed? Than it’s all fine! Even if other people laugh at you and think it’s a piece of cake.

: Oh yes. You don’t have to be involved in killing to get zen moments. They can come as you’re roleplaying your lvl 1 in a dark corner of Stormwind. Just follow your heart rather than other players expectations and you’ll be fine.

@Carson 63000: Hehe. Yeah he’s been on my mind a lot lately. He’s been very productive, which is a good thing in these times when there’s not much thing going on in the game to talk about.

: I really look forward to hear about the moments or places you enjoyed most in Wrath! Time for a summary perhaps? 10-top lists are always a pleasure to write.

Kadomi said...

You inspired me to write a positive blog post, and for that I have to thank you. Especially when you're in the doldrums with nothing to do, it's hard to remember the good things. I always felt bloggers should strive to be positive beacons in the sea of the ever negative WoW-community. So again, thank you. :)

Larísa said...

@Kadomi: I'm so glad if I somehow helped to spark an idea. I loved your post. I think we need more of this kind of focus on the positives.

Ardol said...

"I think the thing is that you have to free yourself from the bragging-right-thinking and start to focus on the experience in itself... Even if other people laugh at you and think it’s a piece of cake."

As much as I agree with you, I don't think many people would laugh at solo-ing a level 72 elite at level 69 in only quest-greens (no instance blues, no BoE blues, no heirlooms, just me and my skills). In fact, it's something I brag about whenever given the chance. :-)