From the forum…
Forlorn: I just wanted to say that in my experience playing social online games like World of Warcraft can be seen as a big Display of Low Value (DLV). Not good for the Alpha at all.
Athol: I don’t think the games themselves are a DLV. In fact I’m exceptionally skilled at some of them and it impressed my wife that I can play at the very top tier level of play in World of Warcraft if I want to. And I do mean very top tier as in being in a top 100 guild. It’s impressive it its own way. You’re “winning” at something.
The downside comes from the sheer volume of time invested, detracting from you doing anything else to maintain your Sex Rank and Alpha Beta. You’re basically an addict at that level and that ain’t attractive. The “entry fee” into top tier raiding is about a 40 hour a week commitment, plus another 20 or so hours of actual raiding. It’s just extreme.
At my best/worst I had 103 “days played” on a single character in the first year Warcraft was out. So around 2500 hours of play time… on just my main character. Probably another 10-15 days played on my alts.
That’s what nerfs your Sex Rank and is a DLV. There’s simply no time for anything else.
Switching World of Warcraft for MMSL was in some ways swapping one addiction for another, but this is a productive activity and has paid off in real world money instead of fools gold.
Ichabod: Hahah just wait till Mists of Pandaria comes out, we’ll lose @Athol_Kay for at least a few weeks for guild firsts…
Athol: Alright, run the preview movie… (it’s good!)
Okay I’m a little misty-eyed for the old days…
The thing about playing an MMORPG is that you’re not just playing a game, you’re playing a game with a group of people who become your friends. After a certain point, those friendships become more important than the game. Some guilds even move from game to game as a fairly intact unit. At one point I played with a group in World of Warcraft who had crossed over from Everquest for example.
Friendships are important and precious things. One of the most wonderful things about playing World of Warcraft was a sense that I’d finally found my people. There’s were over 12,000 people on my server and there were about 100 servers. On release day… 11/23/04 there were so many people playing that we had to spawn camp Level 1 wolves trying to get a kill lol. I just had this epiphany where I new that we’d reaching a social tipping point somehow and the geeks had won.
That last month of 2004 and all the way through 2005 was our Woodstock. I don’t ever think Vanilla WoW will ever be topped in gaming. Sure more people play it now, but it’s not the same as it was.
I had my own guild in WoW and myself and a couple other key players carried the guild. I spent far to much of my own time helping my friends level up and it took forever to reach Level 60 on my mage. Then once they reached 60, all those weak players I carried were weak 60s that always needed help. As such, my kindness created a weak guild that never progressed anywhere.
After a while the good group got tired of the slow people and they all moved up to a mid-range raid guild. After about two weeks I went with them, just had to, too tired of carrying losers and my better friends were in the new guild. All was good for a few months and then that guild imploded when the guildmasters girlfriend deleted the guild bank and /gkicked everyone in a rage. After the mess we reformed and we started rebuilding with many of my inner core from my old guild running the show. My friends. The guys I met one afternoon in Loch Modan. My best gaming friends ever.
Then I did a bad thing.
In secret I contacted the #1 guild on the server and ended up auditioning against four other mages for a raid spot. Three were bearable, one was excellent. Halfway into a Molten Core run the mage officer messaged me…
“How are you keeping up with us on damage? You shouldn’t be able to do that with your gear.”
“The warlocks curse of shadow creates a negative resistance to arcane. It ups your damage a lot with arcane missiles.”
“No it doesn’t.”
About five minutes after that, I got invited to the top guild on the server. I just had to dump nearly a years worth of friendships to get in. So I did, I wanted my epics and I wanted them now. I was greedy.
Now being in the #1 guild is a vastly different experience than anything else you can do in the game. When every single player is essentially over-geared and wickedly skilled, the game basically becomes broken in your favor with the exception of the raid encounters you’re learning. Tanks holding aggro is never a problem and the damage dealers can just can blow every cooldown. Bosses melt in front of you.
Geek speaking for a second…(Jennifer: No dear, this post is ALL geek speak…) A typical raid night would be Onxyia to get the buff before clearing MC in about 60-75 minutes before heading to BWL for the actual “serious raid”. Plus trash clears (bosses all killed) of MC in about 45 minutes for Fire Resistance mats before BWL three times a week. You were expected to come totally equipped and ready for raiding with Flasks of Power etc, no spending limit to repairs and zero gear weaknesses that could be addressed outside of raiding. If that meant you had to run Dire Maul fifty times to finally get a book drop for a +10 fire resistance blue… you ran Dire Maul fifty times. All in all it was about a 30-40 hour a week commitment just to be ready to raid. Jennifer: Lol I can’t proofread any of that…I don’t know what it says…English please??
Raiding on the bleeding edge of content is different too. Raids would stop for ten minutes every so often on new bosses so key guys could program a new warning mod. Plus we’d see the stealth nerfs to encounters from one week to the next. Blizzard does not tell you everything lol. After I was gone, the guild would eventually split for the lesser raids and do two MC and BWL runs selling ride-a-long spots selling drops to people without guilds to fund the Naxx runs. Naxx was a consumable shithole.
I say “after I was gone”, because when Jennifer got her bad mammogram, I stopped playing for 5-6 weeks to take care of her. False alarm, no cancer, but a horrible biopsy experience she took a long time to recover from. When I came back to play, I was guildless. There simply is no weakness in the #1 guild allowable. Girls were allowed, but they couldn’t flirt or smile their way out of crappy healing lol.
In the end, I ended up screwing myself out of my best online friends for time in the Big Show. After walking out on them I wasn’t really welcome back in the old guild. It never was quite the same playing after having been in the top guild either. Everything so slow, people making stupid mistakes, raids starting late and so on and so on. I could still do impressive stuff, like tanking LBRS on a mage, but that was fun only so many times.
Plus there was just something about feeling like Jennifer was possibly going to die of cancer that pulled my focus out of the game and back to reality. I never really put in the same amount of time after that. I still played, but not like I did. Then Burning Crusade came out and in an instant all my hard won raid gear was all but worthless. All that effort for nothing. It was all so pointless.
So I deleted my mage. By then, around 3000 hours of play. Gone. I quit.
The old joke is that “Quitting World of Warcraft is easy. I’ve done it five times.”
A few months later I rolled a Paladin on the Horde side. It took some adjusting, but eventually I turned into an outstanding healer. My dad started playing to, so some of that was just to play with him and chat. He was a truly awful player but I never told him lol. Like baby sitting a toddler more than anything. Ran a bunch of characters to 80 in Lich King, but standing in Naxx for 10 man was emotionally empty and I never wanted to go back. Dad said Cataclysm looked interesting and fun, but he wasn’t sure if he’d make it until it came out. He didn’t. I’d love to say that there was some final awesome message between us via in game mail, but there wasn’t. Just “player not found”.
I didn’t play Cataclysm for a long time. Rerolled a mage, leveled up to 85 and it was kinda fun, but I could tell where the gear check was starting to kick in and called it a day. Did a priest and a shammy too.
So anyway, the Mists of Pandaria expansion for WoW… I guess I’m interested in an abstract sense, but I think that time of my life is over.
Honestly it kinda feels like MMSL is “my guild” now, especially since the forum started. I’ve learned that friendships and people matter, even if it’s “just online.” I don’t carry the weak to the top, but I do tell them how to be strong and the quickest route there. Some make it, some don’t. If people drop out of sight for a while with a real life issue, I just welcome them back when they return. Even if they ignored my advice the first time around. I know that it really hurts a guild when the main tank leaves or quits for no reason, so I’m still here and not going anywhere. As odd as it may sound, World of Warcraft was a wonderful training for what I’m doing now. Somehow along the way, a geeky fantasy addicted introvert finally figured it out…
….fight for home and family. Preserve balance and bring harmony.
Jennifer: I should have kicked his ass about his play time lol. He would have stopped or cut back if I asked him to or even said anything about it. Lesson learned for me too. He really did just drop the game when I got sick. I can see how it all helps him now though…and he and oldest daughter can bond over WoW stuff, with her gloating that mom has no clue what they are talking about. The depth of my true understanding of the game can be summed up in two words…”Ooooh! Pretty!!”