Do Not Try This At Home

A gamer's blog about gaming, the universe and everything

The Day Azeroth Stood Still

Posted by Rem on May 18, 2011

As you may or may not have guessed, I am not playing WoW any longer. For a while, I was pondering how to write this post, it felt like it needs to be an impossibly long post, not bashing, but pointing out bit by bit why the game lost its appeal for me, as well as incorporating references and commentary on statements of other bloggers. Indeed, I could probably write a very convincing leaving-WoW post simply by quoting countless posts by Klepsacovic, who analysed everything that he felt was going wrong with WoW for months before (and after) calling it quits; I could quote Melmoth, Syl, Tessy, Larisa and probably many others. It has all been said, really, but I’d equally like to explain my personal view, my personal disconnect with the current state and direction of the game, my personal preferences and objections. And I may well do that still, but in more bite-sized discussions of several aspects, because, as Klepsacovic wrote, it is not one particular change that “ruined the game”, it’s the sum of many small things that accumulated and made us stop caring. But not today.

Today, I am going to tell you about the moment when I realised that my days in Azeroth are counted. It was a Thursday in early March. I logged on and found myself standing in the middle of Stormwind, next to a vendor. Which meant that on the day before, I logged off in the middle of Stormwind, next to a vendor. On that Wednesday, I came home very late and very tired, and just wanted to immerse myself into Azeroth a little, before going to bed. I did my Tol Barad dailies, hit “Exalted”, bought the trinket and started to torture my tired brain with how to reforge. All my items were reforged, the optimal combination (hitting the expertise cap on the point) determined by myself, not by some Mr.Robot script, which likes to suggest you get rid of half your expertise, because who needs expertise after all, and getting an upgrade meant doing all the calculations again. I sighed, tabbed out and started writing a program to calculate it for me. Given the hour and the degree of tiredness, I failed. On the next day, with a fresh mind, I analysed the problem again, figured out an algorithm that would work, implemented it, tested it, let it calculate the perfect reforging (again precisely hitting the cap) and was rather proud of myself.

And then, in the evening, I logged in to find myself standing in the middle of Stormwind, next to a vendor. No, I wasn’t AFK’d while tabbed out and programming. I did, when I realised I’m too tired to achieve anything, tab back in, say goodnight .. and then I logged out where I was standing. That’s the thing. You see, I never before just logged out where I was standing. Never. Not unless I was in some sudden and unexpected hurry. In any game, I was always very “aware” of this being my character, my avatar in the virtual world, of the whole “what would be a reasonable thing to do” aspect. Doesn’t mean I’d log out in a carefully prepared bed after putting on my pyjama, not at all. But regardless of whether it’d be in a player-house, an inn, a city, a village, at a camp or a lake, there was always this bit of awareness present, “this is the spot where I log out, where my character will wait for my return, and logging out here makes some sort of sense“.

Until that Thursday in early March when I logged on to find that I had logged out in a random spot. I didn’t tell anyone, because it rather scared me, because I didn’t want it to be true. But this was the exact point when I realised that it doesn’t matter anymore whether the next patch is going to buff Raging Blow or nerf Mastery, whether T12 raid will be released before we manage to clear T11 or not, even whether people will finally start to reliably show up for raids or not. It didn’t matter anymore, because deep down, I stopped caring about the game, about the world, stopped being able to see it as anything but a set of numbers that grow, shrink and cancel each other out. Games, a wise person once said, are just databases with pretty interfaces. It is, I shall add, all about how well that interface is presented and how skilfully it hides what’s beyond it.

It was The Day Azeroth Stood Still, and if you follow that analogy further, it makes sense that it’s not the day when something specifically went wrong, but the moment when all things accumulated from the past caught up and disassembled the World of Warcraft around me.

What does it mean for this blog? Nothing, really. This blog has always been about my gaming adventures, and those are not likely to come to a stop. I’ll continue writing – about RIFT, about WoW (because it is a fascinating specimen of a game that warrants analysis – that’s analysis, not angry bashing) and about whatever else may be on my mind. Keep coming back, you’re always welcome, but remember: Do Not Try This At Home :D

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12 Responses to “The Day Azeroth Stood Still”

  1. Kring said

    Very well written.

    More or less the same thing happened to me about a month ago. After my daily Anzu run I’ve realized that this was the only thing I log in for for about a month… and I stopped doing it.

    When WoW becomes “just a game” it’s no longer worth logging in.

    But I still want to read your post on the premium dungeon finder. :)

    • Rem said

      Thank you! When logging in becomes just a habit, it is time to reconsider, indeed.

      And a post about the premium dungeon finder will come! :D

  2. Scraddog said

    As I said on the Tree’s Blog, it’s about having fun, when it stops being fun find something else to do and have fun again.

    Blizz do not delete things so if you fancy heading back for a look down the line then sure you can.

    Have fun and keep gaming and posting I’ll read it :D

  3. Melmoth said

    I think it happens to all of us in the end, just to some sooner than others. Best to quit because the time is right, with fond memories and the gentle weariness that comes from fun times joyfully experienced, rather than burning out in a furious blaze of righteous indignation. At least then you will always have the option of returning in hope, should the Desire fairy tickle your fancy with its WoW wand at some point in the future.

    Do continue to write though; if nothing else it’s a good way to reassure oneself that it was a case of you moving on from the game, and not that the game has moved on from you.

    • Rem said

      You know, this was exactly one of the thoughts I was having and something I mentioned in my quitting-post on the guild forum as well: I’d rather quit while the good memories outweigh everything else. WoW and our crazy road to the Lich King certainly provided lots of fantastic memories, so it was a good time, and I want to remember it like that!

      Oh, and I’ll continue writing – this was never a “WoW Blog” as much as my personal blog, mostly about gaming. The topic barely changed! ;)

  4. Falding said

    Tip of the hat.

  5. […] by Rem on May 20, 2011 As requested – and, to be honest, intended anyway – here some thoughts on the announced premium […]

  6. TheyIsMe said

    My Azeroth days have also come to an end. The realization for me was when the Firelands patch came out.

    I was slightly excited at first for some new gear and the chance for my alts to catch up gear-wise. However, after about 3 days in, something hit me. Somewhere along the way, the tunnel that Blizzard had constructed to obscure my vision came to an end, and I took a step back to view things in a larger perspective.

    What I saw was an end goal that I would no longer be able to achieve, due to the game developers’ desire to restrict most of the valuable/desirable content behind raid instance portals. Even the new reputation was held behind raid doors. Not even the new dailies had access to that rep. What remained was the same content I’ve seen for months prior, except this time, it felt like I just suffered a rollback and had to grind out the valor points all over again in the same 5-7 dungeons again. Sure, I could’ve built up my characters again, but what point, if any, was there any more?

    I kept asking myself that, and found that whatever reasons I had left to continue playing was suddenly gone. WoW had become a fractured game, with a current expansion lore that is disjointed and lacking in purpose. In contrast, Vanilla was like our very own origin story, TBC was exploring the frontier, and WotLK was coming together as a whole, in full circle, to complete a story that started all of this. What is Cataclysm then? In my eyes, a chaotic restructuring project; representative of Blizzard’s original developers having moved on to better projects, leaving behind new, but less enthused (and less creative) developers to pick up the pieces.

    After that realization, I logged out of the game that night, never to return.

    • Rem said

      Vanilla was like our very own origin story, TBC was exploring the frontier, and WotLK was coming together as a whole, in full circle, to complete a story that started all of this.

      I very much like this characterisation. It does, indeed, very much feel that way.

      What is Cataclysm then? In my eyes, a chaotic restructuring project

      It certainly does feel a bit artificial, doesn’t it. A bit like “we figured out a formula of content delivery we like in WotLK and now we’re just going to do it again”. Deathwing just doesn’t have Arthas’ clout.

      • TheyIsMe said

        The formula is terrible, I might add.

        WotLK, I accepted, only because it was a one time deal to get people into ICC, and it reinvigorated play time for my alts.

        However, with 4.2, it looks like it’s going to be the Cata system all the way, with every big patch.

        This really hurts the casual raider, which I would classify myself under. I stay on top of my gear so I’m ready to go when there’s a raid spot ready. But with this “gear reset” of sorts, months of work that I put in has now been reduced to one month of work. Thanks Blizzard, for wasting my time just so you can keep afloat the bottom feeders via this so called bread line.

        I simply cannot support this game with the direction it’s going at the moment.

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