There’s a post from the amazing Anne Stickney over on Blizzard Watch that felt so interesting, so important that I wanted to highlight it here. (Aside – can I just say how happy I am that Blizzard Watch exists and seems to be continuing the kind of steam the team had at WoW Insider? So relieved!)
Which is why it’s so weird that right now, standing a little over three months into the expansion, I am desperately looking for a story that simply is not there. It’s even more strange because the leveling experience from 90-100 was so good — but once you hit level 100 and finish all zone quests, the narrative simply peters out. Draenor is a world that reeks of history, untold stories and mysteries that have yet to be discovered, much less solved, but we are floundering in our garrisons looking for some kind of meaning to it all.
Yes yes YES! This!
I love World of Warcraft, I always have. One thing that has always driven my desire to play the game is the story that is so huge, so sprawling, so deep. I love the world, the characters, the backstories, the lore, the setting, everything. The Warlords of Draenor concept as an expansion felt incredible to me — a chance to go back and see some of the big characters from days yonder, big figureheads from WoW lore pre-WoW. It felt like Caverns of Time on steroids, an entire expansion of cool characters doing awesome shit, and how could I not stand behind that?
Levels 90-100 were so compelling, so fabulous. The questing didn’t feel tedious, because I wanted to know what would happen next. The cutscenes were downright magnificent and the story drove the whole leveling experience. Now, at level 100 — I’m just unsure what’s next. I find myself hand-wringing in my garrison, brainlessly doing chores and sending my followers out on supposed exciting journeys that I get to share no part in. The apexis dailies are monotonous and not story-driven at all, the Highmaul raid and Blackrock Foundry are so lore-light that they feel like simply ways to improve my ilvl with little else to get invested in. There’s no more story arcs, just hints and glimpses and bits and pieces of disconnected unfinished stories with supposed badasses lingering in the world without a threat.
Which is why I’m bored. I’m not logging in much anymore, because I’m not really just interested in filling bars and meters and ticking off boxes without a story to encompass my actions. And it’s why FFXIV is appealing to me right now, because if there is one thing that Square Enix excels at, it’s story. But I don’t have the immense love for the mythos of Final Fantasy as I do for Warcraft, so I know I’ll be back. Patch 6.1 doesn’t seem to be bringing enough to excite me into coming back, but perhaps a content & story driven patch 6.2 could bring my excitement back? Maybe when Tanaan drops and we find out more about Gul’dan? I don’t know.
Oh hey everyone, I totally forgot I have a blog. 😉
(Just kidding, I would never forget about the 5 people who read this!)
In all honesty, I’ve been blogging elsewhere about non-videogame things, and until Warlords of Draenor was released I’ve been spending little time playing games because I’ve been busy with work and things. I’ve been back in WoW for the past couple of months, scrambling to finish bucket list items I’d been wanting to do (achievements, killing Garrosh, getting my heirloom weapon, transmogging, running old raids) but now that WoD is live – it’s all fun and games in Draenor. Can I just say that I’m loving this expansion? I just dinged level 100 yesterday on Thanksgiving, and I’m currently exploring all the fun there is to do in the end game. I feel like this expansion has so much to do, so much depth to the gameplay that I’m being pulled in so many directions and I love it! The story and the quests are just fantastic. Here’s the state of my experience as it stands right now.
Garrisons are an amazing addition to WoW. I managed to remain completely unspoiled throughout the beta, and I’m super happy that I did. I had no idea what to expect out of my garrison and so far it’s blown me away. I love the followers (I’m so attached to them) and missions, and having my own personal herb garden and mine, and bank and vendors. It’s like my own little antisocial home in WoW, and I’m totally down for it. I’m not 100% solid about my decisions on my buildings because I didn’t really read any guides. I have a level 2 herb garden, fishing shack, and mine, and a level 1 storehouse and stables, a level 2 Scribe’s Quarters and Lumber Mill. I have three empty spaces right now because I’m lacking the garrison resources to build anything new, so I have to optimize my follower missions better.
Of course I leveled my Restokin Druid Treetopsy first to 100. My Shadow/Disc Priest Jiraa is only level 91 and has her garrison, though I haven’t had a moment to think about playing her since the second day of the expansion. I have a level 90 Hunter that I boosted who hasn’t even journeyed to Draenor yet, and all other alts have been forgotten. There is so much to do on Treetopsy that I can’t imagine juggling multiple characters!
I feel like getting to 100 was incredibly fast. Way faster than it took me to go 85-90 in Pandaria the first time. I finished Frostfire Ridge, Gorgrond, and Talador and only did half of Spires of Arak. I have all of Nagrand left to check out! I also have to finish all the exploration and bonus achievements, along with
I completed Bronze Healer and Silver Healer, but Gold Healer is way too hard for me at my current ilvl. I’m completely out of mana at the end and barely beat Silver. I need to get better gear and come back for this!
I am so so so so behind on this. At some point I need to devote a ton of time to grinding out some great pets, finishing the Azeroth & Pandaria pet trainers before moving on to WoD, and need to get the pet menagerie so I can do pet dailies. Argh, so much to do!
I maxed out my Herbalism and I am slowly grinding up Inscription. I’m thankful that my husband doesn’t need herbs for anything so he sends me all of his herbs in exchange for my ore. I’m fine with that! =) It means I can mill all my herbs for work orders and daily cooldowns and hopefully I will have my inscription staff soon!
I’m sitting at ilvl 582 right now. A long cry from being able to do Molten Core or any of the heroics. However, considering I have a ton of quests left in Spires of Arak and Nagrand, and have all the level 100 dungeons left to do, I think I’ll be just fine and I’ll enjoy the gear grind.
I’m going to try to chronicle my fun in WoW more often here. For the meantime, have some screenies! =D
(First off, an apology. I have basically all but disappeared over here, but life + work + other projects have come into play, and good ol’ CuppyVille has to sit aside while more important things come first.)
When we last spoke, I was pretty enamored with WildStar. I even made some kind of proclamation on Twitter that it was definitely going to be my “main MMO” for months, and I canceled my WoW subscription for the first time in months. But to be fair, by all accounts it should have been my main MMO. I loved the world, the art style, my character, the combat, the housing, the crafting — literally everything about the game. It had the polish that I love, a fresh fantasy/sci-fi hybrid feel that I was enjoying, some humorous elements, and ticked all the boxes on my mental checklist of “things I love about MMOs”. I liked my Esper and I thought she was adorable and fun to play. I had a guild of likeminded people that I was playing with (fellow bloggers & feminists too) that should have kept me firmly solidified in the game. But I got to level 16 and then just didn’t want to play anymore.
I’m not the only one who has talked about this. That Angry Dwarf mentioned that he believes MMOs are habit-forming, and that once you break the habit they’re really hard to get into. I think this hits right at home for me. When I’m logging in nightly, I’m enjoying myself. But if I miss a day or two because of real life, I lose my desire to log in and play. And once the desire is gone, it’s really hard to rekindle the inspiration I need to log in and make any progress on my character.
Liore offered up similar sentiments over on her blog. She was super into WildStar and she’s always been a staunch supporter of a variety of MMOs, but she too has lost her desire to play the game. She’s even gone so far as to declare MMOs as dead (which she clarified in the comments — she meant they’re dead to HER) and is no longer going to be playing them at all. How has the industry gotten to this point where we have MMO community influencers such as Liore saying that they don’t even want to play MMOs at all anymore?
It’s gotten to be a joke with my friends — how long will Cuppy actually play any given MMO for? An hour? A day? Maybe a week? In that time, I’ll be tweeting and taking videos and making screenshot albums and joining guilds and writing about the game at length. Completely immersed for the moment, but then I’m unable to stick with them. For awhile I’ve been declaring that as some fault of my own, and sometimes I think my friends assume it is a trait that only I possess. But if you read the comments on those articles, if you read Twitter, it’s not just me. Sadly, I feel relieved about this because I’m glad to know that I’m not someone who is a “bad gamer” who has ADD who just can’t stick with something. I mean, look at my gaming history. I played EverQuest so hardcore for YEARS that I basically flunked out of my first semester of college while raiding with one of the top guilds in the world. My love for these games (and blogging about them) is what lead me to transplant myself to California from Minnesota so I could spend the rest of my life working on them. I ran one of the leading server forum communities back in the day for my EverQuest server. I created fanart, fan fiction (yeah, yeah), videos, podcasts, went to fan conventions. I moved onto WoW and gave that game a steady four years of my life as well, raiding throughout vanilla and TBC and flying across the country to meet up with my guildmates. Clearly I possess the capability to devote myself to a game and stick with it, but why have the last few years been so full of malaise?
Guild Wars 2 was a fantastic game. The art was beautiful, I liked the combat, and it was innovative. I made it to level 25 and quit. Lord of the Rings Online was always intriguing and had some systems that I truly admired (music, costumes, horses) but I couldn’t stick with it. SWTOR wasn’t that great of a game, but I cared a lot about my Bounty Hunter’s story up until the day I didn’t. FFXIV was AWESOME, but once I realized that I’d end up running out of quests when I want to do a second/third job, I felt exhausted with the idea of grinding and gave up before even finishing my first job. ESO was a decent game with interesting stories, but I didn’t make it to max level there either. ArcheAge was a ton of fun in alpha (and I’m still planning on playing it) but one day I just decided I couldn’t keep playing it if I was going to have to re-do my progress when the game goes live. I have played EverQuest II off and on since launch and my highest character EVER is level 45. RIFT never held onto me, even though it too was a good game. Aion, TSW, Neverwinter, I’ve played them all and stuck with none of them. You get my point.
But millions of people still play WoW. New players who stumble across these games still love them. I’m a numbers girl and I refuse to believe that MMOs are dead when millions of people across the world are enjoying them. Is it possible that those of us who’ve been around since the beginning are just exhausted with the same game mechanics and can’t commit to something because everything is so derivative and we’ve already done it? Wilhelm talks about how he’s having great fun in WoW right now because that’s where his friends & family are. Is the MMO scene just too fragmented now, and since everyone is playing something different we’ve lost that sense of community with our real life friends? Check out the r/MMORPG subreddit — it’s filled with people looking for a new MMO to play because they’re bored with the one they’re playing, and 90% of the people will be looking for a new MMO again within a month. This is a rampant feeling, so how do we solve it?
I actually think the MMO world is very fragmented. “MMO players” are lumped together into one bucket, but everyone actually wants radically different things out of their games. Some people want choice, and sandboxes, and want to be able to change the world and leave a mark on it. Some players want PvP and are passionate about it, but of those — only some want hardcore PvP where death matters and the others want to be able to casually dabble into PvP without too much negative consequence…and of those, some only want open world PvP and others want arena combat. Some players want a life-encompassing immersive experience that commands hours per day, while others want to jump into a game ‘casually’ and make meaningful progress. Some players want housing and farming, but only some of them want it instanced, private, and safe while others want it to non-instanced and take up physical space in the world. Some players want to raid, and some of those want to raid with friends but others have no friends and want to easily connect with other people in-game and still accomplish end-game content. Some players care about costumes, and pets, and collecting things. Some care about achievements, and some completely hate them. Some people read the story, love the lore, and even roleplay — while other players click through quests as fast as possible. The list goes on and on.
All of this boils down to the fact that no game, no matter how good it is, will appeal to all MMO players. I read people like Tobold and Keen (both of which I respect quite a bit for their opinions) making sweeping statements like “choice should matter” that don’t really read as opinion pieces but instead as broad generalizations that are completely false as they pertain to my gaming style. The fact of the matter is, that some people’s MMO preferences are in exact odds with each other. One game can’t necessarily accomplish both. And WoW is still a titan because it tries (and has succeeded) at mostly being everything to everyone. Sure it misses here and there, but overall — it’s a game that rewards you for how you choose to play. Other games are trying to copy that method, but without the budget and the longevity that Blizzard has been afforded, they’re unlikely to hit the mark on the nose.
Anyway, I’m rambling and I’m not sure where I’m going with this — other than to say that I think Liore, the Angry Dwarf, myself, and all the other frustrated and bored MMO players out there haven’t found the game we’re looking for because it either doesn’t exist yet, or it already existed years ago and feels archaic at this point. Just because these MMOs keep launching doesn’t mean we will like them — but we try them because “dammit, we’re MMO players” and they seem like they have everything we’re looking for. But they don’t, they’re missing potentially small-yet-important elements of what makes an MMO stick with us. I don’t want to say I’m done with MMOs forever because I have loved before and know I am capable of loving again. But I do need to start being more careful about how I’m spending my money, because buying every MMO on the market isn’t a viable strategy for me anymore. Just because it looks good and people say it’s good, doesn’t mean I’ll think it’s good. I am better off tackling my 200+ game Steam backlog than buying boxes of new games I won’t enjoy for longer than a week or two.
It wasn’t that long ago that I was talking about how overwhelmed I am in WoW — about how it feels like there are endless things to do. And here I am, logged into WoW, staring at my Druid and wondering what on earth I should be doing with her.
It’s weird because I’m certainly not even remotely finished with Pandaria. I’m sitting at ilvl 529 and I still haven’t beaten SOO or Garrosh yet in LFR. I could do that, I guess. I only just now have a level 25 pet team, but I have a ton of achievements and the Celestial Tournament and all that ahead of me, but I feel ‘meh’ about it. I could PvP, but I really don’t have interest in that right now. I could work on factions and dailies, which is moderately appealing I suppose. I never finished questing in Kun’Lai, and I never did Dread Wastes or that other Pandaria zone. I’ve never gone to Isle of Thunder. I have tons of achievements and things to do on Timeless Isle if I wanted. Mounts to farm. I’ve never done challenge modes. I haven’t done all the scenarios on Normal, and I’ve never done a single one on Heroic. I haven’t even done all the level 90 dungeons on Heroic yet. I could gear up my 90 Priest. I could level an alt. Hell, I could buy WoD and have an instant 90 but I basically already have fresh 90’s that I don’t know what to do with.
In theory, I want to do all these things. Yet when I log in, I have no interest in any of them. It’s a conundrum. Instead I find myself fantasizing about leveling up in EQ again. Or wandering back to LotRO, or giving RIFT a real honest attempt since the housing & dreamweaving profession seem awesome. I’m not sure if I need to just force myself to do some things in WoW to rekindle the excitement again, or if I should put it aside and play something else for awhile and see if absence makes the heart grow stronger.
This past month I’ve felt kind of lost. I’ve been roaming around, patching up various MMOs and other games, dipping my toes in but not really feeling that warm sunshiney feeling of true enjoyment in any games I’ve been playing. I’ve also totally blogfaded as of late, because when I’m not super engaged in a game I end up not wanting to blog much about it. Alas, it’s about time for a roundup of what I’ve been doing over the past month.
Admittedly, I’ve grown a bit bored with the game. I haven’t really played in a month since I finished all the Love is in the Air achievements for my Love Fool title. Actually, I spent one night grinding pet battling and ended up getting my first level 25 pet, followed by five others. But then…I don’t know. I just haven’t felt super excited about the game and I decided I needed to take a break. I am currently working on getting my three Hearthstone wins so I can get my Hearthsteed mount. I’m also still going back and forth on what I want my instant 90 character to be, but I’m leaning toward Hunter. I haven’t preordered Warlords of Draenor yet, but I will be soon. I have been feeling a bit more of the “WoW itch” though lately, so I’m sure I’ll be back.
Like many others, the latest Diablo III patch brought me back to check out the changes. I made a Monk and she is currently level 23. I am playing on Hard and aim to finish the campaign and move up to the harder modes. The game just really aggravates my carpal tunnel for some reason…all that clicking!
Guild Wars 2:
I recently patched up Guild Wars 2 and ended up making a little Charrdian, before going back to my level 25 Human Ranger. I find the game to be so incredibly beautiful and I *want* to enjoy it, but something about the game just doesn’t catch my fancy. I don’t know what it is. I think the problem is that it’s been so long since I was playing my Ranger that I forgot what her personal story is, and so I have no idea what’s going on. And the questing feels so boring now that the lower level zones are so empty. And my guild is really quiet so there is never any activity happening when I log in. I like to play by myself, but I also really like to talk to other people while I play. I don’t know, I might just scrap GW2 and stop trying to make it work when it’s obvious I’m not really enjoying myself while I play. But it’s sooooo pretttty. 😉
I just got into the Technical Alpha tonight, and I played the tutorial and one AI game. So far, I’m thoroughly impressed. It’s Blizzard, so I don’t know why I expected it would be rough, but it really is polished and beautiful just like all their games. This weekend I’m going to really dive in and get to know the mechanics. I’m thrilled to be a part of the alpha so early and hope to stream some of it soon. =)
That’s certainly not it for me in terms of games played. I patched up EverQuest and ended up getting my free level 85 heroic character for the anniversary event. I made a Dark Elf Enchanter, logged her in, had no idea what to do or where to go, and logged her back out. If I were to really come back to EQ (unlikely at this point), I’d want to start over from scratch anyway. But since it’s free for awhile, I decided to make one. I picked up Titanfall on PC and I’ve been playing it, though I’m TERRIBLE at shooters. Along those lines, I’ve played a bit of Planetside 2, which I’m getting better at. I am slowly working on finishing Mass Effect 2. I patched up LotRO and I’ve been toying around with the idea of stopping in there as well. I even patched RIFT and logged in, but didn’t play for long before I realized that I’m just not interested in it. I partook in the Elder Scrolls Online weekend event and I’m still undecided if I’m going to buy it. Wildstar I’m also on the fence about, though I’ve been in beta for awhile. I am going to pick one of those two and play it, but I’m not sure which. I’m leaning toward Wildstar because it’s cartoony and I like that over ESO’s art style. But we’ll see. Knowing me, I’ll pick up both of them and not be playing either of them a week later.
Anyway, that’s where I’ve been. Playing everything, but not really devoting my time to anything in particular. Roaming around. Faffing about.
Now that both of my characters are level 90, I’ve decided it’s time to start on some of the other Mists of Pandaria experiences that I haven’t done yet. The first thing (after getting my enchanting maxed out on Jiraa) was to bring Treetopsy to Halfhill and start doing the farming and cooking dailies. So far I still only have 4 plots to work with, but I just hit honored with The Tillers faction so I believe another plot or two are opening up shortly. I find doing these Halfhill dailies to be rather peaceful. I know people have their opinions on dailies and not everyone enjoys them, but I never had a real problem with them. I’m starting the Shado-Pan dailies on my Priest, and in addition to the Tillers I am doing the Anglers dailies as well on Treetopsy. I want that water-walking mount for Timeless Isle!
I’ve also been doing some Auction House flipping, which has been pretty fun. I’ve more than doubled my gold in just a day worth of buying low and selling high — transmog gear mostly. Being on an RP server has its benefits for sure! One of these days I’m going to hop back into LFR and spend a bit more time farming the Timeless Isle for gear for my Priest. 🙂
Ahh, Christmas vacation. I had a week of family time in Minnesota, and then came back to sunny San Diego where I had more time to enjoy WoW before having to go back to work. I am super excited that I’m already level 90 now with my Shadow/Disco Priest Jiraa! My time in Pandaria felt pretty fast with this character. I did a couple dungeons, most of Jade Forest, all of Kun-Lai, and then some of Townlong Steppes and then BOOM I became 90 just like that. I still have never set foot in Dread Wastes! I’ll have to go back and do it, just to see the storylines, get the achievements, and of course – GOLD!
The first thing I did after dinging 90 was buy the ability to fly in Pandaria, which means bye bye 2,500 gold and hello being mostly broke again. (Enchanting is the WORST for accumulating gold…) I then opened my mailbox and took all those pieces of Timeless gear that Treetopsy had collected and equipped them, putting me at ilvl 467 since I’m missing a lot of the pieces. I did the starting quests in Timeless Isle, killed a few rares, and then logged off for the evening. It feels good to be ‘done’ with leveling. At least now, until I make another alt. I’ve been tempted to make a Mistweaver Monk……
I’ve also faffed around a bit with Treetopsy. She’s finally high enough to enter Siege of Orgrimmar LFR, so I completed the first wing and ended up with a sexy new weapon! She is already ilvl 513 which is pretty awesome. I did 25 man Icecrown Citadel with my new guild and picked up some achievements and transmog items, and also ran Ulduar with a couple guildies as well and got a few really sweet transmog items such as the Spire of Withering Dreams, which I think is the best looking druid transmog staff in the game. All in all, it’s been a wild and fun few weeks in WoW and I’m still having an enormous amount of enjoyment in the game.