Every so often my brain tickles me and it asks: Is this your last expansion? When will you pack up your bags and leave Azeroth? Isn’t it time to do something else? And they are fair questions, as I’ve been playing WoW for 5 years. If you had asked me before Blizzcon 2009 I probably would have said that Lich King was my last Hurrah, and that I might hang up my mace and call it an end after this expansion. Even headed to Blizzcon my brain had been tickling for some time, and I had spoken with Brade about it, asking him the same questions.
And then, at Blizzcon, Cataclysm was announced…and I’ll be damned if I didn’t find myself excited. If I didn’t sit there at Blizzcon planning for the next expansion with a fresh breath of air. Brade teased me recently as I fussed over when the release date was going to be announced so that I could take some vacation time when it releases. “I thought you were done” he said, and I grumbled something that probably sounded a lot like “bite me”.
But as this expansion closes out, I do find myself looking forward to Cataclysm. I’ve reserved a name for my little goblin rogue, I find myself debating if Beru should trade in her horrid Tauren casting for that of a troll (and if they take away, or do something crazy with ToL, it will be a resounding YES!, I hate hate hate tauren casting animation). My brain still tickles, but now it asks: What keeps you coming back?
And that is an interesting question, isn’t it? What drives my play? Why hasn’t it bored the snot out of me yet? So I thought about it some, and here, I think, are the things that keep me returning to WoW, even after 5 years:
1. The people. I know that it’s a novel concept, but for the most part, I truly do love the people that I play with. I’d consider a good number of them friends, even though I may not have met them outside of the game. I’ve chatted with them about any number of things from job markets to dating to sharing cooking recipes. I’ve enjoyed their humor and cringed at their terrible jokes (*ahem*). I would help them if they asked me for help. Hell Brade’s proofread papers, I’ve offered “non”-legal advice and I’ve looked over resumes. And I’ve never thought twice about helping.
I’m pretty anti-social, but in game, in my circle, I’m a complete chatter box…you almost can’t shut me up. I feel refreshed to be able to be myself, to people that (mostly) get me, and don’t care if I like 1950’s cat eye glasses and pink shoes. I definitely think the best thing about the game is the people, and I for one, have made some great friends.
2. I’m still having fun! There are still a lot of things in the game that I enjoy. Sure, I’ve mellowed some (a lot) when it comes to the raid game, but that is probably best for everyone involved. I’m still challenged by different aspects of the game. There are enough things about the game that still keep me intrigued to keep coming back.
Right now, I am also drawn in by some things that aren’t WoW (oh god, those damn JD Robb books!), but I still spend a fair share of my time in the game. And I still crave playing. Not always, but frequently enough for me to know that I’m not quite ready to give it all up yet! That, coupled with my excitement for cataclysm is a pretty good reason to keep my subscription rolling. I also keep it fresh by doing other things outside of the game. If I feel like reading, I read. If I feel like a spot of telly, I watch a program. Nothing wrong with multiple hobbies! =)
3. It’s still cheap entertainment. I try to be frugal. I have a lot (and I mean a lot) of student loans that I’m trucking away at. Those, coupled with other expenses, are enough for me to try to watch my spending. When my brain tickles me, I find myself asking it back “well, what would we be doing if we didn’t have WoW”. Hmmmm. TV, Console Games, Reading, and probably some boredom. Uh…well, I guess not much else. So, as long as I’m still having fun with it, dollar for dollar, I don’t think that you could really get more bang for your buck elsewhere!
4. Brade still plays. It may seem silly, but it’s just something we do together (mostly me giving him crap, and him telling me he’d say more if I didn’t talk enough for both of us *ahem*). It’s not the end all be all factor to why I still play, and if I was not enjoying other aspects of the game, I probably wouldn’t still be playing. But the fact that he still plays is a nice little cherry on top of everything else!
I’m sure that I could probably come up with several more reasons that this game still has me hooked after 5 years. But I think these are probably my top picks! How about you? What keeps you coming back?