Yesterday morning I logged into WoW to do my daily run of Ahune. I have been doing this daily during the fire festival for the past four years. Why, you might ask, curious if I have some sort of fascination with killing frost elementals that take root in the slave pens. Well, the truth of the matter is that I’m an avid pet collector and in the four years that Ahune has purported to drop an Ice Chip I have yet to see one (I have the flame pet from the first two years – when you could farm them endlessly until one dropped, and endlessly I farmed). To say that I am disappointed at this point is an understatement. It’s pretty much become some cruel joke that makes me want to punch people in the face when they advise me that they’ve seen five, or have one on every alt, or got on the very first time they killed Ahune.
But the frustration with religiously running Ahune year after year for the hope that I will somehow obtain what is apparently unobtainable for me is really the tertiary take away from this post. What I want to talk a little bit about is a conversation that Brade and I had after my satchel, yet again, did not contain an Ice Chip. And that conversation is about the small things that push people away from a game that is nearing a decade of existence. Granted, this has been a topic on the top of my brain anyhow, but my continued pursuit of this particular carrot (the ice chip) and my failure to obtain it after four years of doing everything in my power to do so, seemed to just be one of a number of small, fairly neglected, things – and how they manage to stack up and become much larger problems. A snowball that turns into an avalanche…or something like that.
Basically, after being disappointed yet again yesterday (and again this morning), I said to Brade “you know, it’s the little things like this that would make me walk away from the game if I was no longer raiding”. And it’s true. It seems like such a small thing, one simple pet, but for me (an avid pet collector) to show up as I’m asked to do and do my part only to be rejected year after year, going on four years now, doesn’t really make me want to come back every day and keep trying. It makes me want to walk away and not look back.
I’m not trying to be melodramatic here. I’m really not. But as I looked at my empty bag last night, I thought on all of the hopes every year that maybe this will be the year. I thought about how I logged in every day over the Christmas holiday in hopes of seeing a lump of coal in my bag – yet never did – and sighed knowing that this would be yet another journey like the Ice Chip has been. And somewhere in all of that my brain kicked in and asked exactly what the hell I was doing wasting my time every year putting in so much effort for something that is so completely out of my control. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it’s things like this that are starting to make WoW lose a lot of the sparkle and allure it once had for me. Which, in turn, made me wonder if this would (or will) be the thing for me that makes me sit down at the computer and decide not to log in.
I mean, I feel that I’ve rolled with the punches for the past 8 years. I’ve relearned my class every expansion. I’ve completely relearned to heal twice now. I’ve survived a reduction in raid size, the advent of 10 man raids and LFR. I’ve handled a reworking of the talent system…and accepted that I’ll have to deal with yet another one in a few months. And I’ve done all of that with a positive attitude. But really, what does that matter? Because at the end of the day, the one thing I’d really like to have, that is stupidly important to me, and that I have been trying to acquire for four years, still eludes me. I get that RNG, and apparently my luck, sucks. And perhaps I could accept that answer for one or two years. But after four years of trying, it’s pretty much highlighted for me that the carrot is no longer with chasing. It seems such a stupid, small thing. And yet it has had such a pronounced affect on how I view the game right now.
I know it seems silly, almost ridiculous. I really do. But I’m just amazed at how much effort is put into keeping people happy on a large scale, and how little seems to be placed at the small things that will inevitably act as a catalyst, that tiny straw on the camel’s back, to push people away.