Why I am still playing, and loving it

Written first for the WoW Hammer website, re-posting here some time later. Please forgive the fact it has not been reedited for the past weeks. It’s been busy.


I’ve also not been playing much since then, but always endeavour to do so. I might need a “am I still playing” post soon. Grumble.

The content in the recent patch is excellent, and it will very likely hold the player base in thrall until Blizzcon where my guess is we will see another announcement to keep the WoWers wowed.

As I write this though I’m away on a holiday in a stunning beach town a few hours from home and enjoying being offline. Family, friends, and the whole nine yards of wine, food, and straight to DVD movies are keeping me well distracted from logging in. This started me thinking that I should also consider the time as a point of review to see where my interests are and if WoW still holds me as one of the devoted.

When I first purchased the game so many years ago, World of Warcraft began as an experiment to find out about online play and what an MMO could do. Warcraft quickly hooked into all the pen and paper gaming rotes which I already knew. As a subscriber I was in relatively early and was probably amongst the expected player base. I was one of the low hanging fruit so to speak.

When I think about the present day it is not about that experiment at all, as I understand the wider mmo game now. It is also not about the other things which commonly are the long tail of many subscribers; a micro community, being addicted to the game, wanting to be the top 1%, or about the technology.

For me it is still about a major hook of my pen and paper hobbies, that of escapism and immersion. The games which appeal to me are those where the wider story is congruent to the experience of the characters, and one which lets me forget about my normal life. It is like stepping sideways from reality and doing something non-mundane.

There is also the pull of experiencing the escape without creating that escape from the ground up. By comparison a game like MineCraft allows far deeper involvement in the construction and playability of the world, but also demands significantly more time. Yes, the two games are fundamentally different in many ways, except that both appeal to the immersive play which hooks in to the player base and creates a devoted community.

WoW is light enough for casual players and deep enough to drive the small percentage of bleeding edge players onward. For me that blend, that distraction, and that resoundingly consistent delivery still appeals. Its still powerful.

Am now I’m missing the game again. Silly holiday.

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