So They Don’t Play WoW Any More…

For the record, this is a rant.  It’s something that I’ve seen come up several times recently, both around the blogosphere and in my personal interactions.

Why do people who don’t play WoW any more have to talk about that fact?

Plain and simple – if you don’t play any more, why are you still so invested in your status as a former WoW player that you have to bring it up? My nephew brought it up a few weeks ago when he mentioned that he was downloading some new game via Steam.  The Noisy Rogue (whose blog is on my sidebar) loves to rant about lots of things in the game, yet he doesn’t actually play WoW  (much) any more.  To be fair, I think the Noisy Rogue blog is a rant blog, but he amuses me often enough that I keep reading him.

I suspect that this is a two-fold social issue. The first part is WoW’s reputation. It has had a huge market share for 7 years. There have been numerous news articles about people who have gone too far in the name of something in the game, or have become addicted to it; and I’m sure that many have heard about much of the drama that occurs in guilds… seemingly primarily in raid guilds, though I’m sure other types of guilds have their fair share.  Thus, being a former WoW player is like being a former smoker or alcoholic to some. You went down that road, but you got out. And now, you’re a survivor (of a sort).

The second part of it is  more sinister – at least on the individual level. I think that many gamers, particularly hard-core gamers, need to be better at something than someone else. MMOs bring out the competetive nature of gamers against each other instead of the game. If you then consider the concept I mentioned in the first part: You went down that road, but you got out; then you’re better than the people still playing because you got out. Thus there’s a little tiny bit of desire to poke the “I’m better” aspect.

And the corollary, Why do former hard-core players have to remind us that they’re now casual?

This also shows up with former hard-core raiders and PvPers. They often site the reasons they don’t do the raiding any more as being akin to growing up. Sometimes it’s true – one of our guild members is about to have his first child. He may be playing a lot less because of it.  But sometimes it’s not precisely the truth.

MMO players (as a group) either love or hate WoW. If you’re in the haters camp, it’s either because the game is not for you (fair enough), or the game changed for you somehow during its life and you stopped playing because of it. For many folks, Drama has driven them away from the game entirely, putting them squarely and irrevocably into the hate category.

Personally, I think of this as one of the most annoying drama-making aspects of the game, and it’s not even a part of the game. It’s in the community, and I believe that it is a huge detriment to us. While it’s certainly not the only problem the WoW community has, it’s definitely high on the list of problems.

To bring this back around to a Tiny Guild, just for a moment… one of the big advantages of a tiny guild is that you don’t have to deal with it, unless you seek it out. Bar none, the biggest advantage of a tiny guild is that what is expected of you is what you put out there as what you will do. If I say I don’t want to do something, I probably don’t have to.

Sure, I could work very very hard and get a really big guild, but then I’d be running a guild that’s going to have personalities that clash, and when you get clashing personalities, you get drama. People bring their personal drama to the officers, and the whole problem snowballs.  So, I run a tiny guild which has people who are generally capable of dealing with each other well, or at least not causing drama because they don’t get along.  And things are pretty happy. 

All in all, I wish people would just take a moment to realize that this is a game for some and a hobby for others. Hobbyists will always put more time into their activity than non-hobbyists. And sometimes people’s interests change. Sometimes that means playing a different character or faction. Sometimes it means playing a different game, and sometimes it means not playing games any more.  Is that really such a big deal?

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Posted on December 20, 2011, in Miscellanea. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Excellent post! I hate it when my RL friends constantly remind me they no longer play WoW and go on and on about all that they have time to do now that they don’t play anymore, implying that I do not have the same amount of free time that they do. I want to say to them, that’s because you didn’t know how to balance your time before…. but I bite my tongue.

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