MMO Tides of Change

October 21, 2008

Last week, I caved in and let the patching of World of Warcraft (WoW) continue. When I got home, it was just too difficult to hit the uninstall button.  One of the things that made it very difficult was hearing my coworkers talk about all the new changes and what they have been up to in game.  After the 3.0.2 patch was completed, I logged into the game.  When the character selection screen came up, I sat there a bit to look at my character. Instead of feeling happy, I instantly looked at what he was wearing and began making a mental checklist of things I would have to upgrade, with the first one being his helm.  I stopped myself from following this train of thought and just logged in.

I logged in to find myself in Shat, the major WoW city in the Outlands.  I saw all sorts of commotion and people running to and from mail boxes, engineers in their flying helicopters, the sights and sounds were all too familiar. But at the same time, those familiar sights brought back other familiar feelings which made me a bit sick to my stomach.  I looked around at the achievements panel and the currency tab, checked out the calendar and other UI changes but then looked at my bags and thought about how much ‘house cleaning’ I would have to do.  I wanted to stop this train of thought, so I ALT-TAB’ed out of the game and looked up some recommended 51 pt talent specs.

I spent about 5 mins respeccing my hunter and thought about the various exotic pets I should tame.  Then I thought about going to the Isle to do some dailies for gold, then I looked at my character just sitting on the ground, and I logged out of WoW.  I just couldn’t do it.  I didn’t want to get caught up in ‘the cycle’ again. 

Even though I logged out, I wanted to be in an MMO. I wanted to play an MMO.  I made a comment to my wife that I felt ‘floaty’, not having an MMO to anchor me.  It was almost like I did not know what to do with my spare time.  To me, the answer was simple, if I wanted to play an MMO, it would have to be a totally new one that did not have any expectations tied to it.  So, I reinstalled Lord of the Rings Online (LOTRO) and resumed a 1 month subscription. Again, the same thing happened.. I logged in, created a character, did 1-2 missions and just logged out.  This all happened last week.

Yesterday, a MMO-playing coworker stops by my desks and talks about his time in WoW. He then asks me what I have been up with my time.  I told him over the weekend, the family signed up for a 6 month pass to an in-door swimming facility so I went swimming on Saturday and Sunday.  I then commented how swimming is quite difficult and my lungs and heart weren’t quite up to par with were I would like them to be.  Additionally, I have been messing around with some video editing again so I was looking at various h.264 and xvid encoders as I have a backlog of family movies I want to process.  He smirked a little bit and noted that I seemed to have traded one geeky venture for another, though I did remind him that I was heavily into video and audio encoding prior to my MMO days. 

And to top things off, last night after dinner, I headed to the gym and got in a good cario and weight training workout.  In fact, I think my habits have changed drastically over the last 2 months where I have basically stopped playing MMOs that I need to punch another hole in the belt I am wearing as it’s now too big for my waist ;)  But just because I have slowed down my MMO playing, doesn’t mean I haven’t been gaming. I did play Bioshock for about 45 mins over the weekend and played a bit of Peggle Extreme.  What’s nice about these games is that I can essentially pick them up and put them down whenever I feel like it ;)  Personally, I am noticing some changes and I think they will be for the better.

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