Variety in Gaming
by David "Xerin" Piner
You can’t be completely faithful to one game. Sure, World of Warcraft (WoW) offers almost everything possible in a video gaming experience (well, everything but penguin robots) and costs fifteen dollars a month to main an account, but that isn’t enough to shackle you down forever to just playing one game. Variety is required or the nasty MMORPG condition known as “burnout” happens. That’s when a variety of online and offline games come into play to mix up the day to day entertainment of your average WoW player.
WoW players range from all kinds of different backgrounds (everything geeks to jocks) and age groups. That’s to be expected when the playerbase is almost seven million players. When there is so much diversity between players it becomes very hard to notice trends in what people play, outside of the obvious blockbusters like Oblivion. There is however a general consensus on what genre WoW players typically avoid. That genre is other MMORPGs.
Games like Everquest 2, Dungeons and Dragons Online, andother MMORPGs like Final Fantasy XI and Lineage 2 take about the same amount of commitment as WoW does. This is of course a conflicting interest as these games all fit in the same slot of online fantasy RPGs. Each person’s respective MMORPG often times provides enough of the MMORPG element that there is no need to search for more. The shear amount of content in these games prevents players from needing to play multiple games.
There is however one MMORPG that a few WoW players recently started paying some attention to. That MMORPG is the sci-fi space RPG known as EVE Online. EVE Online is a game that lacks the need for players to “level up” and instead offers the ability to train skills over time. This means that there is no XP grind and players can focus on making cash or embarking in various PvP battles. With the ability to pick up and play at anytime, EVE Online presents a perfect time waster while your casual WoW player waits for upcoming raids, PvP battles, friends to show up, or anything else delaying their preferred method of gameplay. EVE Online offers plenty to do as well making it the perfect pick up and play game. You can fight pirates, do missions, mine for cash, trade between space stations, fight other players in space, or even join large fleets and cruise around all Sci-Fi like. There is rarely any time commitments making players free to log on or off at anytime.
Games like EVE Online that provide on-demand action is really what your average WoW player seeks. Something to fill in the time between raids, guild activities, leveling groups, or other things many players wait around on. Your average WoW player also seeks to break up the standard WoW formula and seek something different yet something similar. Something that doesn’t interfere with the time spent leveling, raiding, or farming but fits between spots of “what to do” moments.
Oddly enough, one game provides this sort of entertainment with little effort involved. A Warcraft III custom map called Defense of the Ancients (DotA) provides the entertainment and on-demand gameplay that many WoW players seek. For those of you not in the know, DotA is a custom map that pits teams of players against each other in a Alterac Valley style war. Players pick custom heros and battle one another and various military type units to meet objectives and claim victory against the other team. It has a highly competitive following with contains lots of WoW players seeking some quick fun to change things up a little.
There is one other game to note as something that was quite the fad with WoW players. That game is Oblivion (part of the Elder Scrolls series) that was recently released. Oblivion is a sprawling fantasy RPG with tons of content and gameplay for both the PC and the XBOX 360. While no knows the appeal to your standard WoW player (outside of the “it’s a really fun game” factor) it is a very entertaining game that provides plenty to do.
Really though, most any entertaining game is probably played on the side by some number of WoW players. There are just too many players to generalize things. For instance, many players choose to go back and play RPG classics like Final Fantasy VII or newer games like Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic or even some MUDs like the Discworld MUD. Many WoW players enjoy games like Halo, Counter Strike, and Unreal Tournament. The list just goes on and on and the reasons vary from person to person.
With the Nintendo Wii on the horizons we all could see the fun in playing some good old classics whenever that itch arrived. Shaking your fist in rage as you “accidentally” jumped in the drink in the original Mario Brothers is something that provides quick and convenient entertainment (at the cost of controllers).
Speaking of Nintendo there is one gaming console that is very popular within the WoW playerbase. That’s the Nintendo DS. Its appeal comes from the ability to pick it up and play games right off the bat while waiting on something to happen in WoW. You can quickly pause and go back to WoW then resume your game. A good example of this is before a raid or waiting on a friend to show up.
There is a wealth of video games on the market it’s hard to pinpoint what exactly players want; although you can assume that they don’t want another MMORPG. If you are looking for a game to pair along with WoW why not look at EVE Online or perhaps replay some older games. Many console games also provide plenty of entertainment. Personally I enjoy the Burnout series (for the XBOX) as a quick and fun “hahahHAHA WOAH DID YOU SEE THAT CAR JUST WOW” gaming session.
There are a ton of games available and everyone has different tastes. There is plenty to do outside of adventuring in WoW. From space ships to city building to race cars to well pretty much anything and everything you can imagine is available out there. Alternating games or keeping something fresh available can really help prevent burnout and make the time you spend in WoW even better.
We all have opinions so why not share yours? Is there a game that you play often to keep from burning out or just as something extra to do? Do you disagree with anything I've said? Why not Email us ([email protected]) or post on our forums!
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