The newest World of Warcraft expansion; Warlords of Draenor, is coming.
With it will come a host of changes, all seemingly aimed at taking us back
to the more classic days of the game. Not everything will be reverted, new
features that have proven successful, like Flexible Raiding, will stick
around. Despite Blizzard's best efforts to return the game to its roots,
it probably still won't feel the same to us, nor will it ever be the way
it was way back when. Not because it can't be done or because the game has
changed to much, but for another surprising reason altogether.
The Grip of Nostalgia
We all like to think back on the good old days of World of Warcraft. No
matter if you have been playing since launch, for a few months, or even a
few weeks, we all like to reminisce about the supposed glory of days past.
These memories sparkle and shine, all traces of any unpleasantness long
forgotten. It doesn't matter if there were bugs, glitches, unreasonable
boss fights, or clunky mechanics, those things have all faded away. All
that remains to us are good thoughts, happy thoughts, the very kind that
help Peter Pan fly.
Nostalgia is a funny thing like that. Most, if not all, negative thoughts
of a certain time period tend to get washed away. Our memory of this time
period gets stuck, forever in a loop of blissful remembrances. Also
getting stuck in this eternal loop is our view of ourselves, as players.
While we yearn for the days of old, we also see ourselves. Typically this
means we are several years younger and with less obligations, enjoying the
game we love. We shake our fist at the changes that have come to the game,
thinking that these are the reason we don't enjoy it as much anymore.
These changes are the reason that we don't spend as much time playing or
can't get into this particular expansion.
However, while the changes to the game are partly to blame, it isn't the
only or even the biggest reason. You see, we as players have changed as
well. We have aged, matured, and gone from life event to life event with
the game. Let's face it, we just aren't the same people we were when we
Take me for example, when I first started playing World of Warcraft, I
was several years younger, with no real world responsibilities. I played
hard and long. It was nothing to raid six days a week for several hours
each night. I loved every time-consuming second of it.
Fast forward to now and I have three kids, payments galore, baseball
games to attend, and a lovely wife that also (thankfully) enjoys gaming. I
still play, but the time I have to invest in the game has slimmed down
considerably. There are days when my character is online, but AFK, waiting
for me to be able to play. Sometimes that time never comes.
I think it is safe to assume that many players have a similar story.
Thanks to various circumstances in our lives, the way we experience World
of Warcraft has changed. Blizzard, knowing this, has changed the game to
accommodate that and if you think about it, it is not such a bad thing.
As mentioned above, nostalgia for the good old days of World of Warcraft
clouds our vision. We forget that along with the changes to the game, we
have also changed along with it. With the grand majority of WoW players
being veteran players, most of us find ourselves in a totally different
life situation than we did when we first starting playing.
The game has adapted to suit these new needs. This is why Flexible
raiding, cross-realm groups, and other similar features have made their
way into the game. While we may cry, scream, stomp our feet, and otherwise
condemn these types of features, most of us probably use them anyway.
I am certainly guilty of it. I have lamented the loss of the supposed
glory days when my raid of 40 players wiped for hours on bosses, only to
do it again the next day. However, if I am honest with myself, even if the
game totally reverted back to the way it was, I would remain the way I am
now. I don't have time to wipe for hours on a boss, wait for 40 players to
assemble, or commit myself to certain days of the week. Instead, like many
other players, I resignedly sign myself up for Looking for Raid, Challenge
Modes, or head to the Timeless Isle for some quick fun.
Recreating the Glory
So the next time I sit back and let the wave of blissful remembrances
sweep over me. As I leap and frolic through memories of the good old
days, I will also keep in mind the truth that, while the game is not the
same as it once was, neither am I. I want to start embracing this sobering
truth and letting some of the glitter fall of the days of yore.
By doing this, I hope I will be able to enjoy the changes made to the
game instead of dreading them. Be accepting, instead of angry. These
changes allow me to still enjoy the game. No matter how much I try to deny
it, these changes are made for me and others like me who have changed far
too much to ever go back to classic again.
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