Sunday, December 22, 2013

A Casual Alternative to MMO End Game

Hanging with Jeeves and a new Engineering pet outside the Auction House
It is that time of year when people are looking back at the last year and forward to the year ahead.  Ocho wrote two posts, one listing the 5 games he is looking forward to and another about the 5 Games that don't interest him.  Number 1 on the list of games that don't interest him was World of Warcraft.  I find it interesting because I feel like we have some of the same interests and I can completely understand why he doesn't want to play World of Warcraft, but at the same time it is the only game I am looking forward to next year.

I used to raid on a weekly basis in both vanilla WoW and Burning Crusade.  I took a break at the beginning of the Wrath of the Lich King expansion and never really raided after that.  I was never comfortable with my play style in either Wrath or Cataclysm and went searching for another game that fit my play style better.  While Ocho points to discontent with the WoW end game for his reason not to play the game, I have finally decided that my discontent with the WoW end game will cause me to play the game differently.

Godmother just today (you don't know how shocking for me that is to be able to respond to a post the same day it was released) posted about how her achievement of the 'Mount Parade' was so significant for her.  I had a similar reaction to my creation of Jeeves.  While questing in Icecrown, Kantrina found the Jeeves recipe, and though I highly doubt it will be worth the cost in components, I love having it.  For those that don't know, you can call on Jeeves to appear and he will allow anyone in your group or raid to sell things, repair or buy certain common items.

So I declare myself a proud member of Team Faff (Godmother's word for spending time doing things in game that don't serve the normal end game goals).  For me, it isn't about gear, or achievements as the game defines it, it is about setting my own goals and working towards them.  Right now since Jeeves is done, I've started working on getting my Miner, Kantro, to a high enough level so I can send bars to Kanter to transmute.  Will I ever use those bars?  Probably not many of them, but I want to be able to do it.  After that, I will either level my Mage, Kantrina, so I can work on higher level Enchanting and Engineering, or go back to leveling Archeology on Kanter so I can get the Vial of the Sands.

Because of the need to be able to drop what I am doing any time, I need goals where other people are not depending on me.  However, I love being able to help people and I've found a way I can have fun and still be able to do that.  Other people have other constraints and play the game very differently.

Godmother made the provocative statement "I reckon what Warlords should be doing, as a first priority, is actively discouraging as much solo play as it can."  I disagree with that.  I believe one of the lessons that Blizzard learned in Mists is that more options is a good thing.  If you want to raid or want to have the best gear, yes, you'll need to play nice with others.  However people can be happy working on their farm or Garrison, or battling pets, or using their professions, or competing in the Brawler's guild and pretty much do these things solo.  It benefits the players if they have multiple ways to keep busy that match different interests and time availability.  And, if it keeps people playing, Blizzard has the incentive they need to keep offering multiple ways to play their game.


  1. Hehe I feel like I have to explain myself. :P I will certainly be the first person to say that the game we played at vanilla is definitely not the same game now. However, then, there weren't many options. It was either raid or... nothing, really. And so, I applied to a raiding guild, and they had a few requirements. Namely, to be raiding three nights per week, three hours per night, and attendance was mandatory. This was apparently common, though, for raiding guilds at the time. So, I had to make a decision: Spend more time seeing my girlfriend, or spend that time raiding. There was no both, as she lived about 100 miles away. I chose her. Now we're married, so that was obviously the right choice. It did leave quite a sour taste in my mouth, though, that I played the game so long, got to the end, and then essentially was forced to either see the game as a part-time job, or I was kept away from the ending. Now, though, with flex raids, tokens, and GW2 style loot zones, progression is quite different and a lot more accommodating.

    But still... raiding will still exist as a way to see the story, and a loud portion of the WoW community, like this Godmother, think that there should be a return to the days of casual exclusion, and I agree that I think that's a terrible idea. Options for progression are always a good thing, and lets face it, Blizz would lose $ and lots more players if they went to this "purist" sentiment.

    But I can't return to WoW. I played the game for years, it was a great part of my gaming past, but when I tried to return, I was filled with so much conflict. The issues I had with the game weren't changed, at one point I saw a dragon pass me, then a flying carpet, then a big elephant, then a standard warhorse, then a broomstick, then a motorcycle, then a pirate... the game just seemed like it was catering to everyone, spreading itself thin. It's just not for me, anymore, I like a little specialization. But, WoW isn't the only MMO... so once more, having options is truly a great thing. :)

    1. And, actually, if you notice in my lists, the games I'm looking forward to vs the games I'm not, those that I'm looking forward to aren't MMOs, and the ones I'm not are all MMOs. ... I think maybe the overly-negative MMO crowd is slowly grinding me down. As they say, one of the absolute best and absolute worst parts simultaneously of MMOs are other players. :P