Earlier last year, I found myself returning to the World of Warcraft, a game which I had walked away from in disgust nearly five years ago. I had not planned on staying, and in fact, nine months on, despite my currently active subscription and daily play time… I kind of still haven’t.
Despite being a socially awkward misanthrope with zero people skills, MMOs for me have always been about the people, and most of my enjoyment had come from being able to meet and interact with like-minded fans of the genre. However relating to (and fitting in with) the rest of the community has always been one of my biggest issues, and even after years of my clumsy attempts at socialising, I still have not managed to find myself a static group of friends to play with, nor a guild where I felt truly welcomed or at ease.
Part of this comes down to my hatred for the game’s focus on loot and gear levels, and this ugly, obsessive, all-consuming greed that seems to bring out the darkest side of its community. I despise how elitist and excluding its players can be; how groups and guilds pick people for content and memberships based on their characters’ item levels, with no consideration at all for the personalities behind the gear on-screen.
This, is further enhanced by my hatred of the modern day’s approach to end game, with its singular focus on repetitive, short, fast paced raids.
Part of me miss the old Vanilla days, back when dungeons and raids were long and gruelling experiences. Random groups were much harder to come by, and as such they were taken more seriously by the players. Folks were more likely to play nice, since failure due to a lack of teamwork (or being kicked due to assholeary) would usually mean another three plus hours of shouting “Looking for Group!” on the chat channels.
Many older players would look back on those days with disdain, but me? I loved them.
It is an obsolete style of game-play which is no longer plausible today, with the modern day fast paced dungeon designs and the advent of randomised queues. However back then random Pick-Up-Groups were where players liked myself went to bond with like-minded folks, sharing common goals.
We did not have the cross-realm features back then, so it meant we would repeatedly encounter and group up with the same set of players over and over. It was how people build up their reputation within the community; how folks developed mutual trust and respect; and how strangers, became brothers.
Wanting to become more connected to the game and its community, I have gotten in touch with an old contact from my list in-game, and have been for the past month grouping with her and her guild, chatting and levelling, and helping with raids.
Unfortunately I am sad to report that my time spent with them only served to further highlight my frustrations with the game. I miss the olden days, where entire guilds would get together in-game regularly for social events (cross-guild events even), and groups would run around laughing, joking, questing, and exploring the lands together. It is a stark contrast to the game I see today, where it is filled with people who would only log on for raids or loot.
I find myself surrounded by friends who are reluctant to help out with content just because they already have the loot or the achievements they needed, and their participation would not benefit them in some way. This self-serving nature is a common trend I am seeing, and it is particularly heartbreaking for me.
Furthermore, I find myself once again in the position of being excluded for content for one reason for another. Being excluded by random strangers is frustrating enough, but it is decidedly worst to find yourself on the outside looking in when supposed friends are involved.
Not sure if it is the skeptical or the misanthrope side of me speaking here, but I am starting to feel that perhaps all people are inherently greedy and self-serving, and that perhaps I have been wasting my time all these years, trying to find true camaraderie and friendships in these online games. That perhaps I should just become a vegan, and go hug a tree (or a dolphin)… or something.
I just don’t know any more.
Anyways I am mainly writing this post as an excuse to post some old screenshots. But who knows, I MIGHT come back at a later stage and do a proper blogging thing where I report on what I have been doing in-game. As always, I guess, only time will tell.