This last couple of months have been a hard time for me. When you choose to travel a particular path, often there will be moments when your devotion will be tested. You watch other people question your motives or actions, and wonder if what you are doing is indeed the correct way forward. Then you look at everything from a distance and begin to understand the more significant path you’ve trodden, and suddenly things become very clear indeed. I’ve watched a quantum shift of interest in my work in the last few months, and actually that’s no bad thing, because now I begin to understand that, at least for some people, Warcraft will never be anything more than the lover who seduced them and then left when it became obvious they were unable to change. To truly understand the allure of this IP, you have to grasp how culpable you are in the process.
If you’re never going to commit to anything, gaming is never going to make you happy.
However, that’s not just the problem currently, because if it were as simple as just losing yourself in something for hours on end, all gaming would be addiction. If I ask you how many hours a day you’ve wasted to mobile gaming or console titles, for instance, would you even consider them against a title that demands interaction with other people to begin with? For some, playing with others is the only reason why Warcraft still exists as a diversion: Guilds hold this entire structure together, organised raiding and play are what Blizzard has used to create from scratch and build three new IPs. Let us not forget that without Warcraft’s financial clout and rich back story, neither Heroes or Hearthstone would exist. The irony that Overwatch came from the ashes of the game that was supposed to succeed Warcraft should not be lost on a lot of you either. Azeroth may no longer be the major wage earner in the family, but it is abundantly apparent who wears the trousers in the relationship here.
Today, therefore I ask myself why there’s still so much anger and bile towards this title, almost on a minute by minute basis. Let me demonstrate: I get into a conversation with someone yesterday who is nothing to do with my immediate circle, and indeed (I thought) nothing to do with gaming. When it comes up in conversation I write about Warcraft, the person laughs at me. Normally I have to explain what the game involves, unless I’m talking to an ex-player, and then it goes one of two ways. Laughter means they’ve decided I’m an idiot, and as it transpires that’s exactly where we ended up. Then, there are the people who launch into the angry, hate-filled rants about how the game destroyed their life or that of a friend and it’s roughly akin to some kind of infectious disease. Mostly, if you’ve played this game and left, you’re either completely capable of disconnecting from it like a grown up or it totally destroys your existence. There does not seem to be any halfway. I really cannot, in good conscience, blame the makers of Warcraft for such extreme reactions. This is down to people, in most cases, patently failing to live their lives with an appropriate sense of proportion.
Here’s where we are now: social media has allowed players to use individual indignation to a point where it has somehow become more potent that at any other time I can remember, and this hatred is now a weapon. Most don’t care who it gets used on, and seem to just continually throw it at anyone and everybody who won’t play their version of the game. The game itself has now fractured into so many sub-cliques and varieties of ‘correct’ that it is frankly impossible to separate what’s right beyond a basic set of tenets: having one reason why you don’t like something is no longer enough, for starters. In fact, if you’re not prepared to stand up and fight your corner until your last breath, you’re clearly not a true fan to begin with. It doesn’t help that people are playing the game in many various states. It is hard to complain at people wanting to live their lives in Vanilla when there’s a portion of the population existing in Alpha right now. The game itself has fractured into distinct and separate portions that are being played by others, all who have perfectly legitimate reasons for wanting to remain there.
The ‘real’ game however remains, and is still vastly popular beyond measure.
The difference for many people with Live is that it isn’t being played now, but will be when Alpha vanishes, or when Vanilla is integrated back into the game plan. The backbone of this game remains as strong and unshakeable as it has always been, or I wouldn’t be paid to write about it, and people wouldn’t spend their lives complaining about how Warcraft destroyed the MMO genre forever. It’s still there and although you’re not there every day, I still am. It remains intractable and and continues to generate ridiculous amounts of cash and frankly, you could take a lunch break that lasted all damn day and nothing would alter. The only sure fire way this IP ever dies, once and for all, is when Blizzard decide to pull the plug on it and that ain’t happening any time soon, trust me. Therefore, you have a choice, whiny, entitled meat bags of the Internets. You can stay, or you can leave, but if you choose the latter I’d really very strongly suggest you do that and stop using the game as a crutch or a demon, because it is neither. If you truly wish to free yourself from the thrall of this IP, stop using it as the benchmark. Take that cutting comment about how the game defames everybody else out of your profile spiel.
The ex-players of this game are the biggest blight on the community by a very long way. It is they who are responsible for nearly all of the hatred and bad feeling, and many of the more questionable business decisions I’ve seen suggested in the last six months. What you guys really need to do, as a matter of some priority, is let it go. Stop grieving and griefing in short order. Yes, we know how butthurt you really are, and now it’s getting that nobody actually cares. If you want to be taken seriously? Stop blaming pixels for ruining your lives.
That’s nobody’s fault but your own.