I have someone whose words I read every day, without fail. She’s having a bit of a crisis right now, wondering why she’s still playing this game, and I thought that maybe I could help her understand why I still stay, after all these years. On this particularly special day, when so many of you will be entering Legion for the first time, it is probably the moment to remind many of you that, like it or not, this isn’t just a game. Remember all that stuff about it just being pixels and that you should have a sense of reality? Well, now you’ve grasped that intractable truth, it is time for a bit of a revelation.
This game is a home for so many that there should be respect when you enter it.
I saw a bit of chat last night from various quarters about what makes a good Beta tester: should it all be about bug reporting, are you there to have fun… what’s the point of Beta anyway except further advertising the game and encouraging people to play it. We’ve all become so jaded and cynical since Warlords release and suddenly everybody has to have a theory or a reason for doing ANYTHING, whilst the notion of ‘fun’ for many has become so subjective its impossible to ever agree on what matters most. The reason Neo is here is to point out that actually, you should forget everybody else at this point. You need to dispense not only with the rest of the world’s notion of what is right, but your own too, and the latter is actually the more important task. When you play Warcraft, don’t go into it with expectations or desires. With so much significant change on the cards?
Enter the game with an open mind.
I’ve done Alpha, and I can tell you now how different the game plays and feels, despite remaining reassuringly familiar. I know how you will need to retrain your brain to accommodate the new designers at work. It will be both fun and frustration combined, and whether you report bugs or not, whether you struggle or sail? Just find yourself first. Of course I can ask you to be mindful and report stuff that’s broken, but not at the expense of blocking other players out. I’ve seen certain people complain already they think there’s too much group work needed to get stuff done: maybe if that’s a problem for you, you’re the one with the problem playing in a group? It isn’t just the game that has the issues, after all: you’re as much a part of the equation as everything else. If you’re struggling to understand the meaning or grasp the importance of what you enjoy?
Time to look inside yourself for the answers and not to Azeroth.
I don’t make any wild and crazy pretensions here, I’m just a middle-aged woman with a Blog. But I can tell you that Azeroth remains my home not because it has changed. That’s my job. I’ve spoken to so many people who understand that they were as much a part of the issue in enjoying what they were given than the designers ever would be. There is an inordinate amount of really very enjoyable and entertaining stuff to be done on the Broken Isles. There really is. No, it is not boring and certainly only occasionally frustrating and I was bouncing in my chair with joy when it became apparent what I could do, but that’s not just the game providing, that’s me accepting the experience. It is such a complicated relationship that we maintain with pixels, wherever they might be: that’s not just Warcraft, after all. This is the equivalent of the favourite TV show or the much followed and loved football team. It is a love affair you have to willing subject to and then suffer alongside of. It is so immensely complex to understand on an individual level most people never even try.
Except if you try, amazing things can and do happen.
I won’t make you look at yourself and change, you have to want that. I can’t make you like Legion either, but I really truthfully urge you to try. I’d ask you to approach at least with a sense of objectivity if possible. If things don’t feel right, try and write down why and use either the Forums or Blogs to explain that, and I will make damn sure that these words get to be seen by the people who matter. If you’re afraid of being alone because your Guild broke up or you just don’t think you’ll manage this time around solo? Reach out to others. Use this time to take steps into the darkness, and I’ll happily hold your hand when you do. Mostly, don’t see the future as frightening and uncertain because it is ANYTHING BUT. If you want Warcraft to be your home? You need to live here, not just use this place as a convenient excuse to feel a part of something that maybe, possibly, you have grown away from.
If that is the case? You can leave whenever you want. This isn’t an Eagles song.
Enjoy your time, Beta people. To my friend who’s concerned what they are and where they exist? You’re in my heart, regardless of whatever you do. Don’t worry, life finds a way. What’s most important of all, in the end, is that you can be really happy.
Warcraft can help you do that, but only on your terms.