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Yesterday I’d written 1500 words of a very unorganised, angsty post before common sense broke out and I deleted it. Fortunately with the benefit of a decent night’s kip, I can now come to what I wanted to say yesterday with far more coherence on board. Sometimes, you see, it isn’t the game at fault, instead the player’s perception when within. This is a fact I’ve tried to address in various ways over the last few weeks, which has led to not only my mental fitness being challenged but the assertion I’m here myself for the right reasons.

That’s a question I asked myself yesterday evening as a soloed Stage Three of an Invasion on a US server.

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This whole lead up to Legion has sold the idea of things being a collective effort, Alliance and Horde together. Last night I watched the counter crawl from 1-99% as I systematically eliminated every mob I could in Azshara that wasn’t an Elite Skull. I cleared camp after camp, grimly determined to get to the end, as this was the last area I needed to complete the achievement, and not once did I ask for help, because I was afraid to. No-one in my new Guild was somebody I knew, so I decided it was just easier do it alone. So, I did, and finally after an hour and the Achievement not one person in the Guild congratulated me, and then it finally registered that like it or not, I am my own worst enemy playing this game, and quite a few things need to change as a matter of priority going forward.

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It could be that I’m just too old school, but that’s not the entire truth, and I need to admit this to everyone now, going forward: I cannot afford to become addicted again to this game, and already I can see that happening. Expecting congratulations is the start of that viscous cycle. Watching guides on how I must do things with Artefacts, this and this or that I need X, Y and Z done every day has ended up making me feel uncomfortable. I can see me getting sucked into obsessive playtime because I was an addict before and as I try desperately to avoid the things that make me that way, people just keep shoving them at me as the norm, because they can cope with them yet I can’t. I may yet be able to manage all this and stay objective, but right now my anxiety levels are higher than I can remember them for many years. Maintaining clarity and objectivity about this experience can only be achieved by imposing deliberate distance. That’s why text chat’s so much more comforting than voice right now. I can do it on my terms, and not listen to people telling me how great stuff is and how I’m missing out. If you’ve never recovered from an addiction, this will make no sense to you, but trust me, what I need right now is not what I’m getting, and this is an issue.

bothsidesnow

So that means, in the weeks that follow, I won’t be around in the mornings for hours on end as I have been in previous Expansions. I won’t change my routine in order to get everyone levelled ASAP. I refuse point blank to be sucked into anything and, when launch comes tonight, I will play only for a couple of hours and then go to bed. I will effectively undo all my good work and months of personal progress if I let Legion become the be all and end all of my existence, and I’m sorry if that means you lose respect for my dedication or devotion to the title, but my mental health matters more. Saying this as I watch people pile up snacks and prepare to not stop until they hit 110 makes me understand that I’ve come further than I ever thought would be possible. This game no longer controls me. I can freely admit it’s a part of my life I still want to be involved in, but not on the terms it has been since I started playing.

That means that the views you get of Legion, reviews and asides going forward, will not be the same as those that have come before. I suspect there will be increasing levels of objectivity. I may even stop myself from progressing forward until I’ve had time to reflect on each zone as I travel through it. I won’t hit 110 until way after most of the people in my Guilds, maybe all. This time, it really will be about the journey, finally on my terms.

This is the Expansion where finally, I get to do it ‘properly.’

4 thoughts on “It’s Probably Me

  1. I hope you’re able to maintain that distance! Certainly I have been there in regard to feeling like I have to get everything done ASAP and taking time off work, etc, to make it happen. I just don’t feel that drive like I used to. I still want to play efficiently and optimally with my time, maximize reward for my time spent, but after multiple buggy launch days, DDOS attacks, etc, I just sort of shrug at launch now. I won’t even stay up to see it happen in NA (I’m in Eastern time so launch is 3AM).There’s just no joy in it for me now to rush through content that’s legitimately fun to sit back and enjoy as it happens. I guess what I’m saying is, Blizzard’s current philosophy should help you some, as well. They have been adjusting for years toward a more relaxed and rewarding leveling experience rather than a grind to be burned through as quickly as humanly possible.

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  2. I’ve never done an invasion event yet where I was the only person there – I’ve loved every minute of them – not necessarily because of how they worked (some of it sucked!), but the fact that I’ve been able to feel part of something so much bigger – part of a huge crowd of people all (generally) pulling together. And to be honest, if you’re reluctant to talk to people in guild about getting some help – perhaps you’re in the wrong guild?

    As far as levelling in Legion goes … I usually “rush” to get my first character to max – and after that take my time. However, my “rush” does not involve being sat at the computer for days. Tonight I’ll probably be on for a few hours during and just after launch (server stability permitting), but tomorrow I’m taking the kids out to a museum so will be out most of the day – after that it’s going to be a few hours here or there, often interspersed with washing, cleaning, cooking and ironing :p Real life doesn’t stop just because an expansion arrived.

    I’ve noticed over the years that generally those people who go mad and rush to get somewhere just end up getting real bored real quick. I’d much rather enjoy the journey and spread it out, than get to end-game and, in effect, the “end” of the game, before most people have even started.

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  3. It was the invasions that turned on the addict in me, as I felt compelled to get all my chars to 100 because “such a big opportunity for limited time” and I continued to mill through invasions even though I was utterly bored with them. All those dates, resets, deadlines in WoW are things that are most addicting, as they try to impose the terms on you and you have to make a conscious effort to say “no, i’ve got my own schedule and priorities, if that means I’ll miss out on something so be it”. But I did overcome this, and decided NOT to level the remaining characters, and I also levelled partly through usual means even with invasions available – because I enjoyed it more at that point.

    The line between addiction and good experience is very blurry, especially in games, where “addictive” is often used as a synonym of quality, also measured by the amount of hours sucked out of you, the more, the better.

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  4. This game is addicting. And I think if you are worried about that impact on yourself, blogging about the game is possibly going to increase that challenge. But I can understand needing a space to talk about that – a WoWAnnonymous.

    I would say the tone you take now is fine and fair and this is one of only very few blogs I come back to on WoW, knowing it is likely to be calling the game or its community out for what it is. I like the objectivity you have at the moment more than when flying was an issue or when Valour for LFR came about. My personal view – nothing more.

    Stick with it and if you want a guild to join that is made of up more mature players who want to support each other and new players above all else you are more than welcome. Many of us have been through the mill with the game or people in it – but can’t put the game down – so we attract players who want something different or somewhere safe.

    We’ve adverts occasionally on the forums, so I can point you in the general direction and let you join without any of us ever knowing who you are.

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