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Everybody in game, inevitably, will at some point encounter something that they can’t do first time. For me, Rexxar was the first genuinely difficult encounter in Legion: I can see some Hunters laughing now, but I had real difficulty co-ordinating the basic elements required to survive that whole three minutes out in the wild. Once I’d done it, of course, there was amazement it took that long to grasp the principle. It’s like that story I tell to people about having to write L and on my Converses back when I took my driving test (twice) because I get directions mixed up. It still happens thirty years on in times of stress or if I’m not 100% awake. This is a shortfall I’m aware of and can now compensate for.

Except for some, shortfalls aren’t as easily remedied. Many are forced to work around issues due to disability, or chronic emotional or social anxieties. I am aware of a number of long term followers who will be reading this and are already considering whether this Expansion will be the last one they play, because as the modus operandi of the game slowly evolves with each successive generation of new designers and programmers, so the ability to exist outside the ‘rules’ diminishes. Ideally you would hope that accessibility would increase, and over time this has been the case. The problem, at least for some, is the amount of personal effort they need to expend to keep the game they play enjoyable and viable. With the requirement now for a player to complete dungeons as well (presumably) as large instanced content to push on the game’s main storyline?

Certain players’ games may be over in Legion before they have begun.

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It isn’t just the main story line either, with Professions now far more complicated than they have ever been to complete, it is no longer a case of just sitting in Stormwind and sending the materials to an alt. I’ve had to fight my way to various places for advancement, and I’m still no further forward in my ability to level or indeed produce worthwhile ‘rewards’ for my character. The problem also comes when certain players will assume, completely erroneously, that criticism of the game because of the pressures they place on certain individuals is just that. The rant you are reading comes from someone who hates the game, complaining about how horrible everything has become and that they can’t cope any more. No, that’s not true, and often these outbursts can, if you read between the lines, be interpreted as a bit of a cry for help. The problem after that is how you are able to support a person like this without making things worse, if that is even possible. Often, the last thing someone with a problem wants to be told is just that.

All I can do here, on reflection, is use my own experience as an example and yes, this is horrible. Not feeling confident and unable to change your ways is a mindset I was stuck in for a very long time but the fact remains, it is possible to improve and escape your own perceived inabilities. I know, I’ve done this. However, as I’m not you, how that helps another’s individual situation is pretty much moot. What then makes things so much worse for us both is if you keep complaining about the issue. This is like my youngest right now, who at School is having to make choices she doesn’t want but cannot avoid. I broke down her quandary as follows:

  1. Just do the thing you don’t enjoy for a bit and you might be surprised when you actually start liking it.
  2. Consider the thing as a challenge to complete and when you’ve done so, look back on it and work our what can be done better next time.
  3. If you absolutely hate the thing you can try to avoid it for the next X years, but you’ll be better off dealing than ignoring it.
  4. Have an open mind. Stop closing yourself to the possibility of personal change and development going forward.

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In the end, the game is not the problem, you are. This doesn’t help any of the issues, but it might make dealing with everybody else less stressful if they understand. Except many just won’t because they play without any of the problems you do, and (it could be argued) are doing this right. As a game, not life or work or anything life-threatening, that is what this is. I know a lot of us like to use Warcraft as a metaphor for so many things, but in the end you can solve all the problems in one easy step. Stop playing. If someone is strong and brave enough to do just that? PLEASE respect that as much as you would an individual giving up smoking, and don’t offer them cigars as a clever and witty gift. Playing in Azeroth isn’t the Hotel California situation many players like to paint: you can check out and leave whenever you like. The problem is that if this has become your life? That’s not really an attractive possibility if you have nothing else to fall back on.

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What I’ve done in order to facilitate a removal of myself from the game on the hours I used to play is have other pursuits that matter more. The exercise and writing offer important and now essential other routes for me to take away from a game that can very easily get its claws into me and not let go. If you’re in a position where your own mental or physical issues are making Warcraft matter more than it should? You can absolutely take as many steps back as are required, but if you don’t address the real root issues you will, in the end, fall foul to far more dangerous demons than living and breathing in Azeroth. The bigger problem for many I suspect is they hope other people will solve these problems for them, as both my kids have asked me to do over the years. I don’t live in their head, or yours. If you want to get better, that’s your job.

All I can do now is try to help by highlighting an issue: if you wish to remain friends with people, at some point there has to be give and not just take. If you want to be part of a Community, sometimes it is opportune to not just receive the love, but generate some of your own. Willing is a brilliant first step: be prepared to acknowledge your shortcomings, at least show you understand that you’re at fault. Stop complaining about how awful the game is, and maybe try and find good in the bad.

Take the first step to making things better by doing that for yourself.

One thought on “Sympathy for the Devil

  1. Great read, thank you. I “gave up” WoW years ago, at least, the raiding life that took 30+ hours a week. I went more casual, and exited the game in 2013 when MoP didn’t have any activity that I could enjoy in my own way. I did blame WoW but in reality, it was my inflexibility on the events that made it not fun. (Mists wanted me to do daily quests as my sole means of advancement, I wanted a similar tabard system to WOTLK. I love 5 mans. I hate dailies.)

    It was my choice but I was frustrated because I actually wanted to play but couldn’t find an area I particularly enjoyed.

    And you know what, that’s ok.

    I am back now, loving Legion, but I tend to lean towards the single player story lines now and it has done that well so far. When you read the quest text, at least.

    Like

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