Once upon a time, I collected non-sports trading cards. It was a hobby I’d indulged in for a few years before my son was born, and I dropped a fair bit of cash on the process, it must be said. I dropped so much money on it, in fact, that I developed a bit of a financial issue as a result. Only when it became apparent being a full time mum to a new baby would mean I’d have no cash of my own did the brakes get applied and as of last year I have only one small fire safe full of the favourite autographs I collected. The thing with collecting, whatever form it might take, is that you never get to the end. You might finish a set, but as soon as that happens, the companies who make the cards stop making money from you. Therefore, they produce more, and so the cycle continues. Whether it be pins, or Funkos, or Vanity pets… there’s always something you don’t own.
I’ve mentioned previously that having to fight Pet Trainers to get a collection ‘extension’ so I can own more Vanity pets was the final straw for me. I’ve given up on everything except Mounts, and the final indignity of course is that I have to Pet battle to get those. It makes me sad beyond words that there’s just no time any more, that I have to make a choice between hours online or hours in the Gym, but honestly there’s no contest. I need to be exercising far ahead of owning a virtual collection of anything. Although in times past this game has offered much needed sanctity from an often difficult and stressful World, I can’t hide from myself any more. So, having made the choice, I look at Azeroth differently. Instead of World Questing last night on reset, I had an early night and clocked a glorious seven hours of uninterrupted sleep, which gives me the energy I need for a full session of cardio and weights.
There’s a very good article I urge you to read on the site that I write for, MMO Games, that suggests that the systems ActiBlizz are employing in Legion are what’s currently responsible for the ‘burn out’ many players tell me they are experiencing. Someone yesterday, without any hint of irony, was happy to inform me that Class Balance currently is the worst it’s been since TBC. I hear all of these complaints, and now realise that this undercurrent of unhappiness has always existed since Vanilla. There is a constant background noise of disapproval, and although the temptation is to accept this as legitimate, I find myself unable to accept much of the rationale. If there’s always a complaint, yet you’re happier about your game than at any point in 12 years, perhaps everybody can be right regardless. People are perfectly entitled to feel aggrieved, but if they remain in a minority, it is just that. However, maybe the answer to this isn’t to expect the Company to alter their plans. Perhaps the better solution is for players to amend theirs instead. I play differently, and even though I’m sad about Vanity pets, that part of the game isn’t going to accommodate someone craving less playtime. I’m the wrong end of the pool to demand change, as indeed are those who do nothing else but play 24/7.
Real change comes for everybody else, for whom this remains only a game.
I have existed at all parts of the participation curve in Azeroth, from playing eight hours a day to managing a single logon in a week. I know all about the obsessive tendencies this game can create in a susceptible mind. When I’ve suggested that this is a problem in serious articles or that people are perhaps placing to much of themselves into Azeroth, I’ve been asked to reconsider my position, because ‘objective’ reflection can’t allow you to defame others, even if they’re more than happy to verbally destroy you without a thought. It is a really difficult subject to cover without descending into personal attack, and now I have a really simple solution to the issue. I just walk away. It is now abundantly apparent when I engage with random people that they’re either here to make their point and not listen, or if they are willing to be open. You can tell the fights waiting to happen, or the people who might yet allow you to both be civil.
I don’t do Warcraft drama any more. There’s far more important things to direct attention at than the petty issues around a virtual game. Now, more than ever before it matters that you can relax and enjoy your free time without other people ragging on you or trying to tell you that their lives are being detrimentally affected by a bunch of completely irrelevant Class changes. Really, I get how much some of you people love Azeroth, because I still do too, but it will NEVER come at the detriment of understanding that this, like it or not, remains a bunch of pixels. When all is said and done, unless your job depends on this game doing what you tell it to? There’s no argument to be found here. When something is REALLY wrong and the ENTIRE player base go nuclear? You know, including the ones nobody hears about because they’re too busy just playing? Then perhaps we will talk again, like adults, and sort out the issue.
Until then? There’s not a problem, only stuff you can’t do the way you want.