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It’s been a while since I’ve blocked someone on twitter over Warcraft Stupidity. Yesterday, I had an argument about Raider.io which is exactly the same argument I had several expansions ago over GearScore. Absolutely nothing has changed since 2010, and frankly never will. It is nothing to do with the designers either: these add-ons scrape the API with only one objective in mind.

A lot of very valid contributions were made to this discussion yesterday: the bottom line is simple. If you want it enough, do the work.¬†Yeah, that’s shitty for the casual player or an individual¬†who doesn’t read the Guides or know where to start. However, right now it’s all a bit pointless anyway because once the pre-Expansion patch hits, all your gear’s gonna be normalised anyway. What matters more and always has, is that four week period after an Expansion launches, because unless you’re at L120, nothing good will happen regardless.

It all boils down to who you’re trying to impress in Azeroth.

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Most people I know who play this game sensibly aren’t trying to impress anybody.¬†They’re here, in guilds and groups, enjoying each others’ company, and the challenge the content provides when combined with their particular real-life circumstances. Their satisfaction is derived from slow, steady and non-confrontational progress: by that, I mean being able to get to the end of a Raid without a butt-tonne¬†of drama, loot-related or otherwise. The ideal situation is to do this, log off, and carry on with their lives. Warcraft is not the material of their existence, but the thread that stitches various other pieces together.

Those who have peer groups who self-generate progression, confident the only means¬†to be ‘good’ revolves around possessing the very best of everything, regardless of where we are in an Expansion cycle, have always been the unattainable goal that most of us know isn’t ever practical but occasionally end up aspiring to regardless. Yeah, it would be fabulous to chuck in my job and play video games for money, but until esports get a Seniors League, that’s not happening. It wouldn’t¬†happen anyway because I’m now aspiring to achieve in an area a world away from my wee Dwarven lassie. The game taught me an important lesson, in that regard.

The only person I should be trying to impress in Azeroth is myself.

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I spent two hours this morning riding a turbo trainer attached to a virtual cycling simulator in order to win a virtual cycling kit.¬†The kit, it transpires, is utterly academic to my sense of personal satisfaction that ride provided. Carrots and sticks are great for encouraging people to take part, but once you lose the taste for any food, it becomes fairly pointless dressing it up in different forms. Warcraft’s insistence on gear as a gating mechanism means, like it or not, you’re trapped forever in a repeating cycle of playing in order to maintain an illusion of progress. Once there comes the ability to look beyond your iLevel, Gear Score or whatever arbitrary¬†ranking system we happen to be using this week, it’s you against the game.

That doesn’t have to involve structured content. Raiding becomes academic. PvP becomes not the one true means to show skill, simply a demonstration of competence using a strictly defined rule-set. That’s all gold making is too, and playing Iron-Person characters. How good are you, an individual, at achieving this particular thing?¬†If you start challenging yourself to better things, the benefits can far outweigh the shortcomings. Raiding, Mythics and chasing the gearing ‘dream’ is also, like it or not, just another demonstration of competence.¬†As there’s no PvE World Championships for raiding, you can argue all you like whether World First is the benchmark, or simply another means to play-test the content. The only thing that matters, above everything else, is whether you’re happy playing.

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Every time someone strolls into my timeline, unzips then slaps genitalia into a conversation under the auspices of proving their version of gameplay is clearly superior, I have to laugh.¬†You can play this game any fucking way you like and there is no less legitimacy between that and anyone else’s outlook. I think I write a post like this on average about once a year, and yet not a single damn thing ever changes. I remain wrong, because I won’t argue with you: as a result, I’m making excuses and clearly not doing the work.

Seriously, fuck you.

Over the years, I’ve been accused of passive aggressiveness when it comes to this game. Let’s be perfectly clear. I don’t give a fuck about anybody who feels their opinion on ‘how you play this game properly’ has somehow any more legitimacy than everybody else’s. There is no right way to ‘win’ Warcraft. There remains no correct means to be ‘the best.’ According to you (and possibly a group of your peers), there is most definitely what can be considered A¬†RIGHT WAY, but that is not THE WAY.¬†Sometimes, winning is not the purpose of taking part. Sometimes, happiness trumps achievement. Occasionally, just occasionally, the way you win is by allowing yourself to fail.

The only means to truly make progress sometimes is to question yourself.

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