Gaming Thoughts... 9/15/11 - Word of Warcraft

So my last post got me all nostalgic as I thought back to some of my earlier Blizzard titles like Warcraft, Diablo and obviously StarCraft. I spent a lot of time on these games. But like many people, the Blizzard game I probably spent the most time on was World of Warcraft. In fact, I've been a player on two different occasions.

I did not play right when World of Warcraft began, but I was not terribly far behind. I spent a good deal of time playing Alliance and got a couple of characters to level 60, and even went ahead and did the same for some Horde on another server afterward. I was really big into it, had quite a few epics and eventually got tired of playing and just quit.

I was an awkward MMO player though, especially that first time around. I almost never grouped, at all. I hardly ever did raids of any kind, which meant I was missing tons of content. Sure, I'd go back and run lower level stuff when I was bored/high enough level to solo it, but I just never really wanted to group much.

Fast forward a couple of years or so, and several of my old real-life buddies I used to play D&D with are all playing World of Warcraft on the same server. They wanted me to start up again and went so far as to chip in and get me the expansions. I played (very) heavily once again, and shot multiple characters up through the ranks again. I was even more diligent this time, having all of the crafting professions completely covered, tons of really good gear and even ran instances now with my friends. It was certainly a lot more fun the second time around, but still not ideal.

On the one hand, I noticed I was sinking just an absolute ton of time into the game. I play video games very heavily, and even I had to admit my time spent was probably unhealthy. The other thing is I still tried to be a husband, parent, full-time employee and found myself distracted when trying to group. There's no pause button. If a kid gets sick or dinner boils over, I have to hop up and deal with it. Now, my friends were pretty understanding - they know me, know my family, but it still made grouping with other people pretty much a migraine for me.

Once I was at the top of the food chain yet again, all that was left was lots of grinding. The sense of exploration was gone and it was just more of a chore than fun - and steadily sapping away some money every month to boot. So, this account eventually went the way of my old one - given to someone else I knew.

Still, when I look back on it, I still enjoyed Wold of Warcraft a good deal. I'm a big fan of RPG games. I played more than my share of computerized/console titles and D&D over the years. I run a MUD with my wife, which I usually describe as online, text-based dungeons and dragons. It's easy to see the influence MUDs have had on the MMO community over the years. They were the first MMO's - just without graphics.

Unfortunately the Warcrafts of the world have had their own impact on MUDs, and it fewer and fewer people invest in MUDs than they used to. Our own game used to have 50+ players a night, and now on a good night we see maybe 10. I think if my wife had gotten into World of Warcraft, I'd still be playing it today. I love doing things with her - the MUD is an example of that, but she tried it and just never took to Warcraft - but at least she did try it.

Still, I have a lot of fun memories from my time spent there. I've tried looking at some of the free MMO's out there like Dungeons & Dragons and Lord of the Rings - and I once won a copy of Guildwars, and while there's good things about each of them, none of them ever captured my imagination quite the same way World of Warcraft did.

Any of you reading ever play a MUD, or a graphic MMO? Did you stick to it? Were you a loner or a grouper? Do you still play?

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