Time to Suit Up Again

Last night I got a call from one of my employees. "This may be the weirdest call you ever get from me but ... you gotta talk me out of buying Cataclysm. I know I shouldn't do it, but the ads are everywhere!"

He's a recovering guild leader who has rediscovered his love for guitar and making music since shutting down his Blizzard account. I think I managed to talk him off the ledge, but we'll see if he shows up for work on time over the next few weeks.

Like him, I find myself drawn back to the flame, but I don't view Blizzard's latest with the jaundiced eye of the former addict. It's more a heady mix of being a gaming hipster (it's too popular now, I liked it in beta) and having seen enough people burn out because they couldn't just be on friendly terms with MMORPGs. They either seemed head over heels in love with the games or completely enraged by them. At least, that's what I try to console myself with as I hear countless inside jokes from a weekly group of friends that enjoy a lot of laughs every Monday as they assault dungeons together. Those bastards found a balance with WoW that I don't think I've ever trusted myself to find.

Like a hammer, video games are neutral tool right until you wrap your hand around the handle. After that, you're either hanging pictures or busting holes in the dry wall. Or clubbing yourself in the head. My relationship with WoW and games like it has always been soured by avoiding a lot of the best parts for fear of letting it take up too much of my time. Even a regular poker night takes planning and execution to get to the fun stuff. Resisting those time sucking elements of putting it all together saddles the genre with having to deliver a really fun gameplay experience without all the social trimmings that most of it is designed toward encouraging. It doesn't just kill my WoW experience, it practically destroys the whole genre before it even has a chance.

Sean Sands has been telling me for months now that Cataclysm fixes a lot of those time sucking issues and gets you into the good stuff faster. There's more gameplay variety too, so even if the party dynamics demand more time than I might be able to give, there should still be something worth the $40 to look forward to.

The same could have been said about the Lich King expansion to some degree -- so why buy Cataclysm now? I miss my friends, mostly. We podcast and chat and do all those good things, but we don't have time to play much like we used to. I can either stand on the sidelines and jeer at them or I can suit up and collect some crab meat. It may only get me through the winter draught until the new year, but that's probably better than standing out in the cold, peeking through the window.

Comments

I'll be joining the fray soon, but I don't think it's going to rule my life the way it used to - my inability to regularly join raids at the end of WotLK transitioned me from drywall-busting to hanging pictures (as you put it). There was no way I was going to be left out of all the Cataclysm-related watercooler chat on a Monday - or any other day, for that matter...

One of us.. one of us..

I was enabled by family getting back into it, more than anything else. The most surprising thing was logging into my old Main, Tanglebones and not recognizing most of the abilities in the bar. The spec (Ret. Paladin) had evolved so much in the last year that it was practically unplayable at a high level without context.

The secret will be to get Karla playing with you. Duoing in modern WoW is simply lovely.

I jumped back in about 5 weeks ago It's gonna be a fun ride

Yew wrote:

The secret will be to get Karla playing with you. Duoing in modern WoW is simply lovely.

I'm one of those people who hit myself over the head with WoW. I ain't a genius but I guess I'm smart enough to not pick up the hammer again.

Brennil wrote:
Yew wrote:

The secret will be to get Karla playing with you. Duoing in modern WoW is simply lovely.

I'm one of those people who hit myself over the head with WoW. I ain't a genius but I guess I'm smart enough to not pick up the hammer again. ;)

The only one smarter is the one who never picks up the hammer. I've never played an MMO. I'm scared of them.

I still don't have time for running instances and raiding. Typically when sitting down to play a game I don't know if I'll be able to play for 5 hours or 5 minutes.

I let my Wow account expire on 12/3/10 but played a little of the new starting zones before then. It still didn't do enough to make we want to re-up.

My relationship with WoW and games like it has always been soured by avoiding a lot of the best parts for fear of letting it take up too much of my time. Even a regular poker night takes planning and execution to get to the fun stuff. Resisting those time sucking elements of putting it all together saddles the genre with having to deliver a really fun gameplay experience without all the social trimmings that most of it is designed toward encouraging. It doesn't just kill my WoW experience, it practically destroys the whole genre before it even has a chance.

Speaking for myself, it does indeed destroy the whole genre. I know that games like World of WarCraft are highly social and demand coordination and a commitment of time that I'm not able and not willing to give. I'm both afraid of losing myself in them and simultaneously resentful of the expectation that I set aside a few hours at a time to really participate. Given a choice between playing World of WarCraft alone and not playing it at all, I'd rather just stay away.

Brennil wrote:
Yew wrote:

The secret will be to get Karla playing with you. Duoing in modern WoW is simply lovely.

I'm one of those people who hit myself over the head with WoW. I ain't a genius but I guess I'm smart enough to not pick up the hammer again. ;)

Sold my account, never look back. It was like a second job that I was paying for instead of getting paid for. Worst 6 months ever.

If I wasn't spending so much time with Rock Band 3, I would probably be giving this a go. I played WoW for about two years, from the humble beginnings right up until just before The Burning Crusade. I have to say, it was an excellent fun game, but the time commitment was just too much once I started working full time.

You need to come up with a command word that, when used, Karla knows to hit the main on the breaker box and grab the first aid kit. It should be a word that was used abusively during end-game EverQuest and that can be the signal flare that saves you from what entrapment lurks in the shadows World of Warcraft.

trueheart78 wrote:

You need to come up with a command word that, when used, Karla knows to hit the main on the breaker box and grab the first aid kit. It should be a word that was used abusively during end-game EverQuest and that can be the signal flare that saves you from what entrapment lurks in the shadows World of Warcraft.

Did you just tell the CEO he needs a safe word?

(Also, if you find yourself unable to speak, you could hold a tennis ball. If you drop it, your wife will know to stop help.)

ClockworkHouse wrote:
trueheart78 wrote:

You need to come up with a command word that, when used, Karla knows to hit the main on the breaker box and grab the first aid kit. It should be a word that was used abusively during end-game EverQuest and that can be the signal flare that saves you from what entrapment lurks in the shadows World of Warcraft.

Did you just tell the CEO he needs a safe word?

(Also, if you find yourself unable to speak, you could hold a tennis ball. If you drop it, your wife will know to stop help.)

Not a safe word, a signal word. That way when Karla hears it, she'll know her husband is in too deep and will need at least 4 kicks to bring him back to reality.

Also, holding a tennis ball requires a hand, which I'm pretty sure WoW will require both of (I think it's in the EULA).

Here's my question:

I'd have to buy (apparently) both Lich King as well as Cataclysm.. $70
And a subscription: $30 for the first month. That means this would be the one and only game I could get for the next couple of months.

I never found a good guild, and I was amazed at how long it took to organize people to play: I was impatient with anything but soloing. Of course, I hadn't found GWJ when I last played - maybe you guys would make it all worth it.

I lost interest halfway to the Burning Crusade level cap. It was clear I would never have the resources to be a really good healer (my chosen profession) and was generally ridiculed for not having the x10 awesomest gear.

So, what's the deal? Anyone here care to give me advice?

Nathaniel wrote:

$70
And a subscription: $30
...
So, what's the deal? Anyone here care to give me advice?

Stay away! Spend that $100 on the Steam holiday sale in a couple weeks, and you will end up with at minimum 10 games, probably something more like 20-25, and those will give you months of entertainment instead of 1.

I sympathize with Certis , as I feel very much the same about MMOGs in general and WoW specifically with the exception that I've never gotten into one in the first place for those very reasons.

What *I* would like to know is what do I get from the launch of Cataclysm as a new player playing without buying the expansion- I'm led to believe the overhauled starting areas would be there for me too, yes?

zipdrive wrote:

I sympathize with Certis , as I feel very much the same about MMOGs in general and WoW specifically with the exception that I've never gotten into one in the first place for those very reasons.

What *I* would like to know is what do I get from the launch of Cataclysm as a new player playing without buying the expansion- I'm led to believe the overhauled starting areas would be there for me too, yes?

That's right. You won't be able to play the starting areas for the new races (worgen and goblin), but you will be able to play the revamped starting areas for the original races. It's not just the starting areas either: all of the leveling content from the original game has been overhauled to a greater or lesser degree.

Well, I cracked. Got the whole shebang this morning.

*edit*

Oh, wait. 9 gigs of patches for the client on the Cataclysm disc, guess I'll be playing in a few months. That's pretty outrageous.

I absolutely and completely burned out on "classic" WoW. it was by and large a continuation of the mentality I was afflicted with in EQ, where I poured every second of my available time into trying to "beat" an unbeatable game.

Some time before TBC came out, I finally outgrew that mindset. I realized that anything other than moderation is a really bad idea for me; when you try to gobble up a game like WoW in a single bite, you're just left with indigestion. I returned mid-TBC and tasted what I wanted from it, then set the game aside again and ignored WotLK entirely.

Coming back now, I can't help but marvel at how much better the game is, but also can't help but notice how much it's still WoW. I'm going to get my money's worth just poking and prodding at the things that have changed, but I can already tell that I'm not in for the long haul. If you left WoW for any reason, this is the time to give it a second chance; even if you don't find a reason to stick with it, just seeing what they've done with the place is worth the return trip.

Kind of like stopping by your childhood home: it's a nice place to visit, and it's great to see what it looks like with a new coat of paint, but I just wouldn't want to live there again.