One Hundred Days of Blogging – Day Thirteen

“Happy Monday!” – said no sane person in the history of the planet. What is it about Mondays that make me want to apply a cattle prod to people’s eyeballs? I mean, sure, most people approach Monday with all the charm and cheer of Garfield (or, if you’re feeling a bit surreal, Garfield Without Garfield). That’s probably not helping anyone.

Maybe it’s because a weekly adventure at The Wacky Shack may involve watching The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, if only because Brianne watches it while chatting with her friends about how bad it is (and other things that actually matter). These shows are a special kind of Hell, and they certainly only contribute to the Monday miasma of shittiness. No, WordPress, I don’t mean skittishness back there. I can’t judge them for their Monday night television choices, because I’ve got plenty of guilty pleasures, too (arguably not nearly as bad as watching The Bachelor or The Bachelorette, but I suppose that’s a bit subjective).

This post has been lurking around in the back of my thoughts for a while, and so I’m going to put it to work. Shameless geekery ahead.

Day Thirteen – Guilty Pleasures: My Love-Hate Relationship with World of Warcraft

My brain just completely froze from the feeling of being judged for that ridiculous title. It’s pretty common knowledge that I used to play World of Warcraft. It started simple enough, and I’m pretty sure it’s the topic of an older blog post (read as “I’m too lazy to dig it up and I know damn well nobody’s going to search for it”). I was downloading my beta access to StarCraft II, and Battle.net was being stubborn. My account decided I wanted to try the week-long trial of WoW. Up until that point, I was very fond of making fun of WoW, and everything to do with it, because it was an easy target. It’s still an easy target. If you disagree, I’m willing to bet you’ve got at least two max-level toons with a full set of the most recent tier of raid gear.

Everything about the game, from the victories gained through leveling up, running new dungeons, and so on, to the overall lore involved (let me tell you all the shit I remember from the WoW universe, and prepare to get really bored) just seemed so fantastic. My personality type does not mix well with things designed to play to addiction potential, and so I found myself with a level 80 character after a few months. That is not a point of pride for me, I should stress. I started with a Human Warlock (because Warlocks seemed the best choice for my fire-and-brimstone personality, and humans because I am the blandest man alive). Named him Kazadiel, and still don’t know where that name came from. He’s been through multiple server transfers, faction changes, and so on, and is still lurking on my account somewhere (which is presently not active, thankfully, and protected by an authenticator).

My goal was a simple one, and I don’t even know when it started, but I wanted to be part of a proper raid. Since I started during the end days of Wrath of the Lich King, my choice was easy. I wanted to raid Naxxramas. I still have an unhealthy obsession with Kel’Thuzad, who quickly became one of my favorite villains in the Warcraft universe. I leveled so fast for the chance of raiding Naxx, and thanks to many patient friends I got to do so time and time again.

I bring all of this up because Hearthstone is releasing the first bits of Curse of Naxxramas tomorrow. I still feel the occasional draw to WoW. Not ashamed to admit that, by the way, because I made some really terrific friends thanks to that ridiculous time-sink of a game. I had a lot of really terrific times with people who live states away, and many of those raids or quest-binges happened to coincide with some pretty bad rough patches in college (when I felt alone, for instance). The introspection is strong in this post.

My problem with World of Warcraft, and there are people who are cringing just reading this I’m sure, is I can’t seem to get where I need to be numbers-wise to do the raiding I want to do. My DPS is spotty, at best, and the feeling of being left out of a raid (read this as though you’re watching someone adjust their glasses the whole time if it helps any) is pretty awful. That felt so ridiculous to type out. My frustrations translated to issues with people in-game, which made things feel more like a chore than a means to wind down and get away from the boredom of everyday stuff. When I logged in, my mind was focused on what raid bosses I could potentially get to kill that day. My problem was that being a Warlock meant being squishy, and depending on others for raids to form up. Yes, I’ve seen people solo Malygos on a Warlock before. I am not that sort of person.

Edit/Update: Sentimental shit time, here. I owe a lot to the terrific folks in Pandora’s Box (the guild I was a part of), and then to Undeterred (the guild that happened when many of us split from PB). They helped enable me to get to Naxx for the first time, and gave me a home and a chance to get into raiding when it was damn-near impossible elsewhere. I’m happy to say I’m friends with a good few of these people on Facebook, Twitter, and so on. I apparently failed to listen to the whole spiel about not befriending people on the internet, but in this case it turned out pretty well. These were the people who were there for me when some of my friends I’d known for years conveniently fell off the planet, and that deserves mentioning. They’re also a big part of why quitting WoW was such a difficult decision. The frustrations of not enjoying the game as much, and feeling like it was a chore, were easily outweighed by not spending time with these people regularly (although I would rather set myself on fire than ever try another Challenge dungeon again; fuck that very much).

There are a lot of pros to me giving up WoW. It became easy to acknowledge that it took up time I should have spent writing and editing, and it definitely took up time I should have spent on schoolwork. I mean, realistically I would’ve found other ways to procrastinate, but I have to say that so I feel a little better. Maybe. It eliminated arguments I would get into relating to not being included, or feeling left out because of various reasons, which was certainly a plus. I became a little less of a hermit (though the unexpected flip-side of that was going back to a certain level of loneliness that was quite unpleasant). Having an extra $15 each month was nice, but I can’t really say that kind of money would make or break me.

I’m willing to bet that, should I have the money and find myself in the right mood, I’ll give WoW another chance by the time Warlords of Draenor comes out. I’ve heard some good things sprinkled in the sea of disappointment many of my friends have been adrift in. It’s fun and familiar, and it sure as hell got more attention during my college years than many of my console games (sorry, Sony and Microsoft).  Maybe, just maybe, I’ll try something new with the game in hopes of finding a class better suited for my playing abilities. Maybe I’ll keep to working on Kazadiel until I learn how to Warlock better.

Or maybe I’ll just go back for a month, get frustrated again, and say fuck it. Who knows? Regardless of all of this, WoW occupies a special, extra-nerdy place in my heart. The sort of place that DMs its own D&D campaigns, complete with custom rules and hand-drawn dungeon maps. I found a weird, awkward sort of second home in Azeroth for a few years (I refuse to look at my hours played, by the way), and so I think I’ll always have these “what if I gave it another try” moments.

Eighty-seven days remaining.

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