Breaking Up is Hard to Do

Launcher OrderI last wrote about my current frame of mind regarding World of Warcraft on October 24, 2015. Since then, I think I have logged in to WoW a total of perhaps twice. The interesting part is that I haven’t really missed it.

After playing the game since launch – coming on over 11 years now – nobody can question my devotion to the game. As I’ve said many times, it is a fantastic game and I have enjoyed my time in it. However, as life goes on and life priorities change, so do gaming priorities. Times change, and I have changed with it.

I had a good discussion on Twitter with my friend Vosskah. I agree with him that I believe that I have just out-grown the target demographic for WoW. While at one point I could do the extended gaming sessions to achieve my goals, I’m now looking for games where I can have brief matches to do what I want to do, then be done. There were many times when I had full-day gaming marathons full of WoW. I have been a subscriber to WoW for longer than I have been married or had kids. Where I am now is completely different than what I was back in November 2004.

As of February 1st 2016, I will cease to be a subscriber to WoW. I cancelled my recurring subscription, and it feels a bit liberating. This has been a thought of mine for a while now – I considered cancelling when it was previously up for renewal in August of last year. I remained subscribed at the time, which ended up being a waste of money. If I did log in, it was for a couple minutes at most, and more often than not I would just play Heroes or something else.

As the usual Blizzard fanboy that I am, I still am playing the other games – and WoW will never not be installed. I’m sure that one day I’ll be back. Going forward, I will continue to focus on getting not as crappy at Heroes of the Storm, and I’m very excited for when Overwatch is released later this year. My PS4 is getting good use, and my kids will never let me rest.

This is a bittersweet moment for me. I feel like I’m breaking up with a partner that I’ve had for the past 11 years, but after having slowly drifted apart. We’ll still remain friends, but we’ll see other people. Farewell for now, friend.

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Enjoyment Factor Versus Challenge

I mentioned before that I’ve been playing Heroes of the Storm quite a bit. I absolutely love this game, and have been having quite a bit of fun. While it’s not the first MOBA (or team brawler, or whatever we’re calling the game these days) I’ve played, it is by far the one that I’ve enjoyed playing the most.

League of Legends held my attention for quite a while, and I still really enjoy watching competitive play. It truly is amazing how people can get that good with a game. I’m sure it would be nice to be paid to play a game, but I’m sure it would stop being a game for them after a while. The reason I stopped playing LoL was because of how serious people were. If I didn’t take the exact right item at any point in a match, or if I made a misplay, or if I did the slightest thing “wrong” to them, they would flame me to no end. League is well known for this.

Enter Heroes of the Storm. As a whole, I’ve found that the community is very helpful and accepting of newer players. Of course there will always be those who are less than pleasant, but thankfully I’ve had little interaction with people like that. That brings me to my main point, which is the balance of enjoying what you’re playing versus having a challenge.

heroprofile 20151028I just reached 400 games played, and I’ve been at level 40 (max level) for a while. Slowly but surely, I’ve been leveling up my various heroes and trying to get better with them. For me, even at this level of experience with the game, the question is still what type of game I want to play.

A vast majority of the games I have played were Versus AI (335), and the rest have been Quick Match (65). With Versus AI, I’m sure that my win rate is around 95% or so, but with Quick Match it’s 52.75% (according to HotSLogs). Where the one side is much more satisfying, as there are more wins – there really is such a great feeling when it’s an extremely close match, and we can squeeze out a win in Quick Match. I want to get better at the game, and I know it’s not really easy to get better when you’re going against an easy opponent.

However, I just get nervous when I do Quick Match. Even though I’ve been doing a fair amount more of them recently than I did before, it’s not easy to pus that big blue button that says “Ready”. I haven’t done any Hero League games specifically to avoid that anxiety.

The more I play the game, I want to get even better at it. The enjoyment factor of winning is definitely there, and it just plain sucks to lose a game – even worse when it’s a losing streak. However, challenge brings out better thinking and encourages innovation in play styles. I know I’ll never be as good as the pro players, but hopefully I’ll at least not suck.

The Cold Dark Between

I don’t remember the last time I logged in to World of Warcraft to do something other than check my garrison. It’s been months. Unfortunately, I don’t really miss it either.

Right now it’s in that wonderful period between WoW expansions where people as a whole get bored. This started for me shortly after patch 6.1 was released, as I found that I wasn’t really getting what I used to out of the game. Things for me have changed quite significantly since I started the game, so it’s not entirely surprising that I’m not enjoying it as I did before.

While it’s understandable, I must admit that it’s a little bit sad for me to admit this. I’ve had a subscription to WoW since day one. I got my Wolfrider statue in the mail last year for the 10 year anniversary, and it is displayed in my house with pride. I have every single novel written, I have a bunch of other merchandise that shows how much I absolutely love this game.

At the moment, however, I don’t see myself returning until Legion. Even then, I’m not entirely sure if I’ll return since I don’t know what my frame of mind will be.

Don’t worry Blizzard, you still have my money.

In the past months, I’ve been keeping occupied with other Blizzard properties – actually, most of them. Heroes of the Storm has taken over most of my time, along with Diablo III and recently StarCraft II in preparation for the release of Legacy of the Void. Cities: Skylines and various PS4 games have rounded out my current playtime roster. Overwatch beta starts next week, and I’m really hoping I can get in on that load of awesome.

Having limited playtime, I’m finding that I want to play a game but I don’t know entirely what game I want to play. I play a few matches of Heroes and I’m done with that for the night. I play some Cities: Skylines for a bit, but not for an entire night. When I started WoW, I could play that game for hours on end and not get tired of it.

I realize that not all games can have that level of time associated with them – in how long it’s been out for altogether, or the long storied history it has. WoW is a unique game, and I’m pretty sure that the only thing that will come close to it again will be something made by Blizzard.

As I’m writing this, I’m listening to a Heroes of the Storm podcast while watching a Twitch stream of Heroes on my second monitor. For the moment, this will do fine. I really do hope that one day I’ll get back to WoW and enjoy playing it again.