Friday, September 21, 2007

Why I left World of Warcraft (including some thoughts on Guilds)

Following my recent frustrations with LOTRO DM Osbon mentioned that he was thinking of going back to WOW and asked if I might consider the same. Even though it is eighteen months since I stopped playing I felt an involuntary wince at the suggestion of going back. That set me thinking of why I left the game and why it still causes such an emotional reaction.

One reason I left was that I was spending far too much time on the game. After four months of playing I was logging in for three to four hours every day and spending hours more browsing internet forums, blogs and help sites relating to the game. Although I have been a gamer for many years this was my first MMORPG and I was ultimately appalled by the amount of time involved. This was time that was robbed from family, from real life activities at home and in work and it was time robbed from enjoying other games. To make matters worse I realised that even though this was an unacceptable time commitment for me it still only put me in the casual player category - far below the commitment of dedicated end game raiders.

Another less obvious but perhaps more lingering reason was my terrible disillusionment at what WOW end-game does to Guilds. Like many newbie MMORPGers I played the game for some time before joining a Guild. Being invited into a friendly casual guild was a revelation opening up new dimensions to my gaming experience. As I have said this guild was friendly and casually oriented. Guild chat was used for gossip. High level members helped out lower levels. The Guild organised regular events like treasure hunts which were open to all. Guild meetings often ended in a drunken Tavern crawl. Even though real life commitments often prevented me from contributing fully to guild events I really enjoyed the friendliness of it all.

As the server matured more players began to reach the level cap and in order to continue their advancement they were forced to look seriously at their play style and at their guild. If these players wanted to continue advancing they would have to become a lot less casual and that meant either the guild must change or they must abandon it for a more serious "end game" focussed guild. My internet reading convinced me that this problem wasn't unique to our guild or to our server. I came across many many stories of friendly fun guilds who failed to survive the transition to end-game.

Perhaps the biggest eye opener for me was when the leader of the largest and most prominent guild on the server publicly announced his resignation so that he could take a humble foot soldier position in a raiding guild. The large guild was of course a casual guild and despite its size it was unable to withstand the transition to end-game. According to Warcraft Realms that guild has only one active member left today. The fact is that WOW's end game destroys guilds. In particular it destroys friendly casual guilds, the kind of guild I want to play with. I still haven't forgiven WOW for that.

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4 comments:

Syncaine said...

Did you happen to catch my post about my experience with WoW endgame? Somewhat similar to your experience, but pushed quite a bit further. I left out that long before we started raiding, we were also a family guild, and it ended in much the same way you describe.

Here is the direct link.
http://syncaine.wordpress.com/2007/09/13/looking-in-the-mirror-the-sickness-that-was-wow-raiding/

Syncaine said...

Ha, it cut the link, damnit.

http://syncaine.wordpress.com/
2007/09/13/looking-in-the-mirror-
the-sickness-that-was-wow-raiding/


Hopefully that works, sorry for the double post.

mbp said...

The link still doesn't work for me Syncaine but I found the article by searching your blog. Thank you for pointing it out - it makes a very sobering read. It certainly convinces me that I was right to get out when I did. I'm going to add a link to your post up above for those who don't read comments.

DM Osbon said...

Sure I agree that WoW sucks away time...if you let it. I have learnt some good lessons about time management playing WoW & feel i can return to the game when i want to & not when the game dictates.

WoW wants you to be be ever present because the game servers are up to now & that's how the money is made but you can be clever enough to resist spending your £'s if you are not playing.

Guilds become too precious & I agree that end game guild raiding is aimed at heavy game time which is poor. There is casual & there is casual...guilds need to understand & stand up for variation within play styles more.