The WoW monkey.
That all too familiar monkey-on-the-back known as World of Warcraft can be felt niggling at the edges of my psyche, threatening to rear it’s ugly head once more. The idea has sparked a number of thought tangents as of late as I find it hard to believe that, for the first time in the past twelve years, I don’t have an active MMORPG subscription. This of course is not for want of trying, as I’ve wasted so much money over the last two years or so buying up every new MMO release only to be disappointed and fifty quid out of pocket each and every time.
I was chatting online with my brother the other day who mentioned he was playing Everquest again, and I felt all at once the excitement of reliving the glory days of MMO gaming coupled with the knowledge I would be disappointed upon return, out another month’s subscription fee, and out several hours of my life that I’ll never get back spent wresting my account from Sony Online Entertainment’s crippled clutches once more, as is want to happen each and every time.
But more to the point, I didn’t feel that familiar drive that used to accompany talk of playing another MMORPG after a dry spell. Chat with me long enough about games and chances are you’ve seen my eyes sparkle and voice drop to a hushed, reverent tone at the very mention of Everquest, which I maintain was and will forever remain the pinnacle of the MMO gaming experience. Everquest is the Chateau Lafite of MMOs: a rare, delicious treat to be savored by the discerning MMO aficionado; from a time in MMO gaming where the men were men and the women were men and games were actually fucking difficult. Of course not nowadays as the magic has died away, leaving just a husk of what it formerly was. Which is why I couldn’t understand why my brother had chosen to go back and play among the last hearty few who remain in Norrath.
And perhaps it wasn’t the game that died out, but that little fire inside me that always maintained a love (and sometimes: an unhealthy obsession) for the genre. There was a time before my pregnancy with Maddie that all we did was work and play WoW. Nowadays if the newbie experience isn’t enough to make me quit, my pragmatism usually is. Normally it only takes a few hours to go from being excited by the prospect of having an MMORPG to play to realizing I have such a small window of time to play that I’ll never be able to keep up with my guild, or go on raids, and the one person who would take a zillion years to level with me (aka hubs) doesn’t want to play another MMORPG. The last time I resubscribed to WoW I paid for the monthly fee, paid for the Cataclysm expansion, paid for a faction change, and then played for a grand total of forty-five minutes before deciding that I don’t feel like going to X and killing Y amount of Z anymore.
Nowadays my gaming needs are far more suited to the single player RPGs. I’ve recently enjoyed playing both Fallout 3 and Skyrim through on second runs and, when the mood strikes, I may start up a new venture on Minecraft. I still get little urges to try and go back to World of Warcraft, but I’m pretty good at talking myself out of doing it now. One day at a time, you guys…. one day at a time.