Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Thrawn Got WoWed

If you've seen my automatic daily tweet from Raptr, the secret is already out. I've taken the plunge on an MMO again, giving the biggest of them all a shot.

I traded in a few crap old games and a 20GB hard drive in exchange for the World of Warcraft Battle Chest, which had the core game and first expansion. It was basically free, since I just got rid of stuff I didn't care for. This is almost like a glorified 30 day trial.

Fear not, blog readers. No matter how into the game I get, this blog will not become a WoW blog. If I choose to write about WoW, I will make a seperate blog for that, as the two audiences are likely very different. Mentions of WoW here going forward will mostly be in discussion of how the game fits into the larger world of games.

I have parental controls turned on myself, limiting my play to a max of 12 hours a week. I don't want to get too sucked in, or neglect all other gaming. (Yes, this could turn into a total joke, as I set my own limits and could easily change it any time. It's up to my self-discipline not to.)

Why get into an MMO again? I have several reasons:

1 - The appeal of a persistent character. The coolest thing about MMOs is having an alter-ego that you can spend hundreds of hours adventuring with and not get bored. There's tons of things to do, and always some way to improve. I enjoyed thins in EQ2 more than your regular RPGs, as the sensation of growth lasts longer than even the longest offline RPGs. I've always enjoyed the growth more than being Godlike at the endgame.

2 - The social aspects. With my work schedule, I have a lot of weekdays off, which aren't the best days for having a social life. Add to that that most of my friends are at least an hour away, and it's an infrequent treat that I get to spend time with my friends. While I try to establish some local relationships (bonus points if I don't work with these people), it's nice to have an online group of people to BS and have fun with when there's nobody else around to hang out with. I've been disappointed with the level of interactivity I've had with people over Live. Nobody talks in MP. I'm never in any party chats (I'm sure I'm partly to blame for that).

3- It's cheap entertainment. I can't get the complaining about subscription fees for MMOs. These games are ungodly expensive to maintain. I think I read somewhere (don't quote me), that it costs in excess of $15 million a month to keep WoW going. Yes, I know they make that back times a jillion, but still, there's upkeep involved. In my books, if you play the game just 30 minutes a day (15 hours a month), you're getting your money's worth, as that's just $1 per hour. Lool at the other games in your collections. How many of them cost $1 per hour or less for the entertainment they provided? Probably less than 25% of them, unless you're a true bargain bin raider. I'm starting to try to save money like a bastard (partly as proof to myself that I actually CAN), so dropping the more expensive Gamefly and trimming other game purchases to the true AAAs that I want is a way to start. I can always rent from Family Video if I want to check out a different game.

Or borrow it from Silva. That man buys EVERYTHING.

4- Curiosity: WoW has over 12 million players. It's been around the block for six years, and has a huge number of player blogs and sites surrounding it. It has its own norms and internet sub-culture. It has its own collective history. As someone fascinated by the sociological implications of things, I live for this shit. I spend an entire semester researching WoW from the outside (and I got paid for it, by the way), and now I'm curious to observe these types of social dynamics from within.

So yes, I'm dipping my feet into WoW. We'll see how that goes. You'll still see me on Live plenty. I'm not about to retreat into an MMO cave of obsession or anything. I promise. (Oh, and this way I'll probably be the only one who hangs out with Sabre LOL. I rolled my character on his server so we could chill. Helps to have one person you know in the game with you.)

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