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I’m a gamer.  It’s simply part of who I am.  Sitting down and playing gives me a chance to blow off steam from a stressful day and regain the calm needed to face the ongoing challenges of life.  I’m also lucky enough to have a wife who not only understands this, but also enjoys the hobby as well.  Unfortunately, my platform of choice, the PC, is the neglected step-child of the gaming world in many ways.  This, however, has never been a major problem for me.

One of the biggest draws of the PC as a gaming platform is the Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game, or MMORPG.  This market has been dominated by games from “Everquest” to “World of Warcraft.”  I have been known, on occasion, to tout the advantages of these games as going beyond the scope of simple games and into the realm of socialization and the like.

What I haven’t mentioned is how long I looked at these games as ridiculous.

In fact, were it not for a friend talking me into starting up with “Dark Age of Camelot” years ago, I may never have jumped into the MMO pool.  I will tell you, though, one you jump in it can be hard to get out.  “Dark Age” was a prominent part of our lives for quite a while before we left.  “World of Warcraft” even more so.

But, recently, I began to have an epiphany.  I began to realize that while I continued to pay my monthly fee to play the game, my actual time in Azeroth was dwindling.  Dwindling markedly.  And, as I thought about it I began to realize why.  “WoW” was a lot like high school, in all the bad ways.  Maturity among players was the exception rather than the rule, as was even basic courtesy.  Guilds, while necessary to see any of the more interesting content of the game, quickly dissolved in to cliquish groups and contest drama.  And, so on and so forth.

I was paying a monthly fee to go back to virtual high school with all the fun ripped out.  It was adding stress and drama to my life, not relieving it.

So, my wife and I decided we would suspend our accounts for the time being.  We would take some time off and come back when the upcoming expansion is released.  It felt like a great decision.  A little time off and then come back to a fresh look and new content.

But, you know what?  The longer I’m away the less I want to go back.  The bold new direction in the world and all the shiny new stuff doesn’t excite me like it once did.  And, in truth, when they do release that expansion, I’m not sure I’m buying. Now, I’m not going to go so far as to say I’m done with MMO’s.  There are games on the horizon that pique my interest enough that I will probably be drawn back in at some point even if I never do return to Azeroth.

But, I think I’ve learned something from my time in “WoW.”  I’ve learned that perhaps that shiny new content or awesome new gear isn’t worth the aggravation of dealing with cliquish guilds and immature people with superiority complexes because of what they have accomplished in a virtual world.  I’ve remembered that games are supposed to entertain and allow one to relax and have fun.  I’ve remembered that when the game starts to feel like work and obligation you’re doing it wrong.

Let’s just hope the lesson sticks.



  1. I’m a gamer myself but I have never gotten into online gaming. I occassionaly will play with a friend but I’ve never been enamored with the concept. The majurity and the pettiness is an aggrivation. I enjoy the sotry and realxing gameplay of singles player.

  2. I am a gamer. I have followed you into the MMOs, first DAoC then WoW. However I will not be renewing my WoW subscription in Dec. As for the new expansion, I will not be buying it. I have the privilege of beta testing it so I will see most new content before the release, all be it in a sometimes broken format. I agree with you about the cliques and high school mentality, and I want to leave it behind. I will look to you for the next MMO run as I follow you in that regards.

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