I decided to make this a blog post, because after typing a bunch of this out in reply to the WoW forum thread, I realized it was a bit much on there.  Any feedback is appreciated, as I'd like to hear what other people have to say.

I quit a few months ago, though I don't know if it will stick.  I played since release, with a break a few months before Burning Crusade released (after Naxxramas [the original] came out) and then played through Burning Crusade up until a few months ago.  I've raided with a top 30 world guild, cleared every raid in the game (except for the original Naxxramas and everything after Trial of the Crusade).  I never PvP'd much unless it was organized by the guild I was in at the time. 

Even though I've "quit," I still find myself sometimes filling in an idle moment by looking at the WoW forums, or checking in with some old guild mates.  I feel that there are a lot of great things about the game, but many potential terrible things, based upon your personality and context.  Here are a few that I've thought about:


The Good

1.  It offers some type of reward for pretty much anything you decide to do with your time in game.  Hell, logging in on during an anniversary nets you a pet. Some people love manipulating the economy.  Others love the competitive aspect of PvP (arena or BG) and it's an easy way to get shiny purples, which you can now get in heroic 5-mans now, as well.  Others (like myself) get hooked on raiding.  For me, that was what I loved about the game; the first time I saw a Molten Giant in Molten Core, and listened to some dude named Frupert organize 39 other first-time raiders, gave me goosebumps.  Or the first time that my guild killed Lady Vashj (or any of the big raid bosses, especially the ones that were such a cockblock to get through, i.e. Vaelastrasz, Brutallus) and hearing the nerd-screams of a whole bunch of your close friends.  Great times.

2.  Playing video games with other people is fun.  Sure, there are a fair share of gamers out there who prefer single-player games, but there are an incredible amount of gamers who really enjoy the camaraderie of a guild.  I couldn't ever stand Trade or General chat, because yes, the game (and it doesn't matter what faction you're on) have their share of idiots.  But, if you found a solid guild, more than likely you'd meet some pretty cool and interesting people.  Like the girl who had pet sugar gliders, or the sheriff that had that pervy sense of humor.  The relationships you form in game become really strong rather quickly (at least I've found), and in my experience, this was in large part due to the raiding that we did together.  Spending 20+ hours a week with the same group of people focused on a shared goal is a pretty effective way of creating strong relationships, both good or bad.

The Bad

1.  It's fundamentally built upon the same principles as gambling, and online gaming addiction is increasingly being recognized as a disease, along the lines of alcoholism.  I won't do the Google-Fu for you, but it's easy enough to find articles that both support and attack this point of view.  Personally, I believe that if you have an addictive personality, that this is not a healthy past time for you.  There are plenty of people that are able to moderate their play; I know many people, including myself, who have been able to lead incredibly successful and productive lives in addition to being "hardcore" raiders.  But, that doesn't mean that this game may not be healthy for other personality types.  Everything in moderation is a great mantra, but for some people, their physiology isn't built that way and I don't think this is an issue that should be scorned or ignored.  I just suggest that if you're ever feeling like you're playing too much, that you take some time away from the game to give yourself some perspective.  If you can't take time away, I suggest that you find a way to quit.  Other hobbies, hell, other video games; seeing a psychiatrist; or wooing a girlfriend and/or boyfriend to have sex with; all good choices.

2.  You can never "beat" the game.  There is no end point.  There will always be a new tier of instance, season of arena, ridiculous timesink of an achievement, or what-have-you to chase after.  Sure, sometimes Blizzard will screw the pooch when it comes to stages of raiding or arena season (the doldrums between farming Naxxramas/Sartharion/Archavon prior to Uldaman's release come to mind), but they're pretty darn good game designers are extremely good at iterating and re-iterating game design in order to separate the wheat from the chaff.  You may love your purples (or even an orange!) for a while, but it'll be obsolete in a few months, and vendor trash when a new expansion comes out (unless you like to RP with some cool looking sets - too bad druids always get the shaft in their set designs).  Hence, there were times when I'd feel like a rat running the same race to same piece of government cheese at times when playing WoW, and with the added perspective of being a few months removed from the game (again) I am glad that I got out when I could (though the temptation of killing Arthas is starting to make me scratch at my skin like a fiending meth addict).


So, yeah.  Those are my thoughts.  Basically, WoW, like show business, is a hideous b*tch goddess.  I have no idea if I'll ever play the game again.  I'm glad that I've been able to remove myself from the game, but I also had to leave behind a lot of people that I really had no other connection with.  Sure, I e-mail a few of the closer ones from time to time, but for one reason or another, most of them are either still stuck playing the game for 20+ hours a week.  And I'll be honest, that is on the low, low side for what a lot of "hardcore" raiders play, especially when Blizzard decided that in order to be on the bleeding edge of content, you have to run the same instance 4 times a week (10 Normal/10 Heroic/25 Normal/25 Heroic) for however many months it takes you to farm full sets of gear for your entire guild.  And Buddha help you if you wanted to be on a high ranked arena team and raid. 

But, like I said, Arthas was definitely a dude I wanted to see go down.  So, if anyone wants a resto druid with gear from a tier ago for some casual/hardcore, 2-day-a-week 10-man (I can't handle the 25-man *** no mo') raiding, send me a message.  Who knows...


P.S.  I have 5 80's (shadow/disc priest, fire/frostfire mage, frost/blood death knight, prot/ret paladin and a feral/balance/resto druid <3), also possibly available for 2-day a week raiding.  Yes, I'm aware of how sad this is, and no, I don't care.