14 Days And 14 Nights In AzerothNovember 7, 2011
So about a couple weeks ago when the weather started getting really cold, I couldn’t take it anymore and decided to dig out my winter clothes for the season. Out popped my World of Warcraft authenticator from one of my jacket pockets, where it had been lying in wait through the spring and summer, like some sort of weird reverse hibernation. I must have left it in there back in February or March around the time I stopped playing Cataclysm.
Perhaps serendipitously, I had received an email from Blizzard a few days before, offering me a 14-day free pass to return to WoW and check out some of the new stuff. I figured, what the hell, it’s no skin off my nose–or my wallet, for that matter.
Anyway, I don’t know what it is, but when I finally finished patching up the client again and got back in it to play, I felt really happy. No matter what I say or feel about WoW, there’s just something about that game. It’s a comfort zone, like a favorite chair with your butt groove still perma-dented in it so you can just ease right back in.
Even so, out of the two weeks, I only managed to get in about 3-4 nights. And fine, while I did a variety of activities, admittedly most of it was camping the auction house and running around Azeroth doing quests for the vanity pets that I’ve missed since I left (pet addiction strikes again). I was busy, and couldn’t really convince myself I wanted to play much more than that. I just didn’t feel the pull.
I know many who would take this experience and say they’ll never go back to WoW, but I personally don’t like saying never or closing doors to possibilities forever. In fact, what my 14 days did teach me isn’t that I can never go back to WoW, but that I can’t ever go back to it and make it my long-term MMO. I am, perhaps, doomed to return to it again and again, albeit between loooooong hiatuses, and play for short bursts at a time–even if it’s only during new expansions and when Blizzard deigns to offer me free passes.
It’s like a reunion with a former lover with whom you’ve remained friends. It’s kind of a blast getting together over coffee a couple times a year to reminisce about old times, and relive the best moments the two of you had together. Yes, there’s still that old spark but the chemistry’s gone. You both play catch up and take note of what’s changed and what has stayed the same, but anything more just isn’t in the stars.
If WoW is going to become one of those games that I revisit again every once in a while for some casual play, I’m actually quite happy with that. I confess I still do that with a lot games, with both MMOs and single-players, mostly for nostalgia purposes, even going so far as to pull out the old DOS emulator sometimes to play the games I did when I was still in grade school. When it comes to WoW, I also still have a deep attachment to my main character, and no matter how long I go between my absences, every time I see her do that stupid little “Night Elf female hop” on my character screen it still makes me smile. I don’t think that feeling will go away anytime soon.
On another note, I was shocked to see that I hadn’t been kicked out of guild when I logged back in for the first time since last winter. It was more quiet than I remembered, but friends I knew from a year ago still greeted me with gusto. Those that played the most, the ones I trusted to see on at practically all hours of the day, they’re still there. They’re the ones I think that will be there until the game shuts down. I can honestly tell they love the game, are happy with it and don’t care what anyone else says. It made me think WoW might not be a long-term game for me, but I want to aspire to that kind of contentment for anything I enjoy doing in life.