Archive for August 14th, 2012

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WoW: One Step At A Time

August 14, 2012

Archaeology – my current on-going project.

It’s no secret that I’m going to be plunging headfirst back into World of Warcraft later this fall when the Mists of Panderia expansion comes out (already preordered the Collector’s Edition), but I made my return to the game earlier than expected when I reactivated my subscription last week. I don’t plan on playing full-on until at least September, but I did want to give my guild a heads up as well as to reconnect with some old friends before coming back. Thus I’ve been casually hopping in and out of the game for the last few days, putting in some time during the day whenever I have it to spare.

I won’t lie; jumping back into WoW after a long absence is always a bit of a shock for me. As always, so much has changed and I find my knowledge of the game to be hopelessly outdated. New content has been added, and I inevitably find myself like a deer caught in the headlights, paralyzed with fear in the face of all this stuff that’s available for me to do. I’ve logged in before just to stand in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Stormwind and stare slack-jawed at the screen for several minutes. That’s how I get when I have no idea what to do with myself.

Still, that’s not always bad. I have many gripes about the WoW when it comes down to their brand of endgame gear grind, but one thing I’ve always appreciated about the game is its diverse offering of side activities and “fluff” things to do, even — or should I say, especially — on my level-capped main. When I have a max-level character, I’m generally used to trying to find activities to occupy my mind, not being inundated with them.

Here’s also where I feel obligated to bring up my love for achievements. For a completionist like me, nothing can beat the joy or satisfaction of being to knock them out one by one like items on a to-do list, so there’s that. But in WoW, I’ve found that they can also serve as helpful focus points for the times I feel overwhelmed and unsure where or how to start. They break the content up into organized and manageable chunks, and I get to work towards a doable goal. Now I log in, choose one, and off I go, while setting aside the rest as distractions (for the moment).

The fact that not all the achievements are “serious” is my favorite part about the WoW achievement system. They range from heroic challenges to stuffing yourself full with in-game candy, from catching a pile of fish to getting all mushy with woodland animals. I tend to forgo the PvP or dungeon-centric ones to tackle the exploration, crafting, and loremaster achievements, as well as the “frivolous” ones that involve in-game events or pet collecting.

The wide variety makes this game extremely attractive as a daytime MMO for me, when the availability and duration of my gaming sessions are solely determined by the sporadic napping patterns of my infant daughter. By the way, my little Princess Crank Monster hates to nap. Like, absolutely hates it. She’ll fight sleep every chance she gets, and will only stay snoozing anywhere from 15 minutes to just over an hour during her nap times in the day.

This actually makes WoW pretty perfect, because I never know exactly how long I have to play. Sure, dungeons and raids are out because as soon as the baby wakes up crying it means I’m off the game. Still, but one quick rundown of my achievement panel shows there’s plenty other things I can set out to work on and accomplish — activities I can pick up and do whenever I want, whether I’m on for five minutes or five hours. Until now, I think that’s always something I’ve taken for granted.