Why I Left World of Warcraft

Has it been six years already?

Let’s get something clear first. I am in no way saying World of Warcraft is bad – but, recently, the world of Azeroth has changed. The game has shifted the goalposts, and I found myself unable to change with it. It’s still an expansive world to explore and enjoy. But eventually, you have to accept that the game may not be scratching that itch anymore – and that’s when it hits you. You are not the player they want, and end up left behind wondering why its changed so radically.

And by this, I am not talking about actually changing the game world. As time goes on and more content is added, of course you will change the landscape – and recycle content. That’s just how it is. You journey on as you have always done – and try to embrace the changes, even if that means accepting Garrosh as leader of the Horde (which is a bit like electing Lindsey Lohan as US President – the rest of the sane world will look at you and say “What the **** is wrong with you people?!”). No, the game does need to change.

But the goalposts don’t.

And herein lies the nub of much of the dissatisfaction people feel. I could go on about technical issues, the idea people can buy pets and mounts for real money (Which is a bit cheesy) and the fact it feels like the writers are all face-down in pools of their own vomit after six years on the bourbon. But for me, I could probably get my head around some of it – you don’t have to buy pets or mounts. Technically speaking, mechanics evolve and as much as rogues have been stuck in a rut, it’s just going to take time to evolve. And as for the writing, perhaps someone will eventually sober that department up enough to write something interesting again.

No. I left WoW because I feel it’s forgotten the second M in MMO – multiplayer.

Oi, you, no raising your eyebrow. I mean it. My issue is that it doesn’t feel like a world where you interact with others anymore – it’s been segregated, barriers have been raised and interaction between individuals is limited to within their guilds, with absolute disgust for those who peer outside its walls.

Guild perks and levels only served to make issues. When they lowered the barrier for making guilds – made it cheaper and require less people overall – you got an influx of guilds. The pool, for most, dried up. When that happens, you bet things get ugly – guilds who were once allies and friends began to try and hurt each other, score points, cannibalise each other. It made the whole concept of “guild” a competitive experience, where the only boundaries were not swearing too much. And even then, once it got past a certain stage, the language became obscene enough to make being in any public channel a painful experience.

And why did they do it? Because we’ve lied to ourselves and each other for years.

Many of us co-operated with other guilds in the past. Part of the whole MMO thing was learning to work in a world full of real people – by making friends, by teaming up for challenges. It wasn’t always that guilds were big enough, or had the right people, so we had communities who ran raiding schedules whilst not being tied to a guild – and very successfully in the majority of the cases.

We group with strangers all the time – and yet it’s only to the upper regions we refer to “PUG” as a dirty word. We’re afraid of jerks, egos and ninja looters. Truth is people, they’re a minority that are only more commonplace by alienating the very tool put in place to help you. By demonising the LFD tool, you have bred a monster – and it has been claimed by that monster, and until people grow a pair, they will continue to dominate it.

Many of us worked as traders – I am a talented raider. But – 100k gold says I am a better player of the auction system. And yes, that’s always been competitive, but many of us networked as a result of our labours. We got to know people, guilds, we remained neutral and worked for multiple clients, who often were polite and would involve you in their worlds – talk about their lives, offer spare spots in groups, events and raids, help you with spare materials from time to time.

When guilds were segregated, that almost all went out the window. As guilds chased their own achievements, they took on their own crafters. And the AH prices became obscene for those left – too many trying to supply, and yet not enough demand, so prices began to fluctuate on the essentials. And rarer items became more overpriced, as whelp pets quadrupled in value and BoE epics reached 50,000 gold. The whole market shifted as a result of guilds feeling like they had to operate in an insular fashion and shun outside assistance, leaving a desolate and fragile system struggling to survive.

Apparently, we as players asked for this. We didn’t like the multiplayer part – we just wanted a team-based game with smaller, harder instances and raids and e-peen massaging achievements for doing stupidly boring tasks like killing 100,000 critters.

Maybe I am an old fuddy-duddy, but this time last year we may have been a bit bored of Wrath, but the servers were a happier, less hostile place to be. People laughed and joked with each other in the towns and cities, did stuff together, did old raids together, hunted rares together. And seeing the state of Azeroth now, I can’t take it. It’s not right. Years of perfectly good mechanics gone because we’re being told “You wanted this!”.

Well, I didn’t. And therefore I’ve unsubscribed and am taking my custom elsewhere. Which is sensible I think, and maybe after six years it was time for me to move on to pastures new anyway – Azeroth, despite getting bigger, was feeling a lot smaller to the end as we confined ourselves to the cities and the tools at our disposal, not needing to venture into the wilderness unless we were lonely idiots who wanted to compete with druid farmers. And Zul’Aman felt wrong as well – my favourite raid became… something I didn’t expect. A rather dull heroic. So maybe it was time to move onto a new world and explore it.

Azeroth will always have my heart. But I felt like its own heart had stopped beating… and it hurt me to see it that way.

Goodbye, old friend. I’ll remember the amazing times we’ve shared over the years – not what you were forced to become…

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