Just as a reminder, next Monday, WoW will turn 8 in Europe, just think about how much your life has changed in 8 years, even if you weren't playing back in Vanilla.
The last few days has been a slog.
Writing every day about something that has become a part of your life can often be hard work. This has a lot to do with the amount of time and effort you are prepared to put into a project over a continued and protracted period of time, and everyone who has that kind of long-term commitment will tell you that sometimes a break is a good thing. Except, in this game, taking a break can be harder than it looks. Maybe it is because of the nature of the Daily Quest, which I'm seeing more and more commentators admit has become a millstone around the neck of players, brokering commitments that can exhaust and demotivate. The Legendary Quest similarly is making people do things that they might have normally overlooked or ignored on a repetitive basis, and I'm seeing similar sentiments. Has this game stopped being enjoyable and started being a job?
I have a couple of friends who read here who returned to the game after pretty much missing Cataclysm altogether: a couple of nights ago I informed one of them that both Scholo and Scarlet Monestary had completely changed, a fact which they met with a measure of sadness, and it occurred to me that as much as it matters where you are in relation to things, it is more about what matters most to you. We return to the land of the subjective experience, where the game continues to appeal to the broadest of churches, simply because the vast majority of individuals taking part here DON'T play on a daily basis to begin with. Those of us who blog or write over a protracted period really do see the game with a vastly different set of eyes to those people who's idea of gaming is a couple of hours a few times a week. It is easy to forget that, and that will have a significant effect on the things we say.
Eight years really is a long time. My daughter is the milestone I use, and when she starts talking about birthday parties I know it is almost time to mark another day in my head. She has never existed in a world where the World of Warcraft did not exist. At least one friend I know met their partner, was married and divorced in eight years. Many people won't remain in a house for that long. When you place markers like this next to an interactive experience, its longevity is always cause for amazement, a fact most people inside playing seem happy to forget when it serves a particular agenda. You want to enjoy yourself, but you can't because of X, and that is somehow the fault of the guys who wrote the game, when more often than not it's how you judge X against a set of criteria that has more relevance to you. I seem to keep having this same discussion, over and over, and it is NEVER the same issue at the core of the argument: PvP, raiding, dailies, even pets come in for criticism. There's always something... and in the end it is because some people just like to be unhappy, often because having that control over a game is preferable to feeling you have none at all.
Even when me and the game have our fallow periods, I am able to grasp the positives. Writing has become my way of rationalising my issues, removing the need for forum trolling or GM tantrums with the Guild. As a tool it has become incredibly useful, and it is why I keep encouraging people to write with honesty, why I will retweet anything on my Twitter feed that I feel has any relevance to the business of being in the game. It's also why I get increasingly wary of those that think that writing will bring their biased or overly-introspective opinions validity: if you want to use words, you need to understand their real strengths, not how they can be warped. Anyone can write, but to be objective about an opinion you have a passionate stance on is a rare gift indeed. There are too many people who feel that criticism is the only tool required to change the world. Oh, if only that were true.
More people need to be happy about the game, it occurs to me. It would mean I wouldn't have to wade though pages of content on what's wrong with things, for starters, and that can only be a good thing. Making people happy tends to occur regardless, of course: people who have no problems don't complain on forums, or tell anyone they're happy only in the rarest of circumstances. It occurs to me therefore that I will take this opportunity to wish Blizzard a happy 8th Birthday in Europe, and say that I'm happy with the way things are right now. Even if my Sha Touched Weapon refuses to drop (or indeed any weapon that's not blue) I get this is how things work, that there has to be balance and that means sometimes you're not the one who's on the heavier side of the scales. I'm fine with that, because when I look at eight years of game play, I know that everything really does even out in the end.
There are always more reasons to be cheerful. You just have to look for them.