Thursday, January 02, 2014

Even Better Than the Real Thing

Feel free to steal away :D

Many things will be changing around these parts in 2014, and the game is likely to be just one of them.

This year we will be taking the notion of faffing to an entirely new level. For those of you not familiar with said concept, faffing is defined as follows:

Thank you,!

What this basically means is playing Warcraft... well, not quite as seriously as perhaps you might when you're gunning for that Server First or that top Challenge Mode time. Often, faffing turns into something quite productive (last night's helping out a mate in Ulduar 25, for instance.) It began as a 'lets give her a hand to get some achieves she doesn't have' and ended up... well, it took on a bit of a life of it's own.

Total for the night = 180 points. Not bad ^^

I like to call this sort of activity 'comfort gaming': doing what you want to do, in your timeframe, rather than being bound by what has become an increasingly restrictive set of 'demands': in fact, I suspect this kind of activity is EXACTLY what Blizzard will be trying to aim for when we finally see Warlords: a move away from a strict 'plan' when you play. I'll anticipate less 'you must do this to then do that' in our new expansion and more of a free-form approach: picking and choosing what you want to do without a penalty. In effect, the Year of Faff means approaching gaming where you decide on a character by character basis what is the priority, as opposed to the game instructing you what you need to do in order to make progress. It's also a chance for you to take a moment and assess your situation, to still play without the need to feel there always has to be a plan. Part of me knows as a GM there would be a market for organising planned runs of old content, but by doing just that these things lose a large part of their enjoyment, and (like it or not) undue pressure is introduced because people expect a certain result. By introducing structure, expectations change.

This is absolutely vital to understanding why I've faffed for as long as I have, and that you can achieve great things if you're prepared not to do everything immediately.

Only one more left now. Oh yes.

The key, in the end, is understanding the limitations of your ability. I can't make the RNG roll over and gift me the Tol'Vir Archaeology Mount, so I have a choice. I can keep trying and hope, or I can move on. The same is true for any aspect of any game, in effect: yes, you can cheat and buy your way in at the front door [*]. If that's what makes you happy then by all means go ahead and do just that, if that's how you obtain your satisfaction. Some of us, however, don't want an easy way in, and for us the process of time and effort is, in effect, its own reward. That's what makes everyone different. I'd expect Blizzard to be exploring as many inroads as it possibly can with Warlords, because that's what gaming companies do. For me, I'll get there eventually, I always have. Not being first is something I'm getting quite comfortable living with to boot.

So this year you'll be hearing a  lot more about #YEAROFFAFF both here and on Twitter. Don't worry about it for now though, you enjoy the last few days off if you still have them. There's plenty of time to sort all this out, eventually.

There's no rush, after all.


[*] Yes, I've read the MMO Article. Yes, it will happen, because that's how Blizzard make money from the people who want stuff now and are rich enough to pay for it prepared to stump up the cash. For those of us who have other priorities, not so much.

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