Sunday, January 05, 2014

Love the One You're With

Hunters were my first love
And they will be my last
Hunters of the future
and Hunters of the paaaaaaaast....

Change is a good thing.

I've read a couple of posts in the past few weeks about how people have altered the way they play the game by switching classes, most notably this by Mr B. Bear Butt on how Warlocks helped him get his Groove back. Ultimately how you play is determined by a shedload of factors: who you do it with, where, at what level... but the buck always stops with you. If it is no longer enjoyable, then there's really no point. I for one feel the World of Warcraft would be a lesser place without BBB in it: I'm really glad he's found a place where he can be happy, and I hope people don't look at his name and his webpage and are disappointed that he's no longer a Bear, because if you take the time to get to know him you know that John is a person, and the pixels he plays behind used to be shaped as a bear, now they're shaped as a dastardly agent of destruction. When people shift their stance like this it doesn't mean their significance in the Community has changed, or what they say suddenly has less value because the person began their 'life' as a different class to the one they inhabit now. In fact, if you want a brilliant example of how the game helps people be what they want to be, this is a fabulous example of someone who plays to their style, regardless.

I, however, realised a long time ago I'm a creature of habit. Hunters are what I do best, and regardless of the changes that have been wrought on the class over the years I have strayed only occasionally. This is what I do best, though ironically I still need to tell this to people when they don't know me. I don't sell myself as being a Hunter, which actually is a good thing in the long term... because what I love isn't necessarily the one class, its the whole game. I was hooked on the concept a long time ago, after all: I've done everything in one form or another, with the exception of Hardcore Raiding (even though that's just a  title, a misnomer and would require me to have no other commitments at all to be able to undertake.) The thing about me is that there is ALWAYS something I could be doing, and I am constantly amazed when someone in Guild or on Twitter pronounces they are bored of the game. How is this even POSSIBLE? I suppose this only goes to prove that, like it or not, this is a love affair that still hasn't lost it's sparkle for me. That's really not bad going after a decade.

Still digging it after two expansions. Still digging it :D

I was talking to someone yesterday who remarked they were amazed that I can continue to be so prolific in writing about the game, even when we find ourselves in what is by everyone's standards a fallow period. I think, when you love something as much as I know I do this entire immersive experience and the people playing it, that even the quiet times are inspirational. Take last night, for instance, when my Guild went to the Siege without me and cleared four new bosses in an evening, including an impressive one shot on the Iron Juggernaut. Clearly I was the issue holding them back, and it was fabulous to watch from another screen AND NOT BE THERE when they succeeded. Some people would find that maddening, ultimately soul-destroying, but this is my family and I celebrate their successes as my own. I don't need to be there, it's not like that, because my tiny notion of Community is just that. One person wins, we all do. It doesn't have to be about anything except people being happy. Sure, we have competition and rivalry but it's never malicious or detrimental. The game still holds massive amounts of potential: it is the people who drive us forward, and it always has been.

If the people in your community matter more than the thing that binds you, that means there's always a second chance. The class you played that disappointed you doesn't have to be the reason you leave. The grinds and pressure shouldn't become a focus for your ire if you can still sit and chat to friends, but for many people there is a long walk from the real world to the virtual one, and a distinct reticence to allow yourself to be embraced in both the same way. For many youngsters the need for those kind of relationships isn't an issue to begin with, and for others it can have dangerous consequences. Finding your balance is vital, but perhaps more important it being able to admit to yourself that just because everyone knows you as a Druid, or a Mage, or a Paladin that doesn't mean you're bound to that choice for 'life.' Being able to stick at one job is brilliant, but in the modern world flexibility is the key, being able to grasp many things and not just one. If you're sitting here reading this and wanting to change the way you play your game but are worried what other people will think when you do... just do it. Make your change. Start something new.

If it makes you happy, frankly that's the only thing that matters. Life is about enjoying yourself, and so is the game. At least here you can start again without too many consequences.

You might be surprised how happy it makes you when you do.


Jojo said...

I have to admit that I regard most people as the class I first knew them as - whether that's via in-game stuff or the online community. But, I know very few people that stick to playing a single class - most just have their favoured class that they love.
I also totally agree that change can be a wonderful thing. If I'm feeling bored or a little disheartened I play a different class from my hunter. By doing so I don't fall out of love with the game but get a nice little break from my main - whom I always go back to :)

Erinys said...

I think you've summed up my issue at the moment. I love the mistweaver monk in many ways, especially it's dps capabilities in solo content, i.e. the brawler's guild etc but find it lacking in group content. I know gear or in my case lack of it plays a huge part but when your brand new wearing rubbish priest can put out bigger numbers than your less rubbishy geared monk it has a knock on effect towards your enjoyment. Somehow playing the priest is like coming home, everything just feels right.