Saturday, May 31, 2014

All We Love We Leave Behind

Booty Bay, before The Sundering.

I have a wealth of stories to tell from my time in Warcraft.

Many are brilliant recollections of shared experiences, the significance of which we have discussed here before. There are also some stories I want to share but I won't, mostly because I understand that sometimes, what happens in the past is better off just being left where it fell. There will be those of you who will assert the belief that tackling the hard subjects is worthwhile in the end, and although I am prepared to agree with this belief, there are points at which I think you need to consider exactly WHY you're saying what you are. More often than not, at least in my experience, a wider issue is a spark that ignites personal resonance. Often that resonance can occur from something that's not even related to the subject matter. It is how you choose to deal with your own feelings and beliefs on a wider scale which is very often the essence of good blogging.

Sometimes you don't even have to make a point. You simply need to tell people how YOU feel.

This Expansion has produced more negative emotion from me than any other, without a shadow of a doubt, yet still I remain, and I have had cause to stop and consider the reasoning a lot of late. Most people, when faced with the prospect of something they don't enjoy will quite sensibly take their toys somewhere else. These are the days however of NOT having a favourite, of being able to play fast and loose with your MMO's and flagrantly and publicly admit you're seeing other games. I have my eye on a few things over the Summer: there's that Firefly in Space game, there's the reboot of Elite, and assuming that Wizards of the Coast don't spoil the party I might be able to also play some Hexx come the summer months. Then there's the fact I finally managed to update Sim City with it's offline mode, and don't get me started with Steam...

It used to be what you left behind was what defined you as a player. Now it appears to be all about what you are prepared to embrace.

What's in the Box?

One of my personal favourite bits of Twitter is the Retro Gaming scene, which is hugely popular and which generates significant interest, especially in the UK. It's not just because I grew up with so many of these games, and it isn't about either good or bad memories that are associated with those times, it's about the games themselves. It is how they engaged me and made me think about narratives as a writer, and how they challenged the traditional ways of enjoying yourself. There are iconic images, and notable moments. These are what has defined me as a player of games since the mid 1970's.

10 points if you know where this comes from :D

If I am the sum of my experiences, is it then important to, at some point, stop playing Warcraft as I have so many other games to be able to gain a fair perspective of where it sits and it's relevance in my gaming 'life'? More importantly, is the reason why I still continue to love it so much and return to it even when there are countless other games I *could* be playing wrapped up in the understanding that this game has, for ten years, never stopped giving me a REASON to play? I grew out of many games, I found others exciting because that was all there was. Now I am spoilt for choice and with thousands of possibilities at hand, why is it that I return consistently to Azeroth? Is it the friends I have and the emotional attachment? Almost certainly, but more significantly for me there is the understanding that, for the first time ever, I am watching a game evolve as I do. Maybe that's why some have such an attachment to Mario or Sonic, or even Pokemon or First Person Shooters. The games that first grasp your soul are the ones you return to, and I've always been fascinated by games that played like good books. You could dip in or go from end to end, and there was always something you'd missed or forgotten on each subsequent read.

Warcraft is the 'novel' I always go back to when I want to remember how great game-making can be in terms of narrative immersion. It's odd that, considering how so many people don't consider Warcraft as a narrative framework at all. Even with all its faults, and the current issues on social progression, this is the game that continue to feel most comfortable playing. Maybe it's because, after nearly ten years, it is the one I understand the most. I just wish some days it understood me as well :P

The other novel I always go back to.

I've done my fair share of controversy, and I hope I can still speak my mind for many years to come. However, when it comes to understanding WHY I do what I do, it's still a fairly emotive journey. This post has at least established that however many games I might be given to play in any set period of time, there's only one I can say I'm in love with. I'm not having an affair with any other title right now, even though they might be offering the most unbelievable things as a way to sway me. If you ask me, would I like Warcraft to be better, or more representative of equality and tolerance, of course I'd love that too. However, I live with what there is and I make a conscious choice to remain here and fight my battles on the ground.

And I will.

I live with Warcraft, and I hold onto the hope that eventually certain things will change, but that also many others will remain the same. This is a relationship that maybe, one day, will become more than simply a one way street.


Anonymous said...



Jasyla said...

The Dig! I love all the LucasArts games from that time.