Unsubscribing, Take Two

I may have reached the end of my second run of WoW.

As was the case last time, there was no clear death knell, no final straw, no slap in the proverbial face. Forensic evidence would probably suggest that my decline in activity can be traced back to the 5.2 announcement. At that point, I stopped bothering with LFR, knowing that I could endure the same long queues for 20+ better ilevel gear in a few weeks. I was also pretty much geared in all 483s anyway, much to the chagrin of my less fortunate guild survivors.

5.2 reinvigorated several things for me, including reaching some of the reputation milestones on alts that I would have dismissed out of hand as ridiculous previously. There were some underlying truths about myself I started to realize however:

  • A healthy variety of dailies is 100% meaningless. Blizzard seems to think that 15 dailies out of a pool of 90 is somehow more palatable than the same 15 over and over. But… dailies are dailies. Unless a certain daily quest is particularly odious, such as having to kill a hard elite solo (the Pyrestar Demolisher), all daily quests blur together into a gray slurry of virtual obligation.
  • Between the lack of interesting Black Market Auction House wares (which has admittedly improved in 5.2) and the BoP-crafting material economy, it is difficult to maintain interest in even lucrative AH shenanigans. As I continued canceling and re-listing cut gems and other goods day in and day out, I asked myself what exactly I imagine myself doing with this almost 400k gold. Buy something… but buy what? The lack of 476+ BoE weapons particularly was annoying. Yes, I could run LFR a bunch of times or even Honor farm, but all this gold was supposed to save me time, at least theoretically. If time = money, then money = time, does it not?
  • I continued playing long after I no longer experienced any fun because of the possibility that things might change in the future. Which is quite a bizarre feat of circular reasoning, if you think about it. I have 76 pieces of Imperial Silk, for example, because if I suddenly developed a resurgence in interest, my future self would have more fun with all these accumulated mats (which you cannot really get any other way). It reminded me of how I behaved in my Middle School history course: the teacher handed out a week’s worth of worksheets on Monday, and I always completed them that very evening so I could slack off the rest of the week.
  • The Legendary quest backfired big time, at least for me. By the time 5.2 came out, I had 2 Sigils of Power and 14 Sigils of Wisdom. With an average ilevel of 491, I was faced with the prospect of slogging through half a dozen or more DPS queues for the starter LFR raids, getting 476 vendor trash… if I was lucky! And then what? 6000 Valor? The questline might not have been “required” for anything I was doing, but it certainly felt more in-your-face “you are falling behind” than I ever felt before about, say, a raid-only reputation or heroic valor gear, by the very virtue of its accessibility.
  • Once I got over the initial trepidation of skipping a day’s worth of cooldowns and AH re-listings, it actually became more difficult to convince myself to log back on at all. I had already “lost a day” that I would never get back. So… why bother? I skipped logging in one Saturday, and suddenly half the week is gone with nary a fuck given.

As with the last time I unsubscribed, I do not begrudge Blizzard and crew anything in particular. Well, maybe for the shit-hole of a no-pop server that they continue to allow to exist, to the detriment of all the lost souls trapped in Auchindoun-US’s hellish purgatory. But beyond that, most everything else I see as an improvement over prior design. Heroic scenarios sound like a great feature, and would have been custom-made for the 2-3 of my friends that actually managed to log on these past few weeks. Similarly, I am/was looking forward to being able to choose which spec to gear up in LFR, regardless of current role.

But… well. I could quite literally be playing any one of a hundred other videogames right now; games already purchased and with no subscription fee. More than the money though, I am looking forward to having the mental space back. It’s… liberating, in a way that cannot be described to someone whom has not had that same sort of mental real estate spoken for and suddenly vacated.

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Posted on April 22, 2013, in WoW and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. I checked my 3-month sub only this morning and it’s just renewed otherwise I’d be cancelling already as well. I came back to experience Pandaria without the crushing zerg, just to see the story and to try the farming out. I also got to see the Raid Finder thing everyone is always talking about and even tried some 1st tier raids as a healer.

    All in all it just feels very meh, very samey. The Isle of Thunder content just like the Molten Front dailies is some nice little story vinettes buried in mind-numbing daily grinds. There’s no way I’m throwing myself into the Raid Finder horror-show enough times to get all the Black Prince tokens for that quest (I have two of each).

    So instead I find myself playing a new character through SWTOR (my first ever alt) and slowly pottering my way through EQ2’s wonderful story-heavy questing. In comparison WoW just feels so bare-bones. Yes there is some good storytelling but it’s very minimal compared to the layers of gear-grind.

  2. I also just quit. I spent the last three months of my annual pass not playing and waiting for it to expire. I was in the same boat, there was nothing wrong with the game I just didn’t feel like playing anymore. I tried pretty much every F2P or free trial MMO I could find and none grabbed me the way WoW did eight years ago. I finally gave Guild Wars 2 a try this weekend with their free trial, I ended up buying it so this may be my new game for a while.

  3. It’s instructive to read comments on the threads about upcoming MMOs on non-MMO gaming sites. Frequently the opinions expressed are along the lines of “I did that years ago with WoW and I have no desire to do it ever again” or, even more harshly, “people still play these things?!”.

    MMO-centric sites and blogs, on the contrary, seem to be caught in a spiral of angst over where the next life-grabbing MMO is going to come from and how we’ll ever get back to the days when playing an MMO was a lifestyle choice not a form of entertainment.

    I can see both sides but on balance I feel more comfortable dipping in and out of a range of MMOs at my whim than feeling compelled to play one particular one night and day. Although my current hours-played for GW2 would tend to suggest otherwise.

    • The funny thing to me, regarding the “lifestyle choice” MMOs people sometimes pine for, is how utterly and completely dependent they are upon other people. I guess the theory is that the Camelot Unchaineds and Ultima Online 2.0s of the gaming world will attract the sort of people you can get along with, seeing as you’ll at least have taste in games in common. But what is really going on there? If you don’t make those friends, or the friends you make end up leaving, the game becomes bad. Except the game never really changed, the circumstances changed; your circumstances changed.

      Virtual worlds are great, but I’m not so sure that they need to be perpetual in order to be worthwhile – they just need to last long enough for your friends to decide on a new home when the inevitable (IMO) boredom sets in.

  4. Very well written, and I unfortunately completely agree. I’ve been trying to tow the company line with Blizz for a while, but it’s really becoming a struggle. I’ve got one project left I want to experiment with, but afterwards, you’ll probably have even more company. I’ve never said before, either, that this unsub was “for good,” but I suspect the next one will be.

    Great post, and I hope you find a suitable replacement soon!

    • Ha, I’m almost thinking that I don’t want a suitable replacement. Maybe if there’s an MMO that I enjoy playing and feel a sense of progress, but also don’t feel obligated to log onto every day.

      Assuming that PlanetSide 2 doesn’t count, of course.

  5. That’s amazing. I could pretty much write your post word-for-word in describing why I’ve just quit WoW again, too. Great job!

  6. It was LFR that did it for me. The queues are way too long and it is just not fun in the slightest. You got bored of 5 mans after a while but at least they were quick. I’m bored after 10 minutes in LFR. The new progression model also destroyed the game for alts. Now you have to sit in long queues for a chance at non-current-tier loot once a week in the vain hope that you might one day graduate to the next LFR. Add to this that valor capping makes me do about 8 or 9 things a week that I don’t care about doing, and the interest in endgame just evaporated.

    Your last bullet is interesting and something I’ve noticed about myself as well. WoW, and maybe all MMOs, really requires you to keep the focus going. As long as you log in every day to do your chores you can maintain the illusion that this all matters, but once you skip, even just for a day, the spell is broken.

    • It kinda reminded me of when I was younger, playing that little “game” where you try and keep a balloon in the air by hitting it over and over. I’d start to go to extraordinary lengths to save it, leaping onto the couch, diving to the carpet. Then it lands, moments later. Just a balloon.

  7. Making dailies so important is bad. Prior to MoP coming out is sounded great. The reality is that it is awful. Normally when I get bored I can take a break with an alt but I just can’t do it due to the required dailies grind. I thought the changes to make rep go faster on alts would help but I’m already broken from the last 6 months of grind. I normally love to get my alts geared through tanking and healing H 5 mans but I cant get entry gear without a grind and I don’t really have the time due to all the dailies and other stuff I need to do to get valor capped on my main. Leveling alts 88-90 hurts, it seems to go soooo slowly. And all of this puts me in a bad mood and my guild is shitting me off. I’m having terrible luck in LFR raids I only get pants, pants, and more pants in ToT. I’m desperate for a new game so I can put wow away for a while and praying that they make some different decisions on the next expansion. My biggest wish is that they make alt’ing more friendly.

  8. Funny thing I recently came back to GW2 and being a no sub game was a big factor. There is stuff I havent seen and things I havent done – that alone would never make resub , but the fact that that I dont feel like playing FPS(planetside2 or BF3) and Gw2 well is free makes me comeback

  9. Honestly, I’m not looking for a good ftp game. I’m looking for a game good enough to sub for. Wow was all that and more from vanilla to WotLK for me. That’s the most frustrating thing about wow to me. It’s still a really good game. It’s almost the great game it used to be. That’s what makes it so vexing.

    They made a business decision to cater to a different audience and the decision paid off for them. Unfortunately for me, I’m not part of that new audience. The game seemed to lose it’s soul somewhere along the way. Not surprising considering the original developers were all pulled off of Wow to develop Titan.

    For what it’s worth, I’ve heard it argued that many of us that played since beta lost interest simply because the game ran it’s course, not because it changed. I wondered that myself. I recently joined a private server that only has BC content, and one that is only wrath content. I was a little blown away by how much fun the game was before Cata. If Blizzard were to throw some servers up that stopped with Wrath content or even a vanilla server, I’d be tempted to re-sub.