World of Warcraft is an interesting creature.
It is, of course, an MMORPG-- "Massively Multiplayer" being the first two words in that acronym. And yet if you want, you can go through much of the game without really dealing with too many people. That's what I did. Oh sure, there's other people you can interact with and there's a living breathing economy, much like on Neopets which is what I played pre-WoW. But you can level to 70 basically without any outside help.
When I was level 19 or 20 or so, I did Deadmines because somebody told me I should. It was my first ever instance, people were impatient with me (to be fair I was the worst hunter of all time at this point-- pet on aggressive and immolation trap for the win) and the whole experience really left a negative impression on me and after that, with the exception of a few run-throughs by higher-level friends, I hardly did any instancing at all until I hit Outlands.
And this is where it started to get interesting, because this is where our guild really started to grow and we started to do stuff together. Our little Karazhan group that we have now has been running stuff together since Hellfire Ramparts-- heck, a few of us have been running together since Zul'Farrak. But for the most part, we went through Outlands together, running instances as we encountered them and sort of learning together. This has culminated in what I think is a very solid group of people who know how to work efficiently as a team.
So you'd think the level 70 endgame would be a breeze right?
Well, it takes a lot of work that really hadn't occurred to me beforehand, simply because I've never played an MMO with situations like this before. Karazhan is a ten-man raid that takes quite some time to do if you're still learning it. So it's a pretty big time commitment. And it's really hard to sync up the schedules of so many different people, most of whom have school or work or even the military going on in their real lives. And it just so happens that as a guild officer, I am now in charge of trying to plan this and get it together, and keep everybody happy.
It's a little bit stressful and it pushes me out of my comfort zone, and I have to admit it had me worried for a while. Had WoW finally turned into a job? Was I breaking my own "it's a game" rule by continuing to play?
But I've been thinking about it and I've decided-- WoW isn't just any ol' game. It is an MMORPG as I said at the beginning of my post. It has plenty of solo content, but if you want to really, truly unlock the "massively multiplayer" portion of it, it's going to take some work because other people are involved, not just you. But that, I think, is part of what makes endgame so rewarding.
It's not everybody's thing, and that's quite okay. In fact, as I even told my boyfriend the other day... "Sometimes I catch myself wishing that I could just go back to when all I had to worry about was how many kobolds I had left to kill." But in the end, as much as I do truly love the solo content of the game and the leveling (hence all the alts), I also love running instances and raids with my friends. And to experience that, you've got to be willing to put in a little effort... more than you might initially expect.
And that, in a nutshell, is why I've been a little scarce these past couple of weeks. Because I had to take a little break to sort of define the game in my head and decide if the sudden new "work" aspect of the game that jumped on me without warning was justified. I've decided it is.
As is running into Orgrimmar with a couple buddies when you're bored, just to see if you can actually hit Thrall once before dying:
I think I got in a single Arcane Shot. It was epic.