Matticus had an interesting post where he references an excellent writeup at the site "Girls Don't Game" called "Confessions from a Former Hardcore Raider". The story presented is a very powerful and touching one and can hopefully be seen by some people as a wake-up call of sorts-- not even necessarily a 180-degree one, but one where you sort of sit back for a few minutes and see her point and where she is coming from.
See, here is the thing. WoW is a hobby, not life. /gasp I know right?
Now I'll be the first to tell you that I love this game, and I love hunters, and I am very proud of what I have been able to accomplish not necessarily in terms of endgame progression, but in terms of feeling like I am knowledgeable about my class-- at least enough to be called a teacher and a class leader, and enough to have a blog on it that seems to be popular and helpful if many of your kind comments and e-mails are any consideration. Many of my friends and family, even those that do not play WoW, have even told me they are proud of me in this regard. I am proud of my WoW accomplishments just as I am proud of my Neopets accomplishments or the way I knew games such as Starcraft or Final Fantasy Tactics Advance inside and out.
But I think that we are all guilty of sometimes turning the game into a job. Maybe some of us do it more than others.
I myself am certainly guilty of the no-work days where I say "I'm only going to play WoW for a few hours in the morning and then get other non-WoW stuff done" only to get distracted by heroics, then alts, and have the entire day turn into a pure unadulterated WoWfest.
I am guilty of saying "I'm going to take a break from instancing and raiding" and then showing up at Karazhan the next day because I feel the group needs me.
I am guilty of spending three hours doing dailies, yawning and bored out of my mind (instead of, you know, having fun in a game, heaven forbid), because "I need the gold".
One of the scarier nightmares I had in recent memory was a never-ending Karazhan pull. No joke; that was my nightmare. Mobs kept coming and coming and I was out of mana and I was desperately fighting to stay alive and yet we never wiped, but never got past the pull either... I woke up countless times that night in a cold sweat, wishing for it to simply end, but then I'd fall asleep again and the mobs kept coming. Yep, other people have nightmares about dying or being chased; I have nightmares about World of Warcraft. I look back on it now and I can't decide whether it was hilarious or pathetic. (Probably a little of both, really. I giggle at the memory, either way, even though it was a seriously scary dream at the time.)
When you realize that you are maybe playing too much and starting to be guilty of some of the things I mentioned, that's when you've got to take a step back and remember that the game is a hobby, and there are tons of other hobbies out there to cover and only a limited lifetime in which to do them. Playing one video game to the exclusion of others isn't bad in and of itself, but you're missing out on a ton of other great stuff, you know?
Barring a brief ten minutes to /wave to the guild and test my new install, I haven't logged in since last Tuesday. Almost a week now. Instead of playing WoW, I have been able to reacquaint myself with an old and faithful friend: my hobby of tinkering with computers and Linux. It's been both a frustrating and thrilling five or six days; pounding away at the keyboard and racking my brains for solutions to various problems. This culminated in three days of trying to figure out why my new WoW on Linux install was crashing on me at the login screen; three days of hard work and trial and error followed by the inevitable sheepish "Eureka" moment when I discovered the solution and realized how embarrassingly simple it was.
Trading in a week of WoW to rekindle an old hobby was well worth it in my opinion, and actually gave me a deeper appreciation for why I play the game in the first place: to relax and have fun. I think when I return to active playing tomorrow I'll have a lot more fun than I was having a week ago.
Well, that's all from me for today. In closing, my new computer desktop is made of equal parts win and awesome:
And yes, that is the Gnome desktop manager. Yes, I know, I am normally a hardcore KDE fan. I felt like trying something different though. (Besides, "sometimes you feel like a gnome, sometimes you don't".)
P.S. I am fully blaming the Spell Shades for that nightmare I mentioned. /shudder