I have three days left in my WoW trial, but I have seen enough to write about it now.
The game is very addictive. The world is large and fun to explore. There are tons of skills, professions, and talents to learn. I was compelled to continue playing because I was always on the verge of completing some objective.
Here is a sample of the game starting as a Night Elf.
“Go kill some Young Thistle Boars.”
Kill Kill Kill.
“Now kill some Thistle Boars.”
Didn’t I just do that? Oh.. I get it. Thistle Boars, not Young Thistle Boars. Okay. Kill Kill Kill.
“Go north, kill some spiders, and bring their venom sacs to me.”
“My friend is lost near the spider cave in the north.”
I go north, kill a bunch of spiders, collect venom sacs, and find the missing friend who has been poisoned.
“Okay, thanks for the venom sacs. Now go in the cave and get a spider egg. Um, you’ll probably have to kill more spiders along the way.”
“My friend needs an antidote, go find the ingredients. You get some of them by killing spiders.”
The spiders have re-spawned, so I hack through them again, get the antidote ingredients, kill the boss spider, and get a spider egg.
“Fill this vial with water from the Moonwell in the north. Yeah, the one you passed on your first two trips to the spider cave.”
“Bring this antidote to the poisoned guy in the north, but do it in five minutes! No bathroom breaks!”
I bring the antidote to the guy. Along the way, I kill the spiders again because they re-spawned again. I fill the vial at the moonwell.
“Bring this vial of moonwater to the next village.”
Finally. That must have been the dummy part of the game. Stupid stuff to help me learn the controls. I’m going to the next village. Now the real game begins, right? On my way to the next town, I meet a satyr.
“Kill some night cat things, some owls, and some big spiders and bring me the shit they drop.”
This sounds familiar. I run around killing monsters who only drop the items I need about 1/3 of the time. I eventually get the stuff and bring it to the satyr. I continue on to the town. How much time did I spend on the Satyr’s quest? 15 minutes? An hour? I have no idea.
“I heard you helped out that satyr. Satyrs are enemies to the Night Elves. You must redeem yourself by finding some smelly pine cones.”
“Thanks for the vial of moonwater. Now go to a moonwell in the East and fill this other vial for me.”
“Oh, could you go and kill 6 Gnarlpine Ambushers along the road?”
“Hey, some dude is missing, go find him.”
“Go and kill 8 Gnarlpine Shamans”
“Find four items in some cave.”
“Bring this dirt to the guy by the lake.”
“Find seven small spider legs, and I’ll teach you to make a spider kabob!”
Well, this will keep me busy for a while. Most of these quests were part of a chain of quests. For example, after bringing dirt to the guy by the lake, he asks me to kill a bunch of timber dudes and abort a bunch of mutant cabbage babies. My rewards for completing all of these silly quests are money, experience, equipment, and reputation.
I have no idea what reputation does. There is a reputation bar that fills up. It is named after the capital city for the Night Elves. Darnassus: 2300/6000 Friendly. I thought something great might happen when it filled up. Nah. It changed to Darnassus: 0/12,000 Honored. I’ve got it up to about 11,500/12,000 now. I am a bit curious to see what will happen if I fill it up again, but I’m sure it will just give me a new adjective and start over with a larger goal. Whatever.
The game constantly makes you feel like you’re on the verge of something grand, but all you do is graduate to more of the same.
The compulsion to play lasts a lot longer than the fun does.
— Jeff Vogel
Was I having fun? It was fun at first, but it really did get tedious and repetitive. I was always trying to increase one skill or another. Always trying to complete another quest, always trying to see some new place. I’ve barely seen any of the world, but I think I’ve seen a good portion of the gameplay. Grow increasingly powerful and fight increasingly powerful monsters.
Somehow, there is a disgustingly addictive quality to that. In fact, some of my favorite games are nothing but level grinding. WoW just had a slower pace and less satisfying accomplishments. Here’s what finally killed it for me: Valentine’s Day.
Right now, there are stores selling cologne, perfume, and love tokens. If you put on cologne, hearts appear above many female NPC’s heads. Perfume has a similar effect on male NPCs. While wearing cologne or perfume, you can give love tokens to people with hearts and they will give you a gift in return.
I gave a love token to some hot elf chick. She gave me a piece of crafted wood. It said, “Combine five of these to make a Crafted Box.” Sounds interesting. I wonder what it does? I got five pieces of crafted wood by giving love tokens to various merchants. (All hot elf chicks, of course) I made my box. The box description: “Combine the crafted box, the stack of cards, and the pledge of loyalty to get the Darnassus gift collection.”
*sigh* I tried giving love tokens to (hot elf chick) guards. They gave me Sentinnel’s Card or some slip of paper. 5 cards made the stack of cards. 5 slips of paper made the pledge of loyalty.
There were complications. If I offered a love token to somebody, they could reject me. Then I would be heartbroken for one hour and cannot give out love tokens. If I turned the game off and turned it back on a few hours later. it remembered how many minutes of “heartbroken” I had remaining. I had to wait it out in game time.
After waiting through the second broken heart, I finally got all of the items. I excitedly combined them all and made the Darnassus Gift Collection. Hooray! What is it? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. It reads: “Combine the Darnassus Gift Collection, the Ironforge Gift Collection, and the Stormwind Gift Collection to create the Alliance Gift Collection.” (Darnassus, Ironforge, and Stormwind being the three alliance capital cities.)
Fuck that. This is stupid.
That’s my verdict. That was when I realized I’ll never actually accomplish anything in the game. Every time I feel like I’m going to accomplish something, I’m really just creating another unsatisfying objective for myself.
The one draw the game still has for me is my desire to explore the rest of the world. However, I haven’t even seen much of the real world yet. I should do that while I still can. After the Earth becomes a polluted wasteland, maybe I can find some MMORPG to play while sipping the last few bottles of recycled wastewater.