WoW: Thoughts on Pandaria and Ranting on Community

The last few weeks constitute the longest single break from WoW I’ve had since Starcraft II was released. I haven’t logged in at all since the gay pride march on Wyrmrest, and that was the first time I’d logged in for a while.

A screenshot of the LGBT pride march on Wyrmrest AccordIt’s oddly refreshing. Every once in a while, you do need to go cold turkey from a game like this and just breathe for a bit. Regain perspective that there are other games to play and maybe even things to do other than games.

But I’m sure I’ll be back sooner or later. I’ve been thinking about WoW once again over the last few days, and the perspective I’ve gained from stepping back has given me some interesting thoughts.

The community problem:

One thing that’s really been dominating my thoughts lately is the community in WoW. This is in part due to reading some large threads on the official forums made by people speaking out against cyber-bullying — and subsequently getting trolled back to the stone age.

World of Warcraft: A wretched hive of scum and villainyIf there’s one thing I’ve enjoyed about messing around with single player games for the last few weeks, it’s been not having to deal with anyone calling me an idiot for my sloppy tanking, anal spam in Trade, death knoobs tanking in PvP intellect blues, or a quagmire of pervasive homophobia and sexism.

I never really thought that I let any of this get to me, so I’m honestly surprised at how much better I feel for not having to deal with it.

I’ll be blunt: as much as I enjoy the game, I’m dreading going back into the WoW community. Doubly so since my one bastion of sanity in-game, my Alliance guild, has all but dissolved. It’s at the point where I’ve given serious thought to quitting my guilds, turning off public chat channels, and doing my best to pretend it’s a single player game.

My rogue leveling in UldumThe fact that RL issues have left me feeling pretty bitter about people in general lately isn’t helping…

I hate to make this one of those doomsayer posts, but I honestly don’t have a positive spin on this. Blizzard and the players are equally guilty of letting the WoW community became a festering pit of hate and immaturity, and I don’t see either group doing much to fix the issue.

I’m not about to let some trolls chase me out of the game, but at the same time, I’m getting to the point where I’m embarrassed to even admit to playing WoW for fear of being associated with such terrible people.

It’s a no-win scenario.

Pandaria thoughts:

Some Pandaren monks in End Time in the Mists of Pandaria betaThe other main thing on my mind is, of course, the Mists of Pandaria expansion. With the hype of its announcement long passed and the excitement of its release still months away, I’m left feeling very ambivalent about the expansion.

I’m not sure that’s a bad thing, though.

I went into Cataclysm with absurdly high expectations. I was still coming off the high from how much fun the end of Wrath was, and I figured things were only going to get better.

This led to scanning fansites for every tiny scrap of info on Cataclysm, and when it launched, I burned through the content as fast as I could — which is probably still slower than most people, but still…

The Vale of Eternal Blossoms in Mists of PandariaThe end result is that I set myself up for disappointment with my high expectations, spoiled myself for a lot of the content before I even saw it, and started burning out quickly. Even though Cataclysm wasn’t a bad expansion, it did not at all live up to my expectations.

With Mists of Pandaria, my feelings are more mixed. My experience with Cataclysm leaves me wary, and there are aspects of the expansion that concern me — mainly the potentially unfocused plot and lack of an obvious villain.

Of course, there are also many things about the expansion I’m excited about, but I’ve tempered my enthusiasm this time.

I’m also trying to avoid spoilers better than I did for Cataclysm. I’m still checking fan sites for news obsessively, but I’m trying to limit myself to gameplay mechanics and avoid info on the actual content. I’ve devoured everything on the class changes, but I have absolutely no idea what the plot for Kun-Lai Summit is.

The Jade Forest in Mists of PandariaWhat I’m getting at is that MoP feels like a blank slate to me. It could suck, and it could be the best expansion yet. I just don’t know. It’s liberating to be free of expectation, and in the end, I think it might allow me to enjoy the expansion’s content better — assuming said content is even any good.

Writing: New article and a copy cat

My latest article on WhatMMO is Top 9 MMO Cinematics. The Secret World trailer is very interesting and different, and even as someone with zero interest in DC comics, I have to admit the DC Universe Online trailer is pretty spectacular.

One other amusing thing. A recent article by another writer on Weird Worm is Six Badass Gods from Mythology, which bears an eerie resemblance to my first article for them, Five Badass Gods.

I guess imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but for what it’s worth, I think mine was funnier. Also, this guy has some mythological inaccuracies. Thor did not hold back Ragnarok; no one did. It consumed all of creation but for the World Tree and one human couple who hid within its trunk. It is true that Thor slew Jormungandr, but he himself died from the serpent’s poison moments later.

The Norse were a morbid bunch.

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