One of the things that I noticed while trudging through every page I have ever written was that I made a lot of posts about games. I suppose that makes sense, as I do spend way too much time playing them. What I found odd, though, was that while I have spent more time playing World of Warcraft than all the other games combined, I have posted less about it than any other game. I have 11 posts about Guild Wars but only 6 that even mention Warcraft. I mean seriously, I have 8 posts that mention Roller Coaster Tycoon FFS, and I barely played that game at all.
As previously mentioned, I have logged more than 2400 hours of play time in WoW on my Horde characters alone. Were I to add the time played on Alliance characters that number would nearly double. That is way more time than I have ever devoted to a game. Even Diablo II, which I played the hell out of, couldn’t hold a candle to that number. Not that I am necessarily proud of that, just that I found it odd that with all the time I have spent playing it I didn’t post about it more often.
The game can immerse me so completely that often I will sit down to play for an hour and the next thing I know the day is gone. At least it used to be that way. They have been changing the gameplay so rapidly over the last couple of years that all the parts of the game that used to take up so much time (traveling at low levels, professions, leveling new characters) has been reduced drastically. Rather obviously they are trying to expand their fanbase to include the more casual gamer, but making it so easy has really taken a lot of the fun out of it. I have 6 level 80 characters at this point, and each new character I level goes exponentially faster than the previous ones. Part of that is just knowing the game mechanics and quests, but a lot of it is just the big nerf bat that Blizzard has been hitting the game with.
Prior to the release of Wrath of the Lich King I only had two characters at max level. Those two characters consumed hundreds of hours of my time as I leveled their professions and ran 10 and 25 man raids to try to get the very best gear in the game. Of course at that time the difference between the gear you could get in the raids and the gear you could acquire otherwise was enormous. If you were walking around on a Warrior with the mace that dropped in Serpentshrine Caverns, people would notice. I got whispered dozens of times by people just drooling over it. Now the gear that you get from the top end raids is only marginally better than the gear that you can get with badges acquired through running 5 man dungeons. Why waste all that time and frustration trying to get items that are barely better than the ones they are just giving away? It seems so pointless.
I’m sure I’m not done with the game at this point, but it does get tiresome doing the same thing over and over again. As I said, I have 6 Horde characters at level 80, with another at 65, one at 62, one at 30 and another at 14. Once I get them all to 80, I will have one of every class at 80, and then what? I don’t think I have it in me to run all the 25 man raids anymore, and even if I did I am never home at the hours when most people run them. So I just keep leveling my alts with no real plan for what is going to happen once I have them all to max.
This all brings me to why I decided to write this post in the first place. It had been a while since I came home from work -usually around 2am on Monday and Tuesday- and just played a character through the lower level zones. Perhaps since it had been so long, I was able to see the game with different eyes. The artwork in the game really is pretty amazing (at least it was for when it came out), and I absolutely love the world when it is very late at night, just before the moon disappears and the sun comes back out. I have taken many, many screenshots during this late night/early morning time, and currently they are set to cycle as my desktop background. Here I decided to share a few of my favorites (click on them for 1280×800, the resolution I currently play in. They stretch well to 1680×1050):
Even if I don’t enjoy playing as much as I used to, I still love the screenshots. I especially like the top left one (shot off the cost of Shadowprey Village in Desolace) and the bottom right one (shot overlooking Spirit Rise in Thunder Bluff).