About a year ago, I made the statement, "If you ever see me reopen my World of Warcraft account, it means I probably got fired from my job." Eight months later, I was giving Blizzard my credit card info for the sixth time since its 2004 release. Blizzard had ensnared me with another expansion (though I still have my job, so far).
I'm not the only one -- friends who play with me have come back just as often, and each time it just confuses the shit out of the people in our lives who don't play. So for everyone out there quietly judging us and wondering how we can continually come back to this time-sucking black hole that swallows lives by the millions, let me offer some answers:
6"How can you play the same game for eight years without getting tired of it?"
The Short Answer:
The same reason you can stay with the same boyfriend or girlfriend long after you've stopped fantasizing about setting them on fire and moved on to the planning stage.
"Just bide your time, man. You'll be roasting marshmallows off of her neck by nightfall."
No, Seriously ...
When World of Warcraft first came out, it was pretty basic. You did quests and killed monsters for experience points and gold. As a side option, you could pick a couple of professions to level up, just like any other RPG you've ever seen. That was about it, but the thing is, doing either of those required immense amounts of time, literally on par with a part-time job. To progress, you virtually had to marry the goddamn thing. "Thanks for the invitation, but I can't hang out this weekend. I have a raid, and if I miss it, you know how WoW gets. If you don't spend enough time with it, it gets all bitchy and starts withholding the good loot."
Over time, the relationship gets stale because you're just doing the same old shit. So you either call it quits or you grit your teeth and fight through it because the idea of finding another game to fuck is just mentally exhausting. And then one day you log in to find that it's gotten a boob job and lets you do anal. Wait, I think I got my analogies crossed somewhere. Doesn't matter, you still get the point, right?
Something about fucking Night Elves, right? No?
Every time you start to settle into a boring routine, Blizzard adds something to reboner your gamedick. Gear, areas, dungeons, minigames, decorations, achievements, holiday events, player versus player (PvP) games, festivals, special storyline scenarios ... just a motherfucking massive amount of content, constantly rolling out to break up the monotony, including changing the way the game itself is played.
So, honestly? We haven't been playing the same game for eight years. It's just hard to see that while looking over a player's shoulder because all you can gather from that perspective is a cartoon Legolas shooting fireballs out of his hands like a crazy asshole because "FUCK BOWS!"
"I'm sick of your comedic bickering, dwarf. Eat explosion!"
5"Haven't hundreds of games come out since then that are newer and better? Why don't you play them instead?"
The Short Answer:
We'll occasionally set aside a Saturday night to beat another game if we get bored.
No, Seriously ...
Most of the games I've played in the last eight years are ones that can be beaten in literally a weekend. Even games like Skyrim that boasted 300 hours of gameplay had to add an asterisk to that statement, pointing out that the main storyline only takes about one tenth of that. Right now, I have a whole mini bookshelf stocked with games that I've beaten in a couple of days and then never touched again. Skyrim included.
Well, that was fun. Someone let me know if they make a huge expansion or someth- know what, scratch that.
Now don't get me wrong -- I'm not saying that's a bad thing. I'm saying that as far as staying power, I've only seen that in a handful of titles, and in my book, World of Warcraft trumps them all. It's not about the game being so good that you can do the same thing for eight years despite the boredom. It's about mastering the content that they place on your workbench, and then being handed a totally new project when the current one starts to feel like an assembly line. They've perfected something that most other games have not: avoiding stagnation.
Bored with questing? Do some PvP and kill your friends. Bored with PvP? Run some dungeons. Level your crafting. Join some raids. Play WoW's version of Pokemon. Work on their massive, ridiculous list of achievements. Or just stand in a city and call people fat with your friends and watch them flip out. Earn some money in the auction house. Do the daily quests that are only available every 24 hours. There are seasonal holiday quests and festivals. And to top it all off, they add new shit roughly once every three months -- right around the time you get bored with all the other content.