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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:

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"How can you play the same game for eight years without getting tired of it?"

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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.

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"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!"

Via Joystiq.com
"I'm sick of your comedic bickering, dwarf. Eat explosion!"

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"Haven't hundreds of games come out since then that are newer and better? Why don't you play them instead?"

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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.

Via Nerdappropriate.com
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.

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"Anybody who has played any multiplayer game can confirm it's full of racist teenagers, and WoW is the biggest multiplayer game in the world. Does playing it mean you're a racist teenager?"

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The Short Answer:

No more than living in the same town as a swinger's club makes you a wife fucker.

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Even though it probably actually does.

No, Seriously ...

Blizzard doesn't pretend that these people don't exist -- they acknowledge it and give you plenty of tools to avoid them. If someone is trolling, griefing or just an insufferable douche by nature, they give you plenty of ways to never have to deal with them again. Just like most other online social settings, you have the option to put cockholes on an ignore list, which not only blocks all communication with them, but also prevents the system from grouping you together when you're using the random dungeon finder (which randomly throws you into groups with other players so you can do the stuff that requires a full group to complete -- like pretend orgies or whatever).

I also like to imagine that it shows up to their house and beats them until they're begging for their life in a quivering fetal position in the corner of their bedroom. And then continues to beat them until they're begging for death to escape the soul-crushing pain. But that's just me. I hunger for justice sometimes.

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Hey, it's my head -- I can picture vigilante justice any way I want.

But surprisingly, as the game matures, so do the players. I haven't really run into many trolls since I've been back, and even when I do, they're just not very good at it. Even if they are, it's a simple matter of right-clicking their name and reporting them for harassment. Unfortunately for society, it's much easier to get rid of a racist teen in a video game than real-life racist dipshits stinking up your neighborhood with the ever present stench of burnt cross and bruised wife.

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"Isn't it all just repetitive grinding for gold and XP? How does that not get tedious?"

Via Wowsnatch.com

The Short Answer:

No.

No, Seriously ...

Seriously, no. I mean, yes, it used to be that way in the beginning, but the game designers learned a pretty powerful lesson in the first couple of years: If you don't continually add things to the game, it gets old, and mofos leave for whatever new thing Game Informer is currently sucking off on its cover. Usually some goth-looking character in an emo pose, trying to come off all badass. Or Mario.

Via Hoganmedia.wikispaces.com
Oh no, he's going to stab me! Quick, play some Morrissey to ease his bloodlust!

But the problem with this reputation is that it's been pretty hard to shake, no thanks in part to pretty much every MMO and RPG ever created. And of course Diablo III, made by the same company, that is actually purposely centered around grinding. WoW has actually put forth a pretty successful campaign to end that style of gaming for those who choose not to do it. Yes, it's still there, but only for those who get off on that sort of thing. For the rest of the players, they've introduced quite a few other routes to leveling, including killing your friends' stupid faces completely off. Hell, they even have a goddamn Pokemon section of the game now, so if you get bored with leveling your character, you can just name your character Michael Vick and literally have dog fights in public.

For that matter, I have friends who log in to the game and just buy and sell items in the auction house, playing it like a virtual stock market. No leveling at all. Just buying and selling imaginary items for imaginary money. I don't talk much to those fucking psychopaths anymore, obviously, but they're still demonstrating one of the many ways that crazy people can play the game without falling victim to the tedium of kill, loot, kill, loot, kill, loot ...

Via Joystiq.com
"What? They looked at me funny."

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"How can you stand continually paying for a game every month? Most games you can get for $50, you have to have like 20 times that invested in WoW. Aren't you getting screwed?"

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The Short Answer:

No more than anyone who has cable TV, or has purchased a porno at a hotel, or has any budget set up for any sort of entertainment at all.

No, Seriously ...

My Direct TV bill without discounts is roughly $80, and I rarely watch it, if at all. I've spent $60 on games that I beat in one day and never took out of the case again. I pay for Netflix to watch movies I've already seen and, in some cases, I already own. I pay for Xbox Live so my son can talk to his friends while they kill zombies together, when they could easily just hang out in either house and do the same thing in person. My whip polisher alone charges $1,200 a week. Paying $15 a month to play a game that you've already bought sounds absolutely insane to people who don't know anything about that game. I totally get that.

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"Wait, you do realize you're trying to explain to me why you don't belong in an institution, right?

To me, it's 50 cents a day, which is less than I put into a pop machine. They're offering a service that I could easily say "no" to -- nobody is pointing a grenade dildo at my ass and making me give them money. But I do it because I've seen what they do with those funds. Besides buying themselves houses made of gold and Armani suits made of orphan skin, they actually spend money to create awesome things that make me happy. As well as hiring administrators to clean up the dumb cunts who make the game unenjoyable.

As long as they keep putting out content that's fun, I'll keep paying, because handing over $15 every month for consistently fun content that is always changing and evolving makes much more financial sense to me than paying $60 a month for a game that I may get a few days of enjoyment out of before putting it away and forgetting I ever owned it. Right, LEGO Star Wars?

Via Thunderboltgames.com
"Hey, I'm gonna make a sandwich while you beat that. If you're done before I get back, put in a movie or something."

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"This Panda thing looks incredibly retarded. Does playing it mean you are retarded?"

Via Nogamenotalk.com

The Short Answer:

Yes.

No, Seriously ...

Look, I have to give you this: I have yet to meet a person who watched that video and said, "Oh, man, pandas are the new playable race? Finally! This is going to be awesome!" I've been told that Blizzard claims that pandas were the number one most requested race by players, but I've yet to meet one of those people, as evidenced by my completely normal-sized knuckles, unharmed by high speed contact with human skulls.

But the truth is, those of us with any sense of self-respect and humility will not be playing that buttfuck stupid idea for a character. When we buy the expansion, we're basically paying for the new dungeons, new areas and increased level cap. Anyone who buys the game so that they can pretend to be Kung Fu Panda isn't old enough to be playing online video games in the first place.


John has a Twitter where he sometimes accidentally breaks international peace agreements.

For more Cheese, check out 4 Video Game Complaints We're Just Going to Have to Get Over and 5 Reasons 'Diablo III' Represents Gaming's Annoying Future.

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