WoW Wednesday: Why Do We Keep Coming Back?

Every MMO  inevitably lead to that one day where we feel the most powerful repulsion of disdain and regret. We get sick of it. When that happens, we go through the motions like playing another game, continue arbitrarily playing, or, heaven forbid, go outside and do something not involved with our PC/console. *Gasp!*

But whatever it is we do during our tiny little break, most WoW players have come to know one solid and static fact: We keep coming back. No matter the time and circumstances (barring those of a financial nature), we end up back in the world of Azeroth.. A break of 2 years, 5, 6, or 7, despite the never-ending qualms about WoW, it keeps us reeled in, on and off. Below is a little list of a few things that I feel keeps us coming back for more time and time again.

 

1. Polish

WoW has been worked on for more than a decade now and it doesn’t seem like slowing down anytime soon. With so many years as the big dog, Blizzard has learned a lot, both from their mistakes and successes. It’s the little things we take for granted, when we notice how great they all actually are, especially if you’ve been running around in some other fantasy world and then realized you were actually in a game just trying to live up to WoW.

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Streamlined progression, flexible raiding, old but time-tested gameplay – the list just goes on and on. Unknown to most, there’s the fine line of a good MMO with working features rather than one with off-putting bugs. What is it that people have been complaining about WoW these days? The “unfair” item level bumps in BRF? The Selfie camera being “casual”? Dear C’thun, those are first-world MMO problems if I ever saw one.

Those things are a far cry from things had/have the possibilty to be absolutely gamebreaking and it’s hardly something we could ever catch WoW having, or at least, WoW having them long enough for the general population to notice. Of course, any game given a chance to fix itself up for a decade should be good, but you and I both know that we’re not going to just invest our time and money on another game to be just as strong as WoW in a few years. No way – not in this time of industry saturation. WoW is simply the safest bet.

I’m not saying WoW is perfect nor am I implying that other MMOs are bad games, clearly as everything has their own ups and downs that happen from time to time and these get fixed eventually (most of the time), but you do have to admit that WoW’s entirety is almost always carefully crafted and maintained to a point that it’s very hard for even the, uh, nittiest of pickers to nitpick. So, whenever I find myself on a break from WoW due to playing another MMO or real life things, I find it hard to trudge on without its absolutely flexible self, hurtling myself back to its world of trolls and player trolls.

 

2. Population

See how I used population rather than community? Within context of this article, the definitions and reasons how you could ever come to see WoW’s massive population as an advantage is a subjective one. But whether those reasons are due to a social circle you really like or the fact that you never run out of potential parties/raids, the reasons for population follows directly from polish. WoW’s populace isn’t exactly up for Miss Congeniality, but they are numerous and seemingly endless, making it another element of attraction for any player considering a return.

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Woo! Zerg!

Only a very few subscription-based MMOs could ever boast the numbers WoW has and, in fact, none actually can. Having played on many dying/dead MMOs, WoW is the only game where I never had any issues looking for a group to do pretty much anything. Current content or otherwise, there’s always people who need to do whatever it is you need to do and you’d more likely find whoever it is you need to find. WoW is basically the industry’s Ellis Boyd Redding. This, by itself, is a strong deciding factor for any player to return to the game.

 

3. Melancholy

From time to time, you may see those “Vanilla/BC was better” people chatting away on trade about how dumbed down WoW is these days. You also may find asking yourself (or them) why the hell they still play if they don’t like the new world. So, why do they play? It’s simple – melancholy. Being more than a decade old, WoW has created and shaped an entire generation of gamers (and continues to do so) to their first taste or one of the best tastes of what it is like playing an MMO, and as a wise man once said, people are creatures of habit.

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“I sure do miss being an idiot!”

WoW is just there. It’s huge, shiny, and a whole lot of something. It’s pretty much a household name for those savvy with the internet and its mass of content, so it’s become a part of life for any modern gamer. We simply know the game’s feel so well that it beckons us to reacquaint with it again. People have formed relationships of varying degrees in this game, from the long-lasting PvP partnership, to the loving guild family, WoW has one of the most memories-made-per-minute than any other game due to its sheer longevity. It’s always good to go back to your roots, and in MMO standards, that one is almost always WoW. So even though it sounds like it should be a bad thing, it really isn’t.

 

4. Gameplay Familiarity

WoW clones are dime-a-dozen these days, but most of the AAA titles are those that dare to steer away from the comfy norm set by the biggest dog of them all. But this is also a pratfall that ambitious games fall into. A lot of gamers, certainly not all, can sometimes feel alienated by a system so different, especially when said system becomes so needlessly complicated for the sake of being unique. Different from the last entry, gameplay familiarity leans more on the side of knowing how to play the game rather than feeling the lingering love for days gone by.

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Yep, totally familiar with this. I like it. I’m not crazy, by the way.

WoW’s entirety, on the other hand, is something we’re all very used to and, through the years, have become far more simple than its earlier days, and due to the era gaming we’re in, it takes less effort to get used to it again, sometimes even requiring little to no thinking at all. It’s gold-standard gameplay and the classic progression system in PvP and PvE are a comfort to many. The need to learn an entirely new way of playing and creating new habits is gone by the simple act of resubbing and going along your way in the endgame. Hell, for most people, they don’t even have to remember anything about how WoW works; they just know how it works. This doesn’t mean that they necessarily still enjoy playing WoW like they used to, but it is definitely something for those that just want their MMO fix.

 

5. Fun!

Fun, of course, is the simplest of answers. I still enjoy the cartoony looks of yesteryear (even with the graphical update), the awesome feeling of putting out an extremely strong obliterate on an unsuspecting Draenai’s head, and progressing through the latest raid content Blizzard has to offer with like-minded guildies. It becomes pointless to return to something that no longer gives you any joy, melancholic or otherwise, and it certainly isn’t something you’d even give a second thought on if that were the case. We return to WoW due to many reasons but none can be as more potent than having pure, unbridled fun through oceans of content that is updated pretty well, notwithstanding the Siege of Orgrimmar era, of course. This, I’m sure, is always a reason for anyone, and without a combination of those earlier mentioned, none of us would feel the weight of this final entry.

But what about you? Disagree with the list or have something more specific? Why do you keep coming back to WoW?

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About BroadcastDinosaur

Likes to pull bosses before the tank does and is a leech in PvP.