We are so close to Draenor! The ides of November march on! Can you feel the quakes on the ground as the Iron Horde approaches? Can you hear their warsong as it booms in the air? Can you also sense the level cap increase and near obsoletion of your gear? Well, you are not alone, my friend. As we march forth to and through the Dark Portal, we take a look back at all the adventures we’ve had while on Pandaria and then realize that we are coming up to the newest grind that WoW has to offer and, if it’s one thing we know, we all aren’t strangers to visiting new lands and the treasures they have to offer. But there’s always that sinking feeling that most, if not all, your hardwork in the past may have been for nothing.
In the Name of Progression
Surely, most of us must remember what it was like back in the Vale; horrid rep grinds and powerful creatures aplenty had torn us asunder both physically and mentally, and the story was the same, patch after patch, as we all strode forth to conquer new areas and raid bosses one at a time, upgrading over and over, filling and lining our pockets with more gear than we could ever use. If it’s the tiers within the expansion, we hardly notice the quick change or pacing of our progression, but it ultimately becomes an issue for, apparently, a lot of people when it comes right down to the expansion. It’s because, most of the time, expansion tiers are integrated almost seamlessly with the previous elements like currency, gear progress, reputation, and all things like those, essentially treating the next tier merely as the next level in the same vein, but on expansions, it then becomes a different game all entirely. Though tiers make certain dated tasks easier, it still doesn’t become too easy by any means, but more of a matter of simple backtracking, in my point of view. New expansions themselves, on the other hand, thrust one out, well beyond the scope, realm, reach, and significance of the the previous playground, making it necessary to almost relearn a game due to class changes, gear becoming obsolete, and other things that can and will force one to play a different route than one had gotten used to.
Because of this, more and more people are unwilling to invest their time in MMOs. Through the years, because they know, in eventuality, many of their hard earned pixels will become obsolete, and most becoming so antiquated, that it then transforms into a gigantic fart-joke, unfit for any attention and/or devoid of any of the determined work that one used to pour in just to acquire them. Soon enough, the once touted Garrosh Hellscream will be nothing more than cake and ice cream, steamrollable by basically anyone, much like most of the old raid bosses that have given grief and tremendous frustration when they were current. But, hey, that’s progress! Nothing really wrong with that, except that achievements really do little to cushion the crushing realization that your time had been wasted, rendered pointless and useless by a patch here and there.
Even at the moment as we wait for the Dark Portal to finally let us through to Draenor, Siege of Orgrimmar has become so easy due to the changes in the latest patch that the process of obsoletion had already begun. The process was jumpstarted a wee bit too early than most of us are used to and I’m sure many have felt its effects. Even now, SoO is getting steamrolled in every difficulty apart from Mythic, much more easily than it was but a few weeks ago. The 100% heirloom drops haven’t helped older players either, as many of them have worked countless hours just to get to Garrosh every week and still could not avail of a single one. Of course, it’s natural that it would become easier as time goes by, as it always has been disproportionate from one era of content to another, either due to business, the purity of the system, or both. Because who wants to play something they’ve conquered so quickly again? Not a good business model for an MMO.
Time is Money
But, again, it’s progress! There’s no arguing that we should always keep our eyes straight on into the future. Grinding a raid ad infinitum can only net one so much fun. But it really isn’t about the gear; it’s about time. While most of us might have the skill and aptitude to use the tools Blizzard has given us, not that many people have the time to use them, especially us older folk who have less and less as we get even older, dropping in the game every so often when we can apart from our busy schedules. There’s always school, work, and other things that we have to do to keep our lives intact. So while we revel in finally getting that shiny Heroic Toxic Totem, the power of the event is then blunted when we remember that we’re going to vend it when we obtain a much more solid quest reward from a relatively easy quest somewhere on the alien goat lands and the preciousness of the item dissipates just as quickly as we finish that certain quest. Will our time spent acquiring that trinket be refunded to us in full or in partial payment? Yeah, that’s what I mean.
All those nights that you might have spent tirelessly taking those Shaman down or yelling in Teamspeak at the moron who’s always attacking Nazgrim in defensive stance, could the time spent be so easily replaced by a random Draenor blue? At one point or another, you may have even forfeited something better just to raid, like a night with your significant other, putting in more work on a school or work project, watching a ball game with your son, or maybe even just watching TV. But whatever it could have been, it was replaced by the acquisition (or non-acquisition, for that matter) of a pixel-ridden fictional item that would keep you company if but for a few months, or if you are unlucky, a few weeks before it is easily smashed by something easier to get.
One could say that there is a stark difference with how PvE is treated in comparison to PvP, but ultimately it falls on the same plot. For every season, there is newer and newer gear. the same way the PvE tiering works, with but a few minor differences. There is still a grind for those marks and a lot of time have to be invested in order to obtain them. Through grueling battlegrounds, ranked or not, arenas, and World PvP, there is a painstaking element to some degree, whether it be the more-often-than-not maddening quantity of marks required to max out the PvP gear or just plain old hating to be steamrolled in every match. The story still ends up the same: Win or lose, you throw all of them away, unless you’re keeping them due to sentiment or transmog. Those rated gear from past seasons are damned unique.
We Do What We Do
While it may be sobering to dote over something like this, it really is but a frame of mind that we have to avoid, for our own good. All these things have been mentioned just for us to know what may be the underlying thoughts about new things because, after all, humans are creatures of habit, and for some reason, are very resilient to change, despite it being the thing that helped us evolve to our current state. Knowing is half the battle.
But now we know what is in store for us and what we may or may not feel about obsoletion, but it should never deter us from what we love doing; playing WoW. We grind not the pixelated gear or imaginary gold, but the memories we acquire through these experiences. You may have forfeited a night with someone special to you, but you may have also created another bond through your raiding by meeting a new friend. Missed the ball game? Eh, you’re playing WoW to be entertained anyway. We do the things we do because we want to do them; the sense of satisfaction or achievement is more important to us as people than what we actually get. Remember, whenever you quit an MMO, you’d more likely boast about what you’ve done or what you got, proud about what you have accomplished, even though you no longer have possession of them or could care less about proving it. It’s the powerful love we have for gaming and the greatness it gives us that keeps us going and not the gear. Time spent having fun is never time wasted.Related: Column, Expansion, Raids, World of Warcraft, WoW Wednesday