Let’s Talk About: Why You Should Play WoW In Slow-Motion

Image credit: Blizzard

World of Warcraft is a game that I used to play rather regularly during 2008-2011. As a college student, it was basically the equivalent of my entire entertainment budget since I don’t have the cash to afford new systems, or a better computer to keep playing new games. It was basically the most convenient way to spend my downtime when I wasn’t stressing out about projects. I enjoy a lot about the game, but one thing I noticed towards the end of my last active playing cycle is that after a while I started to become disconnected with the game. I did enjoy PvP, raiding (for a brief time period) and questing, but after playing for so long I started to know exactly what the game was throwing at me at all times. The only aspects of the game that I’d really get a rush were in the dynamic areas such as PvP, and even then I had such tunnel vision I forgot to question whether or not I was having fun anymore.

After a while WoW just becomes a chore, but only one that you sort of enjoy doing. I stopped because I grew more and more self-aware of just how much I had to force myself to care (plus I was now more aware with how flawed some systems were, more on that another time,) and by that time I really wanted to play other games. That was last summer, and recently I started playing again because I wanted to give it another shot, but before I re-subbed I took the time to question why I wanted to come back and how I could make the most of the experience without just falling into the same traps I had before.

Slowing It Down

With some thought (and guidelines, which I will share momentarily) I decided on a way in which I could purchase WoW but make the experience better for myself. I’m not talking about difficulty, though that could be part of it. I am simply listing ways in which to a seasoned veteran of MMOs you can really dissect the experience of the game to see it in a light that you hadn’t before, like I am now. I decided to start over as a Draenei, a race that I have never gotten into before, as I was determined to see the game from a completely new perspective. I believe that it really helped, Azuremyst is a seriously beautiful-looking zone that I never really appreciate until now. A lot of these guidelines are a result of my time spent on the starting area, and now without much more delay, here they are:

Read all of the quest text, even if it’s just about killing X amount of things. There are usually several story arcs in a single zone that all come together at some point. And the story lines, while not masterworks of fiction by any means, give you some context as to what is happening in the area, vital for enhancing the gameplay experience.

Azuremyst is an area with a quiet beauty to it.

Explore. Not just to uncover the map for your precious achievement, but for the purpose of enjoying the scenery some artists took a lot of money-costing time to craft. If you let yourself get immersed in your surroundings, the game’s atmosphere becomes a lot more poignant. NOTE: This involves standing still and just rotating your camera around to appreciate the beauty and not zooming by on a 310% speed mount, god dammit.

• This leads me to my next point: Don’t ride your mount, stick to running everywhere and taking in all of the landscape. A mount can come in handy if you’re being waited on by group members, though with LFG that doesn’t really seem to be the case as much any more. Remember, the slower the better. This game is/should not be about racing to max level to start raiding. I really can’t express how put off I am about the idea of raiding and how people only seem to consider that as the “fun” part of an MMO. It isn’t. But that is a rant for another day.

• Keep the music volume of the game on, including the ambience to really help yourself dive into the setting of your zone, because it really does help. Playing heavy metal or something unfitting to the game while questing (I can see it as helping you focus in PvP or running dungeons) can really disconnect you from the feeling of a zone.

• Think about your character in the scope of things, and from an RP perspective if you’re into that. Chances are they’re doing a lot of things for the first time and can make you feel more invested in him/her. I’m not much of a hardcore RPer, but I do like putting myself into the world and sometimes it does help you get a better experience overall.

If at any time you notice yourself getting bored of doing these things, it’s time to stop playing. WoW should be about enjoying the world, because it is essentially what makes it better than most other MMOs, though most people don’t actively realize it. Once you start forcing yourself to speed past everything, you are not playing the game right. Forget about proper talents and rotations and all that nonsense. When you play the game like that you’re essentially paying for less than 5% of the total game. And that…is a damn shame.

Upon following these guidelines, I have increased my overall interest in playing the game quite a bit. So far, I have spent 6 hours in the starting area (and I’m leve 13, partly due to guild buffs), and it isn’t feeling slow, or dragged out at certain parts. In fact, my time spent playing the game doesn’t feel wasted whatsoever, provided I know when to stop. And I feel like I get more out of it. Plus, I’m much more excited for the later zones, since I feel like I will be spending much more time with them and knowing everything about it. And since there are so many out there, the end game feels far, far away…

And that’s exactly where I want it to be.

-Joe

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