Can you easily leave a character behind?

| September 29, 2011 | Comments (3)

MMORPGs have only been around for a little over a decade, and there have only been a handful of them that have really hit the mainstream such as Everquest and World of Warcraft where people have spent years not only with the same characters but with the same friends. When Everquest was threatened by Everquest II and World of Warcraft, I had already spent five years with my Wood Elf Druid. It was easy to continue on in EQ2 with the same character that found herself lost at sea 500 years later, but when I started having issues with EQ2 and moved to WoW, it wasn’t such an easy transition. Although the world is virtual, there were still real-world experiences in visiting them. Every new place you went to like North Karana or Velious had their own stories, just as if you went to visit a real-world location like Italy or the Alps. The types of experiences are different, but they’re experiences nonetheless, and pulling yourself away from the world in which these experiences happened isn’t always easy.

Leaving EQ2 for WoW was easy the first few months because WoW was done so well. Teldrassil was gorgeous and the people I found along the way were fun and helpful to be with. Over time, I started missing places like the spires of North Karana, and my home in EQ2 that I spent so much time on. I hadn’t actually cancelled my SOE account so I visited EQ1, porting around here and there like I was visiting a living photo album, but I really missed my house in EQ2 a lot. I started playing again and built up enough plat for a new home.¬†Six years later, I still play EQ2 off and on, and EQ1 is just too grindy for me, but the SOE All Access Pass allows me to play all SOE games for one fee per month so I can visit EQ1 whenever I want. It’s almost like taking a vacation from your virtual world.

Now that two new big games are on the horizon (Star Wars: Old Republic, Guild Wars 2), I wonder whether people will be able to give up WoW cold turkey. I’ve seen some people do it already, some for Star Wars, some for just being burned out on WoW. There’s just way too much history with my characters to just simply move away from WoW. I don’t get attached to the characters themselves, but the stories I can tell with them. Some of the best stories come from the items I keep in my bank. The thought of moving on to another game and leaving this character behind makes me a little nervous because I feel like I’d be leaving behind the ability to continue on with those stories, even though I can create new ones in another game. The fact is, I’m not ready to leave WoW, and won’t. Blizzard puts a lot of energy into this game. They don’t always hit the bullseye, but they hit it more than anyone else. If you want to remind yourself as to the world that Blizzard created, take a look at the fantastic lore and artwork both Blizzard employees and fans have created over the years. Listen to the soundtracks and remind yourself how the music pulled you into the game and didn’t act like simple background music.

If you want to see just how much time you spent playing WoW, just do a /played on the character you’ve played the most. My mage has 186 days played. That’s over half a year, and that’s just one character. My druid probably has about 100+ days played. Put them together and add in alts, and that’s almost a full year of playing this game which is probably less than some people have played. New games come out and they’re the new “shiny”, but while a game may be visually pleasing, you have to see if it captures your heart. Will a new game do that, or will you be going back in a few months?

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Comments (3)

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  1. Rosebust says:

    I was near the same level on my main as you guys were when your podcast started. I do remember always looking forward to your podcast. I got rather sucked into wow and had a great time with it for at least 4 years. My real life friends that I was playing with all faded away from the game then I did the same about 2 years ago. I’m really jealousy about your playing time. My /played time is very similar to that and I never did seem to get as far as you did. Oh well. Unlike you I didn’t really have much interest in going back.. I guess seeing my son’s toon soloing the level 70 hard mode dungeons last weekend reinforced that to me. WoW is a lot like my old high school girlfriend. Lots of good memories but not as pretty as and much more of a time waste than my nostalgia would suggest.

    Thanks for the all the great pod casts.

  2. Steve H. says:

    Interesting post. I think I had the hardest time leaving EQ because I had invested so much time in the character, and had so many memories of the folks I’d played with over the years.

    I also think the connection was stronger between people in EQ simply because of the slower game mechanics. For example, I remember on a number of occasions going out with my guild and pulling all-nighters trying to get everyone an ultra-rare drop of some sort. You were spending hours with 20 minute sessions before whatever you were waiting for would show up again – that’s lots of time to get to know people. I never experienced that same level of communication in either WoW or EQ2 – the pace was just too quick.

    That sense of community is gone from EQ now too. SOE has introduced much to pick up the pace of levelling and character development. But when I started it took some people years to make it to level 50.

    I mean, as you said, EQ2 and WoW are gorgeous compared to EQ… but I still maintain an account and log on to run around once in a while. I will probably move on from EQ2 and WoW without looking back, when something else I like comes along. But I my Troll will probably be turning the lights out in Grobb in EQ.

  3. Katzumi says:

    I played WOW heavily for about twelve months after listening to world of warcast for a few years (seems weird to listen to a podcast about a game I’ve never played, I know) I quit cold turkey after another failed attempt at the Lich King and haven’t played since. The things I miss are my close friend I made while playing and my main, a Female orc fury warrior that I spent ALOT of time playing. Oh and my shadow priest, which is a concept and play style exclusive to world of warcraft unfortunately :(. It’s silly to feel so attached to a game character but I really do miss her, she was really cool to play with and I still try to replicate her in other games.

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