Just. One. More…..

Last night I spent a few hours playing my rogue, who is at the Tomes part of the legendary ring saga. It is the second week of it for this alt, and I am only at 13/33. Last week I only got 4 tomes for a full run, this week obviously my luck was much better. But it was a chore, I dread doing it for 2-4 more weeks, and honestly I do not consider any part of it fun any more. It is just something to be endured because I have told myself I want the end reward.

As I have written many times before, I cannot remember ever being bored with WoW, even when expansions go on for much longer than many people like. But that does not mean I don’t suffer through periods where I feel like the parts of the game I am pursuing feel like sheer drudgery. That is where I am now with WoD, at least with many aspects of it.

In some ways, this is because of game design (more about that in a minute), but it is mainly due to my poor choices for game goals. There really is no good reason, for example, for me to be pursuing a ring on my rogue. I doubt if I will ever raid with this alt, and I have done the whole legendary ring quest line now on five other characters, so I knew going in that there would be nothing new or exciting for me to experience with the rogue. Also, I made the decision that my one remaining alt — my poor neglected mage, would go into Legion ringless, so I am keenly aware that the rogue’s ring will be the last one I do. And since I know this, my brain has shifted into an impatient let’s-get-it-over-with mode, which contributes to the sense of drudgery.

It is interesting that this sense is so strong that it resembles every other hated chore. Like when you know you have to work on that term paper due in a couple of days, but you find yourself thinking actually it would be kind of fun to do your laundry now, or maybe mow the lawn — things you normally hate doing but that suddenly seem attractive when faced with That One Big Dreaded Thing. Last night I found myself thinking how fun it would be to level up mining as a new gathering profession on my warlock instead of suffering through hours of LFR on my rogue…

MMOs, because of their basic role playing nature, are designed to include drudgery — they require a certain amount of patience and commitment to reach certain goals, whether those be attaining high levels, scoring top-of-the-line gear, achieving titles, making pretend money, whatever. Years ago (2007, which might be thought of as a Paleo era for MMOs), Jeff Woleslagle, writing for Ten Ton Hammer, pointed out that MMOs are a cross between first person shooters and what I like to call gardening games (games like The Sims where all you do is tend things). That is, MMOs offer a lot of frenetically-paced combat in the form of raids and so forth — like FPS games — but it is not constant adrenalin like you have in FPS. They also require a lot of tending and grinding in order to get to the point of being able to successfully complete the combat, and in this way they resemble gardening games.

As MMOs evolve and attract varying types of players, inevitably some players gravitate towards the fast-paced features of the game while others gravitate towards the grinding part. The shoot-em-up types often begrudge grinding, and they want to get it over with as quickly as possible in order to get to what they consider the “real” part of the game. It is hard for them to understand the attraction of grinding and tending. On the other hand, the grinders can come to resent the shoot-em-ups as overbearing weenies who fail to grasp the joy of steadily and patiently working towards a goal.

And of course the majority of players (I think) are somewhere in between. Like me, they enjoy both aspects of the game at different times. They may want to efficiently pursue the ability to succeed in combat early in an expansion, but later they like to slow down and appreciate many parts of the game they rushed through earlier.

Honestly, I am not sure I have a real point in all this, more just thoughts springing from my perceived drudge “job” of completing the legendary ring on my rogue. I do think, though, that Blizz understands and is trying to break away from player perceptions of drudgery as much as they can. Legion seems to offer all types of players the opportunity to be challenged and have fun pursuing whatever aspect of the game that most appeals to them. For example, leveling alts can be a different experience every time due to zone scaling. Dailies and weeklies will offer a lot of variety. Achieving profession goals will be challenging and unique for each profession. I may think that artifact weapons signal the end of meaningful spec switching within a class (and that it is fraught with danger if you are unlucky enough to choose a spec Blizz continually “balances”), but for some this offers the possibility of true specialization, of becoming a real expert in your chosen specialty with the option to constantly improve your gear and talents throughout the expansion.

Meanwhile, “only” 20 more Tomes to go, and then I. Am. Done.

About Fiannor
I have a day job but escape by playing WoW. I love playing a hunter, and my Lake Wobegonian goal is to become "above average" at it.

3 Responses to Just. One. More…..

  1. gnomecore says:

    It’s sort of bad luck – 4 tomes a week.

    I can talk statistics, having 13 epic rings (yes, that’s how bored I was in Draenor 🙂 – the Tome step took approximately 4 weeks for all of my my alts, last week not being a full run.

    Not to feel this a chore, I figured out that you must gear up simultaneously. Then you either get a gear item, or a tome, or both, which is rewarding and encouraging. This was my mistake last spring – I geared up first, and then I had to run Highmaul and Foundry again for the Ring quests. Now that was grindy.

    • Fiannor says:

      That’s a good observation about gearing up at the same time as you are chasing Tomes. I can see where that might definitely make a difference. The Highmaul and BRF runs I had to do were excruciating — the only thing that helped was the weekly Tanaan quest to pack in some extra runes/tokens/whatever. Not sure I understand why such a quest is not available for the Tomes this late in an expansion, or why there are no garrison or shipyard missions or work orders that award them. *shrug* My only semi-facetious explanation is that Blizz devs, like everyone else, just lost interest in WoD months ago and pretty much abandoned it.

      13? Holy moly! *bows down, chants “We’re not worthy!”* 😉

      • gnomecore says:

        13 sounds like tons of work and grind, but let’s face it: this is Three. Hours. A. Week. Per. Toon. That is all 🙂 With the lack of Draenor content I surely had time for this.