The time has not yet come for me to say goodbye to the game, but it has come for me to say goodbye to this blog. I no longer have anything to say and I might as well stop pretending that maybe I will.
When I was a kid I read a collection of short stories written by Isaac Asimov about a demon called Azazel. The stories all detailed how Azazel, all two inches of him (he was a very small demon), helped someone or other to achieve something they really thought they wanted, but it invariably turned out that they did not really want it at all.
I remember in particular this story about a writer who was exasperated about all the time he had to spend waiting on things – buses, waiters, whatever. He was very aggravated and very vocal every time he had to roam the bus stop for a bus, the restaurant until a table became available and so on. He figured he could use all that time for something constructive instead, he could use it for writing! After all, writing was what he did for a living and if he could spend twice as much time writing he would be very happy inded.
Enter Azazel, who granted him the favor of never having to wait for anything ever again. When the writer gets near a bus stop nowadays, a bus just pulls up at it. When he enters a diner, he doesn’t even have time to hang his coat before a waiter has shown him a table and he has a menu in his hand. He now has all the time in the world to write.
But he doesn’t write. He can’t write. Not a word has he put on paper since Azazel did his trick. Turns out all that time spent waiting was not just spent waiting and looking out for buses and trying to find waiters, it was also spent working up inspiration. Inspiration which then poured out when the writer had time to sit down and actually write. Without that time getting worked up he simply does not have anything to write about anymore. It’s just a big meh.
When I play WoW nowadays I am often reminded of this story. I think I know exactly how that writer felt. All the bumps in the roads have been smoothed out and all the detours have been made unnecessary. All the random elements of chance and luck and discovery have been removed or made superfluous.
I remember starting out in Nortshire Abbey as a rogue a long time ago. I read all the quest texts, I found my way around and then out into the huge Elwynn Forest. I ambled along into Goldshire and happened upon some women in a house who taught me skinning and leatherworking. I did the Elwynn quests, trying to find the quest items and NPCs from the sometimes very scant information provided.
I remember running Karazhan over and over with my warlock to get her the shiny staff of Infinite Mystery which only ever dropped if a) there was another caster in the run who didn’t have the staff and invariably rolled higher than me or b) I was running with my priest or druid. But I finally got it after about a gazillion tries and I had a smile on my face for a week.
I remember taking up jewelcrafting with my priest and collecting designs – getting the odd lucky drop myself, having fun scouting the AH for bargains, getting designs as gifts from friends who’d had a lucky drop.
All those things are gone now, replaced by grinds of various kinds. I don’t need to think or to work out on my own how to get from A to B, I just follow the huge railroad tracks from the exclamation mark to the zone marked on the map to the glittery sparkle things and then back to the question mark. I don’t need to get a lucky drop from a dungeon boss because they will drop enough marks for me so I can buy me whatever I want. I don’t need to fly all around the world and track down hermits to buy cooking recipes from because if I just keep picking apples in Stormwind or give sugar rushes to orphans I will eventually get all cooking recipes there is.
I’m not saying the game has become too easy – I just think it has becomea bit too smooth. There is a lot of new areas, new quests, new pets, new toys but I don’t feel the thrill and joy and excitement of discovery anymore. I feel like a tame goose wandering my safe pen and hearing the wild geese honking as they fly past above me.
Saying this makes me feel a bit like that kid who exasperates her parents by opening all shiny presents she gets for Christmas, admiring them for a bit and then promptly forgets about them and starts playing with the wrapping and boxes because those boxes makes her able to use her imagination and have a spaceship instead of a pink pony. And next day the box can be a transmogrifier.
The end of the road is coming nearer for me. I still raid, although I am not nearly as good as I could have been had my heart been really into it. I still play my various girls although not anywhere near as much as I used to.
I have played WoW for five years now and leaving it is actually rather hard to do. The game has been part of my life for so long and even thinking of cutting all ties with it is rather heartbreaking. I am not a very outgoing and social person even at the best of days so this hanging out with people online suits me rather perfectly, but I am not much into Facebook or such places, or any other games, so if I don’t have WoW as a way to chat with friends and the occasional stranger will I be all alone? Not that I chat much to start with, but still. There is a difference between being quiet in other people’s company and being quiet while all alone.
It was over two years ago that I first realised that WoW would not go on forever, that there was a life after WoW. When I wrote that post, I figured I would be gone rather soon-ish, but here I am, two years down the road and still going on. This time, however, I really don’t see myself hanging on for much longer.
Like Syl and Larísa, I don’t want to just leave abruptly. My girls have been with me for such a long time and have develeoped personalities of their own – I think I owe it to them to leave them at their favourite places with their favourite belongings.
Tessy the rogue, my first, my preciouss, will of course be in Elwynn Forest. She’ll be wearing supple leather, washed clean of all blood and gore and her daggers tucked away, all her pilfered books with her so she can sit by a tree and read and occasionally she’ll stroll over to her friends over by the lake to sit by the fire and share a drink.
Joaquime the durid, she’ll be in her flight form up in the soaring sky islands of Nagrand where she used to sit for long nights talking about life, the universe and everything with a dear friend.
Paynne the warlock will be wearing her enchanted Gold Bloodrobe which she made a long time ago as a levelling warlock and her trusted Felguard will be close by her side.
Larue da shammy will probably be going back to her homelands of Azuremyst Island, wearing her full Icecrown regalia with pride.
Jools will be wearing her lovely robes of Heavenly Purpose, make a fire outside the gates of Stormwind and sit down there. That’s where she said goodbye to her friends on Vashj when she left for Aerie Peak and that’s where she’ll say goodbye to Aerie Peak as well.
Cuddling the hunter will bring her beloved pink tallstrider Blingbling to the quay in Menethil Harbour where they will sit waiting for that ship to come and bring them to new adventures.
Daissy the warrior will wear her Phantom Blades, made for her by my husband, and she’ll go to Winterspring where she spent so many levels working hard for that pretty lavender tiger mount.
Funny, how it can be so bittersweet and pretty painful to decide where your pixelated alter egos will go to rest. I try to take heart in a quote from Dr Seuss: “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”
And I wish you all goodbye.