Sometimes when I’m playing World of Warcraft, I stop and wonder: will I someday regret all the time I spend playing this game? Will I feel like I wasted it?
And, no, I don’t think I will.
I genuinely love playing Warcraft.
There was a time when I hated playing World of Warcraft. And I know, nobody was forcing me to play… but it was almost a game I could love? It was like I could see its future, in its bones.
But way back when, it could be so BORING.
Did you ever RUN across Dustwallow to get to Stormwind for the first time? Back when Captain Placeholder stood in for the boat?
Yeah, it was like WoW punished players with boredom and baked in long, slow travel times just to keep players too busy to notice the game wasn’t ready.
But you know what? Even so, I remember those times fondly. Not in a “I want to relive this!” kind of way. More like, “Hey kids, let me tell you about dial-up internet and cassette tapes!”
My memories of early WoW are nostalgic and feel as real as any other memories.
There have been times in my life when the real world was changing too fast — people getting divorced and renovating houses and selling them…
And Elwynn forest felt like the most stable place in the world, and I found it calming, just knowing I could always go visit it.
I can’t go back to the house I grew up in, because other people live there now. And even before that happened, the inside of the house changed so much I could barely recognize it.
I named all the trees around that house. I miss them.
But the trees in Elwynn forest are the same.
Video games can be as real as any other part of life. They can be an escape; a vacation that’s always available for whatever hour you have free. But they can also be a home.
And yeah, it’s troubling to set up your home in an IP owned by a corporation.
But is RL any more stable?
Sometimes art is the best or only refuge we have. And video games are unquestionably art.
Like all art, they can become a part of you.
I’ve been playing my elf hunter & gnome warlock for half my life. I’ve had my hunter’s tiger & warlock’s felguard longer than I’ve had my kids.
This is where I get all rambly about the time when Thooghun (my beloved felguard) saved me from dying somehow, so I rewarded him by setting him to aggressive (which doesn’t exist anymore) and letting him solo the Deadmines.
It was AWESOME.
So in conclusion, World of Warcraft has gotten a lot better with all the expansions (so much better), and when I wonder whether I’ll ever regret spending so much time playing it, I just look back at the last seventeen years, and…
I already don’t regret it.