Sep 262008

If you play video games at all and don’t live under a rock you’re probably aware that Blizzard is releasing Wrath of the Lich King (the next expansion for World of Warcraft) on November 13th.  On the day this happens millions of happy little geeks will stay up until Midnight, plop down $50 to purchase the pre-order they made at their local video game shop, and proceed to ooh and ahh over all the shiny new content that Blizzard is offering to them.

I’ve been joking for a while that I was going to pre-order my copy through 7-11.  I figure you can’t go wrong with video games and taquitos.  Thing is, I haven’t made a pre-order yet.  If the way I currently feel about WoW doesn’t do a major turn around here in the next month I may just take my chances with whatever store I happen to drive by on November 13th.  If I bother to do so at all.

What got me to this point?  It’s certainly no secret that I’m burned out on the game.  I was commenting the other day to Krystalle that I’m of the opinion that Blizzard may have finally made it too easy to keep my interest.  I remember very clearly that there was a great deal of burnout going around before The Burning Crusade came out, but it really didn’t seem to kick into full gear until a month or so before the release.  If I recall correctly, it went into full swing about the time that the pre-release patch came out.  At that point the next version of the game was inevitable and everyone either took a break or just focused on getting ready for that.  The burnout I’m seeing in game right now, though, has been going on for a while, and it started long before there was even a definite release date for the expansion.   When the Burning Crusade was released there were still a number of raid instances in the game that the higher end raiding guilds on our server had not beaten.  I think the only thing that kept that from happening so quickly with the most recent addition to the raiding game in the Burning Crusade is the fact that they required a large number of objectives to be completed outside of the instance before you could get to the final boss.

I hit the point where, essentially, I maxed out my main character a long time ago.  Anything that was left for him to acquire as far as gear is concerned was a minor improvement, and I’d seen all the content that we, as a guild, were realistically going to see.  I started spending less time in game and re-activated my City of Heroes account with the intention of attempting to level my main character there to 50 before Wrath was released.

Thing is, the more I’ve been playing City of Heroes the less excited I’ve gotten about the upcoming Wrath release.

Part of this is, of course, the lack of responsibility I have in City of Heroes.  As the leader of a guild with over 100 accounts in it in World of Warcraft it’s very rare that I can have any type of involvement in the game without having to deal with some kind of guild related business – especially recently.  Things have been tense in the guild as burnout is causing a lot of folks to show their ass in various and unpleasant ways.  Hell, even if I don’t log into the game itself I end up having to address some of this stuff due to emails, IM’s, or forum messages.

Really, though, a lot of it is just that I am finding my experience in City of Heroes to be much more pleasant.  Much more…causal friendly.  The community is great.  There are a LOT of role-players on our server, and it’s fun to watch them do their thing.  People are polite.  Yes, I get hit with “gold farmer” spam emails and requests for power leveling from people who can’t spell the word “please,” but I don’t seem to notice a lot of people being assholes.  The game itself has a relatively small player base when compared to WoW, and that tends to inspire people to be on their best behavior.  The same thing was true back in the original Everquest, and it’s something I’ve pined for many times since WoW exploded.

I thought, perhaps, the addition of achievements was going to fire me up a bit more, but the allure of them seems to have burned off pretty quickly.  I logged into the game several days in a row in order to work on some of the things I could do now to get fishing achievements when they were released, and I had every intention of logging in to get Brewfest tokens so that I’d be able to do the same, but it didn’t last.

A lot of this also has to do with the fact that, in City of Heroes, Krystalle and I can play together regardless of how much (or little) time one of us has to spend in the game.  The sidekick/exemplar system in that game continues to be one of the best things in it, and at no point since we’ve re-activated our accounts has either of us felt like the other was being “left behind.”  What’s more, they are planning to expand this system in the future so that you can actually lock your character in to another so that you level at exactly the same pace.  This wouldn’t work with our current characters, but once we both hit 50 and are able to create the “epic” archetype heroes?  I have a strong feeling those two characters are going to be a pretty tight duo.

I’m also appreciating how rich the storylines are in City Of Heroes.  I find myself reading all of the mission text and digging through my clues to get the “extra” bits of story they throw in there.  I love how the NPC’s walk past me and reference things that have happened during missions I’ve run recently (a recent example – One of the villain groups actually got charges pressed against my character.  NPC’s I passed could be overheard asking each other if they thought I was really guilty of the crimes I had been accused of).

Long story short (too late), I find myself actually excited to log in to CoH, where WoW devlolved into being a cross between a chat room and an obligation for me a long time ago.  I really was hoping that the impending release of Wrath was going to change my attitude in that regard, but so far it hasn’t – if anything I’ve become more apathetic than before.

We’ll see what happens, I suppose.  A lot can change in a month, and if the folks who I’m close to in game (and who are also burned out) come back and start playing regularly again I’m likely to get more excited.  Until then?  I’ll continue trying to convince as many of them as I can that putting on tights is a blast.

On that note – If your’e interested in checking it out let me know and I can send you a buddy key.  🙂

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