I loved her. From the very first moment we met, I fell in love with her. Within short time she became a friend. My closest friend. My youth’s biggest crush... And a few years later we became a couple. For four whole years I was the boyfriend of my youth’s biggest crush! A wise friend once told me, after the break up, that I should try and feel happy because I accomplished something very few nerd boys like me couldn’t: I had a long shot with the greatest love of my life.
But, alas, it all fell apart. I can’t say it was my fault or hers, nor I can hide the fact that I didn’t do enough to avoid it. Eventually, the protective vest of our relationship that took us so much time to build was assaulted by far too many bullets for it to endure.
Routine, one of those bullets was named.
Back in the days I used to play as a Rogue. I invested so much time of my life on that character that today I can freely say I tasted a bit of everything. I know how it was to be a nobody looking for a chance to prove himself. I felt the pride of recognition as I had all my non-believer friends saying I was getting real good at playing my class. I raided casually. I raided “hardcorelly”. I even excelled at pvp arenas. There was the time when I’d enter a battleground and characters whose names I never even noticed would know “me”. I was a part of a server-first Guild on a highly populated server. I played my class better than anyone I’d play with, I’d top meters against overgeared classmates. I’d become, with ease, a valuable asset of any guild I’d get into. I knew everything about my class mechanics, I’d study long and complex articles and/or spreadsheets to find out how could I improve my performance. Commitment! I’d re-gem my whole gear if it would help me deal fifty more damage per second on a fight. I surely wasn’t the best player in the world but I felt like I was beating the game and it only made me want to play it more. And if for some weird reason I got bored, I’d take a break off only to get back a few months later, better than before. Until my last break.
You see, I truly love this game. As a not-so-wise friend once said, this was the only game where I could do whatever I felt like doing. If I was in the mood for some serious business I could get into a raid or an instance or a battleground or whatever, but if I just felt like sitting by the sea, fishing, while having a chat with my guild mates, I could just go and do it. The sense of freedom was astonishing, unable to experience on any other game. I always hated the concept of farming. The only thing I’d have fun “farming” was the auction house. An unorthodox farm if you don’t know what you’re doing, but that was my source of income for pretty much all the time I played. Sure, I’d go inside that instance for the bazillionth time to reach exalted status with some weird guys, or I’d do that quest over and over again only to get a golden fishing pole. Or the chance to ride a polar bear. Or a jacket. But never, and I mean never, did I log into the game and felt joy when I did it under the obligation of doing daily quests.
I stepped out WoW at the beginning of this year. I ran out of spare time to play. I embraced the existence of the LFR feature at first, but it honestly wasn’t enough. It brought me no joy at all. Yes, it was the only way for me to see the whole content of the game on a Monday morning, but the only reward I’d get in the end was feeling that I had done with my eyes barely open and sometimes only with my left hand (or an elbow) what others would take weeks to do. No skill involved. No strategy, no plan at all: only mindless killing and a null sensation of accomplishment. I could only look at the LFR feature as a mean to an end: try and get some upgrades on my gear for the real raiding, which I already decided I couldn’t do.
But before quitting, I raided. A lot. And in order to raid, in order to be fully geared up and ready for the serious raiding, I had to do daily quests. For weeks, months, I’d log into the game with the solely purpose of doing dally quests. It was mandatory. If I only had a couple of hours to spend playing on a certain day, I’d have to dedicate that time to, first, do those dailies, and only then to do whatever I felt like doing. Even when I didn’t want to, I knew I had to do them. Raiding without that shoulder’s enchant because I simply didn’t feel like grinding Therazane reputation was inconceivable. Even to purchase those recipes that would make me tons of profit I had to do the same daily quests over and over again. They were everywhere. Their importance growing more and more along with the life of the game itself. It came to my senses that daily quests became something that I already knew as a devastation entity; something that, in the past, helped to destroy the most important thing I had in life. Daily quests had become routine.
I still love her. With all my black little heart, I do. I may live a thousand years and I won’t love another woman the same way I loved her. The same way I love this game. But I just can’t do it anymore. I spent the last few weeks searching for a strong and convincing reason to buy the new expansion pack, only to find out how messed up this game has become: PvP is once again utterly unbalanced, the class I love to play is struggling to make a stand, the pet-battle system feels like playing pokemon, and worse than all that, the daily quest’s routine had become more important than ever before. And I can’t go back to it. I’ll eventually waste those thirty-five euros (or whatever it costs) to buy the “xpac”, but it will be literally a waste of my money. Sure, I might have some fun trying out the new class (not the pandas, which I find as much out of place as the draenei), but with no will to commit at all. And how I wished I felt that will to commit to this game, like I did in the past. I find myself again with plenty of free time in my hands to spend playing, but this time I’ll have to find something else to play. I guess that, in a way, I can look to World of Warcraft the same way I look to my ex-girlfriend: something that made me feel alive, that made me truly happy, but that I, much against my will, had to learn to let go and move on.