Saturday, January 5, 2013

How My Age has Changed How I Play WoW

Esmeralda Sky of the Casually Casual Podcast recently posted an inquiry called Does Age Play a Factor in How WoW is played?

Short Answer - Yes

Now for the Long Answer
I have been playing video games since the days of the old Atari games and the Commodore 64in the early 80's (yes I am that old...I was only 12 in 1980). My MMORPG experiences started with RuneScape around 2003 or 2004 and I started playing WoW in November of 2011.

Over the years, I have found that my game play has changed significantly as I have gotten older and my health has declined. When I first started playing RuneScape (RS), I was working full time and commuting to work. I used to come home from work and log into the game and play about 5-6 hours a night and then 12-14 hours on Saturday and Sunday. I was very much into the quests in RS and I used to enjoy killing mobs and improving my character's fighting skills. In that game, you have ONE character, and that character can fight using magic, range or melee. In addition, there  were certain fighting stats that you could train - attack, defense, strength and hit points. I was totally obsessed over having "even stats" in those categories. I would fight and fight and when one stat was even a smidgen over the others I would change weapons so that I could even them out again. There are skills in RS, which are similar to the professions in WoW, but unlike WoW, you are not limited to 2 primary and 3 secondary skills, you can choose to level some, all or none. I decided to work on all of the professions as I enjoyed them all and I would spend hours farming mats and crafting items.

 At the time I was playing RS, I was going through some personal issues and I became close with some of the people that I played with and even met a few of them IRL. Some of the IRL interactions went well, others did not. I am still friends with a couple of the people that I met IRL, but for the most part I am no longer in touch with the people I played with. I even went to the extreme and took a plane to meet one of the people that I met in game, which in hindsight was not the most intelligent thing that I have ever done. For those of you who are reading thinking the  worst imaginable things that could have happened meeting these people IRL, please do not worry. The worst thing that happened was that some of these people were not at all who they portrayed themselves as, and as such I quickly took measures to distance myself from those people and prevent any harassment that may have occurred.

Fast forward to my WoW days - things have changed significantly. I am no longer able to work, nor am I able to put the hours and hours into gaming that I used to. I have trouble playing WoW for long extended periods of time and I can no longer have those 12-14 hour gaming sessions that I used to. My eyes and hands have been affected by both age and health and I have trouble typing at times and sometimes it is difficult to see what is happening on the screen.  I now take more time for IRL interactions, and I spend so much more time traveling and getting outside to enjoy the world outside of gaming.

I would like to meet with some of the people that I have met in WoW, however, now that I am older and wiser, I am not going to take a plane to meet a random person from an online game. I am considering attending WoW Meetups or attending BlizzCon (as I live pretty close to Los Angeles).

As I have gotten older, I have found that I personally am less interested in killing things and more interested in the crafting and gathering aspects of the game. I am not really interested in the "end game" and it totally annoys me that almost all of the professions in WoW are gated by level, however that will be a subject for another day. I have also become less obsessive about how I play games in general and I have learned that this makes gameplay less stressful.

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