Yaa-Boo To The Horde

Today, I cancelled my Warcraft subscription. I feel better already, away from the world of the über-geeks and cries of n0ob! I've also saved myself £9/month and about 10GB of disk-space - which is a bonus.

When I first bought the game, it cost me the paltry sum of a tenner. The first month's subscription was free, so I wasn't that fussed about playing it to pass the time. If I hated it, then I'd only wasted ten quid - there's not many games like that. As it happened, I was sick at the time and couldn't go to work, so it filled in some very dull days. I couldn't walk and didn't have much else to do.

Within a short space of time, my character progressed through the levels pretty quickly. However, after a while, things were starting to bore me. Why? Well, it seemed that quests fell into the category of:

1) Kill x beasties and success will be yours.
2) Find item/person x and earn yourself a chufty badge.
3) Be in favour with faction x (by performing tasks (1) and (2) and you will be l33t.

So as you can see, things became a little dull. With little diversity during play apart from being given more quests, I got quite bored.

In addition, the key aspect of what irks me about the game is that to progress, you don't need to actually be good at it - you just need to play it more. You think it took some playing hours to reach level 35? Well, play some more hours and you'll probably reach level 40. No skill is required. Just as there may be some really great top-level characters out there, there are a whole pile of idiots too - and many use the game as no more than a glorified chat-room. The signal to noise ratio in the chat sections can get on your nerves. In fact, I made a deliberate point of never talking to anyone.

That's not to say that the game doesn't have potential - Blizzard just haven't used it. It's potential as a virtual world is vastly under-utilised. Perhaps if players could create their own homes/realms as per Second-Life and set quests, entire new kingdoms could be explored and things could take an entirely new and interesting twist. Perhaps if the quests had more puzzle-based content, they would reward using the brain as well as brawn. Too many things are won by beating monsters over the head repeatedly.

There are people out there who have reached the hallowed top ranks of levels 60-70, having bought the expansion pack and continued to play like something possessed. Indeed, I know of people who have taken two weeks off work to play the game and during that period have barely stopped to sleep. If you've seen the South Park episode on Warcraft, you'll realise it's not far from the truth.

This disturbs me greatly. It's like a form of addiction and makes me want to distance myself from the whole thing. It's a game, for God's sake. Have you no lives to go to? I can't justify spending the money on this any further. I may play again, just for shits'n'giggles during the Christmas holidays, but if I do, I'll get myself invited by a friend to play on a free 10 day trial.

Blizzard have announced yet another expansion pack that will allow characters to go even further, towards level 80. I have no doubt that there will be bucket-loads of people who will snap that one up too. If 10 million plus people are playing, that's a whole pile of revenue they're getting from subscriptions. I think I've just worked it out to be in excess of £1bn/yr. In the meantime, I've saved myself £8.99 a month - and I'm now going to go up on the moors and explore the real world.

I blow raspberries in the face of the horde.
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