I hear it every single time I log into WoW…
“I’m soooo bored with (questing, grinding, raiding, dueling, BG’s, etc…)!”
I’m betting you’ve also heard the same sentiments, and may have even uttered some of your own. For the life of me, I simply don’t understand it completely. Personally, I have never been bored while playing WoW. Why? What’s my secret, you ask? I’m glad you did.
Roleplaying! That’s how I enjoy every minute logged in to the World of Warcraft. At the ending of a typical work day, when it’s time to relax the mind and spirit, the very last thing I want to do is fire up a computer GAME and WORK. Notice the oxymoron there? Being that it is indeed called a ‘game’, one would think that the implied ‘fun’ that is supposed to be had would be obvious. Alas, that seemingly and sadly is not the case for so many players I cross paths with in WoW. If you feel I may be talking to you, then I hearken you continue to hear me out.
Now, I said I don’t understand how anyone could be bored in WoW. At least, I don’t completely understand it. However, as I give it more thought over time, I think I see a couple of examples that pop up in the history of gaming that could be possible culprits in helping to shape many a gamers’ mindset towards such thoughts.
Games have of course been around for a very long time, and exist in a multitude of different types and genres, on a multitude of varying platforms and mediums. When it comes to WoW, it helps to think of what types and genres make it up, two in particular: massively-multiplayer online (MMO), and roleplaying game (RPG).
The MMO part of WoW is what I feel the vast majority of players focus on, and while that’s an awesome element to the game, it is only half of it. Being able to sit in the comfort of your favorite gaming environment and meet your favorite friends and family in an online fantasy world is greatly addicting. Possibly so addicting that it draws a player into thinking that that is all there is to the game. Meet up with friends for a some BG rounds, gather some guild mates together for a raid on an opposing factions’ town, or assembling a PUG for an instance run, wash, rinse, repeat. It’s all very easy to do these things, and there’s nothing wrong with any of it.
Are players who do only these things taking the easy way out? I don’t think so, but consider this the next time you think doing the same things over and over is getting boring: you are only playing half the game. Ask yourself, why am I paying about $15 (US) a month, but only engaging in $7.50 worth of gameplay?
Enter roleplaying, stage left. Sure, I agree, getting into RP’ing is not as easy as simply typing /pvp, or spamming the LFG channel. It’s certainly not impossible, either!
The RPG aspect of WoW is where this game really shines. Trust me on this. RP’ing opens up the game to true adventuring and excitement, and unless you’re a Jedi, aren’t those a couple of the things we seek out games for?
Another item of past gaming that I think may be somewhat responsible for reducing players’ view of MMORPG’s are previous games that have been labeled RPG’s. Games like Baldur’s Gate, The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Planescape: Torment, Knights of the Old Republic, and so many others where gameplay is essentially ‘go here – fight this – collect this’ so you can then ‘go there – fight that – collect that’. While I also greatly enjoyed many of these games, I think it has done much in sticking a very strict and highly misinterpreted definition of just what it means to RP in many a gamers’ mind.
Roleplaying is so much more than that. It is also so much more than simply typing /bow and /fart, and in WoW, it also doesn’t involve any form of ‘thee’ or ‘thou’! Thousands of people, nay, millions, are playing a character every hour of every day in WoW. They pass by your character all the time. The ones you really remember are those with personality and flair, combined with good skill in armed and magical combat. For a very basic definition, I think of RP’ing as the difference between playing a character and being a character. And that, my friends, is where the fun is!