I’m in a relatively small guild in World of Warcraft, it’s one of those guilds that was around at the birth of the server but has dwindled in numbers as people left for other guilds, or servers, or MMOs. I’ve stuck with the same server and the same faction since day one, and it’s fun to be a part of a guild that has always been there too.
However, the downside of being a part of such a guild is that most of the members are hardcore WoWnuts, with multiple alts, and who are always online no matter when I happen to get a spare moment to myself to log in. As such I find myself watching as a large portion of the regular guild members are tackling the content that is half way to the level cap whilst I languish behind, having barely scraped the surface of the starter areas. I watch as the freshly minted Death Knights of the guild blast past me faster than you can say “Unholy Undead Overpoweredness, Batman!”, and then find myself being lapped by the regular guild members as they take their alts into content I’ve yet to experience.
‘Find myself being lapped’. I often say that to myself, “Ooop, there goes so and so on their alt, lapping me again”, as if it’s some sort of race.
And I have to ask, what the hell is wrong with us? Where did this obsession begin, that every MMO release should be an excuse for a Tasmanian-Devil-like whirlwind devouring of content, in the most destructive and indiscriminate manner, in a mad desperate rush to get to the level cap and… and what? In the main: complain about the lack of content.
You may apply your palm to your face now, or wait until later. I shall apply mine now.
And so I find that I’m having to constantly tell myself to not get despondent when I appear to be behind the curve with respect to levels, not to be envious that other players have great gear and have experienced new zones ages before I ever will, just because I happen to be taking time to explore places and read the quest text and stop to admire the view; I have to tell myself that I’m not losing, being lapped or under performing, and that I don’t need to speed up my questing, hurry on to the next zone, grab the next bag of XP, get to the next level.
You see what I realised is that, essentially, for a few short days after the release of any MMO expansion, the raiders are among us. There really should be something printed on the expansion box “Warning: Upon entering the world, normal players may experience brief waves of turbulent raiders. This may cause bouts of inferiority complex, envy, disorientation and nausea, but will soon pass”. So yes, for a few brief days, one gets to live and learn what it is to exist in a raid cloud, where everything is about performance, being the best, and more importantly, being better than the next player. It’s all about loot linking, calling out each level ‘ding’, each half level ‘ding’, each single XP gain. It’s about mocking other players for a) Not knowing where Scourged Flamespitters are, and b) Still needing to do a quest that all the cool kids did five seconds after the WotLK authentication server was up.
Thankfully the speed at which the raid cloud levels is such that, given a few more days, they will all be bashing their heads against the latest perfunctory phat lewt dispenser disguised as game-play, and those of us left in their wake can spend time leveling slowly and quietly in peace, uprighting fences, helping NPCs up from the ground where they were trampled, and picking up the discarded burger wrappers, drinks cartons and other detritus from the carefully crafted landscape that was two years in the making and two days in the consuming.