The person who made, and broke, WoW for me

| Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Scandal!  My first WoW account was shared and after it was taken away I was lost.  Not merely lost, undone.  My level 60 shaman and warlock, gone!  I wasn't particularly close to my guild, not close enough that I could see much hope of getting help with leveling back up to 60.  Besides, the name Klepsacovic was taken on that server.  I could have bought the account, but the price was high (thanks to me) and that's hardly secure.

That could have been the end of WoW for me.

I opened a new account and was ready to start again.  But how?  I was lost and alone.  On a whim I went off to Wildhammer (or so I remember) and did some whoing.  My hope was to find a few friends I had from the paladin forums.  Despite being a shaman or sometimes warlock, I had ended up on the paladin forums.  Thankfully, they were there.  I talked to them about the problem.  My first attempt was a human warrior.  But that was a joke (literally, it was a joke).  Second was a warlock, which was also a joke, but at level 1 she beat a level 3 mage, so I had a good feeling about it.  Incidentally, I won by using melee rather than spells, which might explain my distress at the removal of firestones (a conjured offhand which boosted spell power and added fire damage to melee attacks).

I stuck with that warlock for a good bit of time.  Later we went to Horde and Klepsacovic was reborn.  Though I think I got his hair color slightly wrong.  With the release of Burning Crusade a protection paladin engineer was created.  In a raid with two of the forum friends (the third had wandered off into the nether by then) Kelpsacovic became my main and remained so for years.  They were good times, with only brief upsets related to guild merging.

Wrath of the Lich King brought more of the same, though with a plethora of things to care about, yet nothing to kill WoW.  Perhaps Cataclysm brought the same as well.

But something else changed.  One of the friends, or maybe both, convinced me to do something stupid and expensive: transfer servers.  The plan was to transfer and start a new guild.  We had been in a guild at that point.  Not a great guild, but I had some friends in it and I didn't think anyone was complete garbage (though some were not so great), so in retrospect, it was probably the best I could have asked for.

For $50 I took my main away from the guild I'd known and the friends in it and went off nearly alone.  One friend wandered off and eventually betrayed the other (but that's another story for me to not tell you) and before long I was more or less alone.

I can't say whether Cataclysm would have kept me entertained the entire time and I still don't think it was as good as BC or LK.  But I do think that if I had been with my guild I'd not have quit after only a couple months.  Not even quit; it wasn't a rage-quit, just I didn't care.  I had no friends, no one to talk to or share with, no one to group with, and I wasn't going to stumble across anyone in a cross-server random system (as I had in the past).  Ultimately it was not any particular change in WoW that killed it for me, but a change in my social interaction with it.

I have a second data point for this theory: Guild Wars 2.  My two friends from college (different people) started playing, and then wandered back to WoW.  I am alone (though not without offers from Syl, who is unfortunately, foreign).  Consequently, I have wandered away from GW2.  It's a neat place, but it's a bit too big to be in alone.

New games should learn from this, not my story in particular, but the importance of social ties.  Maybe offer group discounts on the box prices, to encourage people to move to the new game, not as individuals trying a new game, but as friends and guilds.


Kring said...

I think WoW is the odd one off and this cannot be repeated.

I've noticed the same with GW2. It's only one month and I'm already alone. Yesterday I've logged into WoW (my year pass is still active...) to fix my add-on for 5.0 as there was a request on Curse. I was amazed, I had to scroll through my friend list. More than one page of RealID friends were online. Unfortunately, I don't feel like playing WoW at the moment as I enjoy GW2 much more.

WoW has a momentum which a new game will never be able to reach. (After all, it took WoW like 5 years to reach its peak.) Offering bulk discounts is not going to change that.

Infamy.Deferred said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Celendus said...

Funny story, I've been following this blog ever since I came across your posts on the paladin forums in mid-BC; I fell into paladin tanking around the same time and it was such a small community of pally tanks back then. Interesting times.

Klepsacovic said...

@Kring: I don't think I buy the notion of "momentum". After all, if a game is moving, where is it moving? In the case of WoW it is moving in a direction I don't like. If you mean that it is bringing in new people, that can also be an issue. As it grows in brings in people with a wider variety of interests, which fuels ever-greater conflict within the community as people with different notions of how and why to play get put into the same world and group.

@Celendus: So the link on my sig actually accomplished something! Thanks for sharing.

I miss those early says, still proving ourselves, and figuring out what we were even doing.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you about GW2. I like it but I cannot find anyone I want to play with. I think guild based WvW is the only thing that would keep me interested and I cannot find a guild. I've joined several but they all have no one in them at the times I'm on. I've looked on the forums to find guilds and there is nothing in Oceanic and recruiting or they're too hard core (I can't commit to WvW three nights a week). It would make more sense to have set some timezone based realms so people can find each other more organically.

Kring said...

> I don't think I buy the notion of "momentum".

I just noticed that GW2 didn't attract that many people. At least not former WoW player I knew. On the other side a WoW expansion brings them all back into the game. They won't stay for 2 years. But they expect to get something from MoP, which they didn't expect from GW2. And to be honest, they were probably right. They all met each other again. A WoW expansion is like a class reunion.


> It would make more sense to have set some timezone based
> realms so people can find each other more organically.

But that wouldn't really help WvW. :) Unless you want to only play against Oceanic servers.

Klepsacovic said...

@Anonymous: Alternatively, a good looking for guild tool would have helped. I wonder if finding a matching guild will ever not be the problem it has always been.

@Kring: It attracted a few million. That falls into my category of "many people". It might even be a similar bump as WoW gets from an expansion.

But you're right about WoW being like a class reunion, or maybe not; I've never been to one.

Miguelese said...

Yep, I started GW2 with 4 friends from WOW and the wife. I guess they have all wondered back to WOW (expect the wife who logs for half an out to play with cooking each day) as I have found myself alone this week. I was contemplating joining a large guild as there seems to be a few around and GW2 apparently allows for more than one guild to see how that works out.

There must be quite a few of us in this situation, I wonder if anyone has the drive to go and round us all up an create a guild of the lonely literati?

Syl said...

"...who is unfortunately, foreign"

I prefer the term 'outlandish', or alternatively 'awesome' :p

Klepsacovic said...

@Miguelese: Hm...

@Syl: I don't need a birth certificate to know that you weren't born in America.

Dejara Thoris said...

I played WoW starting at the tail of BC and played all the way through to Jan 2013. For certain it was my guildies that kept me into the game as I almost quit befor finding my guild. Oddly enough it was my guildies that let me leave as well as the WoW guild I was in has expanded into a multi-game community so I could go off to GW2 and Eve and still retain the community.

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