Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Understanding Burnout

As I've stated before, I've been playing this crazy WoW game for the better part of 4 years. Almost 5 at this point. From the very beginning I've understood that when there is a game that people are capable of playing that long, some burnout is going to occur. I didn't get my very first look at this until the end of BC. And, at the time, I didn't personally feel any of it. I mean, there was still so much to do! But I understood it, intellectually.

As Wrath is slowly coming to a close and we get ever closer to the release of a new expansion, I'm finally feeling the burnout. I get it now. But why did it take almost 5 years? It's never taken me that long to burn out on anything before. And if you consider the number of hours I pump into this game...yeah.

But today I realized there's a very fundamental difference for me between Wrath and the previous two content cycles: I've been a part of Wrath right from the start.

I didn't start playing Vanilla until pretty close to the end of its cycle--a little bit before the first Scourge invasion and the opening of Naxx 40.

Leveling was slow and intermittent. When BC dropped, Saniel was still only in the 40s. I started Daluaan to work on at that time, just so I could justify having bought the expac when I was still 15 or so levels away from being able to see its content.

Saniel didn't ding 70 until Christmas day of that year, 10 months and change after BC had been released. Dal didn't make it until a couple months later. I spent the remaining year of the expansion learning how to actually play WoW with people. Dungeons and Heroics and Raids. All the fun stuff that I'd either avoided or didn't even know about up to that point.

By the time Wrath finally came out, I was a fairly seasoned vet. I'd gone from haphazardly leveling my way through the world to actively raiding, reading blogs, researching specs and gear and rotations, and even acting as a guild's raid leader. I had two max-level toons and a couple more that just kinda floated around when I really needed a change of pace. I put more hours into the game each month than I had the almost-two-years prior to getting addicted serious.

Then Wrath drops. Both my 70s are 80 within a month. I'm running Heroics consistently. I've been an active part of every raid tier as it's been released. I have a 3rd 80 now, and a 78 (although he started at 55, so it doesn't count as much). There's also a 47 in the mix.

I've watched my guild expand and shrink several times over. With two exceptions, I've accomplished everything I've wanted to accomplish in this expansion. One of those things (kill the Lich King) is somewhat dependent on other people. The other (obtaining 100 mounts) is now only impeded by bad luck and a gold bag I refuse to open.

When I have a goal, I'm capable of pursuing it with relentless single-minded ambition. Especially when I know that accomplishing it is just a matter of time and determination.

When I have no concrete goals...my interest in something in virtually nil. I'm not the type that does something solely for the sake of doing it.

I still log in almost nightly to try and accomplish those last two goals. I also have the mini-goals of getting my Priest and my DK their epic flying. I refuse to fund them with my main, though. Like all my toons, they need to earn their own way. Siaaryn's almost there. Another week or two and he'll have it. Just grinding out dailies and playing the Saronite-to-Titanium AH game.

My DK's a little further away. But if I put a few solid days into farming herbs, I could probably make it quick.

There's still months and months until Cataclysm is finally released. (I'm banking on January or February, despite Blizzard's financial forecasts.) I'm just as anxious to get in the beta to experience something really new as I am just because I think it would be a really neat experience to be an active participant in a product under development.

Now I get burnout. I see why people leave the game in droves during the last few months of an expansion, especially with something new and shiny actually visible on the horizon. Yeah, there's a still lot to do now...but I've done it.


  1. I usually skitter over to new games right about now. EQ2 at the end of vanilla. Age of Conan and Warhammer before Wrath. This time I think I'm going to just indulge in my outside the computer interests. By the time the xpac comes it'll be too cold to play outside much anyway.

  2. I should still complete loremaster, but at the moment SCII kidnapped me. I do understand the burnout issue. I don't really enjoy wow, even if I should aim for a few things before cata comes out.

  3. I'll probably pick up SC2 eventually. I dug out my old copies of SC and Brood Wars a couple months ago and started playing through them again to actually get acquainted with the story. I'm horrible at RTS, though. I played for a couple weekends before I got to a mission that completely handed me my tail and haven't picked it up again since.

    I need to find the time and discipline to get through the originals before I let myself move on to the new and shiny. And that, of course, also means carving out of WoW time.