Why I Don't Play World Of Warcraft

Monday marked the fifth birthday of World of Warcraft, and - enormous success though it is - there are many millions who haven't played it, and honestly don't care to. I'm one of them, and here we have our say.

Let's understand each other: I have nothing against Warcraft or Warcraft gamers, or MMOs. I don't fear addiction to them, because I've built my life around deadlines and never missing them, and I'm fortunate to have some every single day to keep me honest. It's not the fantasy setting or the stigma, either - I was trundling AD&D books to my seventh grade classes and suffered enough teasing that I truly don't care about such things, now that I'm older. Maybe it's the fact that I've never been a serious PC gamer. Maybe it's my lack of comfort with WASD and mouse controls.

I think mostly it's how I was raised on RPGs. When I play a fantasy role-playing game I expect dice. I expect dice chalk. I expect character sheets. I expect stacks of hardbacked manuals. I expect a dungeon master screen. I expect rainy Saturdays with nothing to do but read "Unearthed Arcana." I expect going over to a friend's house on a Friday night. I expect paying the DM $US20 to let me re-roll at name level. I expect everyone telling Eric to shut the fuck up, we're not letting him name his drow paladin-bard-illusionist "Zartan."

While I can't say these things have no analogue in WoW (except for paying the DM), the experience does seem to me to be a little less social. Yeah, you can form a raiding party at 3 a.m. and battle both sleep and orcs. For me, nothing beats lurching into one last cavern full of bugbears, and watching your pal, laying on the floor with his eyes closed, confidently tick off his weapon and spell choices to save the day, and then finding him the next morning asleep in exactly the same posture.

Again, nothing against Warcraft, but back in the day, that's just how we rolled. Literally.

Stephen Totilo, Deputy Editor, Kotaku

I don't play World of Warcraft. Haven't touched it since a single Saturday a few years ago when I brought a Tauren Druid to his 12th level and had a player, controlling a Tauren-turned-bear, approach my character and lick him. I believe this was the same player who, earlier in the day, went on a quest with me and didn't actually disconnect when I needed him most — he just had stepped away to change a load of laundry. I get what's appealing about WoW: The leveling, the oddities that occur when you're playing a game full of real people. But I quickly decided that I feared the game. I feared its monthly drain on my budget. I feared the sense of obligation to keep playing a game I continuously paid for. And I feared the amount of other games I wouldn't have time to play in order to play this single one. I like to play games that people consider to be great. I like to try to understand them. But with some disappointment, I stay away from World of Warcraft. I think it's better for me that way, that I gain more than I lose.

Juan Perez, Editor-in-Chief, Perez Start

Easy answer, addiction. MMO players are a different type of gamer. They live for the grind. Previously, I played Star Wars Galaxies - the first release - not that "revamped" watered-down version. There were not enough hours in the day to rank up my Twi'lek Bounty Hunter, join the Imperials and raid Anchorhead looking for Rebels who took the battles a little too serious by "reporting" other players. World of Warcraft then came along and swooped all those who still had the itch to game MMO. Macro nerds really pissed me off. You know the type, the ones that made all their actions a damn script. What enjoyment did they get from that? Sure, it was practical but gaming should be fun not a job. I already know gaming is an addiction that some can handle, while others become infatuated. WoW changed lives and kept some living like hermits. Monthly fees forced them to play "more" because of the "Geez, I'm paying for this crap so I'm going to use it" mentality. WoW is a cult I may have missed thanks to SWG setting my standards for MMOs, but I'm glad it did. Not sure how much time a week a WoW player plays but I bet it's close to 20 to 25 hours. No Thanks! Oh yeah, and that South Park episode helped keep me away. "Make Love, Not Warcraft". Staaaaaaan!!!

Fergus Mills, Senior Editor, The Koalition

Many people have tried to get me to play World of Warcraft, but it never appealed to me. Playing a game like WoW consumes so much time and all WoW players that I know play for hours on end everyday. There isn't enough time for me to have a social life, go to college, get enough, sleep, and play WoW the way they seem to. I have nothing bad to say about WoW players in general. Now that I am older I realise that people are just passionate about things that increase their quality of life. I just don't see why WoW is worth my time, so I stay away from it. It seems like just another game to me.

Overall, I think World of Warcraft has an extremely niche audience. I might be wrong, but WoW seems to take a certain amount of time and resolve to really get into it. It's not a game that you turn on and start to have fun right away with. My roommate DeJarvis Oliver says that he never got into WoW because it takes too long to build a character, level him up, and enjoy the action. I never got into it because of its monthly subscription. I have an internet bill, Netflix, Gamefly, and a cell phone bill to pay to name a few things. World of Warcraft does not have priority over any of that. I can cop a few console games and have satisfied experiences without any additional cost (besides XBL hitting my wallet up once a year). I realise that some of this additional cost is perceived and justified to some aspect, but I like variety in my games. Playing one game for too long is not my style. I don't think World of Warcraft has done a good job in letting people know why this is the game that they should playing. The commercial with Ozzy Osbourne is cool and all, but c'mon. Ozzy isn't going to convince me to play this game. He looks like he doesn't play it himself.

Brian Miggels, Editor & Graphic Designer, GameSpy

I don't play World of Warcraft at all. I never have and I never will. There's something that makes me cringe whenever co-workers start talking about raids, loot, and whatever level their blood elf is. I find it easy to sit back, relax, pick up a controller (not a keyboard with strategically popped out keys) and be labelled a "con-tard" by a number of people here at the office that specifically play PC games. Point number 1: Whatever the minimal difference is between my computer screen and my HDTV, it's enough to make me separate my worlds as far as a life is concerned. The symbolic gesture of closing my laptop at the end of the day is a brief reminder that it's game time or going out time. Point number 2: WoW is one of the most obviously addictive games there is. I have a full time job that I largely owe to me getting my shit together and doing away with some of my tendencies of being a highly addictive person. If I started playing it I know I would like it so much that my entire career would fall apart and I would go back to living in my parents' basement — although they never really even had a basement to begin with, but you get the point. Not for me, and no thank you.

Marc Normandin, Baseball Prospectus

Most of my close friends played WoW a few years back. They would play at a LAN centre we visited often, and eventually would only play WoW. I still went to hang out with them, but that became harder to do as they morphed into hot-key-striking zombies.

Thanks to watching all of the riveting non-action as they stood around for hours waiting to organize themselves for daily raids, and what I can only assume are the same feelings a resentful, scorned girlfriend would have towards the game, I have had no interest in giving it a shot.

Shaun McIlroy, U.K./European Editor, One Last Continue

There's a simple reason why I no longer play World of Warcraft, I've got too much to lose in my life. Back in 2006, as a lowly college student, I managed to justify my then-addiction by claiming it was a way to unwind after a busy week. It was then that grades began to suffer. After a time I decided that enough was enough and the increasing workload was definitely more important than collecting animal pelts.

In short, life had, and has, more to offer than a trip across a virtual land for a nominal fee each month. I'd much rather use that money on a night out with my girlfriend, or a book for my games design degree, or even something more basic such as rent. I'm not sure how many hours I'd need to invest into that world again without risking my University degree or my wonderful relationship, but I know it wouldn't be worth it.

To contrast, my older brother (38) spends a hell of a lot of his personal time on WoW. Then again, and I say this with the utmost love and respect, with a lack of a real social life outside of Azeroth he can afford to.

Kreyg Dezgo, Editor, Hot Blooded Gaming

To this day, I have never played or so much as tried World of Warcraft. Some might say, "what kind of gamer are you?!" and I would reply sarcastically with, "a smart one?" While the game seems fun and like something I would greatly enjoy, the price of addiction is not one I wish to pay. It seems that everyone I knew who played WoW became addicted to it in some way. Working at a gaming LAN center/retail store didn't help either. Co-workers would play at work instead of working, friends would rather stay in and when asked to hang out, they would "not feel like it" It seemed like everyone just wanted to play World of Warcraft.

Instead of jumping on the bandwagon, I stayed away from the game. Co-workers and friends tried to peer-pressure me into playing many times. It was almost like those situations they told us about in [anti-drug program]D.A.R.E. Luckily I remember the "eight ways to say no," "broken record" and "say no and walk away" seemed to work best. Over time, my friends stopped playing, but periodically they would relapse and all their old patterns were back. The South Park episode later came out and I said to each of them, "at least you weren't as bad as that guy" Ultimately my friends are the reason I do not play WoW.

Josh Robinson, The Blue Banner (University of North Carolina Asheville)

The first time I tried World of Warcraft was when I was in the 11th grade. My buddy let me try the "friend trial" that came with the game. I gave it a try, but I was just so bored with the repetitive nature of the game. The never-ending leveling up, or "grinding," wasn't fun to me – I'm still not sure how it is for everyone who plays that game.

My friends were obsessed with the game from about the 11th grade until somewhere around the end of my sophomore year of college. I've still go friends who play it, but none that play it nearly as religiously as they did.

I don't have the time to play most of the video games I'd like. I don't see how people have the time to dedicate to a game like that. I definitely understand the appeal of the community aspect. I played EverQuest: Online Adventures for the PlayStation 2 while I was in the ninth grade and then Final Fantasy XI on the PlayStation 2, as well, in the 10th grade. I made some relationships with people that I still keep in contact with today.

But these days, I don't have the time to give to an MMO. I'm a full-time student and I have a job, as well. That alone ties up most of my time. I'm a senior, which means no rest, even in death, haha. Any spare time I have isn't going to be spent on a game that requires a monthly fee.

To me, WoW was not as fun as the other two MMOs I had played before. Can't really put my finger on what it was, but WoW lacked something the other two had. But obviously there's something there that appeals to a much larger group of people than the two MMOs that I played before it.

Your turn. If you don't play, now or ever, why not?

Check back all week for more stories related to World of Warcraft's fifth anniversary.


Comments

    I played for quite a while and absolutely loved it, but for basically the same reasons as all these guys have stated I have cancelled my subscription and have no plans whatsoever to renew it.

    The game is just far too much of a time sink and coupled with the monthly fee's barely makes it worth it.

    I honestly do think that it is an amazing game and really wish I did have the time to play it but for now I am just going to sitback and await the time when Blizzard announces Warcraft 4.

      Been awhile since I touched this game.
      Wasnt that I ended up hating the developers, players etc etc etc.
      I reached 60 did raids, did battlegrounds, leveled up a twink and killed lots of players for kicks.

      Now two expansions later, a little more wiser, I was starting to get annoyed about standing around and doing nothing except waiting for a battleground, and jumping tiles in Ironforge once Id hit the cap before each expansion came out.

      Each time I had stopped playing, a few months before the next expansion came out.

      Luckily I havnt gone back and dont plan to go back for WOTLK, or any other expansion there-after.

    I have played on and off for the last 3 years, but as the content grew, so did the lag.
    It's frustrating to play an online game when your actions are delayed by an average of 400-500ms. When blizzard decides to host a server (realm) IN Australia then I will reconsider playing once again...

    I played a lot in the first year, then kind of petered out when the burning crusade expansion came out, I didn't want to grind anything and although heroics were available for 'casuals' they required you to be a certain spec or class that had crowd control, which just wasn't for me. In Wrath I play on and off, I like the heroic dungeon system a lot more, classes and specs seem more balanced, sadly I don't have as much time anymore, but that dosn't mean when I'm on extended holidays I don't buy myself a month and grab myself a few of the newest shinies available from the casual side of the game.

    I got it for X-mas the year it came out. My brother gave me the game, he was addicted then, and is STILL addicted now. I played it for 3 months and then cancelled. The grind became too much, became too boring. At the end of the 3 months I felt I could no longer keep paying $15 a month to "do chores" online in this "game".

    I tried once more when Burning Crusade was released. If I recall, I played for about 3 hours over 3 days before cancelling again.

    I've always felt that MMORPGS were a great example of BAD game design, that somehow keeps people playing and forking out money. I realized how very little of the game was actually "fun". Sure it was fun when you levelled up, or found some good loot, but everything in between was a grind. It became like work, except in this case I was paying THE BOSS for the work I DID.

    It just turned into work. When it got to the point where I was spending more time harvesting herbs to sell in the AH to save up enough for an epic mount than anything else in the game I realised wasn't having fun anymore.

    Didn't play it when it came out because I was stuck on dialup. After I got broadband all my friends were max level so I didn't want to play alone and didn't bother. Eventually tried the trial, felt and looked and controlled and WAS every other MMO I've tried, so was completely uninterested in continuing and deleted it.

    i dont see how WoW is even a "what kind of PC gamer are you??" game to me its not really genre defining it was in the same vein as halo(where it was the only shooter worth playing at launch for the XBOX fans and so it got propelled upwards)

    same as WoW it wasnt the first MMO it had a pre-established fan base from the RPG's and simplified the system on account of that

      halo was not genre defining

    it cost like $15 a month. thats all that needs to be said.

    If it was like that for Starcraft, I would have paid like $2000 for it by now!

    but worse than that, I just know I'd feel I had to pay it or I'd be waisting money, as if it wasn't addictive enough.

    For every World of Warcraft player, there is 5 others who love to go into detail on just how they don't play this game. Even if they add disclaimers about how they 'have nothing against WoW players' the fact that they are taking the time (often repeatedly) is something in itself. Is it a case of lament for lost friends? Tall poppy syndrome? Everyone else is doing it so I should be too? Or maybe a sign of an addiction almost as bad as being hooked on WoW itself.

    (Nothing personal against the author - its a trend that has existed almost as long as the game itself)

    I used to play WoW up until about 4 months ago. Level 80 Priest, raids every week, good guild with great members but I didn't like the impact it had on my social life. Playing alongside the b/f made it more enjoyable but friends, hobbies the hip pocket were suffering. I dunno how many hours I've spent on the game over 2 years but it got a bit boring after finally hitting max level. I was even excited about Cataclysm but now... I just would rather put that money towards other games or going out with my mates. I love WoW still but it isn't worth the sacrifices. I find it more addicting then other MMO's too which doesn't help. >.>

    I created a trial account just to see if I was missing anything. Apparently, it wasn't much. You just walked around getting bored, so I logged off of it permanently, and switched to an old game that I haven't given as much love in 2009 as I have before: Burnout 3.

    I'd love to play it, free trial revealed that all other MMOs aren't nearly as slick and polished, but there isn't enough hours in the day to play games now without really putting the proper level of effort in.

    Even when I was playing the trial all I could think of was how I could maximize its value and feeling guilty that if I was paying for it I'd barely be able to play it 4 hours in a seven day period :(

    I did play World of Warcraft, for all of two weeks. In that two weeks, I think I received more drubbings and teasing from my university friends than I have received for any other nerdy outlet in my entire life! (And that says something when a good number of your friends are state-level sports jocks, and one of your hobbies is Warhammer 40K.)

    This is not the reason I didn't continue playing. The main reason is that - like so many other comments on here - it felt like a job, and not a game. I was raised on games like Command & Conquer, Half-Life, Ace Combat and Battlefield, all of which deliver a certain degree of "instant gratification" that simply continues to improve as you learn deeper mechanics and better tactics.

    Enter World of Warcraft. I played WC2 and WC3, so my curiosity to some extent can be understood, but when you find yourself spending most of the game walking from A to B in a massive world that is, and let's face it, really not that pretty (and by extension, not all that impressive) it just felt like a total bore! I managed, through gritted teeth, to make level 30 before deciding that with the general pattern being "Get New Quest > Walk twenty minutes > Kill Twenty Wolves > Claim Reward > Get New Quest", and not improving much from there...

    ...I'm not going to harp on. I'm sure for the 'serious' individual who enjoys doing long division and multiplication to work out the best equipment combinations and tactics to beat their next quest, the game is just fine. But the short end of that argument is that I like getting "lost" in the world of whatever game I'm playing, be it C&C or Total War, there is an element of suspension of disbelief that keeps you sucked in. The second the power of an attack is defined by rigorous mathematics however... illusion is broken. You are no longer playing in that world.

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