Love is in the air across Azeroth, and it’s honestly one of my least favourite seasonal event. As much of a romantic as I am, it just doesn’t do anything for me. Plus, there’s no reward of substance though I know folks love the rocket. Peddlefeet is a dime a dozen. You don’t even need to try and get him. Just go to the auction house over the next two weeks and pick one up for cheap.
Ok, so the lamenting of the event really doesn’t go with the title of the post. But, with this event, it got me thinking to what it was about World of Warcraft that I love. Why is it there are dozens of MMO’s that aren’t far off, some even do it better than Blizzard, and yet no matter what I play it never feels like WoW? Admittedly there was a time where the short answer was the people. Back when Claws of Nature was booming, and my blogroll was always active, things were good. It felt like something more than just a game.
But now I’m almost completely devoid of that. There are less than a dozen fellow bloggers I talk to at any given time. The only Claws I talk to anymore are my wife and my son’s Godfather. Heck, I don’t even talk to anyone on my current server. I’d like for my wife and son to both play with me, and that might happen at some point, but still I play without them. So again I ask, what is it?
It’s something I do for other people quite often but rarely have done for me: create a rich story and environment. As a dungeon master I take great pride in putting together fun adventures, characters, and stories for my players. But I’m always the DM. Bridesmaid, but never the bride anymore. Alas, I’m sidetracking. It isn’t because I don’t get to be a player that I play WoW. It’s because I get to jump in and connect with all of it. All the stories. From the Van Cleefs and lazy peons, to Arthas and that idiot druid Zen’kiki. I find it all fantastic. I’m familiar with it, knowing a great deal inside and out. I enjoy considering myself a part of that. Lore wise my character specifically has nothing to do with the plot (despite the game alluding to it otherwise). I’m a background pebble in the middle of a rockslide. But man is it a fun ride.
No other game comes close to pulling you in. Not as quickly as WoW is capable of doing. The quest system often does a great job of setting the narrative of what’s going on and there’s enough flavourful characters out and about to just make some situations that much better…to say nothing of cut scenes (which at points are almost overdone). I loved playing Guild Wars, but I never felt connected to it. Some events, absolutely. But as a whole, I still felt something lacking. DC Online? Same. And I love me some DC Universe.
The one thing Blizzard does as well as anyone, if not better, is tell their stories. For me, that’s the fish hook. Fortunately there’s a fresh batch on the way between the above shown Chronicles, Battle for Azeroth, and the novel that leads into it. And indeed, I love it.