November 23, 2005

World of Warcraft Methadone

Ever since I started playing World of Warcraft some ten months ago, I have been hoping for the addiction to end.  It's a bit ironic to enjoy something so much that you actually want to get off it so you can return to a more balanced life, but it's really how I've been feeling these past weeks.  Not that my life hasn't been balanced:  I think I did pretty well, especially compared to some of my guild mates who routinely spend twelve hours in a row playing the game without any bios (warcraftese for "a break dictated by a biological necessity:  food, bathroom, etc...").

Well, I think that time has finally come.  I can proudly announce that "I am over World of Warcraft".

Let me explain how I got there.

I have to hand it off to Blizzard for creating a game that is equally fascinating "in the middle" (levels 1-59) as it is "at the end" (level 60).  Keeping level 60 characters interested is no small feat, and you need to find ways to keep them entertained even though they no longer get any experience.  World of Warcraft does this by providing dungeons of incredible difficulty that can only be defeated by groups of 10, 20 and even 40 (all group members need to be level 60, of course).  As you can imagine, finding groups to enter such "instances" (the technical term for these dungeons) is not easy and even if you might be lucky and find yourself invited to a random pick-up party for the Molten Core (one of the hardest instances in the game), you probably don't want to join anyway because you really need to play these dungeons with people you know and trust.

What is the appeal of these instances?  Loot.  Very rare and overly powerful gear that will greatly enhance your character.  It's really the only reason why players enter these instances, which is a bit baffling to me (and probably one of the reasons why I am finally quitting).

A high-end instance is an intense experience.  Very intense.  Here are a few points:

  • You need to commit for four to five hours in a row.  Don't even think of quitting unless you have a replacement ready and that the class of your replacement is similar to yours (or close enough).  Parties for high instances need a very precise balance of various classes (warriors, mages, priests, etc...) and tilting this balance, especially in the middle of the instance, can prevent the party from finishing.
  • You need to be on TeamSpeak.  TeamSpeak is a central server that allow groups of people to communicate with their microphones and headsets.  You don't really need a microphone if you're not a leader, but being able to listen to the directions from your leaders and to the talks during the fights is absolutely essential.  Regular chats are not fast enough and very easy to miss in the heat of combat.  I expected a lot of chaos on this channel, but all the players of my guild turned out to be very disciplined and they do not talk unless absolutely necessary.  It was my first experience of a video game leveraging audio and I was quite surprised by how well it worked out.
  • A high instance has several "bosses" (featured above is Ragnaros, the final boss of the Molten Core, and you're not even sure that you'll be able to summon him every time) and the preparation to fight each of them can take easily twenty to thirty minutes.  I'm not even talking about the fight itself, which can also be very long, but just the planning and the directions from your leader instructing various groups where to stand, where to go depending on how the fight turns, explaining various tactics, describing how the boss works and what attacks to expect from it, telling you which spells and moves to use which which ones to avoid, sharing "buffs" (protective spells that players cast on each other), etc...  By the time the fight is about to begin, your head is literally buzzing with the information overload, but now is certainly not the time to lose your focus because the real work is just about to begin.
  • Depending how well you do and how disciplined the party is, the boss will finally drop, possibly after a few "wipes" (the entire party decimated) followed by a long session of resurrections to bring everyone back.  When the boss is defeated, it's time to uncover the loot and decide who gets it.  That's right.  Each boss typically drops three or four items maximum, and since you have forty players, not everybody is guaranteed to get an item on a run.  So how do you decide who gets what?  There are various systems in place, the most popular one being DKP (Dungeon/Dragon Kill Points).  I won't go into detail on how this system works, but suffice to say it involves keeping track of who has gone to what raid, and what dropped during these raids.  It's a fair system that guarantees that the more raids you participate in, the more likely you become eligible for a rare item.  If you are curious, here is a typical DKP standings page.

With all that in mind, it should be no surprise to you that a high instance raid is an intense experience that will leave you sweating.  But boy!  What a rush!

I went on a few of those runs after finally deciding that the amount of involvement versus the feeling of reward was no longer high enough for me.  It was one of the most immersive experiences in a video game I have ever had (which is no small feat in a career of almost thirty years playing videogames), but the time has come for me to move on.

So I am now looking for my new addiction, and the winner is...

Ah...  Civilization...  my old Nemesis.

I've only been playing for a week so it's still a bit early to tell if Civilization 4 will deliver.  All I can say for now is that the ramp up is pretty tough, especially for a Civilization I veteran such as myself.  But I'm going to give it a fair chance, even if coming right after World of Warcraft is certainly a challenge.

So here's to a fond goodbye to World of Warcraft and the dawning of a new Golden Age (ah... already using Civilization lingo).


Posted by cedric at November 23, 2005 11:21 AM

If you find yourself having a hard time quitting Civilization IV, take a look at

Posted by: Daniel Grenner at November 23, 2005 12:13 PM

I too have found myself addicted to WoW though i only started a few months ago and my highest toon is 42. I'm not sure I'll ever get into the high-end instance runs. I don't even PvP now.

When it comes to games the Civ series is the all time winner in my book but only if it has Sid Meier's name on it. :) Civ II & III were both huge time sinks for me over the years. I'll have to see if i can break away from WoW long enough to get Civ IV on my computer. Let us know what you think of it after some more game time.

Posted by: at November 23, 2005 12:23 PM

Hi Cedric, that's what I thought 4 months ago... I am over with WoW... but now I'm back and it's still real fun, maybe more than ever. The great thing about WoW and MMORPG in general (or evil if you are addictive) is the social element. It's even more exciting if you use a headset to speak with the party members in a dungeon or BG - have you tried it?

Posted by: Roumen at November 24, 2005 01:11 AM

Btw check out this forum.

Posted by: Roumen at November 25, 2005 02:29 AM

Posted by: Roumen at November 25, 2005 02:30 AM

I bet Blood Elves will get you back into the game :)

Posted by: Laurent at November 25, 2005 08:41 AM

Civ IV is definately getting hyped in my university's programming labs. However, I'm afraid buying it will cause my GPA to go down the drain.

Posted by: Kevin at November 26, 2005 04:55 AM

Good luck. I "gave up" World of Warcraft over the summer. The causes were numerous: I moved apartments, a friend of mine had quit WoW as well, my guild was floundering, I'd grown tired of the scarcity of loot in MC...and most significantly, I had started playing Rome: Total War like it was going to go out of style.

However, 2 months later, I dabbled back into WoW a little bit, and the dabbling turned into arguably the deepest phase of the addiction.. Hope that doesn't happen to you!

Posted by: Scott at November 29, 2005 08:33 AM

Been there, bought the t-shirt with addictions. In the early 90ies it was MUDs where I've quit several times but always got back and nearly dropped out of university. The last addiction was Phantasy Star Online where I also quitted several times :-) Clean since then though.

Posted by: Stephan at December 1, 2005 08:16 AM

Yeah, burning crusade is gonna rock... no one can not play wow then... i mean FLYING MOUNTS!?! and all the new endgame instances + the new races and the new profs so you can socket items just like diablo 2 LOD + diablo... good times... good times.

btw i hate DKP =)

Posted by: Jordan at April 10, 2006 10:57 AM

Yah, just quit WoW today. Got a lvl 60 and got the nice loot, lost interest pretty fast after that. So is the way with all RPGs though, when you're done, you're done. Can't keep going on forever and I'll be damned if I play through that entire world with another toon.

Posted by: Bob at May 8, 2006 09:09 AM

I am 3 days clean from WoW. I started playing on Sept. 5, 2005, and I played through two characters to lvl 60 and multiple alts to 20ish. In the end I quit because I wanted a semblance of balance back in my life and couldn't handle the pressure of raiding. I play the game for fun and the pressure and competition in MC and BWL can be intense and in general it was starting to be unpleasant for me. Raiding in high level instances "necessitates" certain things if you don't want to have the raid fail and I started to feel like it was being forced down my throat (buy Fire resist potions, get your FR gear up to X value, etc etc.) and I felt that fun, fairness, and good manners were being subsumed into the overwhelming goal of "MUST BEAT ALL INSTANCES!!"

Posted by: Lyman at May 12, 2006 11:11 AM

I just quit WOW for the 2nd time last night. I was flying back to TB and got to a point where I was asking myself, "whats the point?" Dont get me wrong, I have made some good friends over the past year and enjoyed the game immensely. I came to the realization the Blizzards whole intent with WOW is to keep you wanting that little bit more.

I am wondering if I am not alone in realizing that WOW was one of the few games I play now. I used to enjoy many. I am quitting WOW to re-expand my horizons and get some normalcy back into my life. Its been a fun ride.

And yes, this time i'm quitting for good. I deleted all of my characters, cancelled my account, put in random password, and destroyed my disks.

Posted by: Fred at May 23, 2006 05:37 AM

Yeah, never thougt it would end up like this but i kinda got the first gut-feeling after we(me and my guild) didnt do BWL for fun anymore, it was always about keeping it below 4.hours 30.min.
When the game ends up like a competiton,where you "gotta have the best gear" to perform better in each instance just to gets kinda pointless.

What happened to the game i started playing 1 year ago? - I have 4...thats right,4 lvl 60 chars and 3 others above lvl 40. I mean..Whats up with that? Now that I have full T2 on my main, whats left to do? - Farm new res.gear for T3 in the upcomming patch...\o/ /cheer...
I kinda "miss" the days where i could just run around and PvP with my main char, instead of using 80% of my gametime on getting new nat.ress gear for AQ40...

Iam gonna quit wow because it messed up my life to the extent I almost failed my exams and restore my conection with the non-wow community.

Gonna stop before BC, thats it. 1 week off now, feels kinda good:) -3 weeks later (holiday ftw) - Hope iam "clean" after that month...

Posted by: Mortifer at May 28, 2006 06:04 AM

I sold my soul for epix

Posted by: Venaseph at June 1, 2006 11:24 AM

Played many mmorpgs and muds too...

I thought about playing WoW, but its going to be the same thing over again. I don't see the point anymore. I would like to make progression in games that involve skill. hand eye cooridination would be one example.

to be honest though, i've given up on all video games completely. I'VE GOT MY SOCIAL LIFE BACK!

Posted by: thegeek at November 27, 2006 10:51 PM

And does Social Life deliver? I think it's hyped up.. I quit wow, picked up sports, I read more books, now im reinstalling wow to play it one or two days. I de-ed my t2 druid t1 mage and just about to get level 60 rogue, then I deleted em. Ill start back from scrap, heck levelling is about the coolest part of the game level 60 everyone turns very greedy..(which is to be expected if you need 40 ppl to kill a boss and spend a lot of time on preparation on it, and it drops..hmm..2 MAYBE 3 items..

Posted by: bla at December 7, 2006 12:37 AM

I'm on the verge of killing my account as well. Being a very casual player (no more then 1 hour per night during the week), level 60 has little to offer. PvP? Oh yeah, I love being one-shotted by other players in purple gear. Since I don't have time for instances I'll never have better gear for PvP. It was fun WoW, not fun enough to level another character though.

Posted by: Chad at December 11, 2006 08:44 AM

you shouldn't forget, if you want to play an MMORPG,soon there will be much better games avaible.
end of january is the release of Vanguard:Saga of heroes,which is in beta5 now, it offers you much more than wow ever did.and so it comes that you don't have to follow one way like in wow,you are an individual, your char there will be individual, an so you can play with the time you have without quitting your life.
My boyfriend just deleted severall chars yesterday evening.It the only right decision, because the concept of World of Warcraft has never been to let you decide how to play the game.

GL to all who have the courage to quit.

Posted by: Schatti at January 9, 2007 02:30 PM

Have 6 level 60 toons, some have levelled a bit
after BC was released. I found BC disappointing, too easy and too much gold to be had.

Been playing wow since beta over 2.5 years ago.

It was time to hang up my wands.

It's like a breath of fresh air, I see my wife
now, go for walks, enjoy a book and even take
the family out to dinner.

Farewell Sargeras, Detheroc, Malestrom, Drenden.

It was an epic ride.

Posted by: Shadowscorn at February 19, 2007 08:12 PM

QUIT? QUITTT!!??? I JUST got my wife playing so we could spend more time.. i just have to convert my daughter. shes only 2.. but it's never too early.. we'll just set her toon to "follow" and be off. I've been playing now for about a month.. got one lvl 19 character and just started with the wife on another. so i'm not quite as burned out as you all are.. but honestly.. there are days where i'll log on.. run around for 10 minutes and then say.. "ok.. i'm just not feeling it tonight.

Posted by: Shadowen at February 21, 2007 07:18 PM

WOW is for wankers that have no life!!!

Posted by: shemp at April 6, 2007 05:59 AM

I am a lvl 68 mage and I a total beast. I can slay down any class at lvl 70 (cept a warlock with a fel hunter if the lock ain't a complete moron.)

Posted by: turkster at April 23, 2007 02:02 PM

turkster stfu you dumbass nub - there are loads of classes that will kick your redneck ass.

Now go shag your mamma some more, cos it seems everyone mofo else is!!!

Posted by: bubbagump at May 18, 2007 05:03 PM

YA!! I have been playing WOW {World of Warcraft} for about a year now. It has corupted my life and the wrst part is I now it. WOW is like a drug to me. I can sit down and play it all day without a break. Its not good for my body. I just want to be the best. I keeps me up all the time i will go a week with only 15 hours of sleep cause I will stay up all night then get up early just to play. I wish they had a rehilbilitation clinic for these types of games. Some times I just wish Blizzard never was created. By the way I have a epiced out 70. I would trade him for a normal life any day.

Posted by: Marhan at June 13, 2007 01:13 AM

WOW is bad for YOU and EVERYONE else if you cant handle the drug dont use it.WOW is a drug RIGHT THERE WITH THE WORST.
You see what I mean. I hate Blizzard. <(*_*).l.

Posted by: Bobby at June 13, 2007 01:19 AM

i have one lvl 70 and several alts around lvl 40.. and other ally toons on a diff server. The requirements to get into kara SSC.... black temple they all require you to do instances, although the "attuning" requires group dungeons it's quite fun, most peope think... ZOMG i'll never find a group for BM or Tempest Keep if you have that attitude you'll not get far. My Guild invited me to Kara for the first boss even though i had no epics and my DPS lacked. Attunemen the Hunter Dropped "Sunfury Bow of the Pheonix" and all the people in the raid said "give it to madmax" LOL cause they new my dps sucked lol. this is just an example of how fun raid instances can be. it doesn't have to be all serious, although it requires alot of preparation it's just to make sure everyone gets there. The newest patch has recently unveiled alot of neew quests in Terrokar and blades edge they seem to require alot of farming of items to complete quests eg: in terrokar one quest involves... farming 6 shadow dust for "Shadow elixir" which enabls u to see Shadow priest... those priests drop "time lost-scrolls" you need ten of those to summon a boss and u gotta kill 4 of them. i thinkt his is an attempt to keep lvl 70 ppl intrested in the game.

Finally.. DONE XD.... btw i'm in Ocianic server Thaurrisan names MadMaximus

Posted by: madmax at June 13, 2007 09:22 PM

world of warcraft is so cool ana adicting but fun as hell

Posted by: randy rivers at July 9, 2007 09:58 AM

i only have a lvl 48 and its cool my highest but its sooo fun sombody W/B

Posted by: randy rivers at July 9, 2007 10:04 AM

How did I stumble accross this thread? Oh yeah, cauz I typed in google how warcraft messed up my life ^^ It has!

I think that if you play just one toon, you can handle it. Some days you'll feel like playing, others you won't and it'll be a hobby like reading a book. But, if you make my mistake, which was, oh look, no one to instance with at 70... well I'll just make another char... and another... and another...

Now, I have a tank, a holy priest, a mage, a rogue, a retri pala, and a hunter. So I can literally be playing all the time because I have all the chars needed to be doing pretty much any instance going on! Baaaaaaaaaaaad! WoW nerfs your life if you don't control it.

Does anybody know how to make it end??

Eevuska, Phoebus, Nflames, Lokkii, Qvixote, Flechaza - EU Wildhammer (alliance)

Posted by: Oscar Llorens at January 6, 2008 08:28 PM

A lot of misunderstood ppl out there. WoW can be addictive, but there is only one thing you are required to remember if you don't want to get addicted - IT IS ONLY A VIDEO GAME. I can appreciate the level of Addiction - I've only played for the last month and a half and I have a 30-ish toon - but the one thing that enables me to turn away from the computer is it's only a video game. Get to an inn, and shut down. I still go out with friends, I work my ass off all day, and I am still able to get chores done around the house.

I am not saying that WoW is evil, or good for that matter. It's not Blizzard's fault that ppl can't quit the game unless they have to go to the bathroom. I know many ppl who would rather stay home and level than go out for a good time with their friends.

For those of you who think they have an addiction, realize the game is only a game. For everyone else who thinks WoW players are geeks, "wankers," nerds, idiots, retards, socially inept dweebs, etc. etc., you can move right along and get a hobby. Something educational perhaps? Or maybe something simply challenging...

Posted by: Robert KJ at January 25, 2008 04:17 AM

yea i have a level 45 war tuaren and man is it hard not to play for 4-12 hrs a day its like a freaking joke. world of warcrack i should have seen it from its name

Posted by: Malicai at April 15, 2008 10:54 AM

I must play WoW EVERY day.... if i have not played it one day.. i feel like i've done something bad :P... it's like the game controlles me :-P... I even brough my laptop on my weekation to thailand to play :P... what a weekation.... same as home... 5 good hours with WoW every day ...

Posted by: "Fourtyseven" at April 20, 2008 03:53 PM


Posted by: mr.jumbo at August 5, 2008 07:30 AM

hahaha world of warcrack

Posted by: mr.jumbo at August 5, 2008 07:31 AM

Fourtyseven - you're a phukin retard!

Do something productive, like licking minge or better still railcar dodging!

dumb ass!

Posted by: chem17 at August 20, 2008 05:03 AM

Hi mate, I've been thinking about returning to WoW for the expansion and I've gone to quite a few sites, I was wondering what you all think, should I stop the idea completely? I used to play from start and quit around Feb 06, returned over the summer and then quit again in April 07, havn't played since then, so it's been quite awhile...
Any advice?

Posted by: Amar at September 23, 2008 05:06 PM

its so beautiful

Posted by: tisoy at January 28, 2009 07:07 PM

I just want something that I can never have...

Posted by: at August 19, 2009 08:50 PM
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