So the big announcement is coming up at GamesCom today. However, it is at a mildly awkward time for me, so a blog post about it will probably have to wait a day. But still, I feel a good deal of anticipation as the clock ticks down towards the big reveal. (And I have to get a post in today for Blaugust.)
Blizzard could, after delivering the bad news on Tuesday, announce fundamental and sweeping changes to the game in an attempt to renew Azeroth and find a new path which will restore it to its former glory.
Or they could just offer up some tweaks and more fucking orcs, as I noted last night.
But even if they get up on stage and announce they are shutting the whole thing down, I’ll go along pretty much as before.
Yes, if they go insane and pull the plug I will end up writing dozens of nostalgia posts about Azeroth, but I’d do that anyway, right?
Because while I like World of Warcraft and have spent many hours playing and have defended it against various accusations now and again, it isn’t exactly my first rodeo.
Playing WoW is just a step in a long progression of online games. Before WoW there was EverQuest II, which I played for a full year before really making the move to Azeroth, a game that I still find some charm in and which offers up an interesting experience when approached correctly.
And before that there was EverQuest, which launched so many people into the idea of online gaming in a shared persistent world. I was there in March of 1999 staring in awe at what SOE had created. (Or Verant, or 989 Studios, or whatever corporate camouflage Smed had to use to ship the damn thing.)
But part of what made EverQuest special was that it borrowed so heavily for TorilMUD, and its predecessor Sojourn MUD, which I had been playing regularly since 1993.
And there were other online games during the 90s, and before that there were games on serviced like CompuServe, GEnie, and AOL. My online gaming experience go back to Air Warrior, Stellar Emperor, and Stellar Warrior, which gets us all the way to 1986 and an Apple ][ computer with a 1200bps modem.
As with Izlain, even my relationship with Blizzard long pre-dates World of Warcraft. We played WarCraft II at the office and I remember my friend Xyd telling me I had to go and pick up this new game called Diablo and, later, defeating the game with him and another friend together online. And then there was Diablo II and StarCraft, both played to death.
And in the time since WoW launched, I have played many other online games, as the pages of this blog attest. In fact, when I created this blog back in 2006, the idea of dedicating it to a single game, of making it a WoW blog, because WoW was the primary game I was playing at the time, never even occurred to me.
Games come and go. I have walked away from WoW a few times over the year and no tears were shed. I was never as invested as Liore, as she details in a recent post of hers.
I tend to just stop playing if I am not having fun. Sometimes I stop having fun because the game has changed and sometimes I stop having fun because you’ve worn the game out for the time being, But I won’t play… or pay for… a game where I am not having fun.
In the end, while I have no doubt that World of Warcraft was the right game at the right moment back in 2004 and deserves all the success it has garnered, what makes the game special for me in the end is the people I have played with. That is the highlight of the game for me.
That is the highlight for me for every online game. Like the games, love the people.
As Belghast put it in his post today, video games are so much better with people.
Anyway, bring on the big announcement already!