I fell in love with World of Warcraft five years ago. It was immediate infatuation. I stepped into Azeroth and immediately knew that I had found my new MMO home. I loved the world, I loved the characters, and I loved that I could play the game according to my schedule—whether that was 30 minutes or 3 hours—and still feel like I was accomplishing something.
Here was a game that did not require a lifelong commitment to enjoy.
Or so I thought.
Since then, I’ve raided, I’ve PvP’d, and I’ve generally done what I could to maintain the midlist WoWer’s status quo. And after five years of grinding instances for gear, badges, and rep, I’m tired. I’m burned out. Even with the random dungeon finder, I find that my time is spent more grinding out for that next piece of gear than legitimately having fun and enjoying the game like I used to.
But with Cataclysm on the horizon, I decided that it was time for a change. I love my current characters, but I have always wanted a Paladin and never wanted to level one—after two 80s and three other 70+’s, I hate leveling.
So I decided to try and make my Paladin discover the game that I once fell in love with. I sent him all of my gold—about 2k—and spent my badges on getting him the Plate Heirloom items for +20% XP and an ever-upgrading weapon.
Then I set roleplay a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed newbie who was actually going to experience the game rather than breeze through it.
While my equipping three Heirloom items precludes me from ever coming across as being a total beginner, I decided that I was going to not talk about my other characters, the things I’ve done, or the years of experience I had. I was not going to join any friends’ guilds, but rather find a leveling guild and make new friends the old fashioned way.
I still have my friends list where I can keep up with my buddies, but it’s nice to not worry about being in a guild that’s more worried about raid times and how many badges they need for their next T9 piece than having a good time and joking around.
I’m not going to worry about having to get to level 80 in any predetermined amount of time, unless you consider the wide-open “before Cataclysm” a time limit. I am taking in the world, doing quests, hitting the AH for new gear, skinning and herbalizing, and talking in guild chat with some fellow semi-newbies about our days and nights and what fun we’re having. I was even congratulated for hitting level 16. 16!
So far, it’s great.
I’m playing the part of that newbie I was five years ago, and no one is the wiser. I even chat in General occasionally and help others with quests. It’s a lot of fun for me to revisit why I have spent five years of my life playing this game.
I’ve not spent an inordinate amount of time playing the Paladin so far, but I have had a lot of fun. I log on for 30 minutes to an hour when I can, and I do quests. I try and actually play. I had forgotten just how well-made some of zones like Westfall are and how it feels to read quest text. I know, right? It’s nutty.
So for those of you burned out on the game, try figuring out what it was that made World of Warcraft appeal to you initially. Once you’ve figured that out, try and recapture it in some way.
For me, the appeal was the casual atmosphere that still led to a sense of accomplishment. With my Paladin, I have found that old time feeling by pretending that I have not been jaded by the never-ending quest for brighter, shinier purple pixels. By not joining up immediately with old friends and doing the same old thing day in and day out (but still still having the option there if we need it). By actually making myself experience the game like I did when it was all fresh and new.
I made the game new again with a couple dashes of roleplay with a healthy dose of optimism.