Questions by Joshua Temblett (Dontkillmydreams), Onrpg writer
Answered by Oliver, ex World of Warcraft player
In this interview I talk to Oliver, an ex European World of Warcraft player who has been a part of the game and its community from the very beginning. Playing the game for years, he finally quit, after realising just how much of his life he was losing. In this interview I attempt to find out why he quit and how he feels about the massive MMORPG.
Q: How did you get into to World of Warcraft, how did you find out about it?
A: My cousin first discovered it, he told me about it and I thought it sounded pretty cool. So I checked out the website with a friend and we got really into it and there was this month wait (when the stores were waiting for new stock, just after launch) before we got the game and we’d check the website everyday and look at the screenshots. We were thirteen at the time, so we would get this image of this new world that looked so fun to play, it was like magic almost. So after waiting for a month we finally got the game and it was just so cool.
Q: So it was something you had never experienced before?
A: Yeah, it was my first MMO, and it was the first time I had played online with a proper community, it was pretty amazing for me. It was a lot better as well being a kid as you kinda felt it more and got into it a lot more.
Q: Now you said that you were part of the second generation of World of Warcraft players…
A: Oh yeah definitely, I started playing just after the launch.
Q: When did you stop playing WoW?
A: I stopped about seven months ago.
Q: So you’ve been playing for a while then, what drew you in? Was it the gameplay, the community? What was it that got you hooked?
A: It was just the idea that there was so much to explore, and that it was just like a whole new world and when you first get into it, it gives you all these teasers of what the rest of the world is like and each time you would go up to a new area and it would get that much better and you’d be like, “Yeah alright, that’s pretty cool”. It just got better and better and the first time you go to a major city it’s just so, so amazing. I go there now after like four years of it and it’s just as boring as hell but the first time it was just jaw dropping.
Q: So you think the fact that you were a kid, gave the game more of an impact?
A: Yeah, definitely. A lot of players complain about how they should make the age rating higher than a 12 because you get all the newbie kids playing and stuff but they can really appreciate the game so much more than a lot of the adult players could, just because they can feel more of the magic of it. It’s a bit like Disneyland, isn’t it?
Q: Did you feel like you’ve learnt anything from playing it?
A: Erm yeah, I think this goes for most players that play the game now, if there was no community in it, it wouldn’t be half as good, in fact nowhere near as good a game as it is. I mean it was the whole idea that, especially in the first few months of the game’s launch, everyone was together. When the game first started everyone was a newb, and there were no “pro” or “hardcore” players cos no one had got to that stage yet, so there was this real sense of community and togetherness, everyone would help each other out, everyone was a newb so there was none of this, “well you suck!”, kinda thing because everyone did, which was why it was so good.
Q: So as the game grew and grew, would you say, the community got worse?
A: Yeah, yeah I think most people that played it will agree with me on that, those who played from the beginning anyway. As the level caps got higher the rate of “pro-ness” and the level you can achieve just gone up and it got a lot worse.
Q: As sad as it sounds, some people say that playing World of Warcraft has enhanced their social skills due to the sheer number of different personalities and perspectives you come across in the game, what do you think of this?
A: I think this would apply to most MMOs. It’s like the world starts all over again. At the moment in the world, we’ve got all this racism, hatred and all that. World of Warcraft was a very biased free zone. The only biased there was, was towards classes and what talents you were and stuff, which was such a stupid thing to have a hatred against. There was such a good friendliness, there was no real hatred or judgement because you were judging them for the character or how they played the game as opposed to who they were in real life, which was really good, it was really good to not have to judge someone by what they look like or how they dress, or anything like that.
Q: Do you think it’s changed the way you look at people then?
A: Yeah, there’s a lot more of the whole don’t judge a book by its cover kinda thing in WoW and you’ve gotta keep that rule in mind.
Q: Now why exactly did you quit playing World of Warcraft? Was it because you felt like you’ve grown out of it?
A: Well, it was partly due to that. I first started playing it as a kid and it changed a lot, I can’t just blame the game for that and say that “aw the designers screwed it up and stuff”. I think a lot of original players from the first few months will agree that, yeah Blizzard have screwed up a bit, especially the “Burning Crusade” which was a big duff up and lost a lot of players…
Q: Why was it a big duff up?
A: Well it was such a drastic change, a lot of players just didn’t like it as Blizzard introduced small things which a lot of people didn’t like and just the whole extra space issue. The game felt incredibly different. That was a large degree of why a lot of people left. I think the reason why I left was the community I was in fell apart. I was in such a great community we were always doing little raids and we had a really good time just going around the place doing whatever we wanted, but obviously because of real life issues some of the players started leaving and then because of that we lost certain players, certain roles in the guild. In the end we had lost the leadership, we found ourselves a bit misplaced and without that person we couldn’t function properly as a raid group and if we couldn’t get someone to replace them, it would have all have to go down the drain. That basically led to the end of the guild and our small community.
Q: So I guess you’d say it was the dying community that made you leave?
A: Yeah, I mean I go on there now (especially the general chat and stuff) and you see there are a lot more ignorant players and it’s really disgusting because it’s just a game. I really miss the old, everyone being a newb kinda thing as there was no biased or ignorance. It was bliss.
Q: Would you say that a lot of the players left around “The Burning Crusade”?
A: Yes, I’d say so.
Q: Do you think those people were the “hardcore” WoW players?
A: I wouldn’t nessarcaily say it was just the “hardcore” but also some casual players to. An example of this is with the original PvP (player verus player) reward system, from which you’d gain ranks from getting a certain amount of kills in battleground and from each rank you’d get a reward. It was a very anti “casual gamer” system but I personally, as I was quiet a casual gamer at the time (maybe not as much as I am now), preferred it more than the system we have now, which is just too casual gamer oriented. I think it totally ruined the PvP system in the game, and a lot of the older players left because of that, and it also changed a lot of people to PvE raiding and that has upset the PvP balance in the game. A lot of the players playing now weren’t from the first year or so, and thus don’t know how much better the PvP system was.
Q: Would you say there aren’t a lot of first or second generation World of Warcraft players now?
A: I wouldn’t say there’s that many, after two years I found the game quite depressing, I felt almost isolated from all the players I used to know (due to them quitting), it felt like leaving family, as sad as it sounds. I couldn’t ever find a guild as good as my original one…
Q: Do you wanna do a shout out to your guild? What was its name?
A: *Laughs* Ah no… It was Mayhem on Stormrage.
Q: Woo! And how long were you in the guild for?
A: It must have been half a year to a year or so.
Q: And it was the guild that had the biggest impact on you?
Part two coming soon!