On Enjoying Your Play and Taking Breaks

Cynedra_-_valley_of_the_spirits_-_imperial_chans_robe

The WoW Mogul has a good, short series of posts on how to enjoy playing WoW (part 1, part 2, part 3). I really enjoyed them, especially this bit:

(O)ne of the best things you can do to enjoy WoW is to stop playing it! WoW is designed to get you to sub each month and keep you playing repetitively, reinforcing the habit. As such like many MMOs it employs various techniques to keep you in; large MMOs are not always working in your interests. Take a month off and see what else is happening in your life.

I think that’s good advice. Things have been stressful outside of WoW, and when a patch hits all bets are off if WoW is actually going to be fun to play or not. Even though I try to remain neutral on CBM, I remain pretty damn pissed about how the endgame PvP gear transition works, so having to face it with the new patch just ratchets up my stress levels. Then there are class changes and unannounced changes and bugs and miscommunciations and …

Transmogging was actually a breath of fresh air amidst all of that. I had a lot of fun last week playing around with it, both on alts and on my main, in the intended and unintended ways. :) So I was pretty disappoined when it was taken away, but then having it happen at the same time I needed to decide if I was going to leap back into gearing up Cynwise for PvP or not.

It brought the fun to a screeching halt.

And it caused me to think of that WoW Mogul article and go, you know what, maybe I need a break. This game shouldn’t stress me out, it should be fun. I should be able to pick it up for a while and put it down for a while. Why put in liesure hours on something that’s going to just stress you out, when you’re already maxxed out on stress from other parts of your life?

So I did three things.

First, I’m taking a WoW break for a little bit. I need a few days off, just to go take care of holiday things and family things but also to just decompress. I’m burned out at work and it’s showing. It’s showing in every aspect of my life, not gonna lie. A few days off will hopefully help me clear my head.

Second, I am going to try doing some different things in WoW when I come back. I talked to some friends and we’re going to level some stuck alts through Northrend, then hit the Cataclysm dungeon circuit. I have only done 1 dungeon this entire expac – one.

To say I haven’t seen very much of Cata PvE is an understatement.

So I’m going to say, let me do something different, let me do it with friends, and I’ll see if I enjoy it. I expect I’m going to level Ashwalker up to 85 and warrior tank heroics, just for a change of pace. I like tanking! Let’s see how it goes!

If it doesn’t work out, I’ll try something different – maybe a DK? Maybe even Ms. Cynwise? – but if it’s not fun, I’ll stop.

Third, I’m going to try disrupting some of those techniques MMOs use to keep you playing even when you don’t have any concrete goals. (Just like walking backwards through a supermarket! Don’t go to the right!) I cancelled my subscription today, not because I’m quitting, but rather so I have to actively choose to sub during any given month. It also places constraints on the things I want to accomplish in game – instead of “I have all the time in the world,” now it’s “I have until mid-February, I can’t do everything, so I have to say NO to a lot of things and YES to a few.” Once I get to the end of a time card, I can reevaluate if I’m having fun.

Having done it, I feel like there’s a great weight off my shoulders. There’s a plan. There are limits. There’s no endless horizion of the same old thing night after night. There’s something new to try, and a clear goal and focus. I don’t feel chained to WoW for the first time in months.

I’m looking forward to the break, but I’m also looking forward to coming back.

I think that’s a good sign.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “On Enjoying Your Play and Taking Breaks

  1. gameldar

    First up, enjoy your break Cyn! I hope you come back refreshed and ready to enjoy your play time again.I’ll admit I’ve actually really been enjoying 4.3 – because it has reduced the burden for me, in a couple of ways:1. Raid Finder – I downed Deathwing last night (I was dead half the fight… but cheering others on), ! still need to do Gunship MKII and Spine of Deathwing it stuck me into the last fight first up. For me – this is all I need in terms of raiding – I’ve downed the bosses – I’ll want to go back and tank them as well (I was dpsing).2. The new 5 mans are quick and while holding some challenge aren’t insurmountable in a pug situation. I enjoy that style, I like the fact that I can run a couple of dungeons in an evening – rather than hoping that I might actually finish one. I can’t work out if I like the Murzond encounter… it’s good and bad… 5 minutes of mangle spam when I’m tanking… but seeing me out dps the dps… is almost worth it? :)At the start of 4.2 I worked my butt off to gear up – spending up big (I don’t regret buying Ranseur’s it has been an awesome weapon for PvP and PvE) but I don’t feel the same obligation this time… yes I’ve been making money because I can, but I’ve not gone out and bought the immediate upgrades that are available. I feel like it can wait – I actually see myself branching out and gearing up alts once I’m done with my bear rather than continuing to make those small upgrades and trying to get into normal raids. I want to go back and do firelands, but being able to hit Ctrl-I and join the group (with other guildies) reduces the stress of trying to set up and maintain a raid. I am really enjoying it – we’ll see how it goes as queue times change.PvP-wise I haven’t done much yet (well had some great games over the AB weekend), but I’m in no hurry – I enjoy it and I still contribute – and the change to reward conquest points from random BGs means that I’ll have a path to continue gearing up without having to do the organised forms (not that I don’t want to, but I prefer BGs to arenas and RBGs has similar problems to orgranised raiding). I’ve been enjoying transmog too – but it’s relatively minor – I had acquired most of my sets and just need to do a little more. But then there are more toons to do that on.So 4.3 has been great for me – the last part has also been some resurgence in my guild – more people being around, chatting and playing together has been great!

  2. Cynwise of Stormwind

    Thanks!Our guild came alive again, too, with 4.3. It’s nice to see. I know SWTOR will suck some folks away, but it’s not the guild-killer I feared. I’m considering doing a lot of these fights as DPS first, just so I have a clue what is going on!

  3. zaralynda

    Yes, yes yes!I honestly believe that folks should evaluate what brings them joy in the game and make sure that they are putting that into the game. If other things are getting in the way of that, then a break may be needed until whatever’s going on has subsided. Personally, I logged into the game for probably 10 hours the month after the house flood, and half of that was getting the new Hallow’s End stuff done (pets, achievements on mage, rings for everyone). Even though we aren’t nearly done (drywall this weekend, gah), I feel like I have a better handle on what’s going on,, so we’re playing again (though not nearly like we did beforehand). That was the right thing for us to do.I love your idea of using time cards to force yourself to evaluate each month “is this really worth it?” rather than running on auto pilot. Anyway, best of luck and I hope you find some peace and enjoyment!