Friday, October 14, 2011

Item inflation, disillusionment and return

Well, it's been a while, I'll admit. I hate to say it, but the raiding didn't do it for me. It's fun to be part of a group, and to have the peer pressure on you to get gear, learn the instances, and wack difficult bosses, but, honestly, it's still just grindy. Worse, it's grindiness with deadlines, and that really does turn gaming into work. I'd still like to meet up with a fairly social guild for a weekly run through level-appropriate instances, but I'm not sure I want to commit to 3 hours a night of grinding in preparation.

I mean, if we could even get gear that keeps its power... you know, like a permanent piece each expansion that you'd never really have to grind for again -- and be done with the shoulder slot forever with a heirloom-like scaling as you hit new expansions and gathered better gear in general, then maybe it'd be worth rolling into raids. But to know all these hours go to nothing, that item inflation means your hard-won items will be worthless in six months really makes the all the work feel empty. Sure, you're making your story, but the connection to the main storyline is so tenuous, particularly with the fact that your actions don't have serious, visible consequences for anyone else playing, means there's no real payoff in virtual goods or contributions to the plot.

So Jal took a break.

Yesterday, after a few months off, I finally got sucked back in by one of the "play for free" side banner ads. There're really only a few combinations that are wholly new to me. I've had alts, really low level alts, but alts, in everything but rogues (strange, as I was always a thief of some sort in D&D and AD&D) and orcs. After downloading, I remembered that Burning Crusade was free to everyone now too, and though I'd played a blood elf warlock for a few levels, I didn't care much for the warlock part. So I started putting together a blood elf rogue.

Look, there's no way a guy can play a blood elf guy. There's just not. The guys look too, um, well... feminine. The "facial hair" selections are all soulpatches of one sort or another. Their chests are, well, strange. And the hair seems to suggest they got switched at the unisex-apparently-means-one-sex-not-either salon. So even though my last "mainish" character, Jalyndrine the Death Knight was a chick, so is this one. It's almost as if the blood elves were made not just to have a "pretty" horde race, but to encourage virtual cross-dressing. Honestly, if the percentage of girls-with-guy-avatar ratio isn't highest for blood elves, I'd be surprised. That's a weird race.

One quest later, I'm level two. I guess inflation's hit all over, huh?

(Arg, and their free hit of heroin is already working. Reading back through my own blog, I'm reminded of the burning treant bonus for the T12 gear. Tell me that isn't worth paying to play?!! (Yes, I realize it's really not, but the evil cash-burning magic's still working on me...))