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Posts with tag boredom

Officers' Quarters: Mind the gap

A subway sign warns you to mind the gap
Every Monday, Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership. He is the author of The Guild Leader's Handbook, available from No Starch Press.

In my opinion, it is Blizzard's biggest failure when it comes to WoW: the Gap. The Gap between the last major content patch of an expansion and the next expansion is always far too long. The Gap is always extremely difficult for guilds. The Gap kills momentum and morale. The Gap disintegrates rosters.

Why does it happen every single time? Honestly, I have no idea. The Gap bores and disappoints everyone, but at least we're used to it. We don't like it, but we expect it.

However, if your guild has never faced it before, like the one in the email below, it can cause something of a panic.

Hi Scott!

I'm not an officer in my guild or anything, I'm just one of the players that's been around since Burning Crusade. It's a long time to have a guild running, but we're running into some issues and I'm not sure how to handle them, so I thought maybe you'd have some advice. Our guild is a progression raiding guild, but we don't work super hard at world firsts or anything like that -- we take our time and clear the content with the goal of clearing it before the next tier and the next expansion comes out. In Burning Crusade, we managed to clear Sunwell just before Wrath launched. In Wrath, we managed to just squeak in a heroic Lich King kill before Cataclysm came out. Sounds good, right? Well ... now we've run into a problem, and it's causing the guild a little strife.

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Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

Breakfast Topic: We get bored

Sometimes everyone on my server simultaneously gets bored, or antsy or just a little bit more wired then normal, and things happen like the screenshot pictured above -- that's about half of the mammoth train that was walking slowly around the perimeter of Dalaran. Why was it formed? Where was it going? No idea, but as I watched them slowly shuffle by, I obligingly hopped on my Black War Mammoth and joined the train. Because it was late, I'd just finished a solid run of ICC-25, and it was something to do while I chatted with guild members.

This sort of thing happens just before the raids, too. One guild member will pull out a D.I.S.C.O. ball, another will start throwing around Party G.R.E.N.A.D.E.s. Before you know it, the dank corridor that leads into the depths of Icecrown Citadel has suddenly been turned into a happening place to be, the ground littered with "Spectral Tiger" mounts, Ogre Pinatas and kettles of Goblin Gumbo. Sometimes Archmage Vargoth puts in an appearance. He can't help it; there are usually four or five flaming draenei dancers congregated around a Brazier of Dancing Flames, and the girls just drive him crazy.

Does stuff like this happen on your server? Spontaneous dance parties, mammoth trains, stacks of flying mounts hovering above the Dalaran well? What happens when your server gets bored? Trade chat aside, mind you -- we all know how /2 gets when people are feeling feisty.

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

"Because I don't play" isn't an option on Blizzard's quit page

Jason Burns points out, pretty insightfully, on his blog that of all the various options Blizzard lists for quitting the game, simply not having the time to play it isn't one of them. Whenever you decide to cancel your subscription, you get a little survey to fill out, with two lists of options to explain why you're leaving the game. In the past, we've found some pretty silly options in there (and actually, it looks like they've changed quite a bit since we posted about the Will of the Forsaken nerf on the list), but Jason says that as many varied and different reasons as there are for leaving, Blizzard didn't include his: he likes the game, he just doesn't have the time to play it and justify the subscription.

Which is what he eventually typed in. Like so many things with Blizzard, it would be fascinating to see the stats behind the information they're getting here -- do they see a little bump in quitters every time new patch notes come out? Is customer support really the biggest issue people have, or is harassment a major reason for people leaving as well? Just boredom with the game seems like it would be a huge reason to me, but there's not really a clear option for that either.

Unfortunately, we'll probably never know the real stats behind this -- Blizzard isn't going to be revealing why people are leaving their game anytime soon. But it does seem strange that some of the biggest reasons you'd expect aren't on their list of possibles at all.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Blizzard

Ready Check: Ulduar and Burnout

Ready Check is a weekly column focusing on successful raiding for the serious raider. Hardcore or casual, Naxxramas-10 or Naxxramas-25, everyone can get in on the action and down some bosses. This week, we look at people who are leaving raiding despite Ulduar being imminent

It's that time of year again. We're hardly as jaded by farming tier 7 content as we were back in the days of Black Temple and Hyjal, but burnout has been rearing its ugly head lately, putting raiding guilds in a difficult position. Ulduar approaching will obviously put a stop to the problem - but for how long?

When all the 25-man content is cleared in a handful of hours, nobody has any reason to run 10-mans and the drop-of-a-hat PTR testing schedule means we're entirely at Blizzard's whim as to when we can poke new content, it's no wonder people are becoming bored. Arguably, it's better that we don't get more than a few limited hours a week on the PTR, in order that the content is fresh when it actually hits. However, the actual effect of this drip-feeding has seemed to dampen enthusiasm for Ulduar rather than heighten it, especially as one of the most available bosses is unfortunately Flame Leviathan.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Ready Check (Raiding)

Ghostcrawler suggests we play other games

Boredom and burnout is a common side effect of spending too much time with any one hobby. Still, it was refreshing to see Ghostcrawler, the Lead Systems Designer for WoW, recommend that players spend some time with other games.

He points out that if you're feeling burned out, it's "not the worst thing in the world to try out some other games -- the past couple of years has been great for them."

Of course, he did take the time to remind everyone that there is more to the game than clearing raid content or completing your latest PvP gear set. There are achievements, alts, questing, and tradeskills, to name a few.

While this does indicate that Blizzard is feeling pretty confident in their chokehold on the MMO market, it's also a smart move on their part. There are already enough paranoid conspiracy theories out there claiming that the company merely wants our money, and less concerned with product quality than with elaborate plans designed to trick us into playing longer and shelling out more money.

In fact, GC said this in response to one of these inspired theories.

This reminds me of one of the loading screen tips that urges players to spend some time with their friends outside of this game as well as in it. As Ghostcrawler says, "just check back in with WoW every now and then

Filed under: Blizzard, Forums

Forum post of the day: Serious business decisions

WoW has changed considerably over the years, often for the better and sometimes for the worse. Better and worse are, of course, a matter of perspective. Slovotsky of Turalyon is getting fed up with people complaining about the easing of raids. He's confident that Blizzard made the choice to lower the difficulty on raids because more of the player base can now have a chance to experience them. He disagrees that casual players have ruined the game. Familiarity may also lead to boredom. Some of the guilds that have progressed through Naxx have already done so either in the Pre-BC era or on the PTR.

As some pointed out, Blizzard is a for-profit business. The company's job is to sell a product, not to rule with a heavy hand or coddle the incompetent. The switch to an inclusive raiding environment was most likely a marketing decision. Caydence of Draka drove this point home, to rebut the argument that players will quit WoW because it's easier. It is simply a better business decision for Blizzard to alienate the "hardcore" players who make up a small minority. She suggested that the subscriber base has grown with each ease in difficulty.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Raiding, Forums, Forum Post of the Day

Officers' Quarters: A case of the blahs

Every Monday Scott Andrews contributes
Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership.

From time to time it seems like most guilds go through a period where the officers just sort of lose interest. For whatever reason, they reach a point where they can't find the motivation anymore. This week's e-mail is from a guild member frustrated by her officers.

I'm in a "casual" guild where casual means we don't have any military policies about raiding. However, we do raid Karazhan and much of the guild is interested in some light progression at least along the 10 man instances (and heroics).

My guild, I am a member, not leader or officer, is suffering the blahs. From my perspective it seems like we have a few issues. The guild leader has lost interest in the game and doesn't log in much and the officers pretty much run the guild in lieu of the GM. However it seems like the officers are kind of burning out too, but don't really want to turn over any of the power to people with more interest.

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Filed under: Guilds, Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

The Perils of "WoW-nnui"

Terra Nova has an interesting piece up about what they call "WoW-nnui": After stepping away from WoW for a while, Mike came back to the game experiencing ennui. Don't worry, I had to look it up too-- ennui is "a feeling of utter weariness and discontent resulting from satiety or lack of interest." Coming back to WoW after a long break can give you exactly that feeling-- the thought that you've seen everything there is to see and do in this game and you're just plain done with it.

Is that possible? Of course it is. If Blizzard has failed to hold your attention (even after an extended break), then they don't deserve your fifteen bucks anymore, and it's time to quit. But ennui isn't always the end, as TN suggests-- lots of players have gone through it, even after a respec, or (to a lesser extent) after a particularly comprehensive revamp. And for me personally, even if I'm faced with a little boredom after a long break, even a short bit of grinding usually gets me right back in the thick of things, looking for loot and XP.

Now, as TN notes, anybody experiencing "WoW-nnui" at this point will probably be back for the expansion anyway, and there's a whole slew of games waiting in the wings to grab anybody walking away from WoW. Obviously, Blizzard has an impetus (see? I can do it too, Terra Nova) to keep ennui out of the game, or at least in control. Is it out of control? When you come back after a long break, are you back in the game, or thinking about getting out of it?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Virtual selves

Shouldn't Games Be Fun?

This article from The Escapist tackles the topic of boredom in video games, and having recently spent the time to grind to honored standing with the Timbermaw faction, I can certainly understand what they're talking about.  At some point in World of Warcraft it's all about the grind - whether you're grinding for faction standing, grinding for honor in PvP, grinding for gold, or grinding for gear in dungeons.  And when the demands of the games are no longer fun for players?  Some just leave, but others bypass the rules and purchase characters or gold - allowing others to do the less interesting parts for them.  From the article: "It's fair to say that many players using these services find the time commitments required of them to be distasteful - in a word, these games are boring."

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Economy

Breakfast Topic: The last few levels

Benig in the late 50s is a tricky position. Depending on your guild, you might start ramping up to the endgame, or you may be trundling with your head down towards 60. If your guild isn't going all-out to get you levelled, then it can get depressing logging in, spending hours mindlessly killing, and not getting a level out of it.

A few tricks to break up the tedium of that final stretch include: explore new areas and quests; pick a faction (such as the Timbermaw or Argent Dawn) and grind reputation, focusing on that rather than your level; spend some time in PvP, which has a small experience reward; try farming for money or drops instead of xp; and do some instances. You could also concentrate on your tradeskills if you've been neglecting them.

Of course, nothing really changes the fact that it does take a while to level, and if you haven't the stomach for grinding, you may get bored. I've found breaking up grinding with some PvP works well, and I also used the WoWVid player for a while to entertain me through the killing. Have you any tips to make the home stretch go by quicker?

Filed under: Tips, Tricks, Breakfast Topics, Quests

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