I recently experienced something rather disturbing with regards to why I play WoW. It appears that somewhere along the line I got wrapped up in the playing for loot rather than playing for fun, new experiences, etc. I've spent some time trying to figure out how, when, and why that changed and more importantly how do I get back to playing for fun? Getting new loot is great, but if that becomes my reason for playing I'm afraid I'll get to the point where I don't enjoy the game based on my personality.
I would love to read about your experiences of how you started playing the game, how you now play the game, and how that may or may not have changed for you?
I pretty much went through this rite of passage in a previous MMO. Basically it started out as just a group of friends meeting up at low levels and exploring with a sense of wonder and eventually a guild was created and members were added. It evolved to the point of raiding and each accomplishment/discovery brought an added sense of power. It was easy to feed off of the excitement and before we knew it, it was all about upgrading and getting the next best thing. When I saw good friends attacking each other over who was worthy of loot or quitting out because someone won a roll on a coveted item, the game turned sour and it just got to the point where logging on felt like I was going to my evening job. In my time away, I was able to see that I gained absolutely nothing from that game except a lot of wasted time. Nothing I won was hanging in my closet. That epic mace I worked so long and hard to get ... was gone when my subscription was canceled. It wasn't like I could hang it on my wall like a sword or anything. All I had were recollections and memories of people and how they interacted with me. And I cringe when I think of how I appeared to other people in RL, including my coworkers. I was so obsessed with raiding that I would play into late night to the point where I was tired enough to sleep in my car during my lunch hour. I'd try to weasel out of family events on weekends so I could secretly play a video game. It wasn't as if I could put screenshots in a family album and look back on good times. I did miss out on some things and I regret that.
So it was a no-brainer for me to set new limitations when I got WoW. I just log in to have fun and to chat. I don't ask for help in getting gear or loot. If I can't get it solo or in a group, then it's no big deal because each expansion is going to render it worthless in due time. I actually prefer how pvp gear is set up so I'm not dependent on anyone else to help me get loot and I can go at my own pace. Nobody to get mad at, nobody to roll against. More fun this way. What I basically look for in games is how I can get something out of it. Obviously I'm not going to get loot, but I can become a better writer if I roleplay or blog about my experiences. I can become a better artist if I use the game as a tool for expressing myself. Those are experiences I can take with me long after I'm done with WoW or any other MMO. Hope that makes sense!