It started out innocently enough. I was having lunch with Ryan, the editor of the podcast, and he was giving me a bad time about my lack of game time recently.
“There’s all this Game on Girl talking and yet you’re rarely on Steam.”
I confessed that my professional and personal life has gotten in the way of “serious” gaming but that I still game socially everyday. I then sent him an invite to Bookworm Heroes, my new social gaming addiction. A little role play, a little word building. Pretty much perfect for the amount of time I have to game right now.
From there we started discussing other games we played together.
“What was that one game we started that we didn’t really get back to?” asked Ryan.
“Which one? That’s most of the games we’ve all played recently.”
“Oh Guild Wars 2.”
“Right. That one. That was the last big one we all got together and didn’t play.”
So I asked because the answer had been bugging me for awhile: “Why didn’t you like it, Ryan?”
“It wasn’t WoW.”
He said it. What I had been thinking for ages but had never said. As much as I loved the streamlined questing, the story elements, and the artwork of Guild Wars 2, I couldn’t engage with the game the way I normally would with an MMO. I couldn’t figure out why… I think in part it was timing and the other part was the lack of commitment from my fellow gamers. We just didn’t “click” with Guild Wars 2 as a group.
So then I said it.
“I miss WoW. I miss playing Sunnybee (my main avatar – a human warlock).”
Ryan said, “Yeah me too. You were just getting good with Sunny when we quit.”
It was true. I wrote about the first time we all raided together and the satisfaction I felt from that experience. We had managed to get decent gear and I was finally understanding spell durations and not to “clip” my duration spells. It was also one of the first times we had all worked together as a group.
We started talking about going back to WoW, resurrecting our accounts and old friends (avatars) and how it might actually be fun to <gasp> play a panda. A hush fell over the table and Ryan said, “After all the grief you’ve given WoW, after all the stuff you’ve said about Blizzard on the show, how can you go back?”
I thought for a moment about going back in secret… starting a new account and not telling anyone, perhaps most importantly one of my closest gaming friends, Mark, who was furious with Blizzard after D3 and pandas and pokemon pets. But I knew that would be beyond disingenuous. Game on Girl was created based on my gaming experience and has grown into something amazing and dynamic and awesome and I couldn’t start lying about that.
It’s been a couple of weeks since this conversation and Ryan started a new trial account to test the waters. I’ve been tempted but I still haven’t committed myself to going back into the WoW fray. I can’t quite bring myself to do it even though the thought of playing again is compelling. The time commitment keeps me from opening a browser and reinstalling the game.
So, dear readers, I ask you: what is a gamer to do? To WoW or Not to WoW? Please leave your thoughts in the comments.
Regina is a gamer, writer, teacher, and podcaster living in the Pacific Northwest. She completed her Ph.D. in 2011 from Washington State University in Vancouver and continues to teach there part time. Regina’s research interests focus on women and technology, and her dissertation discusses female gamers and identity in digital role playing games. A lifelong geek and technology enthusiast, Regina recently started a Girls Who Code club in support of their mission to close the gender gap in technology.
To continue the conversations about gender and gaming that Regina started during her research, she started a podcast called Game on Girl. Called the “NPR of game podcasts” by Chris Brown of The Married Gamers, the podcast features women involved in the game industry, and tackles some of the complicated issues in the gaming community. Season 2 began in the spring of 2018 and will premiere new episodes monthly.