Tobold's Blog
Saturday, May 02, 2009
Time to take a break from World of Warcraft

I thought I would still be interested at least in raiding in WoW, but it turned out I was wrong. I took part in a great Ulduar raid last night, killing the first five bosses after just one or a few attempts. But my heart just wasn't in it, and I caught myself looking at my watch hoping this would be over soon. There really is no use playing like that. I'm burned out, and it's time to take a break from WoW, for several months at least.

So I cancelled my WoW account for the next subscription period, which means I could still play a month, but probably won't do much except cleaning up, and selling some stuff before deflation makes it completely worthless. Blizzard gave me the third degree and wouldn't let me go without me explaining why. But of course the issue is highly complex, and can't really be answered with dropdown menus. So I told them I was leaving for Free Realms (had to use "other games" and type the name, as it isn't on their premade list of competitors yet), which while not being the whole truth is at least a part of it. There was no dropdown point to complain how raiding had turned into Super Mario Brothers, being more gimmicky and about fast buttonmashing, and less tactical and about making decisions, otherwise I could have used that as an partial answer.

But to make one thing crystal clear, I do not blame World of Warcraft, which I still think is the best MMORPG out there for me. I don't blame my guild or anyone else either. I don't even blame myself. Burnout is just a natural phenomenon which is completely normal after having played the same game for thousands of hours. At some point you just lose interest. I'm not playing Free Realms because it is "better than" WoW, I play it because it is different. I'll also play more single-player games, I still have a shelf full of unplayed games here.

I fully expect to resubscribe to World of Warcraft after a break of at least several months. Probably before the next expansion, but right now I have no idea when exactly.
Talk about timing.

After 4+ years of playing WoW I am calling it quits also....permanently. My subscription expires the second week in May and I will be deleting my characters on the same day. I'm just not enjoying the game anymore, and I am not going to attempt to force myself into playing something I can no longer enjoy. Over the coming days and weeks I expect to have fun perusing forums, blogs and whatnot exploring the games currently in development. But unlike you, Tobold, I will not be going back to WoW. It's going to be interesting to see what game I choose next. Will it be another MMO, or will I go back to familiar territory and give first person shooters another try? Who knows.
Deleting characters ? thats a bit overboard imho.
Yes, I'd strongly advise against deleting characters. What do you hope to gain from that? With your subscription cancelled, it doesn't make any difference now whether you keep your characters or delete them. But there is a huge potential difference in the future, when you could possibly change your mind and regret your action.
Isn't that the point? It's to ward off temptation. If you were seriously planning on quitting drinking, would you keep a bottle in the cupboard just in case you changed your mind?
Even if you delete the characters, chances are you'll still be able to get them reactivated. I deleted my character when I quit at the end of 2005, gave the account to my brother, and a couple of years later he got my old character reactivated as a mining alt.
It's like throwing away your cigarettes when you plan to quit smoking. Lower the risk of temptation. For myself, on the other hand, I found the best way to deal with inevitable WoW burnout. I call it "super-slow". My character just dinged 80 today. I learned a lot from TBC:

1. Do not try to be the first in the leveling crowd. The competition makes it an ugly leveling process.
2. Do not try to be the first in instances & raids. Both will become boring after a while anyway, so why speeding up the process?
3. Enjoy the leveling game. Enjoy each instance you play. Ignore the loot-centric mechanic of the game and all the associated evils (from ninja looting to guild drama).
4. Actively play other games, don't monopolize your spare time with one game only.
5. Peace, love and a relaxed attitude make more fun in life than hatred (against other players), envy (of other people's equipment) and hard-core over-eagerness in achieving your, and your goals alone (all twinks must be epiiiic).

How about you try something completely new for a change and purchase an XBOX for the wonderful fantasy games that are available / will come to the console in the future (Lost Odyssey, Final Fantasy XIII). Otherwise, I can recommend Drakensang (RPG), Mass Effect (Sci-Fi RPG), Anno 1404 (June).

Cheers, Tobold. I will look forward to read your blog about other games.
I paid for my friend's epic mount when I quit, but other than that the character's still there. The annoying part about quitting WoW on a relatively good note is that many others don't. Quite a few people go from love to hate without passing go and collecting $200, so I'm still stuck in my Devil's Advocate mode. :-(
>>But there is a huge potential difference in the future, when you could possibly change your mind and regret your action.

I already regret spending the past 4+ years on a never ending level treadmill, so deleting is the only way to get closure on my departure from the game. I've already tried the hiatus bit, as I took a 9 month break from the game during the latter part of 2007 until a month or so before WOTLK was released. I've given the game a few tries now, and I'm not about to get caught in the "insanity" paradox of "doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results".
It's interesting how I think WoW has shown that burnout is just completely natural for an MMORPG. At some point you just can't play anymore for a while. It's not that the game did something wrong or there is something wrong with you, it is just part of the process. Having an open mind about it helps. I think a lot of people overreact and quit on bad terms when all they need is some good time away from it.
Isn't that the point? It's to ward off temptation. If you were seriously planning on quitting drinking, would you keep a bottle in the cupboard just in case you changed your mind?I reached a point where I ended up doing the same thing, for a similar reason, in WoW.

As for burnout in general, for me it happens with every computer game at some point, no matter what type of computer game it is. It does seem true in general as well, that everyone will reach a point where they just get bored of a game, and don't want to play it anymore, but with MMO's, this decisions not to play may stand out more due to the large amount of time and personal investment that had been put into the game.
Also: "Pickly"= "the commenter formerly known as "dillon". (I've written other comments as pickly on some other computer game blogs, and decided to just stick to one name for all of them.)
Ah, Dill Pickles, easy to remember. ;) Just kidding, no offense.
curious whar your /played is on all your toons. I have no idea what is mine, but I lack a subscription to check ;)
Why do we even have to justify our decision to stop playing a game for a while. It is an entirely healthy phenomenon in my opinion and yet there seems to be a suggestion of treachery about it. It is no reflection on the quality of a game or its community that you have gotten bored and want to do something else for a while.

Perhaps this is a fatal flaw in the current mmo business model. If Blizzard or Turbine or CCP's business model is based on the assumption that I and my fellow consumers will sign up to their offering for life to the exclusion of all other forms of entertainment then I am sorry but that doesn't work for me and I doubt it works for very many others either. I want variety. No matter how good a game is I want to play more than one game in my life and that means I have to move on.

Here are a couple of suggestions off the top of my head for a more customer friendly mmo business model.
1. An episodic or time limited mmo that has naturally occurring end points at which people "finish the game" and move on.
2. Thinking big how about an "internet of mmos". An overarching virtual world network linking all of the various mmos together allowing you to move your characters between virtual worlds at will. Tadd Williams Otherland comes to mind (which incidentally is soon to be an mmo in its own right).

I admit I haven't yet figured out how the above schemes would help companies make higher profits but in the long run products that do what the customer wants generally beat out those that do what the company making them wants.
I'm going to miss your WoW related posts, but as you say, it's just natural. I've only been playing it for a bit over two years, so I'm far from done with it myself. GL in your new game and welcome back whenever it will be.
Isn't that the point? It's to ward off temptation. If you were seriously planning on quitting drinking, would you keep a bottle in the cupboard just in case you changed your mind?

And every time you finish a book you burn it? Every time you turn off your TV, you smash it?

The reason I can easily cancel my WoW subscription is because I am not addicted. I'm simply finished with it for the moment. No reason to destroy it, just because I don't plan to play tomorrow.
I give you two months.
WoW burnout is an interesting thing. On the surface, people make a big deal of leaving the game. Compare it to leaving other games, though. For example, after 250 hours, I decided I was "done" with Final Fantasy X, having gotten all the legendary weapons, beaten every epic monster, won everything conceivable in Blitzball (ugh), and completely reconfigured the sphere grid to max out everyone's stats. By all accounts 250 hours is a staggering amount of time to play a game when your average play through a standard RPG will last between 15 and 40 hours.

Now look at being "done" with WoW. 190 days, you've played. Days! Times 24 is 4,560 hours! Egads, man! If I wrote this game, I'd be pretty proud that people can put that kind of time into it.
You know, Tobold, I never got to raid back in Classic or even Burning Crusade. I don't have raids then to compare to raids now. But last week, while in 10-man Naxx killing Kel'Thuzad, I began to feel that sort of "Super Mario" feeling you're having now.

KT's Frost Blasts are among one of the ugliest mechanics I have yet encountered. There is no advance warning of their casting, no way to avoid them completely. Once they strike somebody, there is literally just 2-3 seconds to identify the person, target them, and begin casting your fastest heal. Without heals, the person will die in 4 seconds, possibly less if they weren't at full health when they got hit.

With a UI mod like Pitbull, their unit frame will turn red. With an addon like Clique, you can then click their unit frame to start sending heals. How on earth would anyone with a default UI do what those two addons can do -- in three seconds or less? Even with Pitbull and Clique, it is often a very near thing. Any healer in our guild who doesn't have both of those addons (or some equivalent) nearly never makes it in time. Is this encounter tuned in an attempt to defeat the addons that make the game playable?

I call shenanigans. They've realized that they can't beat us with puzzles and tactics that require knowledge/coordination, since we can watch the strat videos and read the answers on the internet. All they've got left are gimmicks that require "Super Mario" coordination and fast reflexes.
I cancelled my account as well a few weeks ago. Though it was at first more because I needed to spend my time focusing on school, and I expected to start back up again right after finals were over. Thing is, now that I'm just about done, I'm not really looking forward to playing again. So I'll probably do the same as you, Tobold, and take a more extended break. Been playing Neverwinter Nights 1, an oldie, but goodie.
OMG Tobold how can you quite WOW its the best game EVAR!!! U are a total hater just becuz Blizz is the best@!!!

Kidding, kidding. Jeez, where are the nerdraging fanboys with poor reading comprehension, anyway? I was sure they would be out in force when I saw this post. Maybe you finally found a way to phrase an announcement that you're taking a break from a game in a way they understand, or perhaps Toxic is right and this is a sign the game is going downhill.
Last time I did a post like this, WoWInsider linked to it, and the nerdraging fanbois came from there. I hope this time they won't link to this post.
It's certainly better to take a break and return later than to force yourself to be in game until you hate it. No one should grow to hate a game they once loved to play (and it's so sad to see that happen to people). Although WoW still is the game I primarily focus on, it is not my only game. Just like, I couldn't eat turkey sandwiches all day every day or I'd eventually throw up just thinking about my next meal. Variety is the spice of life. ;)

I echo TEM's (transmission electron microscopy?) comment. Take it slow, enjoy it; that's how I like to play. Not everyone approaches games like this, though.
About cancelling accounts: MMOs have no end (short of major changes, or closing shop), so unless we want to act like we're married to one it is quite alright to make our own ending.
I haven't played WoW for four months, have no active account, but my toons still exist in case I want to try the game later on. I have been addicted (at least, it sure felt like an addiction) to the game previously, mainly using it as a procrastination/responsibility-avoidance mechanism, but I've cultivated better habits since then (I spend less time PC gaming in general, and accordingly like the subscription fees even less).
Have fun in FR, Tobold.
Definitely time to branch out. I haven't dropped WoW but after several years of restricting myself to one MMO at a time I've decided to invest in a second concurrent sub. VG at the moment seems pretty chilled, very different pace to WoW.

I play a Holy Paladin, The only mods I have are Recount, Atlasloot and Carbonite. I don't find KT to be a particularly challenging fight to heal, The Setup? Person gets blocked, Person says in Vent. Mycharacters-name-here Iced.. (EX Tobold Iced) I click their name on default blizzard raid frames, I hit Holyshock, I cast Flash of light and tada that person now has 0% chance of dieing. You could argue that "vent" is my mod, but wow has ingame voice chat so that is kinda moot.

I can see what people mean about wow (and other new mmo's) being turned into pseudo action games. A number of months ago EQ had their antislavery and they reactivated my account, I had a level 50 warrior from a long long long time ago. I installed it for old times sake and took it for a spin, and I was shocked how in all my fond remembrances of everquest I had completely forgotten that my ability's as a warrior included. Attack, Kick, Disarm and thats it. Now given that disarm didn't work on like 90% of mobs I basically walked up to a mob, hit attack and kicked for a meger amount of damage every once in a while. It took me about 10 minutes to be completely bored with the game because I felt I could walk up to a mob, hit attack and come back in a few minutes to see if I won or lost.

Its not just MMO's either. Tobold pointed out a few weeks ago that Empire total war (A fantastic game btw, I don't have any problems running it on my Vista 64 computer) Is one of the last turn based strategy games being made. Their used to be tons of them. Now its all about the real time strategy games. Look at traditional RPG games, We're seeing almost none of the style of saw Fallout 1 and 2, or Baldur's Gate games, Fallout 3 while a fantastic game is at its core a first person shooter. And the latest game from Bioware Masseffect was also a RPG/Shooter hybrid.

What you need to consider, is that perhaps Turn Based strategy games where not developed the way they were because their the most fun that way, maybe they were designed like that due to limitations on technology at the time. To say games now a days ensue strategy and tactics is a baldfaced lie. My paladin has over 30 different ability's to use at any given time, On average I use about 6 or 7 on a regular basis. That is still three times as many as my eq character had. When someone gets Iced its not simply a matter of hit the heal button, its a matter of which heal buttons and in which order.

I think what some people are finding difficult, is not only do you have on average a lot more choices of what to do then in older MMO's, but you have to make those choices faster. is great for ending temptation Chris. It's like deleting your characters, but you have enough money to buy an XBox 360 or something, instead of nothing but memories. Of course, they pay crap, but it's over quickly! If you are too attached to your toons to sell them, but not enough to delete them, I'd advise doing neither.

snuffdigit, I think there's a lot of turn based strategy games out now; Civilization, Total War, Galactic Civilizations... that's just what I know about. They aren't the best selling games ever, I suspect partially because of rampant ADD, partially because its kind of impossible to make one whose multiplayer isn't really really awful and no matter how fun a game like Master of Orion or Civ is, the AI is still stupid and once you figure it out you'll be able to tell you've won long before you actually win.
I decided to cancel my account about 2 weeks ago. I played vanilla WoW up to the level cap and then stopped because raiding was too hardcore for me at that point. Last summer (almost a year now) a friend of mine convinced me to start playing again. I hit 70 a day before Wrath and took my time leveling to 80. I started raiding a few months ago and ended up bored before 3.1 hit. I tried getting into the game again with 3.1 but it just didn't take hold. So, I am now WoW free for awhile. Maybe even until the next expansion hits.

That being said, I think this is the best MMO on the market. As others have said, with the current model all MMOs can lead to burnout fairly easily. I've heard from a couple people that EVE is a good remedy for this because you end up making your own fun instead of just doing progression content until you run out. I might give it a try, but for the moment I'm content to take a break from huge time sink games and just play around on my console, do some reading, watch some movies, go outside, hang out with friends, and not feel bad about it.

There are so many good games out there and when you limit yourself to just one you end up missing out. I tried to keep up with game releases while playing WoW but it seemed like I ended up rushing through all the games I picked up just so I could get back to WoW. It's nice to enjoy some of my older games and reconnect with other genres as well. I even started playing chess and checkers with my girlfriend and found it surprisingly entertaining.

Expand your horizons and don't be afraid to try new things.
I decided a week or so ago to cancel my account, so I've just been biding time with the holiday events until my subscription runs out. Over the course of TBC I took like three extended breaks from the game. I generally could only play the game for like 3-4 months before burnout got too much. I haven't taken a break with WotLK since it went live, and I'm long due for one. I think the ease of farming Naxx made it easy to justify "I'll just log in for raids a couple hours a week." Now that Ulduar presents somewhat of a challenge that requires a bit more time and effort, it made it easier for me to decide I'd rather do other things with my time.

I'm certainly not quitting WoW forever. The stuff with the Argent Colosseum looks promising and that may get expanded upon in 3.2. There's promises of new battlegrounds and 5-mans to be added in future patches that might be worth checking out. If it's just raid content I'd probably wait until the next expansion to come back. I guess we'll see.
Well good for you. I thoroughly respect your decision, and I'm sure you'll be much happier for doing what you know you want to do. Having recently quit smoking - after having wanted to quit for a very long time but not having the balls to do it - I can empathize. Thanks too for making it clear that its a personal thing, and not blaming the game, like so many ex players do. I really agree wholeheartedly - getting burned out is a natural thing, and the (real) is infinitely bigger and more exciting than wow. Good luck to you in your future gaming. Sorry for the harshness of some of my responses to your blog at times. It all seems rather petty now.

I can't really say what your reflexes are like, so I can only speak to my experience. We ran KT one night (10 man) with three healers because we were having trouble losing people to the Blasts. The most raid-experienced healer (main healer) had addons to help heal very fast and the other two did not. The other two healers relied on Deadly Boss Mods announcing the Frost Blasts or cries of help from TeamSpeak.

The main healer turned on /combatlog and logged the entire fight, then ran a Perl script on the data after the raid was over. The data showed, to the second: when players got Frost Blasted, when each heal landed, who cast the heals, and when the Frost Blast expired. (The window between Frost Blast landing and expiring is 4 seconds, and it ticks for greater than 25% of the target's max health per second.)

Results: Main healer sent the first, most important, difference-between-life-and-death heal every time (even when he got Frost Blasted himself, the HoT he left rolling saved him). Healers without addons frequently did not finish casting a heal until after the Frost Blast effect had expired. This means they were merely topping off the target the other healer had saved, not saving the target's life. Since there's no real feedback on this process without logging and mining the data, many healers may have the impression that they are doing a splendid job on the Frost Blasts as long as everyone survives.

What those logs also showed is that even with...
a) A healer heavily focused on raid unit frames
b) Pitbull turning that player's unit frame red to indicate a Frost Blast
c) Clique making it possible to send a fast heal by clicking that player's unit frame
... our fastest healer's instant heals were landing at the 2-3 second mark. That's a very close shave even with all those aids to reaction time. That's why I cried foul about this particular mechanic.

By contrast, the healer with the default UI who relied on people crying out over voice chat did not ever get there in time. I can't speak to your reaction times, of course. It's possible there are other factors. This is just our experience with logging the fight and mining the data to judge healer performance. The difference between the Frost Blast target living or dying is currently correlated with healers having more addons to aid reaction time. Correlation != causation, it just strongly suggests there's something going on.
I made a mistake in my post to snuffdigit above: our main healer was casting a 1.5 second heal and landing it between 2-3 seconds. He did this because the target frequently was not at 100% health, what with the constant barrages of frostbolts, so the instant heal would be too small (and the GCD between casting an instant heal followed by a larger heal would usually mean death).
The point of WoW, in my opinion, is to enjoy the hobby. If you don't enjoy it then it is time to go. I think your decision is correct and warranted. Best of luck.

Not to be crass, but yours sounds like a problem with sucky healers. DBM is my only raiding addon, and when I see a Frost Blast I look away from the health bars to the actual fight, click on the person (or people) that were hit, cast PW:Shield on the first, hasted Penance on the second. Hell, it's one of my favorite boss fight mechanics - I'm always assigned to Frost Blast heals and it really gives me a chance to shine.

As for "Super Mario Bros" gimmicky boss fights... this is pretty much how they've always been, with a few exceptions. When were they ever tactical? I don't blame people for burning out - I've done so a couple times - but it was purely because I played too much and the game got in the way of my life, not the game itself. Since I've toned down the amount I play - three 3-4 hour raid nights, do some dailies every so often - I've never had as much fun as I'm having now.

But to each his own! :P
Deleting your characters is something you do because you are addicted and are facing it. Tobold clearly isn't addicted but just isn't enjoying the game anyore.

Still, deleting your characters isn't a good idea. If I'll stop my subscription again it'll just be until the next expansion or when I feel like levelling an alt.
I as well unsubscribed from WoW. I stopped playing about 2 months ago and my subscription ran out in late April. I've been playing pretty much since launch. I've spent a lot of time thinking about why I'm qutting. Even when I was burnt out before I'd play other games while still keeping mu subscription active. I did this because I knew that with in a months timeframe I'd come back to WoW. What is different this time?

So why did I quit WoW? Well after a lot of thought I feel the reasoning behind this is due to actually "finishing" the game, for the first and only time. In vanilla WoW I raided MC, Ony. I always had "harder" raids I wanted to get to. BC came around and I raided Kara, but I yet again had harder raids to look foward to. Now with the WotLK (the best expansion yet) I have raided and finished Naxx. However when I finished naxx there was really no other raids to look up to. I downed Sarth, but not with 3 drakes up, but I don't really care about achievements. Achievments are fun addition to the game, but they sure as hell don't replace content. When I finished Naxx 25 in WotLK, TO ME atleast I had finished WoW. There was nothing else I was looking foward too. If it helps I also finished all the 5 man dungeons on heroic, and they were all so simple it was like a joke. No 5 man dungeons left, no raids left, PvP is pretty much the same as it has always been. I have no reason to play anymore.

Before my subscription ran out 3.1 was released. I was holding off subscribing until 3.1 I guess I figured once Uladar hit I would feel the urgency to raid again. I also really liked the idea of duel-specs. When 3.1 hit the opposite happened. I didn't feel like raiding. I still felt the sence of accomplishment from downing Naxx 25 before Uladar was avaliable. I was done.

Had WotLK had more end game content at launch I might have been inspired to keep playing, or perhaps I would have burned through the content and been in the same boat I am now, only having scene more content.

So now that I've feel live I've actually beaten WoW, even if it was just for a few weeks I have no desire to return to the grind and time sink that is raiding. Blizzard is nurfing raids in hopes of making them more casual friendly. However even with easier raids I still like giving up my whole night to run one raid. Naxx 25 can be downed with in a few hours, however the time raids need to set up, and the wipes caused by unexperienced groups means we need to double the time of a regular raid from 3, to 6 hours. 6 hours is just too much for me. I've done it before. I'm not doing it again.

So to get rid of the explanation I'm quitting as I feel accomplished in WoW, and I don't feel like spending 6 hour clips to raid one new dungeon.

I think blizzard should take a queue from Valve's Left4dead. Campaigns run about 1.5-3 hours max, and everything is organzied by the game.
Hmmm I am fairly certain that if WOW still had the raiding challenge -the reason you enjoyed BC for so long- you wouldn't be quitting. While burnout is certainly a natural result of over 100 /days played, I think that if WOW still felt challenging, you, as well as countless other players would still be raiding.
To Chris, the 1st comment:

Back when I 1st quit playing SWG I deleted my toons in order to "limit the temptation" to return. But in a few months, my friends who were playing talked me into re-opening my account, and when I did.... ooh was I ticked off that I didn't still have my Master Doctor. I started grinding up a new Doc becuz I loved playing one before, but then decided to go off in a different direction. Over the next couple of years that I continued to play, I never again played as any type of medic/doctor/combat medic.... probably all due to the fact that I deleted my character and didn't want to grind it up again. After "coming back" I did cap out other characters, but the game was never quite the same for me.
It's perfectly normal to get burnout and it's definitely the smart thing to cancel your account for a while. I started playing WoW release day and have taken two breaks of a couple of months each, as well a couple of breaks where my account was still active but I was hardly playing for a while.

And Chris, don't delete your characters. Just don't. Even if you're "just not enjoying the game anymore" and are "not going to attempt to force yourself into playing something you can no longer enjoy", don't put yourself in a situation where, next year sometime, you want to check out expansion #3 and have made it difficult to play something you WILL enjoy.
I cancelled my account today and found the "raiding had turned into Super Mario Brothers" button. Under 'Content', select 'Unexpected Genre'. :P
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