Friday, May 18, 2007

Life with World of Warcraft

Since I have been working a regular 9-5 job, my day after work is scheduled flexibly in neat packets of time for chores, cooking and leisure. After adjusting to this new way of regulated life a few months ago, I needed a hobby. Something enjoyable to fill up my leisure time. For the first 2 months, I joined in on the wildly popular MMORPG adventures of Blizzard's World of Warcraft with my boyfriend and roommate. I enjoyed the gameplay and the entire concept of the game very much but the addictive nature of it kept messing up my schedule.

This is especially problematic since my work schedule is off-sync with the people I lived with because they work afternoons to nights. When they come home at 11pm, they would play for hours non-stop until the early morn, levelling, gaining XP. My progression in the game was always a few levels behind, which would make my character weaker and less effective when I played with them. They tried to close the gap for me by playing my character while I was at work but that only frustrated me because new skills and spells were learned without me actually experiencing the change. In short, I could not fulfill the potentials of my character.

So they continued on without me and at first I solo'd my quests but alas, the game is designed to be played with other players to enhance the gaming experience. It was simply too difficult in many cases to go it alone, especially on PVP servers. After that my WOW life just stopped. My character, forever frozen at level 29 or 30, who can remember. Since I quit, my boyfriend and roommate have gone to to a different server with their guild, started fresh at zero. In approximately 3 months, they are in their 60's. There's never a night when WOW is not running on a computer at home. The soundtrack to my homelife are the clashing sounds of epic weapons, the sound of spell effects and the muffled cursing and yelling over Teamspeak, all overlaying the looping BG music of the World of Warcraft.

I wonder what the total # of subscriptions of active WOW accounts there are in the world. Since the inception of the game, how many waking hours have these players dedicated to playing the game? How much time to they spend looking up information about the game, such as tips, secrets, strategies, etc.? What percentage of their leisure time is strictly for WOW? What percentage of players joined and quit? After how long? How many returned to the game after quitting? I think it would be a very interesting study on gamers' behavior with many implications.

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