Farewell, Azeroth!

After over a year of building characters and wandering around the World of Warcraft, I’ve decided to cancel my subscription. The trouble with these massively-multiplayer world-immersive games is layed out in the following set of claims:

  • A monthly subscription is expensive.
  • The game is designed in such a way that, after an initial phase, the entertainment it provides is exponentially related to the amount of time you put into it.
  • In order to get the maximum value out of the game, in terms of both money and entertainment, one is forced to play a lot.
  • Playing massively-multiplayer games a lot can be intrinsically unhealthy if in a person’s lifestyle it precludes other more important activites. It is also potentially addictive, and can be unhealthy in that way as well.

Now, I haven’t been playing in an unhealthy way–in fact, I haven’t been playing at all. My decision to quit is more a financial one, and also as a result of the dilemma above, which shows that to get the desired amount of entertainment, one must choose effectively to be unhealthy in some way.

That being said, my visits to Azeroth (the fantasy world in Warcraft) were indeed fun and provided many hours of enjoyment, particularly when I was able to play alongside my brother and sister. Such cooperative play was made all the more meaningful in virtue of the fact that I live across the country from them and had no real other way to hang out. I will retain many fond memories of our quests, guild drama, and laughing at the plethora of idiots that occupy any online community (but particularly gaming communities). So here’s to Telarian, Telariz, and Tsarmina!

Telarian and Telariz surveying the snow plains below Ironforge

By Jonathan Lipps

Jonathan worked as a programmer in tech startups for several decades, but is also passionate about all kinds of creative pursuits and academic discussion. Jonathan has master’s degrees in philosophy and linguistics, from Stanford and Oxford respectively, and is working on another in theology. An American-Canadian, he lives in Vancouver, BC and has way too many hobbies.

2 replies on “Farewell, Azeroth!”

Mmm… I stopped trusting myself to game responsibly a long time ago (exception: semi-annual community Halo night at the Wylie’s)… games eat up too much time and money for me, and I’m entirely too addictable a soul for such things.

Come to think of it, that’s why I stopped playing golf, too.

Gaming responsibly seems exactly like doing any other enjoyable thing responsibly, insofar as the key to healthy enjoyment is knowing when to stop. Humans in general appear to be pretty bad at this.

So if that’s true then hopefully my voluntary, sans-withdrawal departure from Warcraft signifies, not that games are somehow bad and I’m lucky to have escaped, but that I am actually gaming responsibly and could healthily enjoy games in the future. We’ll see. For now, I guess I’ll do other things!

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