Over at Utopian Hell, Astare took me to task for some of my cited reasons why I left WoW. I was thinking about writing this post anyway, but after reading what she and Aurora had to say (even after writing a novel in response â€“ no, I wasn’t kidding when I said being concise pains me) I felt the need to elaborate on why I cancelled my account.
My feeling about Blizzard and women is the main reason I left. Because of the character limit, it was the only reason I felt the strong need to address in the “why are you leaving?” comment field. For the sake of my argument, and the fact that my anger was mainly directed towards that, I used the issue as my sole address in my previous post. Despite that, it wasn’t the only reason I left.
While I did mentally set aside the entire summer to play WoW (after all the hype about it, and so many of my friends being addicted to it, how could I not?), the reality is that I have more important things to do. Firstly, I’ve been travelling almost non-stop since I vacated my apartment in July. I just got the internet set up at my home base, but I’m intending to be here only a little more than half of each week and then in September I’ll be in Miami for the entire month. My current laptop cannot handle WoW, or any MMO. I also have a slew of real life appointments I need to take care of before I go to Japan in April, the most important of which is setting up and getting a tubal ligation. And last, but certainly not least, Sarah and I have been seeking representation for Children of the Storm for about a year now and if I don’t get my ass in gear and finish this round of editing we’ll never get the sucker published.
Time issues aside, because if I was hooked on the game I know I would make time for it, there was one major aspect of the gameplay that I wasn’t fond of. It’s actually the one way in which I think FFXI outstripped WoW, although ironically it was also an aspect of FFXI that was flawed enough to be a driving factor in my losing interest in the game. I’m talking about their party system. In FFXI you simply couldn’t get far into the game without having to play nice; partying with people was just that integral. The social aspect of it also made the game a lot more fun to play; there was a constant strategizing, chatting, and camaraderie from teamwork that made me feel like I was a part of a community of like-minded people. I had to actively seek out people to party with in WoW because, experience wise, it wasn’t generally a good bargain. When I actually found people I had a good time, but my social network outside of my guild was much smaller than what I had had in FFXI. Soloing (both grinding and solo-questing) just isn’t fun for me. Ideally, I’d like to see a mixture of the FFXI large-party emphasis and the WoW solo/small-party ability so that the teamwork learning curve is steep, but not so much so that during non-peak hours it’s impossible to find enough people to get a useable party going.
Another area that I thought FFXI excelled in and WoW lost in was the multicultural aspect. In FFXI, because I speak a little Japanese, I was able to combine my meagre knowledge with the auto-translate function (brilliant idea, imho) in order to play with a broader range of players. Sure, the conversation wasn’t great, but I loved the ability to connect with these people and fight together for a common goal (getting XP). I truly believe that the fact that the servers weren’t Western-centric impacted the overall feeling of the community, as well as the overall tolerance. Sure, I encountered my fair share of bigots, but their numbers were far exceeded by those who were willing and eager to party and communicate with anyone regardless of race/gender/orientation/what-have-you.
So, I guess part of what I’m saying is that I think each MMO brings its own unique pros and cons to light. I do wish that I had been able to stick it out longer with WoW. I most certainly wish that I didn’t feel like Blizzard was exacerbating the “girl power must be sexy/sexual” trend I’ve seen in Hollywood in the past several years. But, in the end my leaving is inevitable and, at the very least, it gives me a chance to explore more MMOs on the market.