No, despite the above image, this is not in relation to ones age, although it can be seen that way. Rather the maturing and realisation process you undergo from the day you begin to play a game of this type, specifically World of Warcraft. Not following? Read on.
As Stubborn puts it, the time when you 'lose your innocence'
... I'm not sure when it switches, but clearly there’s a moment when numbers suddenly become more important than story, than enjoying your play time. I don’t think that moment is the same for everyone, and I don’t think it’s a permanent change at first, but I do think it signals the slow decent into eventual burnout...You know, that moment. When you start to forget, or lose track, of the immense experience you had every time you set foot in Azeroth. When your biggest concern was the cunning Brotherhood of the Defias, in Westfall, or banding together to take down Hogger for the first time. When choosing a talent was a case of 'what looks like the most fun right now?' and building your own, however silly, theories on how game mechanics worked.
To make this all clear, lets take a look at a personal example (However embarrassing).
Jumping around and spamming the auto-attack button while trying to click as many abilities, in whichever order, as possible, I try to dodge incoming attacks and land maximum hits.
Soon enough I ventured my way into the heart of the zone. Dying repeatedly to wild creatures along the way. Eventually managing to acquire something that put me on top of the world. (Bear in mind which class I was playing). Staff of Westfall. I was now, in my eyes, unstoppable.
Mean, it was blue! The title even stated that is must have been one of the best weapons available to me, especially after all that hard work. It granted me the use of both hands, intellect to allow me to outwit enemies with sheer intelligence and spirit to... Well.. I don't know exactly. Anyway, surely this would be great assets to improve my character.
Now, of course, we look at this as sheer madness.
Though you know what? I couldn't have cared less. I was having a blast. Nothing could prevent me taking on the world with my genius of a Warrior. This dreamlike period, of complete immersion on all levels, lasted for quite some time, despite learning that I could benefit more from Strength and Stamina. Soon enough though, I started to care.
Suddenly I began worrying about those numbers flashing up on my screen. I pondered just why I really had to keep killing all these harmless creatures and running errands for, somewhat, lazy citizens. Questioning why nobody else had a cool hybrid talent specialisation like mine.
I am not sure exactly when I crossed this magic wall. I think it was at some point during Wrath, when I began to look competitively at my role. Maybe when I first installed Recount and Omen (damage/threat meters). I'm unable to mark a specific point, however, when my outlook and feel in-game changed.
Looking back at many past experiences, they seem a lifetime away. Like a childhood you lost touch with:
- Wondering why enemies could still see and attack me even when I was standing behind a rock or in a bush.
- Imagining that I was really saving Azeorth with every Kobold, or target creature, I destroyed
- Discovering the Auction House and making 1 GOLD!
- Figuring out why I had a red man on my screen
- Really getting lost within a questline, even if it was just to investigate who stole so-and-so's equipment.
- Being resurrected for the first time! (Like seriously, this felt like magic)
- Asking in general chat what a Tank was and how I could find one and a group for Deadmines. (Which included a reply stating that it was a Stormwind army vehicle which rolled over enemies)
- Trying to equip grey items...
I'm sure that many of us can spend endless amounts of time reminiscing about life as a new explorer when the game was new. Especially for those, like me, that experienced WoW as their first ever MMO.
By any stretch I am not trying to imply that the game has changed, at least in this respect. Yes the game has moved with the times, so to speak, but I am sure every day new players embark on that same adventure that we all once did.
You may have many views and opinions on the matter, but the truth at hand is; the game isn't new to you any more. You and I are on a fairly even level with the game now, that we can make a good guess at where each step will lead. It may be, which I feel quite strongly about, that we have matured, as well as the game.
... However, I think that’s the moment where my eyes were opened to the type of game that WoW really was… and has become more so since. I’m not saying that losing one’s innocence in a MMO is inherently bad, but I do think that it leads to eventual burnout, which a lot of us veterans are (or already have) experiencing...
First and foremost I would like, I would love, to hear your view on this. What was your first encounter with World of Warcraft like? Did you share this 'beginners mind'? Are you still in this period of escape? When did you feel the magic faded? Heck, did you never feel like this?
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