Friday, March 21, 2008

Why climb the mountain?

Whether you're a Druid or not, BBB's a great read. A nice mix of WoW facts, anecdotes, opinion pieces and some fun-to-read rants, including some guest posts from his wife who also WoW's it up. You probably already read his stuff, but if not, go for it. Lol, he's the reason I don't beat myself up too much when I write long posts.

A recent entry of his goes nicely with the Ship Jumpers one I put out. My article is an exploration of what life is like for those that hop skip and jump between guilds, while BBB's is more focused on the impact those jumpers have on the guild they leave (among other things, it really is a good read).

Its funny, as I read over that post, you'd think he and I were writing together, because he also touches upon progression and what it means to him. Go read it for yourself, but to paraphrase, he's more interested in spending quality time with friends, and things like loot and progression are secondary. I tend to agree with that position, however, I still found myself writing about my guild's progression recently.

So what makes so many of us want to progress through the game?

While struggling to get our Kara team organized and running, I often found myself asking this question.

The only conclusion I could come to was that raiding was like mountain climbing. Why climb the mountain? Because its there!

If Karazhan (and beyond) didn't exist, what would I be doing? Playing alts. Running some heroics. Earning Gold (mmmmm, ding 8.5k). Levelling up lots of professions and collecting recipes. Rerolling Horde. Maybe a battle ground or two, but who knows, because I'm pretty much only BG'ing lately to get some gear that's raiding upgrades for me.

BUT...Karazhan does exist. And dungeons and world bosses beyond do exist.

What makes it so compelling to devote so much time and energy into raiding? Hardcore, casual, whatever. If you're showing up for a solid block of hours, at least a couple times a week, prepared with buff foods, potions, elixirs, flasks, oils, scrolls, etc, you are definitely pouring some passion into the activity. What drives that motivation?

Is it peer pressure?

Afterall, there's lots of vocal advocates for progression out there. One of the extreme examples is the progression of AC as advertised on a bunch of blogs, with the most notable BRK, while providing vast amounts of much needed help to the Hunter community, he also makes it a specific point to leave no doubt in his readers' minds how much he values and enjoys progression in gear, dungeon bosses, arena ratings. How can a reader see those conquests and remain immune to the "me too" syndrome?

I'd like to think I was above feeling that sort of peer pressure, so while not the full answer, it is definitely part of the picture.

Anybody who plays the game, and then spends time outside the game reading about it, writing about it, fantasizing about it...we all have a motivation coming from somewhere.

What makes progression so satisfying? Whether it is the simple progression of a faction reputation bar moving slowly but surely across the bottom of your screen, or the more widely celebrated progression through raid bosses and phat lewtz, there's something satisfying with keeping things moving.

Is it a massive wide-scale insecurity among the general population? Are we really all fighting our own Napoleon complex, and to compensate we go after the very tangible progression goals Blizzard has constructed for us?

Or, for the truely insecure, maybe take the hardcore position that progression means absolutely NOTHING to them. Folks this far to the extreme suffer just as much because they're too scared to fail at progression that they fabricate a whole framework in their mind to convince themselves that they didn't want it to begin with.

How satisfying is progression?

Feels great to have that first kill. What a huge rush to hear Big Wigs play the trumpet fan fare to announce a dead boss!!! Feels great to brainstorm with the team, come up with a new strategy, execute and loot a dead boss. The rush stays with you for the next few times you kill that same boss.

How long does that rush last? Pretty quickly it becomes same old, same old. Gotta move to the next encounter or next dungeon. Keep farming this guy because we gotta keep progressing our gear (and you know I'm never gonna win a roll for the T4 gloves off Curator IF he actually chooses to drop them again for me, lol, luckily I like my Beast Lord Gloves), but gotta move to the next one also.

Push push push to hit 70. Push push push to get properly geared and attuned. Push push push to get through the first dungeon. Push push push. Push push push. Does anybody just sit back and think of a goal that is not the end-all-be-all of progression that they are fully satisfied with?

At least in the blogging community, it seems that people either keep progressing, keep progressing, or they become burned out trying to progress and then stop playing because the weight is too much. I'm not sure where I fit on this scale, and I definitely don't judge either group. Leads me to believe that there's this unsatisfied feeling unless we finish everything that's out there. Where's the middle ground? What is it in our minds that doesn't allow us that balanced middle ground for this game?

Seems that no matter what the next goal is, there's always another one right around the corner. Seems that Carrot on a Stick isn't just a quest reward in ZF, its inherent in the design of the entire game.

Personally, I think it'll be realistic for me to clear Karazhan, and start fiddling around in Zul'Aman, with maybe sticking my toe into some Gruul's Lair action before the expansion pack comes out, whenever the h3ll that'll be.

But, if the xpac wasn't on the horizon, would I stop there on purpose? Nope. Even if I set my goal at clearing Zul'Aman and then I'm done, there's still that allure of dungeons beyond, and all the buzz and peer pressure of how amazing those later encounters are, all just trying to keep you dissatisfied with your own personal progression level.

Anybody out there think that they're pretty balanced, with a zen-like yin/yang approach to motivation for progression? Because I need some of what you're smokin'!!! And I'm sure there's lots more out there who feel the same.

1 comment:

Beowulfa said...

Occasionally I'll get a bee in my bonnet and really push to a certain level ... 40 is a good example. I'm sure once I'm closer to 60 I'll do the same. Can't comment on raiding because I haven't been there yet. Like to do it someday, as a casual raider. I think I have a very relaxed style of playing. It's my recreation, my stress reliever, my social outlet. It's a chance to practice my life organizational skills with made-up characters. An excuse to buy more notebooks and awesome pens (because I need them, of course). But if I can't play, no worries. I'll get on eventually. If I don't ding tonight, I will tomorrow. If I don't win tonight, there's always next time. I blame my lack of passion on having played competitive sports. Once I do throw passion into the mix other important life things must give way, and I don't want that to happen with WOW. 'Cause then I'd have to give it up.

Sorry for the very rambling, not-quite-sure it's on topic response. Like your style. Keep on writing.