Whenever I find myself enjoying a game, I always take a step back to figure out what it is about the game that attracts me to it. I’m by no means aspiring to be a game designer, but it’s cool to look at what I like in a game, to be able to compare it to upcoming games and see what I might like. For example, I loved Bioshock. And what I realized I liked most about it was that every time you were given a new goal, it seemed to be an easy, short path to that goal, so I’d go “Okay, let’s just do one more ‘mission'”. And then when I’d be about to complete the objective, some obstacle would get in my way, forcing me to do an entirely different mission before I could complete the first one. In theory, that sounds frustrating, but it really wasn’t. It was the dangling carrot that hung so close to my face I could lick it, but it’d get pulled away at the last second because I had to do ONE MORE THING. And so I’d say “Okay, I’ll do this, and THEN complete the objective.” So these small goals added up to one amazing experience.

I saw the same style of objectives in Arkham Asylum. I was shocked to find out that the director of the game had never played Bioshock before, because I noticed a lot of similarities in how the story played out. Get some seemingly easy objective, go to do it, get waylaid and have to do some other mission first. It keeps you hooked. I love it so much.

And now we come to the crux of my thoughts. World of Warcraft. I’ve tried to play it on and off for years now. I mean, no matter what your thoughts on it are, you cannot disagree that their system works. I’m sorry, does your MMO have 11 million subscribers? Yeah, exactly. This time around, I’ve been playing with coworkers. That’s what’s keeping me playing this time, actually. That, and I’ve finally made a commitment to get to level 80 to see what this endgame fuss is all about. Everyone always talks about “the game begins at the level cap”, so I want to see that actually happen. I even paid to transfer a level 64 character over to the right server, which is something I’ve never done before, and never imagined myself doing. So, let’s break down what’s keeping me in this time:

1. Achievements – Like I always mention, achievements are the bane of my existence. I’ve spent the last three nights playing just to earn the Explorer achievements for Kalimdor/Eastern Kingdoms. It’s insane.

2. Social – I wouldn’t go so far as to call WoW an interactive chat room, but that is definitely a factor in keeping me there. After a long day of work, I like being able to chat with my friends outside of the office atmosphere. Plus, once I hit 80 I’ll actually be able to play with them on an even level, so that should be fun.

3. Curiosity – Still haven’t visited Northrend yet (halfway to 67, though, so I’m almost there!). Still haven’t ever seen what a Raid looks like. Still haven’t gotten a flying mount. These are things I definitely want to see for myself, instead of peering over a friend’s shoulder.

Will I stay subscribed forever? Probably not. I’ll pay for a few months to finally see everything that I should see. The difference in content quality from “vanilla” WoW to Outland was pretty impressive, and from what I’ve seen of the Death Knight intro, the WotLK content is even better. So I’ll stick around, see the sights, and probably move on to other things. I’m an Explorer at heart, which means I tend to be unable to sit in a single MMO for too long.


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