Monday, November 10, 2008

Down the beaten path

I spent this past weekend sinking a sickening amount of time chasing a few achievements. One I didn't complete at all and one (a 2-part achievement) I finished only one part of. Each of these achievements depend on random drops.

Essentially it is possible I could never complete them, ever. Yet there I was staring at the screen hoping this time I'd get lucky... as hour after hour ticked away.

I saw the fun achievements could bring, I truly enjoyed taking part in them and now I've already sensed the irritation it can cause (of my own doing I freely admit).

Some achievements you'll reach by simply playing the game but others require that dogged obsessiveness that saps the amusement out of the overall activity.

Of course one could choose to not pursue these activities, but the activities are what this game is. And, at least for me, playing for only a small amount of hours makes me feel like I might as well not play at all. Because in the scheme of things you just can't get much done with only a few hours of play (the initial achievements, yes - but not most of the rest). You can quit smoking cold turkey, you can't quit eating cold turkey so to speak.

So once again, I feel like I should not purchase Wrath. My ambiguity made evident by my lack of pre-ordering. A friend of mine on the other hand has pre-ordered the Collector's Edition, no doubt spurred on by the various achievements you can reach only by being an owner of the CE.

Would I like playing Wrath of the Lich King? Without a doubt. Will I purchase it? I'm wavering once again. In the back of my mind I keep thinking about Adam Betts' comment as he quit back in 2006, "It attracted you with fun then turned it into a job."


Tesh said...

Well stated. I think that a large part of this phenomena is rooted in the subscription model. Blizzard wants to give at least the veneer of earning that subscription, so they pack the game with senseless grind and OCD rewards. Blizzard loves if it the game becomes a "job" to you, because then you feel compelled to play it. Of course, they can't be too overt about it, lest they break the happy haze bubble, but such a connection (addiction?) is exactly what they are going for.

It does make me wonder what the game would have been like if it used a microtransaction model or monetized through advertising.

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