Like some of you, I’ve pretty much come to terms with the fact that I’ve invested in WoW for the long haul. While there will be other games — and other MMORPGs — to take up my time, I’m pretty sure I’ll be returning to WoW for at least the next 3-5 years. It’s fun, it’s familiar, it has TWW, and there’s still a lot I haven’t seen or done.
So that got me thinking about time investment in MMORPGs. Ultimately, we all know that no matter what level or phat lewt we obtain in the game, at some point we’ll either quit or the game will be closed. It’s not a forever thing, or even for the rest of our lives thing. So we don’t invest time because it will pay off in the future, but because it pays off today. The hours and days and sheer months that you spend building up a character is pretty much paid off as you go along — you’re fashioning a “tool” that will hopefully let you enjoy the game and its content in a more diverse and broader fashion.
I’ve invested well over a month of time at this point in Syp, my warlock. As I’ve hit the level cap and geared up adequately, there’s a few options ahead of me in terms of investment:
1. Do I invest my time in gearing up? More gear = more high end progressible content, but as I’m only interested in Kara or the new ZA raid, I’m don’t feel as pressured to get gobs more gear. Gear is nice, but when I’m spending hours and hours to go from +15 spell damage to +20, is it really worth it?
2. Do I invest my time in gearing out? By “gearing out”, I mean spending time obtaining gear that doesn’t necessarily make me a better fighter, but a more diverse character. Trinkets, pets, fun doo-dads, crafting… that sort of thing. I almost always prefer gearing out, because that’s the more enjoyable part of the game for me. I’ve been spending lots of time gathering mats to make my new engineering mount, and that’s why I took engineering in the first place. I’m not killing anything faster because of it, but I have a battle chicken and that makes me mighty.
3. Do I invest my time in socializing and assisting? These are valid and honorable aims — and one of the main purposes of playing an online RPG: to be with people. I highly enjoy TWW’s odd and sometimes hilarious conversations, and socializing means that I’m not playing a video game in a vacuum. I’m spending time being with people, making friendships, and helping others. Strangely enough, this is the time that will be the best investment anyone can make in a game like this.
4. Do I PvP? Um, no. I die enough as it is, thank you very much.
5. Do I invest time in alts? Sure! I think that any serious (or casual-serious) player who’s in a guild realizes that not only are alts fun, but they’re essential to the flexibility of a guild’s life. I have one level 70, and it’s a DPSer. That’s fine, but what happens on nights that we have tons of DPS and no tanks? If I had another 70 who could tank, suddenly I’ve created options for the guild. The more people who do this, the more flexibility a guild has and the more content we can run.