I have to share this somewhere, so here we go.
I've been playing WoW for over 10 years, playing on and off between expansions. I'm not a hardcore player, but I do enjoy the lore of the game and the content to plow through once a new patch/exp comes out. Thus said, I'm, pretty much the only one that plays WoW among my group of gamer friends (for various reasons) so I've rarely played the game with someone.
With Shadowlands coming up, I got back into the game a few months ago and farmed my way through Pathfinder for BfA, unlocking all Allied Races, etc. I was showing my progress to my sister and she decided to give WoW a second, or third chance (I don't remember exactly) She usually plays FPS like CoD or CSGO (she's also very, very good at FPS games) but enjoys MMOs from time to time.
I told her it was the right time to get back in since the Shadowlands prepatch introduced a new leveling system that seemed less daunting than grinding 120 levels for the sake of reaching end game. She looked at the SL videos and bought the exp so we can play together. Starting fresh on a server we both didn't have any character, no heirlooms, no funding; blank slate. Playing every other day or so, depending on our work schedule (we don't live in the same city and Covid prevents us from seeing eachother in person)
She picked a hunter because she likes cats, and wants to have a pet cat. She also picked a Night Elf because they look nice and they "feel" like hunters. She didn't care about the class I'd pick, absolutely no regards to class compatibility in PvP nor PvE; she wanted to play for fun. We got through Exile's Reach after a day or two of playing, my sister slowly got back into the game, getting a hang of the controls.
It took quite a while for us to get through the initial zone then to Stormwind. Why? My sister was actually watching all the cutscenes, even if she saw them on YouTube a few days before, she wanted to experience it for herself. I just spammed the skip button and ended up waiting for her every single time. Almost got frustrated at how long they took…
This pattern continued in BfA when we were doing the Kul Tiras questline(s). I was blazing through cutscenes, assigning skills on the go, picking up talents according to IcyVeins and accepting every single quest in sight.
In the meantime, my sister was enjoying the cutscenes (again), checking which talent looked more fun to play with, how gear looks (she did understand iLevel, but still made comments about how shitty some gear pieces look) and wanting to get every single chest and rare she saw on the map. Not for the loot, just because it's different from questing. She was telling me how some zones reminded her of trips she made in the past few years with our mom, reminding us some childhood memories.
That's where it hit me. I've been so focused on extremely specific objectives (allied races, rep grind, closing questlines, specific gear farm, getting my main ready for SL, etc.) that I lost the true reason why I started playing WoW in the first place.
Because I find it fun.
Sure, daily grinds suck, but I'm not forced to do them. Hell I went through Suramar months after it wasn't relevant content, I still got my Legion pathfinder and the Allied race unlock. Same thing for Mechagon and Nazjatar. What's the hurry? Why should I blaze through content like there' no tomorrow? What am I so scared to miss? I don't even have a group to play with, why so much pressure? I put up such high expectations when playing that it wasn't a game anymore, it was a list of chores I needed to do for X, Y, Z reason I imposed myself.
Playing with my sister made me realize that I don't need to always pick the best race/class combo. I don't need to pick talents because they're "the only viable spec" while not even playing competitive. I realized it's OK to play just for the sake of having fun. It will be OK to pick a Covenant just because I feel like it, not because it has the best ability to fit my class. It will be OK to start another character and pick the same Covenant just because it "matches better" that new character. It's OK not to optimize everything you do, it's a game after all, not an Excel sheet.
I'm writing this as my sister and I reached level 50 and are parking our characters in Stormwind, waiting for the expansion to launch. We probably won't play on launch day, nor the day after, we'll probably play only one day the next weekend since we didn't plan anything and we don't feel like we should. We'll play when we feel like playing.
I feel relief as I am writing this post, regardless who will read it (or if anyone will) I felt like I had to share it with someone. If you also feel like the game is putting pressure on you, take a step back, try to play it differently. Do some PvP if you're used to PvE, do some RP if you're not used to it, do group content with friends if you're used to play solo, etc. It shines a new light on a game you might say you're going to drop for whatever reason, it may even affect you personally; who knows?
If you got through the whole thing, thank you for reading. I appreciate your time and I hope you'll have as much fun as I will in Shadowlands.
Warlock Gasion & Hunter Lataris – Zul'Jin
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