Really struggled on WoW yesterday and for once this wasn’t because of a bad group or losing my way in a dungeon. It was because I felt a bit weary of it all. Really weary.
It started off fairly promisingly. I decided to log on yesterday afternoon after having quite a busy day. I’d done a bit of early morning Xmas shopping (in which I wore a very festive woollen hat & felt like the star of a daytime made for TV Xmas movie). I managed to order husband a really cool present about which I can’t say anything on here obviously then went up the gym and did 5KM on the cross trainer (that on top of my 5 km on the rower the day before & my 10 km on the bike the day before that show I am a person in serious training for Xmas indulgence). So I was feeling all virtuous and ready to reward myself with for some gaming fun.
First disappointment - I thought (because I don’t pay attention to anything around me unless it’s a gossip) that the WoW 7 year anniversary levelling boost would be (a) forever (b) available to all your characters. Yes I know. I’m stupid. My excuse is it offered increased levelling speed and that makes all sense of logic and reason escape me (as you know I do all but level backwards). So I logged on one of my least played characters (for some reason the OCD gods demanded I log on each character in increasing importance and playtime culminating in Bravetank -the OCD gods make strange demands on me). So on came my level 8 hunter who still thinks Quest Helper is cutting edge. Nothing was in her mail box. Out of guilt I briefly considered playing her but as she’s a Blood Elf in Eversong Woods I found the idea of sawing off my toes far more appealing so I left her and made my way to the shed.
Only joking. I have not been to the shed since I signed the Treaty of No More Scares Please with the spider population of Wales – I don’t go there, they don’t come in the house. So instead I tried Androse my healer. Felt very guilty with her- she’s in her 50s and looked to have a promising career in the health profession until I got a touch of healing stage fright. Nothing in her mail box either. Refusing to look her in the eyes I logged her out and logged Bravetank on and saw the 7th anniversary icon thingy greyed out- can no longer be used. So that’s that. That vital 7% increase in levelling speed that was making such a difference is no more.
So I checked my quest log – I had an appointment in Terokkar Forest it seemed since I had pretty much finished Zangarmarsh. Now I liked Terokkar Forest first time round with Terema. I’d been pretty shellshocked by Hellfire Peninisula (cried to go home through most of it) – all that fiery reddness, raging boars and terrifying Fel Reaver – well it was like some sort of …what would you call it …a peninsular – set in something like a raging hellfire. Who’d have thought it? Zangarmarsh was a relief after that but eventually one gets tired of mushrooms and annoying lifts. But Terokkar Forest had the touch of old Elwynn about it. I felt like I’d returned home and I remember thinking yes maybe maybe I can get to grips with Outlands. But yesterday. Oh my god. I’ve never felt such despair. It started when I saw the 7 or 8 yellow exclamation marks in Allerian Stronghold. Normally yellow exclamation marks fill me with joy. Yellow marks = quests= question marks= experience. Not as snappy a formula as anything Einstein came up with but you get the idea. But yesterday there just seemed so many of them. And more than that – it all seemed pointless. I started to see stretching out ahead of me the repetitiveness of picking up the quest, going to kill ten of something or collect 20 of something by killing 30-40 (depending on drop rates) or speaking to X who’d tell me something interesting that I’d impatiently skip over because I’m so desperate to turn yellow exclamation marks into question marks and see my experience grow. And on and on it goes until my blue bar fills up, I ding, maybe get a talent point to spend or a spell to learn, maybe not, and then I take a breath and start again. I realised I really go nowhere in the game- the scenery and npcs change around me depending on which bit of computer code is being read, and my bunch of pixels stay in the same place effectively doing the same thing over and over again. And I enjoy that! Usually. In fact whenever I’ve been level capped and had no experience bar to fill I’ve become completely depressed. I like the bar- I want to make it grow and it seems I’m prepared to do it by doing the same thing over and over and over again. And when I get tired of that on one character I log in on an alt and do it again. But not yesterday. I just couldn’t do it.
I hope it was just a blip. I’ve always enjoyed computer games- the challenge of learning something (how to do this & that with a character), exploring and being impressed by cool graphics and atmospherics, helping my characters become more powerful. But yesterday I could not see a goal worth striving for. Yesterday it did not seem like a good use of my time. Yesterday it all seemed futile.
I did try. I went out and defended a tower (no one was around so I just stood there watching the bar move and thought how glad I was I’d been put on the earth to do this) & then I went to do that Private Weeks quest where you wear a disguise that disappears if you mount or fight (what kind of flimsy ass disguise is that?). A very frustrating quest. I could not find the third person I was meant to speak to and got discoverered roaming around the enemy camp for the hundreth time. What followed was the only highlight of my gaming afternoon – I got attacked by about ten mobs and in a Scarface like frenzy I took them all out. Nothing and nobody was too much for me. Bravetank had discovered her life had no purpose and so she became brilliantly fearless.
But when it was over and I took a look at the bodies strewn around me (alright I admit I looted them like the pro I am – even nihilists have armor repairs) – the sense of futility returned. With slumped shoulders (my own – Bravetank has amazing posture) I took her to Shattrath – picked up another three quests (clearly on automatic pilot ) and then plonked her down in a seedy part of the city – too lazy to find somewhere nice even though I always feel guilty when I log my characters out like that (won’t even log them out standing up – all I think of is how tired their legs will be when I next log in).
So what a washout. Every single thing the game offered held no charm for me. That’s not like me at all. I hate it when that happens. And it doesn’t take long to go from pondering the pointlessness of the game to pondering the meaning of life itself. What it’s all for? You get up, work, eat, watch TV, play games, talk, worry, sleep. And the days go by, and the weeks, months and years. You look forward to those special moments – a nice meal, a good conversation, a warm bath and you feel lucky to have them when so many people don’t and so many people suffer, but the bigger question remains unanswered. What is it all for – the good and the bad? I feel like there’s some secret that’s just at the edge of my understanding. I can’t quite grab it. Or maybe I just don’t want to. Maybe it’s because I think the secret is it’s all for nothing, nothing will last, not even the love we sometimes say is the answer to everything, one of these days the breath I draw will be my last and that will be it. Gone. Is life about reaching out to others and not being alone, or is it about coming to terms with the fact you are nothing but alone in your own head, always have been and always will. Right to the very end until it’s game over.
Oh my god. Now I’m down. Really down. What I should do is log on and create a new character. That always gets me back into the game. And as long as I’m into the game then I’m busy and not thinking about the road I’m on – a road that I’ll never see the end of because I’ll disappear before it does.