Damn Near a Decade of Warcraft



I don’t recall how much I wrote about Warcraft in the past, but it feels safe to discuss now. Not that there was ever any risk to others from discussing it, but for a time it was a huge part of my life. Big enough that I didn’t consider changing my involvement and my defenses were up when someone would mention it.

“Sure, I play every day. Some people watch TV every day.”

At some point a few years ago I totaled my ‘playtime’ output and discovered I had over 5,000 hours in the course of a few years. That hit home. A full time equivalent work year is 2,080 hours minus vacation and holidays so I had put in the equivalent almost three years of a vocational equivalent PLAYING A GAME.

I shouldn’t have been surprised. My time on Oblivion was pretty high before I found Warcraft and that was single player. Warcraft was so much more immersive and with the added factor of making friends online it was even more addictive. I also new a few other players in real life.

Yes, I consider it addictive and to some extent myself to have been an addict. I didn’t run off to a twelve step program for Warcraft players, but I thought quite a bit about those 5,000 hours.

I suppose it would be logical if I said I quit immediately. Recoiled in horror at the wasted time. But I didn’t. I didn’t think it was wasted time then and I still don’t. My reaction was more practical. I started hunting for the root cause of my unusual interest.

Honestly, I wasn’t that good at the game beyond a certain point. Long before “looking for dungeon / raid” features were in the game I played with a guild. I ran in 5-man pick-up-groups (PUGs) and just leveled multiple classes, races, and factions. I raided with my guild, but never really got the bug for high end gear. I leveled professions (including fishing WTF?) and experimented with different play styles. But other than my pursue time committment, I was pretty casual. No schedules or weekly raids (well few).

Ultimately I discovered it was merely an escape from work. It’s not like I’m an air traffic controller or 911 dispatcher. My work isn’t exactly stressful, but it was boring and I really wasn’t passionate about it. So I escaped into Azeroth. I quit my job a few years ago and started my own company. I quit playing Warcraft almost immediately and rarely felt compelled to log in and ‘waste’ any more time.

I maintained my account (and those of my family members that still played, the kids), but the only times I logged in were to do something with them. Even then it was usually around a new expansion. I’d play for a month, hit the level cap, see a few new instances and then move on.

I logged in again tonight, but only because they offered a 7 day free pass. I visited 3-4 of my old characters, patiently parked in their garrisons. I even ran one of them through some new questline to build a harbor. Not sure what that leads to, but I’m unlikely to be back again within the next seven days to advance that line. Draenor just isn’t that compelling. I might come back to fly over Stormwind and Orgrimmar. That’d be cool. Maybe grab a few screen shots and throw them in a folder somewhere.

Edit: Well damn, now over 10.