Friday night I did something that I'd promised myself I'd never, ever do. I installed World of Warcraft.
It's Jason's fault, really. He's been talking about it on and off lately, and he really hyped it up to me in the car back from lunch on Friday. I decided to install WoW only because I really expected it to fail spectacularly, for a few reasons:
I was going to install it on my laptop; laptops are not known for great gaming experience.
I was installing it on Vista, and games have traditionally lagged behind in addressing features like UAC. Vista video drivers have a little bit of a reputation for being um, less than spectacular.
I'm running 64-bit Vista, and WoW is a 32-bit application.
So you see, I did the install, safe in the expectation that the game wouldn't install, or wouldn't run, or would run so poorly as to make me hate it, then I could uninstall it without guilt.
Because PC games and me, we have an unhealthy relationship. I have this tendency to get into a game, and leave other things behind as a result. This has been going on for some time now. Back in the good old days, Microsoft used to make beta versions of games available internally, the same way they still do with Windows and Office. I still fondly remember the day I pulled down the Age of Empires beta and started playing it. And playing it. And playing it. I recall playing through a campaign scenario one night - recovering an artifact that had been capture by Rome, or somesuch. I played through it for a while - I had to build up armies, defeat opponents, and then move on to the next chapter and do it again. I finally finished the campaign, and, pleased with success, debated on whether to start the next campaign or call it a night. I decided, reluctantly, that I should end for the night, as I had work the next morning. I exited the game and checked the clock... it was 6:00 am. I had played right through the night and it was time to get up and go to work. I had to be on site at a customer at 8:00.
This was not, unfortunately, an isolated experience.
I've been better for the last few years, and I think the switch from PC to console gaming has helped. I still put in a decent number of hours - The Elaphanilla is the only Pinata I don't have Master Romancer awards for, and only 4 achievements left in that game. But, once I finish that, I think I'm safe until the next batch of games comes out later this spring, at which point some game will pull me in for several weeks, and then I'll have a few weeks of rest until the next game comes out.
Anyway, back to WoW. Here's how my weekend went:
Truth be told, this game terrifies me. I really, really enjoyed playing, and could see myself playing it a lot. Unfortunately, I don't see an obvious ending in WoW. With Xbox, I see an ending to most games. Finish a season, finish a campaign, get the 1000 achievement points, etc. Given the huge size of the WoW world, and the depth of gameplay, I can picture the game just sucking up way too much of my life.
I'm still thinking about it a lot though...I uninstalled the game, but I didn't delete installer. If I just finish out my free 10-day trial it's no big deal, right? I just won't get a subscription... Just 10 days won't hurt, right? And man, it runs so well on my machine...
Obligatory Penny Arcade comic here: http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2002/07/15
<edited to fix spelling and grammar>