There is an in-game tip while the loading screen is up that probably all WoW players have seen at one time or another. It goes like this:
Remember to take all things in moderation, including World of Warcraft.
And like myself most of you have probably snarked at it at some point, thinking “yeah right, as if Blizzard wants us to play only a little”.
Whether we are right or wrong does not matter. What matters is that, even though we do not like hearing it, the truth is that the tip is right. We should take things in moderation. Not because a line in an online game tells us to, but because it is for our own good.
You should not overdo it playing Warcraft because you might get so involved, you start neglecting other important things such as work, family and friends or even other hobbies.
But you should not overdo it playing Warcraft also because it is counterproductive to your own enjoyment of the game. Let me put it this way: if you had five bottles of your favorite wine, or your favorite candy or food, or all the seasons of your favorite series, what would be more enjoyable: drinking, eating, seeing it all in one long session, where you tire and your senses become over saturated, or spread it out over a reasonable amount of time and really savor it?
Looking at these analogies, it really feels obvious what the best choice is. Yet when I take a step back and consider Warcraft I realize that I do not apply the same logic to it. Why is that? Is it because I am addicted (oh no! did she just use the A-word?!), is it because it is different from the wine, candy, food and TV shows or is there some other reason why I, and most probably many others, most of the time do not choose to take Warcraft in moderation?
The answer is most probably a complex one, but I believe that it all has to do with our urge to always feel good and have fun. A child would not stop to think of saving any candy for later, it would eat it all at once even though it might be aware of the eminent stomachache. It is because we learn to control our urges and through rational thinking optimize our actions, that we save some of the win,e candy, food and episodes for later.
But can we apply this when it comes to games? Maybe games are too closely associated with our childish behavior, with instant gratification.
I am not trying to claim that everyone who plays Warcraft does not do so rationally, but I doubt anyone could deny that there are people who do not. I am most certainly one of the people who at times fall into excess. I have my weak moments when I rationalize away my duties and make some extra room for an alt leveling session, some daily grinding, herb farming or just tweaking of my interface. During my four years of playing this game there have been times when Warcraft has been in the foreground of my life and time when it has taken a backseat to other matters.
The landing of this patch has triggered my irrational childish side and the little Mini Diablo on my shoulder is helping me come up with very rational excuses for plunging in wholeheartedly into the goodies that the patch has to offer – raid Ulduar, fish in Wintergrasp, farm for the recipes for new glyphs, level my alts who now have new abilities, play the Auction House, get the chicken from Westfall and the spirit dartling from Feralas that I have been dreaming of for so long, take part in the Argent tournament and endless other things.
But I have decided not to give in. Not because I am afraid of neglecting the other parts of my life (thankfully, I still have a strong enough sense of duty to not fall behind on family time or work and studies), but because I know that I would be doing myself a disfavor. There is only so much new content and there is most probably a lot of time left until the next content-patch is introduced. There will be plenty of time to do everything I want to do.
I will be much better off and probably enjoy the game much more, if I prioritize and simply put some things off for later.
For now, I will concentrate wholeheartedly on raiding Ulduar, since we are the leading Horde guild on the server and have a title to defend, as well as battle for the server first against the leading Alliance guild. I have money and consumables enough to sustain myself for a while, so I will put my energy on working out two good healing specs, hunting down the appropriate glyphs, reading up on tactics and practicing on my healing.
Because, in my opinion, it is much more satisfying to be outstanding at one thing, then mediocre at many.