How to keep content interesting
June 28, 2010 § 2 Comments
We are firmly implanted in the twilight of this expansion, and if you’ve been playing for any extended period of time, you’re probably feeling just as burnt out as I am. I’ve been trying to figure out ways that I can keep myself interested in the game while I tick off the months in anticipation of Cataclysm. I’ve come up with a list of suggestions that might help you (and your guild mates) stick around. By the way, this is not a post about what Blizzard can do to keep our attention. This is a post about how you can keep yourself entertained with content that has long outlived it’s initial wow-factor. (wow as in amazing, not as in WoW)
Take a break from the game.
This may seem like an odd suggestion to include in a list about continuing to play the game, and even odder to list it first. But you’d be surprised by how much it can help. My dad always says that you should stop while you are still having fun. One example that stands out in my mind is when we (my siblings and I) would go sledding as a kid. If we stayed out too long, invariably one of us would get tired and cranky and angry (which would sometimes lead to injuries). But if we stopped before that happened, we would still want to go sledding the next day.
If you log in day after day and do the exact same thing(s), you will get tired and cranky and angry. The game won’t seem fresh or exciting. It just becomes a boring droll. By taking a break you allow your mind to relax and focus on other things for a little while. You forget about the tedium and stop thinking about how many more frost emblems you need for that next gear upgrade. It’s a great way to break the gaming habits that you have formed, and the ruts that you have dug yourself into.
And when I say to take a break, I don’t mean take a day off. I mean take a week or two, or even a month off. Actively do something else. Find another game to play. Hang out with your friends. Go outside.
Work on an obscure or extensive achievement.
There are plenty out there, both solo and group achievements. My top recommendations are World Explorer (see the world), Well Read (read about the world), The Loremaster (quest the world), To All the Squirrels Who Shared My Life (love the critters of the world). If you are able to play with friends I would recommend Classic Dungeonmaster, Classic Raider, and their Outland counterparts.
If you don’t like questing, don’t do the Loremaster–but if you do decide to work on the Loremaster, don’t let it turn into a grind. Read the quests. Learn the lore of the game. Don’t just hop from quest to quest. Also, avoid the quests that are just reputation grinds. Nothing will steal away pieces of your soul like trying to get exalted with the Zandalar Tribe.
Try a new style of gameplay.
If you are primarily a player vs. environment style person, try player vs player. If all you do is pvp, try questing for a little while. If all you do is quest, try breaking into the raiding world. There is a lot to do in WoW. Go into it with an open mind though. Who knows, you may find that you actually like what you previously thought you hated. Don’t lay any pressure on yourself. Don’t switch to raiding expecting to get Conqueror of Ulduar. Don’t start PvPing expecting to become a Gladiator. Just go in and try to have some fun–and bring a friend along who is experienced with whatever you’re trying.
Run heroics in an interesting way.
Run without a tank or healer. Run with all paladins or all druids. Go as fast as you possibly can, chain pulling the whole instance.* Try not skipping any mobs or any bosses. Only wear gear you found in Ragefire Chasm/Stockades.* (This one isn’t my idea. Source.) Go through the whole instance walking backwards. Try doing it first person shooter style with the camera zoomed all the way in. (Warning: this can be extremely disorienting, especially as a gnome tank.) Or come up with your own crazy way of running through Halls of Stone or Utgarde Keep for the 5th time in the same day. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination.
*Only do this if you have the permission of the entire group. Best done with guild mates/friends.
Play the Auction House.
This one might not be for everyone, but it can be quite fun if you can do it well. Plus, you can learn all about economics and statistics and other cerebral stuff that you never bothered to learn in high school because you couldn’t figure out when you’d ever use them in your real life.
Organize guild events.
Have a dance party on the steps of the Ironforge bank. Gather everyone up on a lvl 1 toon and walk from Stranglethorn Vale to the Ghostlands (lvl 80 protector optional). Have someone come up with a quest that the guildies can do–maybe an escort quest. I bet all sorts of fun can be had with an escorted character that’s smarter than an NPC. They could help or hinder the process in all sorts of crazy ways.
Number 6 brings me to the next suggestion–try out some role playing. There’s plenty of it out there. Yes, a lot of it is terrible, but a lot of it is really good and lots of fun. Get those creative juices flowing. Write yourself a little story and act it out in game. This topic could take up it’s own post and there are plenty of resources out there on the internets from people with much more experience than I so I will point you to wow.com’s regular role playing articles and leave it at that.
This is obviously by no means a comprehensive list. There is so much you can do to keep the game interesting, but it does take some work on your part. Blizzard can provide you with a game but they can’t play it for you. You’ll get out of it what you put into it.
I do have one last topic that I want to talk about.
Leveling an alt.
This is probably one of the most common suggestions I come across when people talk about keeping the game interesting. I’m sort of divided on it. Yes, if you don’t have any alts, leveling a new character can be a great experience, especially if you do it with the other faction than your main. You get to experience new content (new to you anyway), you get to learn a new class, and you have the chance to learn new professions. It can be a great way to get re-energized about the game.
However. Leveling an alt can sometimes be detrimental to keeping your interest. If you hate leveling, just recently hit 80 for the first time, or already have a gaggle of alts, this may make you more miserable than you were before. If all your doing is leveling a different class through the same content that you’ve already gone through 5 other times, you may end up hating the game more than you did before you rolled your alt. Level an alt at your own risk.
“[Insert clever sign off phrase here]”