Zhen-ju Brewfoot

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Perhaps I am already experiencing burn-out. For whatever reason I decided yesterday to dust off a second account I made a bit ago for the Recruit-a-Friend bonuses and roll a brand new Pandaren Monk on a new server with a new account that has zero achievements, mounts, pets, transmogs, heirlooms, or resources. This is the first and only character on that account.

I took some time setting up my UI the way I’ve grown to like it, and threw up a rudimentary RP profile, and then started questing through the Pandaren starting area. I got all the way to level 12, and to Stormwind in the about 4 hours I played last night (probably at least 1 hour of which was messing with my UI and 30 minutes playing around with new hairstyles).

I found it an interesting experience.

The first time I heard my monk say “my inventory is full” it took me back years, because it’s been almost a decade since I didn’t have a high level character to just craft or buy larger bags to send to a new alt. It’s been years since I’ve had to worry about going to town to sell stuff between quests.

It’s also been years since I created a character from scratch. The last few expansions have always come with a boost to the previous expansion’s max level, so all my characters except my druid were boosted.

I’ve been tempted to become a full-on completion-ist with this character, and perhaps I will cancel the sub on my main account and start up a sub on this second one in order to just relax, take my time, and quest through every zone in the entire game. To do everything, go everywhere, see everything there is to see, take screenshots along the way.

Perhaps even blog about it.

As I was standing in Stormwind, seeing all the people swarming around on their impressive mounts and epic raid tier armor I got to thinking about all the time and money in my original account and the Sunk Cost Fallacy.

I have, on my main account, every store mount available, and 3 Recruit a Friend mounts (one of which I got by buying a second account and copy of the game at the time and 2 from actual friends being recruited).  I had almost all the store-bought pets available as well.  Then there is the copies of each expansion that I always pre-ordered and more often than not got a collectors or digital collectors edition just so I could get the pets/mounts. There is also numerous realm transfers, faction transfers, race changes, and of course years of monthly subscription fees.

Then there is time. I had at one point a max level of every class. Some fell by the wayside, but I currently have a high level of almost every class. Not to mention all the characters I’ve deleted over the years when I decided to start over on a new server (before server transfers were a thing). All the time spent farming rare hunter pets, running old raids for transmog gear, trying to get achievements. There are some things I’d never be able to get again like rare mounts only around for a specific event, etc.

I stood in Stormwind, watching people on their rare mounts, in their epic armor, and thought about all I had tied up in my main account and asked myself if all that really mattered to me.

Those of you who read my blogs regularly know of my concern with how I am viewed and my persona (especially online as that’s 90% of where I am), and so it stands to reason that I would value this virtual status symbols.  But despite my issues with perception and self-esteem, I’ve never really cared to amass status symbols. All the mounts I purchased I got because I liked them, all the transmog item pieces I hunted down because I thought they would look good, I never went after that stuff because I wanted to be able to brag about it.

The conclusion that I came to was that if my main account were somehow lost forever, I probably wouldn’t be upset. How many mounts did I have that I never used? How many pets had I purchased from the store, or the auction house, that never accompanied me on my journeys?  Really none. When I RPed I’d use simple realistic mounts like normal horses or kodo. I rarely used any of the store bought ones, or the rare ones.

I watched all those players, standing around the auction house trying to look impressive and I thought… why aren’t they actually out playing the game? What are they doing in Stormwind? They weren’t RPing, they were showing off. But the days of players being impressed by someone else’s rare items is gone. Each new raid tier has a new epic looking set of armor for each class that doesn’t look any less or more epic than the ones from the raid tier previous, and now that level 110s can solo even WoD raids means everyone can look bad ass with very little effort.

If everyone is special…no one is.

I realized that all the stuff I had collected was worthless to me. The enjoyment I get from the game should be playing it. I realized there were some zones I’d never even quested in, or ones I haven’t been to since Burning Crusade. I’ve spent the last few weeks burning myself out farming stuff to get my druid up over 900 ilvl when I had really no desire to be competitive in the end game.

I basically skipped Warlords of Draenor, I don’t know any of the stories of that expansion, there is so much I missed in my constant race to the finish line, burning myself out trying to get to content I didn’t really want to do.

I keep going back to WoW not for the raiding, or the dungeons, or the PvP. I go back for the questing, for the story, I enjoy reading the guides and watching the videos to learn how to play my class, but only so far as I feel good about it. I don’t need to do more than some normal dungeons and LFR raids to see the content and experience the story.

So I think that I will spend this free month on this empty account just exploring Azeroth and questing like the old days. Then, when it’s time to either sub or go back to my main account (or quit again) I’ll decide what I want to do. but for now I think a break from my max level characters and the end game rat race are what are in store.

I think the blog I write tomorrow will be about Zhen-ju Brewfoot’s first adventures.

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