As regular readers will know, I’m a World of Warcraft player. I’m one of those millions of people that like to spend their spare time questing around the world of Azeroth doing all manner of heroic/dastardly things. I thoroughly enjoy it, and I’ve been playing the game for years (and still maintained a healthy life outside of the game, despite what some people claimed would happen when I started playing). But I’ve noticed something over the past few years, a pattern to the amount of time I spend playing it, and it interested me enough to write about it, and see if anyone else does something similar (even though I know you lot are terrible when it comes to leaving comments!)
Every month I pay a fee (I’ve had the auto payment option running for so long I don’t even know how much it is any more!) to digitally adventure around Blizzard’s mystical online world. But there are long stretches of the year where I’ll log on maybe once a month, if that. Then there are other times of the year where I’m playing almost every day. And these variations follow a pattern, which isn’t really surprising.
The stretches of time when my account is left to slumber are usually between March and September. I think it’s fairly obvious why that is; we in the UK experience what passes for summer during that time. The days are longer, the weather is (theoretically) warmer and drier, so the inclination to sit indoors staring at a screen is greatly reduced. However, as soon as the calendars turn over to October, I feel an intense desire to log in and spend my days slaying Orcs and the like. The obvious explanation for this is seasonal, much like the summer lull in playing; It’s dark, wet, and miserable outside, the nights are drawing in, and being warm and dry indoors playing WoW is infinitely preferable to braving the elements outside.
But wait! There’s more!
Although that explains why it makes sense that I’d spend more time playing at some times of the year, it doesn’t explain my sudden craving to do so. Seriously, I’m like a seasonal MMORPG junkie. For instance, the other night I was dumping some rubbish in the bins outside, and with the streetlights on, the cool breeze, the falling leaves and the general smell of approaching cold, it felt very autumnal. And as my head was filled with thoughts of the coming colder months and the many events looming, I was suddenly hit with an urge to play WoW! The thoughts of long cold nights and running dungeons seem to be intertwined in my head.
Another example; I generally take an extended break over the Christmas period – partly because I’ve usually got a tonne of leave to use, and partly because I’m a big kid who loves that time of year! But to me, Christmas isn’t complete without spending a couple of hours on Christmas Eve (or thereabouts) logging on to my main characters and migrating them all to the Dwarven capital of Ironforge for the holidays. Seriously, I’ve done this since I started playing probably about five or six years ago! It’s become as much a part of my Christmas tradition as helping my Dad put up his Christmas lights, or our social groups en masse visit to the same Pizza Hut on the 23rd December.
The strangeness of this whole thing didn’t hit me until recently, but now that I’ve noticed it I can’t un-notice it! And this year I can see these uniquely geeky traditions becoming stronger, as I’ve finally convinced Hibiscus to play WoW, so now I’ll have her keeping me company in our living room, and in front of a roaring fire in Ironforge!
Blizzard could also be blamed for this as well – all the best in-game holidays happen during the colder autumn/winter months; Hallows End (Halloween), Pilgrims Bounty (Thanksgiving), Winter Veil (Christmas) – and the expansion releases are all around this time too – Burning Crusade (January 16th, 2007), Wrath of the Lich King (November 13th, 2008), Cataclysm (December 7th, 2010), and Mists of Pandaria (September 25th, 2012).
So, now that I’ve shared my strange seasonal addiction and peculiar habits with you, does anyone else do something even remotely similar? Or am I a nutter on my own?