October 31, 2010

5 Tips For Beating the Pre-Expansion Blues

I know I'm not the only one.  We've spent too much time playing, too much time trying to get all the achievements on every toon we feel is important to us.  With a holiday rolling to a close tonight (Hallow's End) many of us are tired of seeing pumpkins, candy, and daily quests as much as we are in real life.  One can't help but groan when thinking about logging on to do...anything.

I finally managed to get the courage to sit down and peek back at the game after about a week.  With getting a new job, a physics exam coming up, and having my exciting Halloween plans crushed (my friend's vehicle broke down), I didn't feel like doing the same repetitive things over and over (Headless Horseman).  I figured with one horse on one toon, that was enough.  All three of my toons have their squashlings and helms.  My little pally is level 43 now, so she's been making progress.

So, to ward off the slightly depressing slump from "Warcraft Overload" I ignored Blizzcon, bowed out of my weekly raids, gave 1K gold to a friend and put 5K in my guild bank.  I still have plenty.  I let two up and coming healers in our guild take the spotlight over in the raider raid.  I went to bed at 8 PM with knowledge that the raid was doing well and that they weren't desperately dependent on me.  I'm a great healer, but being one of the best in your small guild comes with a cost: you are always in demand.  It can get tiring knowing that if you need a Wednesday night off, you might be gimping the run for the night. 

I did consider this week that maybe raiding isn't my thing anymore, maybe I am just in the mood to be a casual player who doesn't raid.  Raiding does take a good three hours once a week, which is three hours I could be sleeping or doing something else.  But, over the weekend I found I had a LOT of time where I would sit down and say "What can I do?  I did all my cleaning, but I don't really want to play WoW..."  But, here I am, Sunday evening, finally having been tickled by the WoW feather.  Playing feels fun.  Poking the candy buckets feels fun.  Chatting with my guildies and cross country friends feels FUN.

Tip # 1 to Beat the Pre-Expansion Blues:  Log Off.
Take a few days, a week, or even more to just not play.  Pretend WoW doesn't exist. What would you occupy your time with?  Would you watch TV?  Read?  Go jogging?  Would you go to the shooting range, go shopping, go out with friends, go out to dinner, or maybe even cook a big dinner?  WoW is a tricky hobby.  It can seem like you only spend "a little bit of time" on it, but to get things accomplished, sometimes you spend five hours a night on the weekends.  Would you spend five hours in the garage doing woodworking or painting?

I, personally, went jogging, organized my baskets of stuff, and did a little job hunting for after my current (new and shiny) job ends.  I spent an hour or two sitting around with iced tea brainstorming all the fun fantastic ways I am going to blow my spare money.  I settled on a new Blackberry Bold 9650 at the end of November and 4 new cutesy polo shirts from American Eagle IF I get the job at Home Depot. Oh, and two new pairs of jeans.  I'm also buying a new pair of Nike Running shoes and a pair of tan sandals from Abercrombie and Fitch.  Those are about the essentials that I will need going into my new job after mid-December.  This one should be my last non-professional job before I graduate with my B.A. in Geology/Minor in English.

I also made three pitchers of iced tea and drank every one (with the help of my parents).  I wrote two more letters to my brother and intend to write a third one tonight (he's in boot camp). 

Tip # 2 to Beat the Pre-Expansion Blues:  Clean Out Your Bank Toon.
If you're a packrat like me, then cleaning out your bank will give you a break from the usual routine of logging on, raiding, farming, etc.  Sit down and decide what items are important to you and what you really don't need.  I'm betting there's a lot of stuff you could get rid of to generate some goldflow and to give yourself a clean slate to work with.

I've recently finished cleaning out my bank.  I only kept some essentials (eternal air, water, fire, etc) and some elementals.  I also kept a few things like a Sulfuron Ingot, some ore, leather, herbs, and cloth.  The money I made was pretty nice (about 1-2K gold).

Tip # 3 to Beat the Pre-Expansion Blues:  Redo Your UI.
 However, this one sometimes is only a temporary fix.  It should be used in conjunction with Tip # 1.  Visually rearranging your UI is similar to rearranging your living room or bedroom--it reinvigorates your view and stimulates your brain into thinking it is somewhere new.  You can also switch up your mounts, add some non-combat companion pets to the sidebar, and maybe make some macros for your special abilities.  I am about to slam dunk, no holds barred, wipe mine bare ass naked clean.

Tip # 4 to Beat the Pre-Expansion Blues:  Roll a New Character For Fun.
This character is supposed to distract you from your tricked out, epic geared, amazing 80s.  Roll on a new server where you have no contacts, no friends, no bags, no money, and it's just you against the world.  Your goal is to defocus, immerse yourself in your character, and try to imagine what they would think, embarking out on their own into the world.  You could also tie this in with a story-based blog, where you recount your characters beginnings, past history, and their journey into the world of Azeroth.  I'm doing this.  Nope, I'm not telling you where I'm going. That's the beauty of it.

Tip # 5 to Beat the Pre-Expansion Blues:  Disable Real ID. 
 I did. I did it because I didn't want even my family or closest friends bugging me when I wanted absolute peace and quiet.  I moved over to MSN Messenger where everything seems to be working out nicely.  I missed being anonymous.  I have kept some of my closest friends I've made through WoW but for the most part, I am happily back to being known as my character.  Real ID is nice, but it doesn't allow for an 'invisible' mode.  Sometimes I don't want anyone to know I'm on a different server farting around on an alt that was once unknown to everyone but me.  I think this notion of "being available, ALL the time" on Real ID, no matter where we are in the game (or in Starcraft) has led to a lot of people becoming burned out from the social aspect of WoW.  Unfortunately, that's a big part of the game and without it, the game becomes a bit boring (unless that is your cup of tea).  But, an overload of social activity is no good either.

Therefore, to pull yourself out of the Pre-Expansion Blues Slump, go ahead and try a combination of any of the tips I suggested above.  My recommendation would be to first do # 1, then when you come back from your short vacation from WoW, try to focus on what you missed the most and do any of tips # 2-5.

I hope these will help you all remember what you love about the game!


  1. I know what you mean about feeling burnt out when you're too relied upon. I was the guild's MT and since we're a small guild we didn't have any back-ups, which meant that me wanting a day off was equal to the guild not raiding. For that reason I generally ended up being there for every single raid (5 and later 3 days a week). It gets a bit much.

    After I decided to resign as tank in anticipation of Cataclysm and go back to my warlock (we're not raiding other than alt raids until Cata now anyway), I feel a lot better.

    The pre-expansion slump is still there a bit though. When I'd first switched to my lock I went on an insane spree of finishing up rep grinds for mounts etc. to catch up to where my warrior had been. But at the moment I'm feeling a bit more mellow and not too into any of it.

    I do want to re-do my UI, since I'm back to the basic one after the last patch broke my personal one. I just keep worrying that I put all that work into it and then Cata will break it again. But fingers crossed it won't!

    Maybe I should try the rolling a new alt somewhere new. I shall have to think about these options :)

    - Saga from http://spellbound.nu/gdpw/

  2. This is a great post. I think I'm over the "blues" period but I definitely have yet to clean out my alt guild bank. I may have to force Vosskah to help me - at least half the mess is his!

  3. I skipped a raid last night. I felt absolutely horrible even though I wasn't signed up. I felt horrible because I *was* available and even though I was sick, part of me nagged that I *should* log on and help. WoW is almost beginning to feel like a job and there are some nights that I just crave a night off. I am not looking forward to another night of wiping on LK. But then I'll feel bad.

    Sigh. At least I went to bed early last night and got some sleep I desperately needed. /burnout

  4. Great post, was just clearing out my drafts actually and found a draft for something like this that I'd planned to start all the way back in May and never bothered, thinking about putting my own spin on the topic when I get a free moment (did just type 'mottom', what the hell?) between nano word sprints and such :)

    I do think I need to tidy up my UI a bit and clean all of my alts out of any random crap I won't be needing.

  5. Glad the post has helped you guys! I know after working all weekend I am pretty pooped and only want to fart around on WoW for a tiny bit. I am definitely moving on to different hobbies, but, WoW is still going to be one of them.

  6. Just saw your comment, on a semi-regular cleanoutthespam kick.

    Hi! Aert and I are doing well, and hugely busy. I'll let her know about your druid. I hope you're doing well too (along with whomever you're still in touch with - I saw Furnz in a screenshot, that crazy kid).

  7. Hey Chad! Glad to hear :-) I'm going to main my druid in Cataclysm I believe...with work Fri through Monday, I have very little time to sit down and play, but when I do it's mostly on my druid and shaman. The priest still sees some love and is actually the best geared of the three. I found a small social raiding guild and when Furnz came back he decided to come hop over with us. Not came too; we're all kind of floating along to Cataclysm due to work/school. Take care! Hope you guys get to play every now and then!