It should not come as a surprise to most readers that, over the course of my life, I have spent a ridiculous amount of time within World of Warcraft. I played for just over seven years and then stopped once my Annual Pass obligation was completed. I’d just stepped down as Guild Master (and Raid Leader) of Apotheosis and I was writing a novel for National Novel Writing Month, attempting my 10th NaNo novel in the last 11 years. I’d just finished university a few months prior. I had grandmother stuff going on (moving her to a residence and such) and was focused on getting a job — a real 9-5 job — in my field.

So when I stopped playing World of Warcraft, I didn’t really miss it. I had a lot of other stuff going on in my life. That was, however, 13 months ago.

Lately, I’ve found myself tempted to start playing again. And it’s not just the “oh, it would be nice to play, but whatever” temptation. It’s the “man, I really want to play and this isn’t waning!” type of wanting to play. It’s the type of wanting to play that you have during weekly maintenance when you know you can’t play, so, obviously, that’s all you want to do. (Interesting. I wonder if I resubbed, and suddenly could play, if the temptation would subside.)

This latest bout of temptation has lasted about a week, so far, and shows little sign of abating.

That said, I’ve at least realized why I want to play. It’s got very little to do with the game itself, although that’s a part of it. It’s got to do with the fact that I am currently not feeling terribly accomplished in “real” life. But there’s always something to do in WoW that will help you to feel accomplished. Got a lot of farming done? There’s that sense of accomplishment. Killed some raid bosses? Amazing, there’s some achievement. Even got your equipped ilvl up a few notches? What a great feeling! Virtually everything you do in WoW has the specific goal of making you feel accomplished. (Insert long diatribe about how the game has a zillion tiny, and not so tiny, hooks to keep you playing…)

This was a problem for me, back in university. Who wanted to read about what dead German guys thought about society when you could go make 10,000 gold on the Auction House? WoW has always been a place where I could feel accomplished, so it’s no wonder that I’m looking in the direction as accomplishments in my “real” life are few and far between at the moment.

It’s not to say things aren’t happening in my life, but the lack of full-time employment is wearing me down. Apart from not having a reliable, regular income, which I’m actually somewhat managing, family stuff is taking a larger and larger role in my day-to-day life. To be honest, while I do love my family, I could do with a little less of them. So not only am I looking for something that will give me a sense of accomplishment and achievement, but I’m looking for something to take up space in my life. A full-time, fulfilling job would be keen. As it stands, I’m doing freelance web stuff (which is actually working out nicely and I just confirmed a new client the other day), but the downtime as I wait to hear back from clients is irritating, to say the least, and it means that projects drag on a bit without me doing any of the work I could be doing, because I’m waiting for feedback. (What, me? Impatient? Never! ;))

So is it any wonder that I’m looking at WoW? I could do any number of things in the game. I could take Kurn, who’s already 90, and go try to get geared up. Or I could take Madrana, who’s still 85, level her to 90 and then try to get HER geared up. Or I could take my shaman farming alt and mine and herb ALL THE THINGS and work on getting up to a million gold. Or I could roll a new toon somewhere, taking advantage of being able to mail BOA stuff cross-faction and cross-server. (I think I’ve had no less than three offers to come hang out with various guilds on Twitter, should I decide to resub and roll a new toon!) Or I could do any number of other things! (For some reason, I’m also tempted to do old dungeon video guides. My LBRS guides on YouTube, which are at 240p and are of terrible video quality, remain my top-viewed videos! WTF?)

The trouble is, though, that while I do believe my experiences in WoW have been nothing but amazing in terms of having learned stuff, at the end of the day, my item level doesn’t matter in “real” life. So all those feelings of accomplishment wouldn’t actually help me to change my “real” life situation. Ultimately, change in my “real” life is what’s going to make me feel accomplished and useful and will take up space in life so that I’m not dealing with my family so much. (Alternatively, if I could find someone in this city worth dating, that’s another option for taking up space in my life and such… but let’s not get into my lack of a love life.)

And yet, I wonder, would it be such a bad thing to resub for a month? The month of December is going to be fairly uneventful for me except for some stuff around Christmas and the end of the month. I’m in a holding pattern for both of my web clients right now (and one is going away for the holidays), so why not spend some time feeling good about achieving various things, even virtual things?

The other consideration is that I’m writing my Kick-Ass Raider guide and it would be really helpful if I could use examples to illustrate my points that don’t come from, you know, Wrath of the Lich King or Cataclysm. While I’m sure the major keys to being a great raider haven’t changed a lot in the last 13 months, it might be good to visit even LFR to get an idea of what Mists of Pandaria raids are like.

Speaking of my guides, something that’s really interesting (to me, anyhow) is that I’ve enjoyed writing them with some distance between me and the game. I feel as though it’s just a lot easier to write about various aspects of the game without having been a part of it for a while. It does make it a little more difficult in terms of talking about the pitfalls of raiding, which is why it would be nice to have more contemporary examples, but I couldn’t have written my GM guide while I was still GM of Apotheosis. I was just too close to the situations. It was even still difficult for me to write about certain situations in that guide because of how keenly I still felt them, and I didn’t even start writing that guide until I hadn’t been playing for over six months. Even after six months, I was still feeling things deeply. It’s easier now. So if I get back into the game, will that make things clearer for me or will things still feel “too close”, obfuscating the actual issues I should focus on with emotional reactions?

The other interesting thing is that so many other people have the desire to play! Several of my friends from Apotheosis who have quit now want to go back. Even my brother wants to go back. He and I had a chat on Friday evening that went something like this:

Me: “I’ve been so tempted to go back to WoW, lately.”
Him: “Me too! I WANT TO PLAY!”
Me: “Ugh.”
Him: “Oh my God, do you want to roll a new character with me on the Horde side somewhere?!?!?”
Me: “No!”

(What he doesn’t know is that it’s not because I don’t really want to roll a new toon with him, but that it’s because he said Horde and not Alliance. ;) I’ve never been good at resisting my brother’s cries of “LET’S START NEW TOONS TOGETHER!” It’s how I have a shaman, a priest, a mage and a druid. All his fault.)

Obviously, I remain torn. I do intend to resub at some point, prior to the expansion’s release (which I still think is happening around June 10th, 2014, give or take a couple of weeks) and I do intend to be around for at least a month at the release, but the question is when? Now? January? March? May? I guess we’ll see just how tempted I get over the next few days, weeks or months, eh?

How about you? Are you still playing? Tempted to go back if you’re not still playing?