Slowing Down is Hard to Do

“To make the merry-go-round go faster
so that everyone needs to hang on tighter,
just to keep from being thrown to the wolves” – They Might Be Giants 
This is a post about slowing down. 

This is a post about taking the time to soak in all the wonderful things in the world.

This is a post about joy.

In our modern world, the pace of life is always increasing and the demands on our time are always getting larger.  We have more to do and less time to do it, and the small amounts of free time that we do have are precious.  I’ve noticed this in my own life and my initial reaction is to try to cram more things into my free time in order to get the most value out of it.  However, in squeezing more stuff into a finite amount of time, it’s inevitable to derive less satisfaction out of each activity as you attempt to finish one thing and move on to the next.

In World of Warcraft, this manifests itself in the tendency to race through content to reach other content, and it is at its worst at the beginning of an expansion.  Once the expansion is installed the leveling process begins and most people will jump on the server and slam through the new content at lightning speed in order to get to the level cap.  The first person to reach 85 did it in a mere 6 hours.  Once there, they begin the endgame:  grinding Heroics to get better gear to allow access to Raids to gain better gear to allow access to harder content which gives you access to better gear which gives you access to harder content, etc, etc, etc, ad infinitum.  Then Blizzard releases a new patch and you start whole process over again.

No wonder this game can sometimes feel like a job.

The thought occurred to me:  Is this really the best way to spend my free time?  I love this game, but am I getting the most enjoyment out of it and therefore getting the best value for my free time?

I play World of Warcraft to relax.  I truly enjoy this game on many levels and I find it’s a great way to unwind.  I love the lore.  I love the stories.  And the gameplay.  Why am I rushing through all this wonderful content in order to see other content?  How much do you really see when you blitz through 5 levels in 6 hours?

This came to me last night as I was leveling Thosif through Uldum.  I was waiting for the Dungeon Finder to pop up and I decided to do a quick quest or two while I was waiting.  I looked at my map and saw there was a quest nearby, so I headed for it.  It was a quest to grab some Ancient Tol’vir weapons which were located in boxes guarded by a few mobs that looked tougher than what my Holy gear could handle.  Just then a something arrived and distracted the guards, so I flew down, grabbed the weapons and flew away, thinking myself very clever. 

That’s when I realized that I actually had never even read the quest text, nor did I realize that the questgiver gave me a horn to summon friendly NPCs to distract the guards so that you can get the weapons.  I got the quest done in the most efficient way possible, but I derived the minimum amount of enjoyment out of it and felt as if I missed out on something.  I felt that in the rush to get to 85, I was actually missing out on a huge amount of great content just to get to different content a little faster.

The same is true of leveling a new alt.  Even with a completely new questing experience from level 1 to 60, and a whole new world to explore, I find it extremely hard to slow down and enjoy each quest and each zone.  I feel like I’m conditioned to scroll down to the bottom of the quest, find out how many rats I need to kill, look at the map to find out where they are and then go and do it in the most efficient way possible.  Never have more innocent mobs been so thoughtlessly slaughtered than right now.  Is that fun?

I want to enjoy this game on a deeper level than merely slaughtering Kobolds and dinging levels.  I really want to have each moment that I spend in Azeroth to be emotionally fulfilling and entertaining, and I’m just not getting that with the pace that I’ve been going.  And this goes not just for the game, but for every aspect of my life.

It’s time to slow down and smell the Peacebloom. 

I am making a New World Resolution in honour of the new Azeroth.  I resolve to read through every quest that I get and to give each one its due consideration.  I will slow down the pace of leveling to truly take in all the glorious things that Blizzard has given us with both this expansion and the complete make-over of the old world.  I want to appreciate the stories that Blizzard is telling.  I’m going to be more patient in dungeons and not nerd rage over wipes or having to explain things.  I’m going to enjoy this game and all that it has to offer.  Who cares if I it takes me a few extra days to hit 85?  

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