There’s nothing wrong with playing World of Warcraft occasionally. It’s when you start to picture yourself—not your character, but you yourself—as The Defender of Azeroth or some nonsense that we have a problem.
Take the recent Zombie Infestation. In order to goad players into hating the Lich King (he’s the main antagonist in Wrath of the Lich King) and wanting to “invade” Northend (the continent that debuts in the expansion pack), Blizzard devised this in-game event wherein zombies are running all over the place, infecting you and yours with some disease that turns everyone into zombies.
I hated every minute of it. I couldn’t check my auctions because all the auctioneers were infected or dead; I couldn’t train because, again, all the trainers were dead; I can’t run through Elwynn Forest because the zombies had taken over. And no, that didn’t “get me pumped” to want to fight the Lich King, but sure as hell did encourage me to log off for several days out of frustration.
Massively disagrees. The guy there bought into the “invasion” angle hook, line and sinker. Let me tell you something: the WCW/ECW invasion of WWE back in 2001 was more believable. As a casual player, I have zero interest in defending Azeroth from the Scourge or anyone else for that matter. I’m there to kill a few minutes before I go to bed, that’s all. Spare me the superfluous nonsense.
My own gripes aside, the event does speak to the larger issue of MMOs. Developers would do well to “spice up” the atmosphere of their MMO. It’s one thing to tout your game as having a living, breathing world, but if the world, outside of the players themselves, is static—the same thing happens every single day—players may well become bored. Then they’d log off, perhaps for good.