Myself: Random Battlegrounds!
Me: Jumping on the bandwagon again I see.
I: It's new. It's fun. It's ever changing. If you like PvP, like I do, it really is something to get excited about. The only problem with it, like everything, is that after a while of doing only battlegrounds, it feels like a grind. The cool thing about dailies is that it drums up interest making the queues lower. The bad thing about dailies is that it makes you feel like it's on your To Do list, sucking a little bit of the fun out of it. WoW is supposed to be our stress release, not another thing we didn't get done in our busy lives. So yes, battlegrounds are fun and yes the new system makes it more fun, but you still need to mix it up so you don't accidentally suck all the fun out of it.
Myself: Random Dungeons!
Me: That's the previous bandwagon. And what about the jerks?
I: Your online experience may vary. Seriously, there are jerks everywhere, that shouldn't keep you away from the dungeon finder. If you make sure you complete the regular versions before the heroic versions and make a minimum effort on gear and learning the instance, then you will usually find the dungeon finder a good experience. Yes there are jerks, but many of them only show their jerkiness if you are noobing it up in a dungeon too hard for your knowledge/skill/gear. Except in Scarlet Monastery -- for some reason, that level range is full of amazingly bad players with amazingly huge egos and amazingly poor attitudes. It would be an interesting academic study to figure out why exactly that is.
Me: So dailies and randoms. Yawn. Is casual WoW just repetition and grind these days?
I: There is plenty of entertainment to be mined out of Azeroth, as long as you don't just do the things that are dished up and served to you.
Me: The holidays are over for a while. Oh wait, is this just a plug for It came from the Blog?
I: Not exactly, but yes, the It came from the Blog events are a good example of the player-run events that often occur. We hold them monthly and announce them here on WoW.com and in the guild message on Zangarmarsh. Our Gurubashi Beatdown was too much fun, for example. But the other player run events are hard to find. Try your realm forums for upcoming player-run event announcements. Or come up with one yourself -- anyone can do it if you want to put in the time and effort. Also, The Classifieds will start listing player-run events from now on, so send any future ones that you know about to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Me: In before the LOLRP comments...
I: Only a few player run events are roleplaying ones and those generally occur on RP servers because of the griefing factor. However, roleplaying is definitely a way to spice up your
sex WoW life. I can't recommend it on anything but an RP realm, however. Unlike the ancient days of EQ, roleplaying is just not tolerated on anything but designated servers and even there, it can be hard to find. All the World's a Stage is a great guide to RP, but really it's nothing you need to research or get into a roleplaying guild to do. Just create a character, come up with a backstory and go to it.
Me: That's nice and all, but roleplaying isn't for everyone and I think a lot of people are done leveling before Cataclysm hits. What if a player wants to keep current characters but do something else with them?
I: The Auction House is a game within a game for sure. Gold Capped, Time is Money and Insider Trader all have tips for maximizing your gold for fun. You could easily spend your time before the expansion trying to amass as much wealth as possible.
Me: Again, not for everybody.
I: This really is a good time to get some collecting done. Many things will go away in the expansion, and if you're bored anyway, why not collect pets, mounts, achievements -- whatever makes you happy.
Me: The real problem here seems to be that the expansion is looming but not close enough.
I: I think everyone should make a Cataclysm Bucket List.
Myself: A list! A list!
I: There are quests that will probably disappear, achievements that you won't be able to get or even just seeing the world before it is altered forever. I think it likely that we will get Cataclysm before BlizzCon, but it's still a few months off at least so we have time to get things done in Azeroth before we can't anymore. Even if you think you really don't care, I think it's worth a few minutes of making sure there is nothing you won't regret.
Me: But what if none of the above sounds fun?
Myself: Star Trek Online!
I: There are so many other games out there that if you really aren't having fun in Azeroth right now, it's the perfect time to go explore other worlds. Your characters and all their gear will still be here when you get back. And you shouldn't force yourself to spend your valuable leisure time doing something that isn't enjoyable to you right now. Our weekly WRUP always has a list of fun games we are playing when we're not playing WoW.
Me: Let's wrap this up.
Myself: Have fun!
WoW, Casually is a column for those of us who are playtime-challenged. We've got your guides for choosing the best class, finding a casual guild, keeping your account safe and choosing the best addons for casual play. But wait there's more! If you have questions or tips about how to get the most out of your limited playtime, please send them to robin AT wow DOT com for a possible future column.