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Why do you play what you play?

Matthew Rossi

Life is complicated. There's no simple answers to most of our problems, and even if you think there are, there are lots of people who disagree with you. Life is fraught with tension, with situations that require tact and even diplomacy to navigate.

This is one of the reasons I enjoy playing warriors. I enjoy their straightforward approach to problem solving. In the real world, my troubles are usually things that simply can't be dealt with via the application of a gigantic axe to their heads (my bills just refuse to die no matter how much I try and stab them) but I face no such difficulty in World of Warcraft. To me, the game is escapism, a couple of hours in a world where the stakes are larger than life, but the solutions are much more primal and basic. Sometimes you just want to yell Hulk smash.

My death knight gets played for a slightly different reason, but it's still based on the idea of escapism. In this case, it's escapism from my own moral code. In the world at large, while I'm somewhat irascible and have been called blunt on occasion (my wife often comments at these moments that it's a good thing I never decided to be a grief counselor) I tend to be reasonably kind-hearted. But my death knight has plagued towns, unleashed armies of corpses to do his bidding, and is in general just a walking epidemic. He's actively cruel and malevolent, and I enjoy playing him for the pure, cathartic release of letting the id out to play for a while. I usually get sick of him in about a week, while I can play the warrior indefinitely, possibly because the well I'm draining to play the DK is a lot less infinite, but I come back when it refills.

Why do you play what you play as needed

There are of course as many reasons to play World of Warcraft as there are people playing it, and as many reasons to make the choice of race and class and faction. But what interests me is what keeps us going with these choices. I chose to play a draenei shaman because that was the only option for an Alliance shaman at the time, but I kept him draenei instead of dwarf or pandaren because I enjoy the lore of the draenei, and because I think dwarves look like their faces were caught in an industrial sock stretcher. I have an idea in my head of how my shaman acts, and it wouldn't work for any other race but draenei.

Similarly I've tried to play other Horde races, but I always come back to tauren. I just can't stay away from them. I've played orc, forsaken, troll, pandaren and blood elf. I always end up going back to the minotaurs, I just like them a lot more. I like their ponderous way of running, the way plate looks on them, the way they don't fit through doors. I like how their horns replace the horns on Tier 10. (Yes, that's seriously a consideration for me.) With transmogrification such a big part of the game for me, I really love how stuff looks with my tauren, and I always come back to it.

So just in myself, I find aesthetic reasons, gameplay reasons (I play worgen for both, really, I dig their character model but I also love that crit racial) and even lore reasons (every draenei I play is for lore reasons) for what I play. I play some characters for pure escapism, and others for catharsis, and yet others (my paladins) to try and fight my knee-jerk loathing for the class. Seriously, I have yet to enjoy it, but I keep trying to and that's worth something.

What about you?

Mists of Pandaria is here! The level cap has been raised to 90, many players have returned to Azeroth, and pet battles are taking the world by storm. Keep an eye out for all of the latest news, and check out our comprehensive guide to Mists of Pandaria for everything you'll ever need to know.

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