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Going Wowsophical #1 - Nostalgia

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Going Wowsophical #1 - Nostalgia

Post by Yunashi on Tue May 21, 2013 5:40 pm

Hello everyone!

First of all, I want to congratulate the owners of 'Elemtenalzone' for the, in my opinion, very nice site that they've brought us, as well as a smooth launch. That said, I want to contribute to the site with my own input, and had the idea for a (series of) topic(s) that will focus on aspects of World of Warcraft, or WoW as a reference for gaming in general, in a philosophical way. Creating a good atmosphere and a place where people can share their thoughts and ideas, discuss elements World of Warcraft and overall have a nice chat. So, without further ado, here's the first thread of 'Going Wowsophical'!

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Nostalgia.

It's the maker and breaker of a game, in the eyes of the players (and quite possibly the creators?), the blessing and the curse, the light and dark, etc etc, you name it. It is that well known feeling that stirs up in your underbelly whenever you think back at the times you started playing the game - for many of us, that would be around Classic WoW / TBC times - and you ponder over how the game has changed. More importantly, at first it almost always feels like the game was better in the past. The epic feeling, the joys and the rush, it all seemed so much more alive and present back then. However, is this feeling justified that quickly?

A game like World of Warcraft constantly develops, increasing in size and gaining more and more things to do. All the while, changes are made, additions are... well, added, and the game tries to cater to the wishes of most of it's playerbase. No one can deny that WoW has come a long way since that fabled start, back around 2004, when DCs, unstable servers and a lots of bugs and glitches were at the order of the day, not to mention class viability being rather poor to nonexistant at times. (Tanking as anything but a Warrior in Classic WoW? Blasphemy!) Still, even though the game has improved in many ways, a lot of players will feel like it's not done the game any good. Or rather, the feeling of the game, the atmosphere - here is where the rose-tinted goggles are put on and nostalgia takes over, suppresing the mind to realize all the improvements that have been put in place and to rather focus on the loss of the good ol' times and 'epicness'.

That said, Nostalgia can actually be looked at in two ways - the difference being that one would say Nostalgia helps enjoy the game more, the other stating it would cause the game to become worse for players the longer they play it.
Think of it this way: Player A can be playing since Classic WoW and have very fond memories of it. Player B has this as well. Both gain that fabled nostalgic feeling whenever they think back / encounter the good old days. However, Player A looks carefully at this nostalgic feeling and says to himself that it shows the game is good, gave him a lot of good feelings, and fond memories. Taking into account the improvements of recent times, he'll still be able to enjoy the game, although differently, and won't realize that he'll probably have the same nostalgic feeling about current content when a few years pass by.
Player B is a different story. He'll clinge to this nostalgia and wishes the game was like it was back in the good old days. In such, he gets overwhelmed by this nostalgia and can't enjoy the game in it's current form, because that epic feeling / atmosphere is missing. Still, the latter poses a problem: how far is this nostalgic feeling correct, in the sense that how rational does player B look at it? Or does he pragmaticly follow the nostalgic feeling and, without a doubt, disregard anything the game currently offers. Or if he doesn't do so, and actually weighs the game against how it was, taking into account (mabey) that nostalgia mostly occurs AFTER something has been experienced, does it still 'ruin' the current game for him?


TL;DR - Nostalgia can be both a blessing and a curse, depending on how you look at it, and can either impair or improve one's enjoyment of a video game. However, a multiple of factors are part of evaluating a game, and they also have to be taken into account - something nostalgia is often said to neglect, and thus producing clouded, rose-tinted views of the game.
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So, this has been a mouthful, but I think should pose an interesting starter for discussion:

How much of an effect do YOU think nostalgia has on a videogame? Does it impair one's enjoyment of / ability to enjoy the game in it's current form (and future form, perhaps?), or does it actually help appreciate the game? And how do you think should one handle nostalgia when evaluating the game - what has to be considered, what has to be taken into account, in order to produce a 'justified' opinion on the game? (Justified in the sense of being reasonable, justified to one's own rational morals.)

~Yunashi

EDIT: As to why this thread is in the 'World of Warcraft' forums, rather than the 'General Gaming Discussion', is because due to WoW's long existance already, plus it's large playerbase and my own experienced on it, it makes for a MUCH better reference than any other game, thus it's easier to keep the discussion mostly limited to the WoW universe.


Last edited by Yunashi on Tue May 21, 2013 5:48 pm; edited 3 times in total (Reason for editing : Typo(s))
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My Thoughts on Nostalgia

Post by ManicPanic on Sat May 25, 2013 3:46 am

I have many fond memories from when I started my WoW journey, beginning with how I even started playing the game. It's great to think back on those good times, and "how hard we had it" as compared to the new players starting out. I think however that it's silly to complain about the changes that have been made in the game. Why would someone want the same thing to continue forever? Why would you want to run the same raids, dungeons, battlegrounds, wear the same gear with the same stats, etc? It would get very stale after awhile and you would eventually quit playing. The nostalgia for players who started playing in Vanilla or like myself in BC is in my opinion the same for those who started any time afterwards. Everyone has their own special memories of the game, even if they occur in different content. Are we luckier to have experienced "classic" WoW? Maybe. But it doesn't undermine someone else's experiences of the game. We all had to start somewhere and it's immature and silly to ridicule new players because "they don't know how easy they have it." No, they don't, and they won't. They have their own WoW journey to experience and just because the content is different, it doesn't make their new experience any different than ours when we first started out. Be happy you got to play and experience WoW in it's early days, look back on your fond memories and smile, and then make some new ones. Be happy the game has changed and that you're not bored stupid doing the same thing over and over for all eternity. You should embrace change and adapt to it, that's what the world is all about. Nothing can stay the same forever.
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