My Beta Vacation: Opting Out to Avoid Burnout
So, several months ago, I received a coveted invitation in my email inbox. No, it wasn’t the invite to play the technical alpha for the new Blizzard MOBA, Heroes of the Storm, but one that many WoW players were dying to get their hot little hands on… the beta for the new WoW expansion, Warlords of Draenor (WoD).
At face value, the beta invite was something I had actually been hoping for, and I felt an initial rush of excitement when I saw the email. But I didn’t have time to play the beta when I first got the invite. Work, evening meetings, and a weekend out of town kept me from gaming at all. My jets cooled down a bit. And suddenly, I realized: I didn’t really want to play the beta.
Not to say I’m not excited for the WoD expansion. I very much am looking forward to it. But it occurred to me that WoW burnout has been happening to me more and more over recent years. A beta, for me, would be one more cycle through the new content, and it’s a trip through that doesn’t count for anything.
Now, I understand that there are some beta testers who are genuinely testing new features. They write great, informative blog posts about their discoveries. They are testing the product the way Blizzard would want them to, or so I assume. I applaud those people, and envy their time and perseverance in documenting beta developments and changes.
The luxury of time is one I don’t have. I’m not alone in this boat. Many of us have jobs, family, and personal/professional commitments which limit gaming time. What we decide to play with this limited time is definitely of some importance. For myself, playing the beta is a waste of precious time when I still have characters to finish in Pandaria.
But, even more than that, burnout and boredom loom on the horizon of every expansion, especially if there are more than one to two toons that you’re trying to get to max level and end game. How many times can you run the same quests without starting to dread them? Doing them on beta first just adds to the repetitive nature, but it doesn’t count toward permanent progress.
Also lost with beta is some of the excitement of the new expansion upon launch. Sights we have yet to see, exploration to do, that sense of wonder and mystery: these can be diminished on launch day, if not wholly ruined, by playing the beta. I’ve waited long enough for this new content, I want to wake up on launch day to face a new adventure. A completely new adventure.
Now, lest you’re tempted to say that my beta invite was wasted on me, fear not. I gave my boyfriend access to my account so he could play it because he really was interested in some aspects. Now, he has his own beta invite, so mine will sit unused. I haven’t even paid attention to the new character models or screenshots from the expansion, nor the class changes, nor the garrisons.
When launch day comes, I’ll read the patch notes, grab some snacks and a drink, and prepare to immerse myself in a totally new world. A world that’s fresh and unspoiled. And, hopefully, fun.