The storyline I was working on had been progressing in such a way that WA would have felt like a natural part of it when it came out. My main family had a toddler and a child who could enjoy all of the new interactions together, and my young adults were having enough professional success to justify taking breaks from work and doing a lot of traveling. I even intended for my most promiscuous Sim to finally fall in love and marry an Asian girl capable of instantly breaking every bone in his body (midcoitally).
But all of those plans fell through the cracks when WA refused to cooperate with my old saved games, and I spent weeks getting nowhere with EA customer support before I finally just gave up. Disheartened, I uninstalled and reinstalled the game and patched it to 1.4.6, but found that there was nothing I wanted my Sims to do anymore. I didn't want to move the story forward because I had always planned for this particular generation to be the one that got to enjoy WA, and it would be a shame for them to grow old and die without ever having the chance to almost die deep underground in France because a store clerk wanted his baseball back.
So recently I shelved The Sims 3 and ran back into the arms of an old love: World of Warcraft. A new content patch for WoW was released this week, and wouldn't you know it, the developers actually fixed the problems that players were experiencing -- within hours of them being reported. It was kind of like being treated to Red Lobster after a month of trying to stomach a gigantic surloin steak that had been repeatedly dropped into multiple toilets. (...all the while being told "that flavor is actually the inside of your mouth, this steak has never even seen a toilet, much less been soaked in one being used by a nameless employee screaming at the fluorescent lights in the ceiling about how much he hates his job and wishes he invented MySpace because Lord knows he thought about something exactly like it in the '90s [when it was called AOL]")
So I logged onto my old priest.
We laughed, we shopped, we got to know each other again. We even slow danced a little to our favorite song (mind controlling people off of cliffs). For a few moments, I remembered how fun WoW could be and why I loved it for so many years.
At the height of my nostalgia, I tried to join a group for an easy raid instance, to get back into the swing of things. A group was looking for a healer for 10-man Onyxia, so I asked to join as my priest. "GS?" the raid leader asks me. I don't know what this question means. "No clue," I respond. He responds "........." and puts me on his ignore list, then continues his search.
I took a moment to look up "GS." It stands for "Gear Score." Apparently, in the few months that I was away from WoW, a trend began in the WoW community where players would input their character's name into an unendorsed third-party web site that would calculate their "worth" as a player into a numerical value. The number is determined by the quality of the clothes they wear on their virtual bodies, and has little to do with their actual skill or understanding of the game. Many in the WoW community are against the use of this number to inaccurately judge other players by, but the vast majority of players/elitists see value in this system as a way of judging strangers before attempting difficult high-end content with them. ("Difficult high-end content" of which 10-man Onyxia is not.)
So I'm like "bleh," and I try to join a different group. This other group is forming for 10-man Vault of Archavon, another easy raid instance, so I join and luckily the raid leader isn't an elitist prick. After 30 minutes of gathering and organizing, we finally go in and attempt the first boss. Less than 1 minute into the fight, half of the raid dies from forgetting not to stand in gigantic pillars of fire on the ground. Everyone screams their heads off at each other, insults are thrown left and right, healers are blamed, tanks are blamed, and the group disbands.
...I cancelled my WoW account again. The game is fun, but the social atmosphere is disgusting. I imagine, if you could breathe in the game, it would smell like a colliseum jam-packed with sweaty 30-year-olds, stale Doritos, unwashed hair, and socks that were worn the whole week but never entered shoes. People who play WoW place so much value in empty rewards but place little value in the human players they cooperate with to get those rewards. It's sad, and not really worth putting up with in an attempt to have a little fun.
Last night, I pulled The Sims 3 back off of my shelf and played again for the first time in weeks. It was a breath of fresh air. I started right where I left off: with the kids who are my third generation, discovering life, exploring the world with awe and bewilderment, making their parents smile, and pooping on a purple toilet in the middle of the living room in front of guests while they dance, laugh, smile, and then grimace and cover their noses upon realizing what happened.
I missed you, The Sims 3. I'll never leave you again.
(Another thing I love about Sims is that when they're being jerks, I can wall them into pools and watch them die.)