The Offseason

Is being a sports fan sim­i­lar to play­ing World of War­craft? No. But hav­ing sea­son­al dura­tion hob­bies is!

My wife and I love watch­ing pro foot­ball. Every Sun­day, we watch two or three games. Then the Mon­day night game. Oh, and the Thurs­day or Sat­ur­day games, if there are any. Of course, then there’s the week’s pre­view on Sun­day morn­ing, wrapup and high­lights on Sun­day evening, keep­ing up with the injuries/news/trades dur­ing the week, man­ag­ing the fan­ta­sy foot­ball team…

So maybe on some peo­ple’s scale, we’re some­what hard­core about it.

We sim­ply don’t see our non-foot­ball-fan friends much dur­ing foot­ball sea­son. Foot­ball sea­son lasts from Sep­tem­ber through Jan­u­ary, and I see the same peo­ple fre­quent­ly in those months as we get togeth­er to cheer for our team. (Go Pats!) Then Feb­ru­ary comes around and we all go to a Super­bowl par­ty, which is both the cul­mi­na­tion of foot­ball sea­son and also where we bump into any per­son who has­n’t been com­ing to the week­ly gath­er­ings (since the Super­bowl is a gala, all-inclu­sive event).

“Hey, it’s been for­ev­er since I’ve seen you! We should get togeth­er soon.”

“You bet!”

From mid-Feb­ru­ary on, we make up for that time spent with our hob­by by catch­ing up with non-foot­ball friends. It’s nat­ur­al, and those friends smile and under­stand us. Geeks will be geeks.

This isn’t too dif­fer­ent than what is hap­pen­ing with World of War­craft right now.

There have been many arti­cles around about how raid­ing guilds are strug­gling or falling apart, mem­ber­ship is down, every­one is recruit­ing and des­per­ate, blah blah gloom and doom.

Each heavy play cycle is tied to new con­tent of some sort, whether its the game being intro­duced, major con­tent patch, or an expan­sion. Online pres­ence grad­u­al­ly declines between when the pre­vi­ous cycle ends and when the next one begins. The last con­tent patch was the end of TBC, and so three weeks after that patch came out and every­one got their fill of its con­tent, the WoW off­sea­son began. For each per­son this means dif­fer­ent things, but basi­cal­ly the raid­ing engine is going to feel like it’s lack­ing fuel.

Don’t strug­gle against it; this is nat­ur­al. Healthy peo­ple are going to find bal­ance at some point, like my wife and I do when we catch up with non-foot­ball friends in Feb­ru­ary. The WoW off­sea­son is when it’s going to hap­pen. Instead of plot­ting on how you’re going to avoid the inevitable, revise your expec­ta­tions of what kind of guild dynam­ics you’re going to see, and go for­ward from there. They’ll be back for Wrath, and if they’re friends, you’ll be laugh­ing over /g again before you know it.

As an adden­dum, it prob­a­bly would­n’t kill any­one to catch up on things that they might have crowd­ed out some­what in the throes of hob­by­ist zeal. For me, it was work. For one of my friends, it was ten­nis. And from the tone, con­tent, and gen­er­al frus­tra­tion I’ve seen in last two months of trade chat, many play­ers seem to lack suc­cess­ful phys­i­cal rela­tions with some­one of their cho­sen sex­u­al pref­er­ence. Get back on that, people!

More Words!