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Burn Out Can Happen to the Best of Us
World of Warcraft is a great game, which is made obvious by its 11+ million subscribers. Some have been playing the game since it came out, and some are just now getting into it. No matter how long you've played, however, it can be pretty easy to get burnt out by the game. If you want to keep enjoying it for months (years?) to come, then heed my advice, and don't do what I did.
1) One of the first ways to burn yourself out is to play constantly. I'm not talking about logging on for an hour or two or night. I'm talking about being on and actively engaged in content for 6-10 hours a day, or more. Whether you're raiding, doing battle grounds, or simply leveling your 7th level 80 toon (and I'll be coming back to this), that much consistent play time over a prolonged period will wear on a person.
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2) Related to playing for prolonged periods is attempting to level multiple characters to 80. Not one or two alts. No, no. I'm talking about five or more, with no multi-boxing to assist. Granted, leveling alts has gotten a lot easier (lower level mount skill, heirloom items with bonus XP, "recruit-a-friend" bonus, etc.), but it still demands a great deal of play time to level that many. And I doubt if you're going through the trouble that you'll just stop once they ding 80. Then there are heroics to run and more gear to get so you can start raiding with them too. You know it's bad when you can't remember what level each one is at, or what professions they have (although they have add ons to assist with that).
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3) The heavy emphasis on questing in World of Warcraft was supposedly designed to make the game feel less like a grind. But it turns out that is really just an illusion, and questing quickly becomes its own grind. The addition of Daily Quests has just exacerbated this, as now you have a daily list of chores you feel compelled to complete in order to make money. If you want to fight burn out, refuse to get sucked into this grind and find something to do more interesting and personalized than grinding out the same daily quests as everyone else.
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When the Game Feels Like a Job, It Is Time for a Break
4) Another way to hasten along burn out is to let World of Warcraft start feeling like a job. When you're compelled to log on to finish every possible daily, when you continually feel obligated to postpone outings with friends and family for in-game responsibilities, when you raid despite being sick as a dog or being on vacation or something, you're treating the game like a job. Remember: World of Warcraft doesn't pay you. You pay for Warcraft. Raiding seven nights a week like clockwork will catch up to you, trust me.
I know, I know. You don't want to have to break it to your guildies that it's gotten to be too much. They rely on you! You're their main tank or healer, or the top DPS! Maybe you're an officer, or even the guild leader! But when you feel the burn out coming, it is time to step back and take a break before the game gets ruined for you altogether and you cancel your account.
Some people never recover from game burn out, only to leave friends, guilds, arena teams, e-girlfriends, etc. wondering what happened. Therefore, if you do decide to take a break from the game (whether you're headed for burn out, or already burned), be sure to let people know. Don't just vanish. If you do intend to come back, try and given people a basic time frame, as well as an alternate means of contacting you. One of the worst things someone can do is leave their guild or their buddies in a lurch without so much as a word of warning. This is especially true for you guild/raid leaders!
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How to Recover from Burn Out
Simon Hill has an excellent article here on dealing with the grind. I highly recommend checking it out. Taking a break from the game to pursue outside interests is also a good way to avoid total burnout. If you are starting to feel burnout, you might also want to take a moment to determine if you are playing too much anyway. MMOs can be addictive, and it is easy to play them too much for your own good.
And if you do take a break from Warcraft to get over burn out, I'd like to recommend The Sims 3. It's doing the trick for me quite nicely!
This article series explores some of the negative aspects of World of Warcraft.