OPIRG - Dis-O Week 2021
New Canadians Centre
Sparq Retail
Still from World of Warcraft

It’s My World of Warcraft, and I Get to Pick the Soundtrack

Written by
Cameron Noble
and
and
July 16, 2021
It’s My World of Warcraft, and I Get to Pick the Soundtrack
Still from World of Warcraft

I started playing WoW in 2011, at which point it dominated most of my life outside of my meager grade school course load. World of Warcraft made a perfect pandemic adventure for me in all the ways you might expect it too, but in more ways that that I didn’t expect. I chose to get into WoW classic when the pandemic began, because I wanted a closed 1-60 level experience, with no intention of playing max level content.This approach made more sense to me because I wanted that kind of mediated, shared-goal social experience. Outside of a few disparate moments in gaming over the last decade, nothing but WoW has motivated me enough to pursue this type of experience.  

And I didn’t get that social experience. Most of the classic servers, as I came to learn, are dominated by high level raiding communities that are infamously unwelcoming to newbies. I probably should have guessed this, WoW classic has been out for a while but I missed that boat.  

What I did get plunging back into WoW for a year and questing 1-60 was roughly 350 hours of time listening to podcasts.   

I tend to seek out games that prioritize immersion. It’s somewhat rare for me to multitask while playing a game, because it breaks that immersion. With WoW, I simply didn’t care to be immersed. Not only had I already experienced WoW classic, but because I went into the game seeking something other than immersion, it opened up a space for a hybrid of podcast-gaming multitasking that I’ve come to appreciate.  

I was not that into podcasts before this. so, I began by googling what podcasts to start with. As I quested through Mulgore for the second time, I listened to Brian Reed’s incredible S-Town. For those who haven’t listened to the podcast (I refuse to spoil this for you), the ‘big moment’ happened as a glitch-climbed up the side of a mountain in the Barrens. This is an experience perhaps now permanently scorched into my brain as a result of the audio accompaniment. When I got sick of the scenery in the Barrens and decided to quest through Tirisfal Glades instead, I listened to all of the recommended episodes (both on their website and by fans on reddit) of Reply All by Gimlet Media,. I also kicked off habitual listening habits, eagerly awaiting podcasts like Tech Won’t Save Us, Sandy and Nora Talk Politics, Revolutionary Left Radio. I could continue exhaustively for, well, roughly 350 hours.

I also listened to a lot of bad podcasts: some seriously disrespectful true crime that doesn’t seem to get these people were murdered. Tremendously unfunny comedy shows, and daily news podcasts that came off like they were written by David Frumm trying to get me to agree with the invasion of Iraq.  

To be fair, WoW Classic did inspire a few of the moments that I had nostalgically pursued, and every time they did I genuinely smiled at my monitor. Those seemingly vapid exchanges with others playing the game. I didn’t have a guild that I met with on a near daily basis like I did in 2011-2016, but still small moments that inspired genuine happiness definitely occurred. 

When I frame the two experiences I’ve had with World of Warcraft, my ‘2011-2016’ period, and my 2020-2021' experience, both have provided me with something markedly special but different. This time, I got to have 350-hours of diverse media pummeled into my brain. I manufactured an interstices space for myself whereI could listen to podcasts without the need for any of the normal type of everyday experiences (commutes, etc.) that people might come onto podcasts organically. Under any other, non-pandemic circumstances, I would have been profoundly embarrassed to be instantly reminded of the crowds amassed outside of the Stormwind Auction house when I went to get my vaccine earlier this year, when I was immersed in the largest crowd I had been in since March of 2020. Since then, in perhaps a vain attempt to capture some of what I had originally sought in WoW classic, I have begun playing Final Fantasy XIV Online, which has now finally eclipsed WoW as the world’s most popular MMO, maybe for good reason. 


OPIRG - Dis-O Week 2021
New Canadians Centre
Sparq Retail
Written By
Sponsored
OPIRG - Dis-O Week 2021
New Canadians Centre
Sparq Retail

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How to customize formatting for each rich text

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