I'm extremely excited to announce Inventory Space! A new video series in which Liam and I spend our precious free time with massive live-service games to see how much they demand from our schedules. Are we able to truly experience everything these games have to offer without sacrificing the bits of our daily routines that keep us from withering away at our monitors? How many hours do you really need to invest in order to fully experience a game? And is it even worth it, in the end?
Inventory Space will – hopefully – give you a better idea of whether mammoth games will slot into your life neatly, or not at all.
Liam and I (two men crumbling into dust) came up with Inventory Space because live-service games demand so much of our time now. They're all fighting to be that one game in your daily schedule, wrestling back the competition with daily quests, login bonuses, or huge expansions to keep us in their four-figure headlock. And we wanted to find out whether you're able to truly experience these games as a regular human whose daily commitments mean you can't spend dozens of hours with them in all-nighters sponsored by Red Bull.
But Inventory Space is more than just answering the question: "How long is the video game?" It's also our personal experiences with them, documented over several weeks, as well as chats with folks who've stayed the course, or fallen out of love with it (and maybe some of Liam and I eating potato smileys and turkey dinosaurs, each with a side of beans while we play). It's us trying to truly understand what makes these games tick.
Our first episode focuses on World Of Warcraft (not Classic), an absolute juggernaut in the "Big Game" category and an MMO that we both had very different histories with. I was the one with great nostalgia for past WoW and someone who used to spend countless hours in Azeroth, while Liam hadn't played it at all before. We set some loose goals, like reaching the endgame and doing our first Raid, because we were naive boys who believed that, yes, we'd be enamoured with WoW. In the end, our experiences with the game aligned in a way we hadn't expected. And, in a strange meeting of many complex thoughts, we came to quite a beautiful conclusion.
There was a honeymoon period for the both of us, as Liam marvelled at the scope of WoW and I got all excited over the most minor tweaks. Exile's Reach (the new starting island) was - we thought - a great taster of the future, but as we bounced between locales, we soon realised that WoW was shuttling us towards the finish line at breakneck speed. We veered between the slow tedium of fetch quests and an endless bounty of rewards: money, mounts, portals that would whisk us anywhere, extra bits in the UI which let us party up with people. Liam felt like it wasn't anything like the choose-his-own-adventure he'd envisaged and I agreed; Azeroth's magic had faded.
Not that Azeroth itself was to blame for our misgivings. It was more how disjointed WoW's current form has become over the years. Even though we were fast tracked to the endgame, we couldn't have felt more directionless. We had no idea where we sat in the story or why we'd been shipped away from Azeroth. Apparently we were in the Battle For Azeroth expansion... or was it Warlords Of Draenor? To help us from derailing entirely, we spoke to two WoW experts from within the wider ReedPop family, video editor Alix Attenborough and VG247 staff writer Connor Makar, to try and get a sense of what we were missing and why WoW is so special to them. Aside from being two lovely lads, the chats we had were genuinely enlightening, heartwarming, and perhaps a little sad too.
And with our energy somewhat restored, we tried our darnedest to reach our WoW goals. But in the end we realised we'd never be able to, both with our dwindling enthusiasm for the game's old-school quests and hotbar action. The game wasn't for us, and long gone are the days of a WoW which won't require more and more and more of your time as you pursue its endgame. We totally understood why people enjoy the game today, no question. Yet, we realised that many of the game's most ardent fans - like Alix and Connor - cling to WoW's glory days, before its expansions threw things off-kilter. And it's the game's past which proves just as important as its future.
If you're aware of WoW's latest expansion Dragonflight, you might be thinking, why not wait for that to arrive? Our answer lies in the time – we couldn't afford to hang around because of - *waves arms wildly, perhaps too wildly* - life. And no matter what, we'd still have to go through the same levelling experience, anyway, right? Perhaps there's something in a follow up. Who knows.
We really do hope you enjoy the first episode! We're hoping to tackle Roblox next (Lord have mercy) but if there's a big live-service game you think we should dive into after that, please do let us know in the comments below.
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