First and foremost this is not an image heavy post, so sorry in advance for the lack of lols. :( Also as a second warning, this post is heavy in the metaphors. Run while you can.
So anyway. Knowledge is like legos. If you stick to only one thing in life, your legos form this gigantic tower that goes straight up. If you broaden your interests and learn more about other things, your legos form a pyramid. Both structures work, but one is far more solid than the other. Maybe a little harder to build though.
Ever since Greg Street/Ghostcrawler was hired as a lead designer people wondered how and why a dude with a PhD in marine science could become a lead developer on one of the largest MMORPGs in history. They, of course, conveniently ignore the fact that he was a developer for other major game titles – but let’s look at the other thing here. Why WOULDN’T they hire someone with interests and experience outside of the gaming field?
If I looked at WoW as just a WoW player, I would be severely limiting my experience with it. I am such a broad compilation of opinions and experiences that to consider myself only a “WoW player” would be doing a disservice. If you look at yourself as only a WoW player while you play the game, I challenge your perception of that.
When I experience and parse this game I do so as:
A working woman, an artist, a writer, a skeptic, a fantasy buff, a fan of corgis, a fan of pop culture, a bear enthusiast, etc.
All of these things and all of these experiences play into how and why I play the game the way I do. This allows me to understand and enjoy changes like LFR, for example. It also allows me to see certain things that happen and say, “I am not okay with this.”
If you’ve only played one class for 7 years, you probably know a lot about it. You may think you know what does and does not work, and how it could be better. But you’re coming from an extremely limited perspective. I wouldn’t tell people how to heal on their priests if I didn’t have a lot of experience with it, but at the same time I chose to broaden my horizons and level one of every type of healer so I could use that knowledge to make myself better overall.
I realized I needed to do this when I first got the Maw of the Dragonlord from Deathwing. I was used to standing super far away from the group and just chaining my heals as priests typically do. I noticed that my mace proc (the extra healing to people nearby) wasn’t hitting as many people as I wanted it to. I mentioned this in guild and someone said, “Oh yeah, you have to learn to heal like a paladin and be in closer range.”
At first I was perplexed, but then it resonated with me. I DIDN’T know how to heal like a paladin. Or a druid. Or a shaman. And because of that I had never thought of that as a solution and learning how to be more like another class would have never occurred to me unless the obvious was pointed out. That was when I knew that I was clearly missing out on something that would ultimately make me a better player and a more knowledgeable person.
If you’ve only played one faction, you probably know a lot about that faction. But the game isn’t about one faction and you’re missing out by not seeing the other side of the hill.
People fear not being good at something they are genuinely trying at. Somewhere along the way being a jack of all trades but master of none became some kind of negative thing. I disagree. You don’t have to be a master of something or know everything about it to bring some genuinely good ideas to the table for it. It’s not even so much about thinking out of the box as it is bringing an unexpected perspective that could end up being a game changer.
The more experiences and perspectives you have as a person and a player, the better. One of the lead designers has a PhD in marine science instead of computer programming and spent years in that field before turning to video games. I’d be willing to bet those different perspectives were exactly what Blizzard was looking for when they brought him aboard. Obviously you want someone who still has the knowledge of the field to get the job done, but more of the same never gets anything done.
So I guess what I’m trying to say here is that you need to stop looking at yourself as JUST a WoW player or a gamer. That is a single part of a larger whole, and the more perspectives and experience you can bring to the table – the better. You are a whole person, and the reasons you like and play this game are because of that. Embrace it.
This also doesn’t just apply to WoW, either. It applies to every facet of your life.