WoW and its RL facets

Just a game? Not exactly, says Panzercow:

while there is a game there, where you kill monsters and take their lunch money and gather eight [Bear Asses] and turn them in to gain the [Gigantic Hammer of E-Peenage]…there’s also a community there, of real people. Good people, bad people, shy people, loud people, young people, old people, in-between people. Never forget that.

And it’s the people that make WoW more than "just a game."

I'm not the most social squid around. I'm a super-super-super introvert, the kind of person who scores 100% I and 0% E on any of those MBTI quizzes. Even if somebody's a good friend, my best friend from high school or college, whatever, hanging out with them 24/7 will start making me antsy around day 3. The one exception is my favorite elf, who (after a decade of cohabitation) I'm pretty used to.

So when I started playing WoW, I wasn't really sure what to make of the social aspects. I avoided grouping with people I didn't know (okay, I still won't PuG), and I really wasn't quite sure how to meet people. How I ended up falling in with a group of hardcore RPers and having WoW make up a very large chunk of my social circle, both when I'm logged in and logged out, remains a bit of a mystery to me.

My friends are men and women — approximately equal amounts of each. (We know a shocking number of couples who play this game together, and oftentimes if one member of a couple quits, it's the guy. Wonder what people who think girls don't game make of that?) They're older than me and younger than me. Parents, childfree, married, single, gay, straight, bi, trans, cis, seriously, we're all over the map. We live in Seattle, Portland, Canada, California, Texas, New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong, and lots of other places I'm not sure about.

Like any group of people who get together due to a single hobby, we have tons in common and tons that's not in common. Our get-togethers may have the conversation focused on our characters, and yeah, many of us will refer to each other by our in-game names (I will answer to Ovi in RL, and I'm starting to answer to Teu — HA HA! Perhaps this is a sign my former main still has a chance), but it does come down to the fact that it's a social circle I'm quite happy to be a part of, introvert or no.

I spend nine hours a week in a 25-person conference call, a situation I'd never have imagined myself in before I started playing WoW. (True story: I was called for jury duty a couple years back. The room I sat in while we waited to go in for selection contained exactly 40 people. I stared at it, kind of dumbfounded, and realized that that was a.) more people than there were at my wedding [38], and b.) it took that many people to run Molten Core. I felt a bit faint.) It's a heck of a group activity, and the fact that I don't see many of these people face-to-face doesn't mean that I don't feel like I know them. And, amusingly, they know me. (Last year's birthday wishes included virtual sheep and chocolate and yarn.)

In some of the other parts of my online life, there's been strife and frustration and grief and fighting, a lot of people behaving like total gits and a lot of people who are just trying to stay sane amidst the crapstorm. While it might be stretching matters to say we're all sane in the WoW group, it's going to be nice to be in a "room" full of people who know who our friends are and who our enemies are, which is to say:

Sarth+3, your days are numbered. Start counting down. Don't start high.

Mar 5th, 2009
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