Why I’m a WOW geek… sort of: #blogjune 11

I was delighted when our Youth Specialist, Dayna, asked me if I could briefly discuss the World of Warcraft with her. She wanted to know, why do people get so invested in it?

Now, I have to admit I haven’t played the game in some months. That’s not unusual for me. Usually I’ll find my interest renews when new, significant content changes are released, and wanes off when things return to business as usual.

For me, playing at top level is the problem. I did so at a time when I had limited social opportunities and plenty of time outside of work. Living in a small town, it was easier to spend time with friends online and in game than drive forty minutes and more for face to face social gatherings. I did have a social circle where I lived, but it was at a small town place. Socialising would often comprise pausing at the gate while out for a walk, and so on.

I participated in, then led raids; coordinating large groups of players in defeating unusually difficult scenarios, and adjudicating the fair distribution of rewards on success. This brought satisfaction beyond mere success in the game, but also heartaches. Not every online player has an even temperament, and an experience trying to calm an angry adult who was berating at a scared 14-year-old at length soured the experience for me. While I didn’t quit the game, I had a break and on my return avoided raiding altogether.

I returned after the next expansion. I found new and intriguing storylines to engage in. Character development systems had completely changed, so I got to experience entirely new types of gameplay. That being said, after a while my interest palled again.

This has been my pattern since. I’ll play for a while, find out about the new storylines, experience exploration and wonder, and leave before the hard work begins. The social side of the game – when I play – is more like hanging out in a cafe. I’ll meet random strangers in small group scenarios, and over the half hour or so to complete will chat and joke idly as the mood suits. If I encounter rude or abusive people, I’ll ignore them, play the fool if it amuses me or simply leave and find other diversions.

Prospects for play in the future? Maybe I’ll have snatched moments. I guess I’ll always be a WOW geek, but I’m anticipating parenting being my real game for a while to come. Now, if our child turns out to be a gamer…

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About seanmurgatroyd
Library (Shared blog): http://diligentroom.wordpress.com/ Personal including infoculture, book reviews: http://diligentroom.wordpress.com/ Music: http://seanfishmusic.wordpress.com/ Last.fm band page: http://www.last.fm/music/Seanfish @seanfish

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