Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Family that Plays Together...

Hearthstone and Cynra have both recently written excellent pieces on online friendships and their validity. This is a a subject that really hits home to me. You see, my boyfriend and I met online and we know very well what it's like to have an "internet relationship" and the different reactions people can have to something like that.

"So, where did you guys meet? At school?"
"On an online video game forum."

But while it would be really easy for me to play the "Well my boyfriend and I met online and whaddaya know, here we are four years later, end of discussion" card, I'm going to relate this to World of Warcraft because this is, after all, a World of Warcraft blog.

A couple days ago, a group of us what I like to call "Old-School Entelechy" folks all got together in an AIM chat. We're the people who have been around the longest, who have been leveling and questing and instancing with each other since our pre-Outlands days. We're the people who eventually left our guild and, in many ways, have sort of drifted away from what we used to be: we are the people who forged an unbreakable bond and an unforgettable little personal legacy before floating away to focus on characters on different servers (I will not deny that I am at least partially guilty of this), or drifting away from the game entirely.

Anyways, five of us all got in a chat. By sheer coincidence our AIM group makeup was very instance-worthy: myself, two warlocks, our holy pally and our much-loved main tank from back-in-the-day-- the best prot warrior I have ever had the pleasure of DPSing for, and I'm not just saying that-- who has since largely left the game in the admirable name of higher education.

Well what happens when you get five of us old-schoolers in one place, for the first time in a while? We work ourselves into a little frenzy, that's what. We reminisced about crazy stories and tales from our WoW-playing past. We swapped screenshots. We commiserated with each other about how we never really did "finish" Karazhan, as our little group. So that springboarded into us talking about a possible Karazhan "dream-team", plucking together old friends and allies and brainstorming up our ideal raid composition for a one last huzzah before WotLK shows up and changes things.

So there we were just talking and talking about the game and stuff we could do together in the game if we were really serious about it, and who else but our tanky leader to break in and say "Guys. Forget about the game for a minute. I don't miss the game. I miss hanging out with you guys. I miss hanging out with my friends."

And then there was a moment of silence as what he had said sunk in, and we all knew that he was right.

That dream Karazhan run? There is talk of us actually pulling it together. If we did, it would be absolutely incredible. It would consist of people we have worked with and done amazing things with for over a year. People whose strengths and weaknesses we know very intimately which makes for an extremely satisfying experience.

But ya know what? If the dream Karazhan run doesn't come together, that's okay. If more of my friends quit playing or play alts on other servers, it's okay. Because we're still friends. We still have crazy AIM chats. We still have Ventrilo. We still have my boyfriend's forum. We still have a million things that we can talk about that aren't WoW.

And if it does come together, and we finalize a date, I'm going to make sure to take time off of work for it-- chuckle at me if you will, but for me, it's not unusual. For me, it's not "taking a weekend off for a video game". Rather, it is "taking a weekend off for a family reunion".

And that is really what it is about. It's not about the purples. It's about the people that you meet in game who become your comrades and then become your friends.

Don't forget that.


Beowulfa said...

Amen, sister. So true. I find it incredible and fantastic that the internet enables people from all areas and all walks of life who probably wouldn't look at each other if they ran into them to become friends.

BTW, I am fully prepared to request off work for when my guild does the bigger runs. And it's for the same reason.

Aleathea said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this subject, Pike. It's a subject very close to my heart and it is nice to see such a well respected blogger addressing it.

So much of the person I am today is due to the influenced of my friends in World of Warcraft.

Through their eyes, I see the world from new perspectives. Through our conversations, I learn about life outside my small circle. Through the ever changing landscape of life both within and without Azeroth, they remain constant.

The chance to know these people, brought together from every walk of life and across three continents, is the beauty of World of Warcraft and in their friendship I have all the epic reward I will ever need.

Cynra said...

I'm one up on you, Pike -- not only did I meet my boytoy online but I also met him through World of Warcraft! <flexes>

Dilecto said...

I met my boyfriend through a MUD client game where our characters married each other and had a family before we even thought about speaking OOC. Internet relationships have just as much validity as any other relationship- they force you to get to know the personality first, not the appearance.

Kudos to you Pike.

Steffan T said...

How WoW has affected my family life:

For the past 2 years, I have two regular WoW groups:

1) group of RL friends that get together every Monday night & play & Scype. Great way to start the work week, see friends, and not have to worry about driving home too late.

2) playing with my wife & in-laws every saturday morning. We get to chat about all sorts of stuff, and WoW fills the pauses that would otherwise cause us to hang up.
Also, gotta love scype/Vent/Teamspeak/whatever for just shooting the bull when you're on opposite sides of the country...

Anotherclown said...

Have to agree with ya there Pike. I recently switched guilds to be back with a group of friends from an older guild. While it didn't hurt that their guild is progressing further than mine (ssc, the eye)was I also had an offer from a newer friend to get much further (mh, bt, swp) but I knew where I'd have more fun. I've only been with the new guild for about 8 days but I'm already having more fun than the last 3 months combined.

Sarielle said...

I started playing WoW when my little sister did. We weren't raised together — I was given up for adoption when I was born, and didn't connect with my biological family until after I turned 18 — so it was an excuse to spend some time together and establish a bond. Now I play with my birth mother, my sister, my foster brother, my future sister-in-law, my sister's boyfriend (who she met in WoW) and my boyfriend (who I met in WoW).

Sensing a theme here? :)

Last night, we all took a night off and went to my birth mom's house, since a friend she made in-game came alllll the way to Arizona from England to visit. We watched the VP debates and argued PvE vs. PvP over dinner.

It was awesome.

Armond said...


Sarai said...

Amen to that. I just recently realized that most of the time when I sit down at my PC, I'm not thinking "What do I want to do with my toon today", I'm thinking "Which of my friends is on today"

Anonymous said...

Absolutely agree with you, Miss Pike! That post totally resonated with me. The four years I have been playing this game has enriched my life because of the wonderful people I get to call friend. I have and will continue to meet up with my pals and take time off if they happen to come into town. Like you said, it is family.