Wednesday, August 13, 2008

If I die for real, will anyone notice?

Today I’m a bit serious for a change. I read a beautiful and touching post by Pike, who told the story about a player that recently died and how the whole server made a memorial walk to honor his memory.

This guy has really made a foot print in the game. He’s now remembered in blogposts and forums.

This isn’t the first time I hear about players who die in real life and are honoured in the game. But I’m not sure how common it is. There are some 10 million people playing. Probably the game population is a bit younger than the average and therefore a less likely to die. But still, 10 million is a lot and probably there will be a few of us that die everywhere. How often do we notice?

And that leads to the next question, the one I ask myself: will anyone notice if I die?

I’ve knit some friendship bonds through WoW, but they’re mostly online and ingame. A few of my friends and former guildies have my private e-mail address or even telephone number. But my family doesn’t know them; they wouldn’t know this are people I cared about, people that should be informed if I die. They don’t know what guild I’m in, what server I play on, my login password or anything else. This world is my own where they don’t have (or want) access. I keep the worlds totally apart.

If I suddenly didn’t come online to the raids I’ve signed for, if I just didn’t show up in the game at all, what would people think? Would they assume that I had some major computer problems? Or that I’d just got bored ad quit the game without informing anyone? The players who know me well know I would never act like that; I’d never disappear without telling anyone. Probably they would get a bit worried. But for at least some of them it would be rather hard to find out the truth – they wouldn’t know how to get in contact with my family.

And what about the Blogosphere? I’ve got a few subscribers and some people who pop by into the inn and say hello regularly. If I suddenly went silent and didn’t post anymore, without any explanation, what would you think? Would you care at all? Or just think that it was another blogger who grew tired and lost inspiration – not the first one in history.

I hestitate a bit about the answer. There are moments when I think: yes, people would notice and get worried if I suddenly disappeared from the game. There could be problems for them to find out that I actually died, since my family wouldn’t care about informing about what happened or even know how to do it. I don’t know if my friends in game who know my name would be brave or interested enough to contact my relatives and ask what happened.
Probably it’s to expect too much from them.

But I would be missed. Not by a whole server, but by a few people I’ve met through my journeys in Azeroth. At least I know I would miss them deeply if the same thing happened to them. There probably wouldn’t be any parades to honour the memory of Larísa. I’m not a veteran player who’s made an impression on a whole server and know people in every guild. But someone would at least notice.

In my more black moments I think the opposite. No. People would see that I was absent, and they’d maybe wonder why, but I’d soon be forgotten, just like everyone else who closes his account. That’s the nature of MMOs. People come and people go and life in Azeroth will go on just as usual. This game’s just about entertainment anyway. Who bothers really?

I’m probably not the only one thinking about this, though very few would admit it. How come else that players time after other come up with the idea that you should be able to leave something lasting behind you in Azeroth? Some ask for guild houses, some want monuments and other stuff. I think it’s happened a few times that players or developers that have made significant things have been honoured in a very discrete way – like having a distant NPC named after them. But for ordinary players that’s not available today.

Could you create some kind of graveyard or memorial house where you in some way could remember and honour players you cared about that have died? I can’t help thinking that the thought is beautiful, however I doubt it’s doable. Sadly enough there are too many stupid, immature people out there who wouldn’t understand and would find a joy in harassing people paying it a visit or trying to misuse it somehow.

After all: the real footprints we leave in the game are not in the pixels. They’re in the hearts and the memories of the people we’ve met. I hope I’ve made a few.


krizzlybear said...

I think it would be best for those who are internet rgulars to discuss with those close to them how to access their internet possessions. I would probably give my passwords to a really close friend or even my wife if I ever get married, and tell her to leave a short blog entry or something along those lines.

Of course you will be missed, as much as anyone else who are a part of this close-knit community.

Dechion said...

Although I do not know you personally nor even play on your server I would certainly miss both your posting and your comments if you were to be gone.

As for myself I actually have a flash drive in my safety deposit box, it contains information on how to contact various folks and let them know what had happened.

the access id's and passwords for my email accounts, warcraft account, and blog. As well as addresses and phone numbers of folks I think might wish to be informed.

also has scanned copies of all my important papers and insurance documents as well as video messages to each of my immediate family members.

Some call me morbid, I say it is practical. years ago I was active duty military, I made the first version on a cd-rom before deploying to the Persian gulf, because you just never know.

Pike said...

The interesting thing, I think, about the person who we had the memorial walk for... was that I think he was much like you. He probably thought he had only touched a few people's lives... he was a very modest person. Boy was he wrong! I think we affect people more than we realize.

Call me morbid too but I have talked with my boyfriend about what would happen, if something were to happen to me. He would relay information to the guild (I am fortunate in that he and I both play WoW) and he would also make a statement about it on my blog, and he would do any organizing of a memorial. It is not exactly a fun thing to think about it, but like Dechion... I guess I like to be prepared.

Green Armadillo said...

A guildmate of mine died in a fire a few years ago. We weren't close, but it was a bit shocking to hear. Another former guildie was in a major car accident and is lucky to be alive today. I guess it's bound to happen to someone you know when you know enough people.

That aside, I'm not sure that it is a fair question. I would certainly miss you if you were gone. I would hope that you'd just wandered off, like people do, and I'd keep you on my blogroll, hoping to see the Pink Pigtail Inn updated some day. I wouldn't go calling your family; either they'll be worried that something happened to you, they'll think you've got crazy internet stalkers. If something DID happen, I'm not sure that they'd want to have that conversation repeatedly with half of your readers/guild/etc. But that doesn't mean you didn't make an impact on WoW and the blogosphere.

Anonymous said...

Well, if you stopped posting for a couple of days, your email inbox would be filling with queries about where you were and what you were doing.

If I found out the worst, I would transfer servers, respec arcane (what?!?), create a guild "Pink Pigtail Inn" and proudly walk about your server extolling your virtues,

Ghostboci said...

I think we cannot notice if you died because we are not in contact with you. We are contact with your ideas that you post here. And the ideas are immortal. They live in every people who accepted them, just like your genes live in your children and their children.

I still can read the ideas of Newton or Darwin altrough they dided very long time ago. But we remember them, reiterate their ideas, so part of them is still alive. Same for - of course to a smaller extent but still - Larísa.

Einz said...

People kind of look at me weird when I start to talk about a friend I met in Everquest, or in WoW, like I'm some kind of freak... But what's the difference between meeting someone in a video game and meeting them at a bar, or coffee shop? It's social interaction, regardless of the medium.

((btw, I'm new here... I'm a fellow Arcane Mage; I've already added you to my blogroll - - and look forward to reading your blog))

Larísa said...

Thank you all for those beautiful and wise comments. I hesitated if this topic was a bit too sinister, but you could obviously cope with it.

@krizzlybear, Dechion and Pike: You're absolutely right, I feel stupid that I haven't done such a thing as to make a safety envelop, USB stick or whatever with information how to deal with this stuff. Even though I'm not sure they'd do anything about it, I should give it a try.

@Green Armadillo, yeah they would probably be clueless if some blog readers and game friends started to call them.Though it would certainly give them something to think about...

@Gnomeaggeddon: how SWEET! Though I doubt it's doable since I'm on the EU servers and you're not...
But it's the thought that counts.

@Einz: Welcome! Another mage blog, suddenly there are loads of them. Them more the merrier! I didn't know you existed, and you seem to have been around for a while when I look at your blog, which by the way seems really nice. Loved the description of your char... I'll definitly be back.
And join me in the Battle, please!

Larísa said...

@Ghostboci: I really don't know what kind of ideas I've planted through the blog or the gameplay... can't see them myself. But I guess there are some and the thought is very beautiful and comforting.

Loronar said...

Late to join in, but this is what I get for not keeping up with my feeds.

I've actually considered the same thing before. Maybe not necessarily death, but say a pretty serious accident. I wanted to write about it some time in the past but decided against it.

I'm pretty sure your readers will wonder why you've stopped blogging. The problem is, the varying servers we're in sometimes prevent us from the ability to contact each other in-game or outside the blogosphere. Yes, bloggers will more likely have each other's e-mails, so we can keep in better contact that others.

I think what Ghostboci was trying to get at, and I will agree, is that as bloggers, we provide others with our perspective of the game. We share it so that others can also experience it the way we did or rekindle those memories. It makes others reconsider their own experiences and see it in a new light. If we had not made posts about them, no one else will be able to experience it like we have. That's the kind of legacy we would leave behind.

Since my good friend is now a guest blogger, I suppose he could be the one to post a notification if something were to happen to me.

Larísa said...

@Loronar, it's never too late to comment! You should know that as a blogger... :)

Recently I got a comment on a post I wrote in I think it was... March about the pros and cons of the Mage class. I doubt many English speaking people have read it since it was originally in Swedish and later translated. Not many people will go back and read all the old posts in a new blog they find.

Anyway this person had read it and gave me a compliment and that made my day!

You voted against writing about the subject... Yeah I thought it may be a bit too serious but then I thought... who cares? I write about silly stuff and I write about serious stuff and I rant a lot from time to time. If people don't like it they don't have to read it.

Blogging is in one way the ultimate freedom of speach.