Monday, May 18, 2009

The stories that can’t be told

Monday morning. I’m slowly making progress in the queue to the coffee machine. We’re asking the same question as we ask every week. Not necessarily because we want to know, but because that’s how you’re supposed to socialize at work:

“So how was your weekend?”

This should be answered with something a little bit more detailed than “not bad”. You’re supposed to add something about what you’ve been up to. Preferably you drop something about how you spent the whole Saturday taking out the weeds in the garden, had a barbeque with your friends or watched a football match that your sons’ team was playing.

I’m thinking desperately for something to say. Something socially accepted. And absolutely not WoW related. Should I mention the WoW insider link love I got late friday night which resulted in an insane traffic spike to my blog? No I shouldn't. My co-workers are aware of my obscure interest in science fiction and fantasy, and I think they know that it happens that I play online games. But they certainly don’t know how passionate I am about it, so crazy that I even run a related blog. This event is out of the question to mention.

Finally I come to think about the big final of the Eurovision song contest that I watched with my family. Yes, that’s it! This will be the perfect coffee break topic of the day. It will last me all the way until I’m heading home. I'm safe for this time.

Trying to explain
Sometimes I can’t help regretting that there are so many stories, so many experiences, that can’t be told or shared with anyone outside of the WoW playing community. I’ve tried to explain it a few times, but I’ve given it up, because to an outsider the most epic moments in the game sound just flat and silly.

My last effort in this area took place the other week, when my youngest, non-playing daughter spoke up and said: “Mum, we always speak about our activities but never about yours. Let’s listen to you for once. What are you doing in the game now, is there something important going on, it seems like that?”

So I told her about the new raid instance that was released pretty recently and explained that we were fighting hard to get down all the new bosses. Now we had finally managed to get down the 11th of them in the 10 man version. I had died over and over again for two hours previous night, but at last we got him, and I was so happy and proud about it. And I added that I hoped that we would kill the same boss once again anytime soon now, but with 25 people present.

I listened to myself with the ears of a non-gamer and I knew as I was speaking that I sounded stupid, to tell the least. To kill the same boss again? What was that about, really? From the look on her face I realized that my effort to explain this passion of mine was a complete failure. I fumbled for some better words and then I gave in and turned silent.

The difficulties
For some reason it seems that it’s much harder to talk about WoW than about any other hobby. If you’re a dedicated golf player, you can easily talk about a hole-in-one or a successful round that was so-and-so under par, and people will perfectly well understand why you’re so excited. If you’re playing football you can talk about your wins and losses. If you’re into performing arts you can talk about the audience and reviews.

But try to explain to someone outside of the game how glad you are that you finally got your Hodir rep to exalted so you could buy the shoulder enchants and that you never ever want to do any Hodir quests again. Try to explain the awesomeness of the two pieces of T8 bonus. Explain how happily surprised you were when it turned out that the fishing quest reward contained a +23 spelldamage gem that seems to sell at 1k gold at AH (happened to me yesterday!) Try to explain the joys and sorrows that come with the everyday of a living, vibrant raiding guild. Tell them about the visions, the dreams, the failures, the triumphs, the emotions and the relations that define who we are in the game.

Has anyone succeeded? Is it doable at all?

The solid barrier
Sometimes I’ve been playing with the idea to write some kind of fiction, inspired by my own experiences from this world – a little bit like a written equivalent to The Guild perhaps. However I seriously doubt that I could ever find an audience for it outside of the MMO community. The niche is to narrow.

There’s a solid barrier between Azeroth and the rest of the world, for good and for bad. The bad thing about it is that there’s a big and important part of my life that I can’t show publicly. Sometimes this makes me feel like a hoax. I’m acting like a normal, well adapted grown-up, while there’s a part of me that is revolting against it.

On the other hand I’m not only worried about the barrier. Actually there’s a part of me who wants to keep the worlds distinctly apart, who enjoys to share a secret with a few million other people spread all over the world. There is an escape-it-all aspect of the game that speaks to me. Azeroth is to me like any Elidor or Narnia. Entering the magic portal, the login screen, slipping into my online identity, I can sometimes literally feel how the burdens of everyday slip of my shoulders. Would they really do that if the worlds were more mixed together?

Monday morning
Monday morning. I’m standing by the coffee machine listening to myself talking about the Eurovision song contest as if it mattered to me. Tomorrow night I’ll once again slip through the portal to my second, secret existence. Epic encounters with Freya and Mimron are waiting. Our adventures will become a new story that cannot be told to those on the other side of the doorway to the magic world.

And maybe it’s just as good.


*vlad* said...

Last night we wiped on the crazy old cat woman because some people failed to run out of the void zone.

"ffs!" I moaned out loud.

"What is it?" said my girlfriend.

I then explained what had happened, and watched her eyes glaze over and her attention shift to something else whilst I spoke.

I gave up explaining even the most basic elements of the game to her long ago; she simply isn't interested, and doesn't even pretend to be.
That doesn't stop her telling everyone that I play WoW; in fact she seems to delight in telling people, usually at some social event where there are plenty of people who I don't know, and like you it's not something I particularly want to be discussing in public, because then I get judged as some kind of nerd or geek.
True love.

Eury said...

Great post because I know exactly how you feel. I am the sole gamer in my office of co-workers. The boyfriend is definitely not a gamer.

While out of town last week, I tried to sketch out the upcoming raid schedule. My co-workers know I play WoW and only lightly tease me about it. I learned though that when I am working on something game related the appropriate response to their question "Whatcha workin on?" is "Oh, just something Warcraft related. So what's up with (insert any topic other than Warcraft here)?"

The boyfriend, on the other hand, actually asks questions like how the raid is going when I am heading back to the kitchen for a drink - sweet right? Sometimes when I get carried away I roll my eyes and realize that he has no idea what I'm talking about. But he listens none the less, knowing I'll eventually catch up and realize he's not a gamer after all. But he knows I play a mage and that I cast spells to blow stuff up. In retrospect, that's not too bad at all.

Shy said...

I guess I'm pretty lucky. My partner and I both play, so we can discuss it together. But try to explain to anybody outside, and they just don't seem to understand.

Somehow I managed to get my dad to play, and where he once told me that he was worried about me not being social at all anymore, he now seems to understand that the game is social. And that it's simply a choice of hanging out with a different kind of people then the crowd I used to hang out with.

Then again, I think it goes for anything you're passionate about and that the other isn't. One of my colleagues is very into running. Like marathons and so...and I can't help but smile vaguely as he talks about it and nod a little, the same reaction I would get when I talk about WoW.

Lerbic said...

Its funny you should write this today, because half an hour ago on my lunch time, a colleague came to me and said "Lerbic, you play online games dont you ?" (ok, he didnt call me Lerbic, that would have been scary, he used my rl name)

My initial thought was one of dread, I was about to be mocked...but actually, he was wanting some info about which games might be suitable for his kids to try, and we had a 10 minute conversation about gaming in general, and how he enjoys playing games with his kids

Certainly in my line of work, in my experience, gaming is not as rare as I thought, but then we are mostly scientists, so I guess the geekiness is kind of there already !

PS: I've been commenting as "Scotty" here for a while, I finally got round to getting a blogger account !

Dechion said...

You just described my day in a nutshell.

Not a single coworker at my office plays.

My wife thinks that Wow was created by evil aliens bent on controlling the earth.

(maybe they could offer a really cool in game mount in exchange for the keys to the planet?)

My kids putter around at low levels from time to time, but have no real interest.

Perhaps thats why I run the blog. Just so I have a place where I can chat about it with others who at least know what I am talking about.

Fish said...

I agree Wow is a less socially acceptable hobby, I have found it helps for balance purposes to engage in some other regular hobbies as well. Yes, I was off work for 4 days in a row and spent the majority of that time playing wow, but I also attended a friend's wedding. Normally I'd have hockey too (stupid off-season).
Strangers see what you present to the general public, friends get to know who you really are.

Elnia said...

Like many things it's just a matter of time. The reason that so many major sports are easy to understand is because they are major. Analogies from sports filter into our daily lives. But it wasn't always so. Once upon a time people thought the same thing about football and basketball as they now do about WoW. It's hilarious going back into the 1800s and reading articles about how baseball was going to destroy the fiber for America's youth. Bicycle riding was another big bugaboo. Seriously, bicycle riding was going to kill us all. Does this sound familiar at all? At all?

Okrane S. said...

Good post Larisa.

I am often in the same situation you describe, after a weekend of intensive gaming I come to work and face the same questions.

Questions at which some answer by talking about their cool trip to the seaside, or a night out in one the newest clubs. I for one try to dodge it as much as possible, for the reasons you clearly covered.

What utterly amazes me in the posts here is their tone which pictures wow-gamers as not understood by the rest of the world. But in fact thinking that gaming, and especially playing wow, is just another hobby and that if you get your kicks out of it it should be looked upon just as any other activity is plain wrong.

Here's why I think others dont appreciate it(imho):

a) It is a solitary, anti-social activity.

Simple enough, you spend hours in front of the monitor without talking or interacting with anyone. Sure, there are people in game, but as long as you don't know them irl your relationship with them will be constantly truncated by the screen. There cannot be real relationships in a computer game because of the environement, the activities done and the complete lack of physical interaction (like body-language, eye contact etc). It is no worse than spending the whole day facebooking or chatting with strangers on the web. Fun at first, damaging in the long run.

Even worse, by spending so much time online with virtual people, you risk damaging your relationships with the real people around you. Take BRK for example.

b) It is unconstructive.

You learn absolutely nothing by playing the game. There are people who spent their days alone reading books. They learn something by doing it. However playing a fantasy games improves not your knowledge or understanding of anything.

c) It is unhealthy.

Sitting on a chair, locked up in a room day after day... enough said. Especially for those of us already having a desk job in front of a computer.
All sports hobbies even if they might fail at the previous two reasons are better because of this. At best, upon picking up the game you remain in the same shape as before, at worst, you get fat, you start feeling tired and become unproductive.

d) Most players are dumb kids and total geeks.

This is stereotype thinking. But valid in the real world. Even if you are not a geek (or a dumb kid) if you do their activity you are pictured as one.
Not fair, but not that far fetched imo, because if all your in-game interactions are with such people you cannot help to gain something of their character.

e) It is time-consuming.

To be successful, in either pve (Ulduar) or pvp, you must spend large amounts of time doing it and not doing anything else. Honestly I am not embarrassed by telling my co-workers about that one saturday I went to a LAN party and played Unreal Tournament all day long with some friends. They laughed and thought it was surely fun.
However, wow is a commitment. I do not talk about it because I do it every day.

f) It is not real.

Any achievement you get has no intrinsic value. In 2 years from now when the game will fade away and another will take its place, all the things you have achieved (like downing bosses etc) will be worth nothing. Not to you, nor anyone. The golf player will relate to other golf players 10 years from now, that game will not die.
The guy that travels in his weekends will probably find interesting places to take his future girlfriend to. However the wow-player wont even have a story to tell, because, once the game gone, nobody will ever know what it was about and your time spent in that game will be simply lost.

Dont get me wrong. I like playing the game. I've been playing for more than a year now and I have a cute pigtailed mage myself :)
However in this last year I felt affected by the effects described above.

And I finish my long post with one last thought: maybe others are entitled to look at us in this way... because maybe they are right.

Please flame me!

Asara Dragoness said...

I know what you mean.
It's a struggle to keep up relationships, both in-game and out. I too have tried explaining to non-players about what I'd been up to, but only those who play really understand what it means. Not to mention care.

To Okrane.

How does this compare to the person who spent the weekend watching television? It's exactly the same, but somehow more socially acceptable.

Saying, "I caught up on the episodes of 'Lost' that I had on DVR" is understood, and most people are fine with it. Those that don't watch the show may not understand exactly what happened, but hey, you watched some TV. Unwound. Cool. People get that.

On the other hand, "I flew around Zul'Drak for an hour hoping for Gondria to spawn so I could tame him. He spawned, but some Horde got there just before me and killed him." Same time investment, vastly different response. From someone who plays, you get a heartfelt. "That sucks, I'm sorry about that." From someone who doesn't, you get, "Um.. ok." Usually followed by a few steps in the other direction.

I'm not saying that your points aren't valid, but there are at least a few rebuttals. WoW is not the only thing out there that can cause these problems. The person watching TV interacts with no-one.

There are things to be learned in WoW, teamwork comes to mind, as well as leadership, maybe even theorycrafting, in the sense that you are modeling an environment and how different factors can affect it.

Watching television can be just as unhealthy, if not more so, because you're just sitting or lying down in the same place for hours. The most effort you put out is maybe to bring some chips out of the bag and shove them in your mouth. At least in WoW, you're thinking about what you're doing, and actively responding to the game.

Catju said...

In life we are all responsible for monitoring ourselves in whatever we do. I consider myself a productive part of my famliy and community and don't feel frowned upon for my enjoyment of WOW.

I don't discuss the game alot with family since it would be like my brother-in law talking to me about the structure of his governmental just would go over my head.

I may bring up events that have occurred to my friends in the guild in their real lives since we have connected with many.

I treasure every weekend with my family and friends in and out of the game so its always a good weekend:) (except when I lost that roll from KT :P )

Cathy said...

Errr can't spell my own name....Cathy

BlueTiger said...

Agreed. I get to listen to endless conversations at my work about motorcycles, boats and cars. I am lucky that I atleast have one here that are interested in computergames, even though it's not wow.

But yeah, I think my co-workers think I have a boring life since my weekends are usually summed up with "fine".

Klepsacovic said...

I think WoW is in a transition. It's not socially unacceptable anymore, but people don't understand it. They don't understand the central concepts of it so there's no way to really communicate to them what happened. Sports are known within the countries that play them, maybe not that people have a ton of interest, but they know what it means when you say you scored X number of points or you got the winning shot in the last 5 seconds. WoW doesn't have that.

Maybe someday that will change. Will people commonly know what it means to one-shot, gank, wipe, or be flagged?

It is frustrating to remember a weekend and think of how much fun it was, and then realize you have no idea how to communicate that to others.

Khaelie said...

I guess i am lucky as i work with my GM and another in the guild and there are several others here who play the game, so if i want to talk about that i have people here who understand. After all, this morning i came in to announce that i am now "Khaelie of Darnassas!" boy would i have gotten some weird looks from people if they did not know what i was talking about! those of us that know each other IRL also do things together outside of WoW, like this weekend we all went to denver and hung out, did some shopping and had some drinks.
i am also so lucky to have a hubby who plays - not to the same extent as myself... but he is a gamer nonetheless and he plays many more games than i do - so he gets it too.
I totally understand about the glazed over look that you get when you talk to a non-gamer about WoW. I have several friends and family members who get that look when i try to explain anything. they do not understand why i would spend so much time doing something that is completely unproductive, but if i wasnt doing that it is likely that i would just be watching TV or something of that nature which i fully believe is worse. at least i am using my mind to some extent.

Stoico said...

Like many if not all here. I also know how this feel. Only at work playing wife is a NO-gamer. MY kids are to small to really get the picture of it yet.

When ever I get asked about it, its because a co-workers kid is playing it, ofc to much. Funny how its mostly negative when it comes from people outside of the "portal".
Reason I have my blog as well, a place where I can Vent out alot of thoughts and just what I do ingame. A place where no matter what I say, I atleast can pretend someone listens. (Read it).

Great write up Larisa, as always.

Gevlon said...

How to explain the awesomeness of your game to people:

There are monsters in the game with different difficulty. On the last season, the hardest was a huge, firebreathing dragon, supported by walls of fire and THREE lesser dragons. 11 million people of the world tried to defeat them. Most of them were young people, with hours of playtime and cutting edge computer.

I am a middle aged women, my reaction time is not like it was in my 20-es, there were no such games in my youth, I have very little game time and only an average computer.

Out of the 11 million people 10.5 million have failed to kill the dragons. I've succeeded.

Dàchéng said...

I have several hobbies. I play the mandolin, I sail, I play WoW, I play poker, I windsurf and I play a little guitar and bass guitar. Guess which is the only one I don't talk about to my co-workers?

Larísa said...

@Vlad: well that’s actually a good sign after all… that she isn’t ashamed of your gameplay! Maybe managed to make his missis start playing…

@Eury: Not too shabby! At least he seems to accept it and actually asks you about it – even though you may suspect it’s mostly out of politeness.

@Shy: I agree that any kind of interest will become a bit nerd-like if you get deeply enough involved in it. Still I can’t help thinking that a marathon run is easier to explain to someone new to it than a boss fight.

@Lerbic: feel lucky to be among geeks! A bit of well grounded geekiness will help you a long way. And welcome as a blogger!

@Dechion: Yeah I think that’s actually one of the big reasons why I spend this time and energy on blogging about wow. It’s partly because I love writing, but also because it gives me someone to share all this stuff with – people who know where I’m coming from without too many explanations.

@Fish: Yeah, I do other stuff as well, so I’m not completely out of topics to discuss. It’s just that I sometimes can’t help thinking that it’s a bit strange that I censor a part of my life.

@Elnia: Time will show, but yeah, you’re probably right. Just seeing the changed attitude to sf and fantasy is pretty amazing. I used to be a geek just being interested in that kind of stuff. Nowadays it’s perfectly normal…

@Okrane S: You have some points, but I don’t quite agree. I think I’m learning a bit through the gaming. Watching the leading and group process going on in a raiding guild is quite fascinating and gives me a lot of food for thought. I’ve improved my English quite a bit the last year, playing and blogging in English. I can catch myself even thinking in English. That was definitely not the case before I started to play WoW. And I’ve definitely got much more social contact through WoW. I develop friendships of my own – not just through my husband – something I haven’t had for years and years. It isn’t like I used to get out and hang around with friends all the times before I started to play. I was lonely, watching TV, reading books or going to the gym. Rather shy. Now I spend several nights a week, chatting, interacting, cooperating with others, and in between keeping in touch through e-mailing and such. It’s really a big difference – to the better.
I won’t flame you. I just try to say that what’s true for you isn’t necessarily true for everyone else. Just like my bartender wrote the other day in his post Merely WoW.

@Asara Dragnoess: very well put. I agree!

@Cathy: Actually I don’t think I’m not talking about it because gaming is frowned upon. It’s rather that it’s so hard to explain it to a non gamer in a way that makes sense. Mabye it’s just too special… I don’t know.

@Blue Tiger: haha yeah I recognize that. Then I’m not very social in the normal way. I don’t think I said much more than that before I started to play wow. Once upon a time I made stencil sf magazines on my mimeograph and attended sf conventions. That didn’t make much sense either to talk about.

@Klepsacovic: exactly my opinion. It’s not the stigma about gaming that is the problem, it’s the lack of common references. People just don’t know the vocabulary, the concept, what you’re talking about. And yeah, when there has been one of those Big Unforgettable Events in the game, such as when we killed Sarth+3d, it makes me a little bit frustrated that I can’t share it.

@Khaelie: wow, that sounds very luxurious! That must be just amazing to work together with other WoW players… Wouldn’t mind hanging by the coffee machine under those circumstances :)

@Stoico: Yeah, the blog is really a great outlet. Maybe that’s the best advice for people who feel lonely in their WoW interest. Start a blog and just let it all out!

@Gevlon: I’m not sure it would make sense to other people but I appreciate what you wrote anyway. You’re always so supportive and encouraging. You’re not giving me gold or welfare, but you give me trust and acknowledgement and it means a lot to me. Thank you!

@Dàchéng: hm… I’ve got the distinct feeling it might be WoW… At least you don’t lack other hobbies to talk about!

Dorgol said...

My wife gets me to chatting about WoW if she notices me dozing while driving. It's something I can talk about that she doesn't have to actually listen to. :)

Kiryn said...

I work in the gaming industry, so even among people at work who don't actually play WoW, they're familiar enough with it that they'll know what I'm talking about as long as I don't get too specific. My BF has played WoW almost as long as I have, so we talk about it all the time.

Among my family members though? Talking to my sister about WoW gets through about as much as when my dad starts talking about his newfound obsession with ham radio. Her eyes just glaze over, she says "yeah, that's great" and changes the subject to what kind of stamps she's putting on her wedding invitations.

Sprink said...

I know full well the glazed stares as you answer the question "What did you do over the weekend?"... only I get a double whammy.

I pencil and paper roleplay every Saturday, and Sunday is 'dungeon day' with my friends/5-man WoW group.

However, I'm proud of what I've/we've accomplished, in both settings. And I try to explain things as simple as possible, keeping to only the most interesting parts to non-players, and it seems to work okay. If I see the eyes glaze over, I switch topics to something sports related (damn, it's good to have a fall back you enjoy ^_^) or something. But, they do the same for me when I'm listening to the virtues of what was on TV over the weekend (I don't watch TV) or how the Tigers are doing (Go Detroit).

I guess it's just a matter of taking the good, taking the bad, taking them both, and there you have... life. ^_^

Consolea said...

This is post just yet another example of why I love this blog. It's not packed up to the edge with mindless and dull info on how a strange guild is progressing, neither is written like a ten-year-old trying to describe how "supah awsum n great n kool" his lvl 28 hunter is. It's just so many of the thoughts I have about the game myself. Again: love it.

And regarding the topic: I've been there and done that so many times. How many times have I not gotten a litte pat ont he head from my boyfriend, after trying to explain how great it was to get my first piece of T8.5? How many times have I not been countered with "God, you're suck a geek sometimes!" when I try to express my happiness over a new raid kill. I have a feeling that why I have a WoW blog myself tho. It's better to have two nice readers, than ten blank stares, aye?

At last: thought I should tell you that I'm now linking here from my blog, and that I wrote about this blog in my own little website. Cheers.

pjharvey said...

i agree with Sprink's perspective, being proud and enthusiastic about what you do whilst being aware of your audience. I think many people would be interested in what you do if only because it would show an interest in you.

Keep it simple to start with, like you are teaching the basics of the game to someone who knows nothing about it, and you may be surprised how much of an interest your friends and colleagues may eventually show.

Kromus said...

WoW can kill and strengthen a relationship.

Some posts here were fantastic, yeah your right-- WoW will fade away, but the memory won't. Theres far worse you could be doing.

In WoW your learning to deal with people, conditions then do what you can with those requirements. Watching tele is just soaking up information then reguritating it. Its good for some things, but WoW is still with other like minded people.

I was the first to play WoW in my entire school, and i was still popular, still mass amount of banter, but every now and again i "failed"....soon after they all started playing and are now dedicated to the game...In their spare time. Ones a media guy, ones a apprentice electrician and im currently studying for university....

People shouldnt dedicate your life to it, but if you play it alongside life then you have no worries what so ever--

I find football talk unacceptable. We all hate and love stuff because were human and arn't programmed to get along on a mass scale. I'd rather being playing WoW with people like you then some of the other scumbags in this ever fading world.

My girlfriend plays, and basically, when i described when i was annnoyed, i used real life scenarios.

Somebody leaves group and pulls wave to spite the group. =

"there was an arguement in a football game and the player bursts the ball and heads to the changing room.." for e.g.

Syrana said...

Has anyone succeeded? Is it doable at all?It is, but like Sprink said about knowing your audience.

My parents previously were not MMO gamers, but I was able to somewhat share my passion for the game and achievements. Now they play, so it's easier. :P

Where I work, there are few gamers at all. A couple people are console gamers. There is one coworker that I can talk with about the game... but mostly because we also have music and console gaming to fall back on if I lose him in WoW talk. However, he does read my blog and loves my RP posts.. but has never played WoW (or any other MMORPG).

So there are some family/friends/coworkers I can talk with about the game in small doses without losing them too much. Although, they will never fully grasp the emotions behind my adventures until (if) they play themselves.

Now, my stylist... that's another story. I tried to sorta mention it, but yeah.. lost her. It was hard on Saturday after the excitement and disappointment of trying (and failing) to get BlizzCon tickets. They sold out right before I went to my appointment.

Eaten by a Grue said...

I think Okrane is pretty right. Larisa, you are an exception in what positives you have managed to draw from the game.

I will add another reason, and this particularly has to do with trying to convey to someone the raiding aspect of the game.

The challenge is artificial. That really hard boss could be made trivial by a few lines of code and a few minutes of a programmer's time. That really neat piece of armor could be put to shame by that same programmer, who just decides to add a few zeros to the stats of another item.

Non WoW players will immediately realize the artificiality of the challenge, and will be genuinely puzzled as to why in the world you bother to jump through Blizzard's hoops.

Imagine if someone told you about a little game they played with themselves over the weekend. Rolling two dice, the goal is to roll double-sixes three times in a row. Then, you win! Would you be very impressed in hearing about their streaks?

In a real sport, while some of the challenge is arbitrarily set, for example, the height of the basket in basketball, the distance to the hole in golf, etc., the physical challenge of performing athletic moves is real, and the opponent is quite real. So everyone can instantly relate to that and appreciate the challenge involved.

Anyway, that's my theory.

Anonymous said...

I don't know why my wife even knows...

She has usually tuned out within 5 seconds of me starting to tell her.

If I say only "good" or "bad" I cop it too... /sigh

I think the biggest problem is you can't just say:
"We wiped on Sapp"

Because it has no context...

You have to explain that it took you 5 hours to get to Sapp... Sapp does this, or that... and it was the idiot [insert class here] that meant that you have to log on again tomorrow... please... pretty please?

Larísa said...

@Dorgol: haha, that’s a great idea! I doze off pretty easily driving myself. Unfortunately my husband just hates wow so I don’t think I’d dare suggest it.

@Kiryn: Working in the gaming industry must really be very different when it comes to the coffee machine conversations. And having a wow playing BF as well. It’s en entirely different situation, really.

@Sprink: that’s really the ideal situation, where you can exchange experiences from different areas and putting the life puzzle together. In my case I think it’s kind of one way. I listen with big interest to most of the weekend achievements of others, it’s quite rare that I really have to act that I’m interested. But I won’t tell them what I’ve been up to, what’s interesting to me. It’s just too difficult to share.

@Consolea: thank you so much for your kind words! I just checked out your blog and I think I’ve found a sister. Cheers!

@Pjharvey: Yeah, maybe I’m underestimating my collegues… Maybe… I just don’t know where to begin, but I don’t mind public speaking… catching an audience. Maybe I should just prepare better and try to give it a go?

@Kromus: actually even though I’m not that interested in football, I can find football talk quite interesting, as long as it’s done with passion and intelligence. I love geeks no matter what area they’re active in. It probably sounds a bit strange, but that’s how it is to me.

@Syrana: Ahhh… I can imagine how hard it was to go to the stylist. All winded up after the excitement and the disappointment. And then you really can’t share the emotions, just have to try to play cool. That’s some strain.

@Eaten by a Grue: To be honest I don’t follow you about the “artificial challenge”. You always make a decision about the setting, the rules of the game. It’s no different to decide where to put the bar if you’re high-jumping or how hard the boss should hit. I seriously DO think that raiding is very much comparable to any kind of team sport, it’s just that the skill is about reacting, moving, taking the right decisions on a screen and not on a field. But it’s very hard to make outsiders understand that.

@Gnomeaggedon: Oh yes, that is really hard to explain. That it’s NOT the same thing to oneshot Levi or to attend a learning night at Mimron. That the playing has different qualities and that there are some nights that are more important than others. I’ve never even tried.

Alfonsius said...

Great post Larísa!
And great comment Gevlon!

Anonymous said...

Another enjoyable post on the personal aspects associated with WoW Larísa. This topic is something that I know too well, as it seems a lot of others do too. My approach to this is to save my specific game discussions for people who I know share similar interests, and I am lucky enough to haw a few such persons around. With my wife I have found that the glazy stare (heh, love the mental image that expression gives me) is less likely to appear when I talk about my in-game friends, and the non-game things that comes up. Like when I shared the flooding incident my 5-year old had in the bathroom, and gets a bunch of similar stories told back by the other parents in the guild. Those are nice things to share, and gives my gaming a little more sense of being a legit interest.

Carra said...

Great post and very recognizable. I never talk about WoW at work or at home either. Sure, the people at work know that I game. But when we talk, it will rather be about the tv show I've seen. It's a subject more people can talk about. And I've been asked a few times at home what we are up to but I just find it too hard to try and explain. It's hard to see the fun in it from the outside.

But besides all that, WoW is not a socially accepted pasttime. In fact, your chances to get a job go down if you tell them you are playing WoW:

He replied that employers specifically instruct him not to send them World of Warcraft players. He said there is a belief that WoW players cannot give 100% because their focus is elsewhere, their sleeping patterns are often not great, etc. I mentioned that some people have written about MMOG leadership experience as a career positive or a way to learn project management skills, and he shook his head. He has been specifically asked to avoid WoW players.So I don't talk about it. Taking a quick browse through the comments, there seem to be more people who think that WoW is not an accepted pasttime in the eyes of many people. Actually, gaming in itself isn't an accepted pasttime. It's often seen as something for kids, something you stop when you reach a certain age. Even though the average gamer age is around 37. But as long as it's not socially acceptable, talking about it at work is a no go.

Kimberly said...

I'm very fortunate in that my guy plays as well. So we can talk about it.

But I do feel odd when people at work talk about their weekends. Somehow, my 6 hour raid is seen as inferior to the 6 hours someone else spent when they went to the movies on Saturday AND Sunday. Or the 15 hours of catching up on a season's worth of television on DVD.

I think it's because when people think computer games, they think of the sullen pre-teens playing Nintendo DS at a restaurant table or the occasional story of someone who died because they didn't eat for 6 days while playing WoW.

My mother understands the social aspect of it better than the tactics. So I share funny jokes that my guildmates tell and crack her up with stories of guildies falling off of ledges and into fire or water. She "gets" that from watching me play Atari games all those years ago.

Okrane S. said...


What you are trying to pass as positive sides of playing are just rationalizations of your desire to play.

You learn nothing of leadership or managing groups of people in game. Or at least too little to be of any importance anywhere else. "omg wtf, dont stand in the fire. -50dkp"

Anyway, if you are shy and would like to be around people more, imo you should try and work on that, in the real world that is, not hide behind a computer because if you do you're just fooling yourself.

To all those who gave watching TV as an example:

Watching TV for HUGE amount of time is same as bad and same as frowned upon. People might accept it more, because almost everyone watches it in small amounts. (I dont even have a TV if u are wondering). Abusing it will be looked at just the same as gaming.

@Employers vs wow players.

What everyone does in their free time is their business finally, as long as it does not affect their work. So casual players shouldnt have any problems. The hardcore or the other hand...
picture this: at this moment I am a wow player posting here during work time... for you to judge

Sydera said...

Wow. I thought I was the only one who treated Warcraft like my secret identity! I think I end up seeming like a person who possibly sleeps too much to friends and co-workers. . . but I'm not about to share.

Sydera said...


With enough determination anything can be seen in a negative light.

For me, if it were not for WoW, I would have a different sedentary hobby. I do exercise and hang out with friends--but I can only spend so many hours in the gym before I fall over dead, and I can only bug my friends (who mostly have little kids) so often before they get sick of me. Before WoW, I used to read a ton of fantasy and sci-fi novels. I still read a couple a week--but the old habit was one per day!

The point is, I'm going to waste a certain amount of time, if not one way, in another.

And also, as a "hardcore" raider, I spend less time in game than I used to as a casual. I don't do the very most time-consuming things anymore--leveling alts, guild management, or extensive farming. I pretty much log on to raid and then blog about it a couple times a week, and that's it.

Okrane S. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Okrane S. said...

Then surely you must have lots of stories (other than wow) to tell to your co-workers when you go to work on Monday morning :)

Nice post about creative writing btw

Bri said...

I work with several others who also play WoW, some of whom are in my guild.
Talking about WoW at work is like finding a glass of water in the desert. The danger is talking to those people about WoW, and nothing else.

Darraxus said...

I got my fiancee to play with me after her hating the game for SOOOO long. I dont talk about the game to people who dont play. They know I like video games, but that is about it.

People find it more acceptable to be a couch potatoe than to play a game which can actually make you think and adapt to situations.

Azryu said...

You certainly never fail to be interesting.

I actually thought of the idea of writing a peice of fiction but I find that either it will be bad, or I will have trouble ending it.

Russell said...

"Simple enough, you spend hours in front of the monitor without talking or interacting with anyone. Sure, there are people in game, but as long as you don't know them irl your relationship with them will be constantly truncated by the screen. There cannot be real relationships in a computer game because of the environement, the activities done and the complete lack of physical interaction (like body-language, eye contact etc)."

Perhaps you're right in a perfect world. I do think that modern Western culture has some huge problems with personal relationships. In the pre-modern world, one had the extended family and the tribal unit as automatic support and friendship network; today we have nothing remotely close. A majority of Americans do not know their next-door neighbors--for primates, that is extremely unhealthy. Solitary confinement, a widespread practice in the American prison system, is torture.Yet that doesn't mean you can simply dismiss WoW and other online interactions as utterly meaningless. Non-ideal? Probably. Better than nothing? Absolutely. In a nihilistic consumer society, people grasp at any sort of interaction because in many cases, it's all they have. My WoW friends are my friends, full stop.

"You learn absolutely nothing by playing the game. There are people who spent their days alone reading books. They learn something by doing it. However playing a fantasy games improves not your knowledge or understanding of anything."

This is just preposterous. Endgame raiding is not easy--you have to know your class, your spec, your rotation, and what stats are best for you in what balance. Some will spend hours with advanced mathematical tools like MATLAB or Mathematica to model their class or spec. Most of all, you have to practice, practice, and practice to be very good. Sure, those things don't relate to anything in the real world, but it's something to sharpen your mind against. The challenge is what keeps people coming back.

I remember a math professor that would often assign problems that were literally out of this world--problems that could have no possible bearing on reality. Example: "Can a knot stay tied in a four-dimensional world?" (Answer: no). Does that mean that problem wasn't mentally stimulating?

As a counter-example, my aunt constantly reads silly detective novels, probably a couple hours a day. They are all pretty much the same, so much so that she will sometimes read one through only to realize that she has read it before. I don't begrudge my aunt her hobby, but my point is that you can't generalize about the mental value of particular types of media.

Anonymous said...

well written, and a sentiment that I am sure is what draws wow players to wow players and bloggers to bloggers.
I downplay my wowing, because in the corporate world a game is a game, they can understand my writing, and my passion for my work, but Warcraft is a passion that seems to be unique that only those that are reformed from it, or are emmersed in it can understand