Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Finding My Place in the World...of Warcraft

The thing that makes WoW so great is that the game itself is so finely tuned such that a large variety of people are attracted to play. This is evident in the sheer statistics of the the game's player-base. At 10 million, the stranglehold that Blizzard's brainchild has on the masses around the world is just staggering. Multiply that by the number of alts that players have on average, and you have a virtual character population the size of Canada or even more.

And in the middle of all that, there's you, the individual. Sometimes it's difficult to put things in perspective, especially when one gets so invested into the game, economically, socially, emotionally, or otherwise. But in reality, you're not the only person who exists in the game. Likewise, your guild, PuG, raid group, battleground, or whatnot is not the only one in the realm of Azeroth. There exists groups and individuals that span different playstyles, skill-sets, schedules, and etiquette.

To add fuel to that fire, also consider that each individual is never in the same place over time. As they play the game, they grow, and their view of the game or attitude towards it is always in constant ebb and flow. This is simply due to the natural changes that take place in a person outside the game. The guild leader of the top-tier group grieves for the loss of his mother who passed away from lung cancer; the guy who always spams, trolls, and flames in Trade Chat meets the girl of his dreams and gets married; the guild mother who can always be relied on for advice becomes a mother in real life; the discipline Priest who never gets invited to Kara PUGs becomes one of the most thought-provoking minds in the blogosphere.

With such a fascinating demographic dynamic inherent within and outside of the game, it often becomes difficult to determine where you are in this world, and perhaps most importantly, where you will be going. In my opinion, this is trivial. You can strive all you want to aim for certain goals, but with how open the world is, inside and out of the game, you can never really know where you're going to end up.

As I type this, I'm preparing for what I perceive to be quite an important step in my "real-life progression." In a few hours, I'll be leaving the office early, and going out and handing out resumes for a job within the field of my university degree: forensic science. Now, I'm still one course away from actually completing the program, but career-wise, it's always a good idea to start looking early into what you want to do. That's what inspired me to write this little drabble of a post.

Whether or not I get hired as a low-level lab tech, this job is merely the beginning. But as I look back, I'll remember the first day I stepped onto campus and wondered how the hell I am ever going to survive this place, and laugh at myself for always thinking for the "here and now," and not about how I want to fit in the dynamic mold of society.

With that regard, I vow to do the same with the World of Warcraft. As the world around me changes, I will aim to find the my little niche in it. Likewise, as the World of Warcraft changes, particularly with the coming of Wrath, I will embrace the coming of something wonderful, and hopefully find my own role and voice in the online community to which I belong.


LarĂ­sa said...

A wonderful post, where you're catching the amazing feeling you get of the game. After playing it for a year and a half, it's still sort of growing in my mind. I've found new sides of myself I'd never ever have imagined were there. I've made friends with the most unlikely kind of people.
We all wander different paths and sometimes they unite for a while, sometimes we split. And it's ok actually! We've all got to find our roles as you say, our place in the WoW-world.

Sadly enough it's quite hard to explain this experience to the people outside of the community. So in that aspect I think it's kind of hard to mix the two worlds I live in. Yes, real life sneaks into Azeroth, but it doesn't quite go as easily the other way.

Knurd said...

Life and it's experiences are ever evolving, and that is going to be carried into what ever you do.

My parents are growing in age, and over the last few years and asked that myself and my brothers spend more time with them.

I had to explain to them a while back that could spring dinner on me on certain nights because I was playing a game and a dedicated schedule to be there.

They did not understand this but accepted my wishes. I then went back not too long ago and explained further ... Two of my best friends have come from that game, I have never met either face to face, but it doesn't matter.

Later this year at Blizcon we will meet for the first time. I know by talking to them if things are going right or wrong in RL ... they know the same.

The Social skills learned through the game can, and I am going to assume are for the younger people playing carried out into the world ... the effects go both ways, and possibly in a bigger fashion than any of us ever expected.