For the last few years (until very recently), I was a postgraduate student spending a massive amount of my time at home, alone, writing. I didn’t get out much and when I did, I often felt guilty for being away from my computer. A lot of the time that I was in front of my computer I wasn’t actually doing anything academically productive, but because I was just an alt tab away from being able to add to my work, I felt safe. It was an emotional time where I became distantly acquainted with insanity. We didn’t become friends or anything like that, but we made eye contact once or twice. I’m pretty sure we would’ve been inseparable by now if it wasn’t for this game. I’m not saying my that playing the amount of WoW that I played was a good idea or a healthy plan (I should’ve been out and about more often, doing exercise and being social… or just getting the work done faster…), but it was certainly better than spending countless hours on facebook and feeling crap about myself or lying in bed without the will or the desire to ever get out of it.
Azeroth became a place for me and it still is. At the end of a crap day, when there are no social events planned, no books I particularly feel like reading or when I’m just completely out of energy, I can normally find what I need in the ever-changing World of Warcraft. Probably every second WoW fan shares this dream with me, but I really wish that I could be part of the WoW dev team, coming up with concepts, writing the stories, creating memorable dialogue… I know I’d be good at it. It would be such an amazing job to be part of the creative engine that drives the world forward and keeps it fresh.
The humour, the energy and the imagination involved in creating this world have changed my opinion about gaming forever and inspired me in the weirdest ways. It sounds mushy and silly, I know. It sounds like I’m trying to justify an unhealthy addiction to a stupid game. Perhaps that’s partly true, but it’s definitely more than just that. I can only compare it to how I felt about Harry Potter and the Lord of the Rings back in the day: that feeling of being part of a community, a collective imagination… except it’s different, because this time, I’m not just following a fantastic story: I’m a part of it. I “meet” people from all over the world, I get involved in conversations and debates, and I have learned so much about human nature simply from observing, collaborating and clashing with different people in a massive virtual space. Since I’ve started work, I’m playing a lot less and not depending on it for my sanity or anything like that, but it’s a great form of escapism and I’m looking forward to the next part of the story.
^ *clicky click*