Blog Azeroth Secret Santa: Friendships in WOW
Blog Azeroth Secret Santa
Hello, my name is Rilandune, and I have been given the honor of guest posting on Kae’s blog as her Secret Santa. Each year the Blog Azeroth community has a guest-blog-post exchange and I drew Kae’s name from the virtual hat. So, first and foremost I would like to say – “Merry Christmas Kae! And a Wonderful Happy New Year!”
I must confess that I have been writing and re-writing this post for the last week. I have had intentions of writing on everything from healing mechanics to Cataclysm LFD behavior patterns. They all fell… short. So here I am, the very last day of the allotted period of time to send these blog posts to our Secret Santa recipients, procrastinating as is my usual, and I have decided that what I will write on is far less “mechanical” so-to-speak.
Friendships in the World of Warcraft
There exists in this world a stigma that all gamers are anti-social, sit-in-their-basement-all-day, folks that eat poorly and perhaps are a little lax with their personal hygiene. Now, before you get upset with me I will have you know that I do not feel this way at all. And truth be told that stigma is subsiding quite a bit with the rise in popularity of gaming in many aspects among “celebrities” (please not that term is italicized because I find it ridiculous, most of these so called ”celebrities” have no redeeming qualities and are certainly not worthy of celebration, but I digress). That and games like World of Warcraft have put gaming into the public view, center stage, out in the open for all to see and admire.
Yet, to some, gamers are seen as an unfriendly lot, secluded and isolated, hiding behind a monitor and a headset. Nay, I say. This is not the case.
In the past 13 years of my life I have played at all times an MMORPG. For nearly 10 of those years I have played with predominantly the same core group of individuals. I have cultivated very real relationships with these people. We know each others birthdays, we know each others spouses birthdays, we pray for each other in times of need, we send gifts to one another for holidays and special occasions. I have had the pleasure of meeting two of my guildmates in person, one of which for dinner several times, including he and his wife and daughter. I have people that I consider very real and true friends spread out across the entirety of the United States, not to mention the globe. In the early days of Vanilla, I would log in to play at 4:00am Eastern Time so that I could level with a guild mate and friend of mine who was living in Japan. My wife would wake up around 6:30 to get ready for work, she would come in and say good morning to myself and Max over ventrillo, and then I would get ready for work and the day would proceed as normal.
Friendships do not always need to be with those you have direct, face-to-face contact with. There was a time in this worlds history that having a pen pal was common place. I daresay that these people in days gone by would say with fervor that they considered their pen pals to be friends. So why should we be any different?
This time of year is always a point where people take a look at their lives a little bit closer. They see things that perhaps they have never seen before. I for one have always appreciated those friends in my life that I have met through gaming. I have never taken them for granted. My best friend and I played Ultima Online together for a number of years in the late 90′s and early 2000′s. We still to this day bring up old friends we knew in that game that we haven’t spoken to in a decade and reminisce on the great times we had together.
The point of this post is two fold: first I wished to wax poetic a bit on how strongly I feel that relationships formed by non-direct-contact means are just as real, and can often times be more real, than those formed with the guy that sits in the cubicle adjoining your own; and second, I urge all of you to take a look around you, at the friends you’ve made in this game or another, and if perhaps feel as though you may have been holding yourself back from feeling a true connection, I say go for it. And, if perhaps that is not the case, that you do feel as I do that friendships in gaming can be just as real as friendships with those 80 people you have friended on Facebook that you haven’t spoken to in 14 years since you graduated high school, but you have perhaps a relative or friend who thinks it silly to be so close with individuals you have never seen in the flesh – explain to them their lack of understanding. Kindly of course. Take the time to explain to them that this hobby/passion/past-time we all share is just as real as the guys that throw thousands of dollars a year into fantasy football leagues. Explain to them that just because you have never seen what your raid-teams main tank looks like, you can still go out of your way to wish them “Happy Birthday” and have it mean just as much as if someone had said it to them in person.
As Bill & Ted once said, “Be excellent to each other”
Cheers! Happy Holidays!
PS. One of my best buddies, a gent called Muzzleloader on Earthen Ring (US) gave me Lil’ Ragnoros and Moonkin Hatchling for Christmas, showing that the gaming relationships we have can go the other direction as well
Be sure to head over to the Blog Azeroth and read the comments for links to other Secret Santa posts.