WoW is an escape for many people, myself included. I daresay the majority of WoW players are using WoW as an “escape” from “real” life. Quite a few of them probably feel guilty about it, or type /played and have this hollow sensation of time wasted. Probably even more WoW players have family and friends that constantly deride them for spending so much time on a “stupid game.”
I don’t really understand why liking WoW and playing it a bunch is somehow a bad thing. The stigma held by outsiders and many insiders is utterly perplexing to me.
Tell me. If you weren’t playing WoW in your free time, what would you be doing?
Watching TV? Movies? Reading a book, perhaps? Baking cookies? Building model airplanes and flying them? Getting drunk with friends all the time? Gardening?
How, exactly, are any of those different from WoW?
A videogame is just an enabler, an outlet, for any number of things. It’s just a hobby, something you do to pass the time, to have some fun, to provide an outlet for some emotional trouble.
The difference between fishing in the real world and fishing in a virtual one are all semantic. At the casual end, it is an easy, relaxing, meditative experience. Bring some friends, have some laughs. At the more hardcore end, you can start getting into arguments over differing types of baits and hooks, discuss different types of lines with other experts, spend time planning maps and memorizing mob spawn points, bringing consumables or even a DK to optimize fishing routes. Both activities at any level are exactly the same deep down, the only differences are in the details.
WoW is a hobby, just like any other of the millions of hobbies out there.
How, exactly, is escaping into a world of hardcore rose gardening any different than hardcore raiding? How is escaping into the newest Terry Pratchet novels any different than immersing yourself in a character and some solid RP on Feathermoon? How is paintballing with friends on the weekend any different from stormtrooping Arathi Basin with the same people? How is collecting Pogs any different from collecting non-combat pets?
They aren’t, of course. Hobbies are hobbies, escapes are escapes. Arbitrarily deciding that some hobbies are normal and others are destructive doesn’t change anything and makes you look foolish to boot.
And yet, the stigma persists, because somehow WoW isn’t “real”. It’s all fake, therefore any time spent on it is wasted. What an absolutely absurd conclusion to reach.
It’s a game, yeah. It isn’t real in the sense that I am actually ripping people apart by dividing their bodies by zero (what did you think arcane blast did?). When I rescue some helpless peasant from certain death, returning him to his sobbing wife, those are just NPCs, something written by someone else somewhere. Therefore you are all idiots for spending so much time with this fake, not real stuff.
Following that logic, anyone who cried during Titanic is an idiot for getting caught up so much with fake stuff. If you have ever felt any sort of emotional attachment to any fictional character, something is seriously wrong with you because it’s all FAKE! Derp a herp!
I believe I have made my point.
We all seek “bubbles”, little things to take our minds off our lives. Anyone who doesn’t is clinically insane. Why? Simple.
Real life is hard. It is brutally hard. Many people die trying to get through it. And worst of all, there are never answers to anything. Life is uncertain, by mere merit that it can’t be certain. It is physically impossible to have complete certainty in any situation. You can have all the confidence in the world, but you are never certain.
This is why we escape to our little worlds, our little gardens, our hardcore raid guilds, our books, novels and movies.
Things make sense here, within the bubble.
We can be certain.
We have no idea how we’re going to get the bills paid; we fear the coming of Valentine’s Day and feel nothing but crushing, unwavering despair; we watch our mothers die and have absolutely no idea how the room got so dark and so blurry.
But then you can type in a password, wait a few seconds, select a character, and experience absolute surety for hours on end. Everything might be wrong and horrible in the real world, but that doesn’t matter. In this world, all is right, all makes sense. A desperate new guy asks a question, and you can answer with absolute certainty “don’t bother stacking crit, stack haste instead.”
In real life, you could easily face the decision “well… should I fall in love or not?” How do you answer that? Create a pros and cons list?
- Complete and total emotional shitstorm
- Complete and total emotional shitstorm
Then the next morning it turns out you didn’t even have a choice anyway. Incoming emotional shitstorm, and there is dick all you can do about it and you left your shit umbrella behind at age four.
In WoW, you could easily face the decision “well… are these pants an upgrade or not?”
- Three sockets instead of two
- Almost 2% more haste
- More intellect
- Lose 3% crit
- Lose 90 spirit
Then the next morning you can theorycraft, plug the stats into a machine who spits out various numbers at you, you can manually test, and reach a definitive, correct, and absolute certain conclusion with no doubt in your mind whatsoever.