I have previously noted I'm not a meme fan, or a topic adopter. However, this morning's Breakfast Topic from WoW Insider has got its claws into me: Why do you still play Warcraft? My answer via Twitter was immediate, instantaneous and rather a surprise even for me:
This community. These people. This amazing place. :D
Of course I still love the game, that is just a given. You should be able to deduce that from the words you find here.
I'm not playing with a huge bunch of real-life friends. My husband's interest in the game has waned of late, the lure of musical instruments and long summer evenings entirely understandable. I know two people locally from my Guild, both of whom are friends and contributors here (for which I will always be grateful.) There is The Paladin in Sweden, my two Dutch friends (who don't play any more but who come back to /hug me) my wee Scottish Bunny-loving Webmistress, the 20-summat Demon Kentish DK and even the Druid who escaped to Canada without whom the Guild would have evaporated over this Summer. Most of the people I talk to, or have any interaction with in relation to the game live somewhere else. On most days the only people I will see are husband and kids. My social life exists pretty much in the virtual vacuum.
I have read many, many people who feel this is a desperately bad thing, and I will happily attest that yes, sometimes, it is. I get lonely. A real person to have lunch with, or to go somewhere, is clearly a vastly better alternative to someone you can only ever interact with via a keyboard. However, finding people who both grasp and will not judge my choices can often prove problemmatic. My parents just ignore I even play. My best friend for a long time had a 'moment' with me over my gaming about the same time I was working through issues related to PND and things have never been the same since. I then realised there would be two groups of people in my life: those that understood what I am, and those that didn't.
It then becomes a decision as to how you accommodate both groups. I tend to simply put the 'real' me away in situations where I think it would be an issue, only letting her out when I'm comfortable. That goes for both Real World and Online, I realise, and I am careful in both places until I know the people involved very well. The fact remains however that my current online communities are far more sympathetic, understanding and accommodating than any real world equivalents. The Twitter community particularly, which I have been lucky enough to fall into via my words ahead of any in-game ability, are an absolutely stellar group. Maybe its because you only have a small number of words in which to make your point, or perhaps its just because of the way the system works: you'll be followed if you write something that touches the person concerned. Whatever it is, whether its RL connections across the Globe, or simply the game creating a special kind of community... I feel truly honoured to be a part of it.
Suddenly I can talk to people in Leeds, or Boston, or Melbourne and it doesn't matter about the time, or the situation. I can become Global, both in my outlook but in my thinking. A bigger picture has helped me understand a lot about myself as well as the people I find around me, and that cannot be a bad thing. As a result, the Oasis track seemed particularly appropriate.This is my World, it IS the World, and I am eternally grateful for my opportunity not just to be a part of it, but to contribute to it.
Thank you guys. By just being yourselves, you make my world a particularly awesome place to be :D