I have many sides and one of them is being an avid fan of the game World of Warcraft. I have been playing since about 2007 when the Burning Crusade expansion came out. It was my first experience playing a game where you could interact with other players. World of Warcraft is a type of game called a MMORPG or a Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game. This post is part of a series called 5 Random Things About Me. I like to give my readers a glimpse into my life and I love to learn more about you as well. When I first started playing World of Warcraft (also known as WoW), I was terrified at the thought of interacting with other players online. I am an introvert and I had learned to play the game with the original version which was just a CD that you popped into your computer and played without interaction with others. This was way before social media was popular and connecting with others online was just a foreign idea to me. The first time someone “whispered” me (sent me a private chat message) I was shocked. But as I played more I learned the value in building relationships in an online community. Many of the friends that I made in-game are still friends all these years later.
Benefits of Video Games as Online Communities
Learning teamwork and collaboration
There are many quests and challenges that require you to work with others in order to pull them off. Joining a group called a guild can provide helpful benefits to you and working together with them can propel you farther than you can go on your own. There are in-game items, skills and benefits that you only get if you belong to a guild. As will all communities, sometimes you have to shop around to find the group that is right for you.
Setting goals and achieving them
The basics of this type of game is receiving quests and accomplishing them. As you complete the quests you progress in your level and get more rewards and more experience to increase your level. There are many ways you can utilize these features. You may just want to follow the quests as they come or you may seek out specific quest lines for the rewards they give. Just as in life the goals you set and where you spend you time drives the rewards you receive.
Over time I went from being afraid to chat with other players to leading my own guild. I started a guild called Homeless with the intention of attracting players that were tired of not measuring up to the requirements of other guilds. We were a band of misfits and it worked. Hundreds of people ended up joining and we became a nice little online family. To be honest, the people that I had connected with in the group are what made it the hardest to take some time off from game play. Leading the guild came with its own set of challenges.
Some days I play just for something to do mindlessly. Sometimes I need to be able to put my brain in neutral and decompress. I am fully aware that if I spend too much time in this state I will never meet my goals, but an occasional bit of down time can help reset the ole brain cells. One of the things I like doing during this time is “play the auction house.” I love to learn the prices (in virtual money) that the in-game items can go for and then buy low and sell high. In the past I was pretty good at this and it was sort of a game within the game for me.
Some of the friends I have made in World of Warcraft I still consider friends years later. We have connected in other ways and we keep in touch outside of the game. This game was my first experience with making friends that I had never met before since the days of pen pals when I was a child. For me it paved the way to making new connections and now I am blessed to be a part of several powerful online communities such as Dreamers & Builders and 30 Days of Hustle. The game is fun and I think it always will be for me but the thing that keeps me coming back are the people I meet.