Art by Emma
“I’m just gonna play until my free trial is up.”
This is how everyone starts the game. I started it a year and a half ago with that exact quote. My best friend was the one who got me to start playing. She pitched it to me just like a recruiter in a pyramid scheme. And I fell for it. Ever since then it has been sucking me in, along with my parent’s money. (At least it isn’t my most expensive hobby to date – I once tried to build an airplane).
World of Warcraft is a pretty complex game, so when I first started out I had no idea what I was doing. This and my female avatar made me vulnerable to the vultures of the game A player a couple levels above me offered to give me a tour of Teldrassil if I had in-game sex with him. It must have been the blue skinned avatar he was attracted to because he didn’t even ask what gender I was, which is also strange because probably half of all female avatars are played by the stereotypical basement dweller. I agreed because I thought it was an actual feature the game had which gave you some kind of benefit. Turns out you just take off your clothes, type “/lay”, and lay on top of each other. I walked away with a half-assed tour and a strange feeling of guilt.
After a few months I got the hang of it, and that’s when it began to take control of me. I’m currently an average player, and I take breaks from the game every couple months; however, I know I sometimes come across as obsessed. One time, after waiting for hours for a rare spawn, it finally appeared while I was away, I came back just in time to see it disappear. I was devastated. I walked out of my room pale and on the verge of tears. My mother was relieved to find my loss was only virtual, but it worried her that I was so bothered by this. And she’s probably right to think that. It has significantly affected my offline life as well. I’ve done a few WoW related projects for school; one of them is being used in the school calendar. I’ve also tried to learn Thalassian, an in game language, until I realized I would have no one to speak it with.
The month of April in my school calendar.
One thing everyone is afraid of about these types of games is that it will take away from one’s social life. They have a point; the closest I got to celebrating spring break like a normal teenage girl was when I went to the shores of Stranglethorn Vale with my friend, set off fireworks and made our screens blurry from in-game alcohol. WoW and other MMORPGs are time consuming, but not completely anti-social. I am always interacting with other players and I have become friends with a nice couple from my guild. Compared to the even more addicting and extremely lonesome game Minecraft, World of Warcraft seems more akin to social media.
I get bored easily; this is a bad trait for school, but great for gaming because it keeps me from playing all day every day like some people. I told myself if it ever got to the point where I broke real life plans to play WoW, I would quit, but it never got to that point. Of course I prefer the real world, but sometimes there is something to “but who doesn’t want to ride dragons?”
Spring break. Woo.