Shared Topic: Eavesdropping WoW Conversations IRL

Overheard while in line for coffee at the University Center:

Guy: (to friend) I got my warrior tank defense capped!

My ears perked and I wiped around.

Me: (in an annoyed voice) It’s not a cap, it’s a minimum.

Ok, I lied. This never happened. And the fact that I fantasize about these kinds of conversations says a lot about me.

Anyway, this week’s Shared Topic was suggested by Oath from Dressed to Cuddle and it’s all about overhearing conversations about WoW in the offline world. Most of the stories shared so far are quite funny so I suggest you check them out by heading over to the Shared Topic forum at Blog Azeroth.

As open as I am about my gaming, I don’t come across other WoW players too often. When I do, it’s usually planned, as in, ooooo you should meet my friend/brother/cousin/dog, they play WoW too! The only random conversation I recall overhearing was, in fact, an unpleasant one. I was studying at the coffee shop when my ears suddenly groaned in pain.

Girl 1: So, my, like, boyfriend, is, like, playing WoW with his friends right now? Like, I don’t get it? Like, why would any want to, like, play a stupid video game for, like, hours?

Girl 2: I dunno, it’s, like, so stupid? Like, people get, like, so obsessed over a, like, game? They, like, starting playing and, like, that’s all they, like, do? I’d rather, like, have a social life?

No, I’m not exaggerating their speaking style. Their brain spasms probably retained my attention way more than the fact that they were mindlessly bashing WoW.

I could have jumped into the conversation. I could have told them that playing WoW is a hobby, no different from taking guitar lessons, or playing volleyball on Mondays, or watching TV on Tuesday nights. I could have told them that the average WoW player is an average person, with a social life no different from non-WoW players.

But I didn’t.

I didn’t see the point.

I hate arguing. I like discussion. I like being corrected, I like firing back with my train of thought, I like coming out of conversations feeling as if I’ve grown as a person. Arguing does nothing of that. When I argue, I quickly realize that I’m getting nowhere, that nothing I say is going to matter because the other person isn’t listening. I just get heated up and leave the conversation angry and feeling stupider than I was before.

The problem with preconceived notions such as “WoW = not a fun game, an obsession and must be aquired by trading in your social life” is that they’re not based on anything reasonable. Based on anecdotal experience maybe, based on “I heard that…”, based on old stereotypes. Trying to reason with that wasn’t going to get me very far.

I was reminded of a colleague I had, in the summers where I worked at a camp for children with ASD. There were other camps on the site, one of them was a DnD-style camp. The kids ages from about 9 to about 12, wore medieval costumes, beat each other with foam swords and acted out adventure stories. The type of thing I would have loved when I was 9. I told my colleague how much fun it that camp must be for the kids. She gave me this haughty look and replied with the most disgusted voice: “Really? I was just thinking about how stupid their camp is.”

Again, no reason behind it. She thinks it’s stupid for 9 year olds to get dressed up and play make-belief. There’s no point in arguing because she’s not going to hear anything different.

I was also reminded of this really weird guy I ran into at a party once. One of the first things he said to me was: “By the way, I hate your province“. Being a homesick expat, I tend to be very patriotic. I asked if he’d ever been there. His answer? “No, but I don’t have to be kicked in the balls to know that it sucks.”

I was stunned for a second, stuck somewhere between wanting to burst into tears and wanting to punch him in the face. He was obviously one of those guys who like to talk politics without actually knowing anything about politics. (He, also, sadly, was a WoW player, the type who reinforces the stereotype of the 20something scrawny looser with a bad haircut who can’t hold a job and lives with his mommy. When I meet WoW players like that, I kinda forgive the two coffee shop girls.) I just gave him a pity look and turned away.

So back to the coffee shop girls with the cliched notion. I just shook my head and wondered how many hours they’ve wasted on Farmville.

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18 Comments on “Shared Topic: Eavesdropping WoW Conversations IRL”

  1. Matticus Says:

    Like, I know, right?

  2. Antigen Says:

    I’m sure other people can report conversations between my friends and I when we go out in public. Sometimes we’ll be walking around the Mall of America and try to guess what race/class combo random shoppers would play. It’s quite a fun game.

    Personally, I try to not set the stereotype. I (try to) work out regularly, eat decently, and go out and drink, er, socialize, at least once a week.

    When someone asks me if I play WoW, I’m not the type of person to deny it. I love the game, as much as some of my friends love playing MW2; it’s not any different.

    Oh, and you definitely should’ve decked that guy. Who says stuff like that to people they’ve just met?

    • Ophelie Says:

      Yeah, I don’t have the reflex to hit people when I’m angry anymore. I was great as a kid, but once my younger brothers became bigger than me, I learned very fast to resort to other tricks! I bet I could have totally pwned that guy though.

      I’ve done that game a little bit with my classmates who play. I try not to talk about WoW too often though, since I don’t want to be known as the girl who just talks about WoW all the time.

  3. Rhidach Says:

    I’ve never heard people talking about WoW outside of game although I’ve been party to many conversations about it out in public. My best friends play in my guild and we’ll be out somewhere and they’ll be talking about some crazy upgrade they want, or how awesome some fight is, or how they can’t wait til the next patch. Meanwhile I’m attempting to blend into the wallpaper, haha.

    Also, I completely agree with Antigen: that guy deserved a swift kick in the nether regions. Make good on his expectation, see if his opinion changes.

    • Ophelie Says:

      Hahaha! I’m kinda regretting my lack of violent impulses now.

      I’ve often gotten into WoW conversations with my RL friends who play too. I’m not ashamed but I try really hard to not be that person who talks about nothing but WoW. Plus, I find I want to talk about guild stuff and WoW blogging, and they just want to talk about loot and minipets.

  4. Sougent Says:

    Was in the theater waiting for Avatar to start and two theater employees came in to do a quick sweep/trash run, they were talking about WoW, apparently one wasn’t able to get much help leveling an alt. I think they were surprised when I asked them what servers they played on.

  5. Ryan G Says:

    We talk WoW at work all the time. Besides Hew & I, at the most we’ve had 2 different 10-man guilds just in our department. When we spill over into the Diner down the block, we’ve run into people in other departments who over-hear our conversations and ask us what server we play on. More than once I seem to have given some kind of elitist answer to that question, scaring off the noob.

    Sidenote: I did not know that you’d originally met Kimbo at a party. Weird.

    • Ophelie Says:

      Oh, Kimbo swears way more than that guy.

      I have classmates that play WoW too and we talk about it sometimes, but we have reaaaaaally different takes on the game. They’re extremely casual (although I bet they know every 5 man instance way better than I ever will) so it makes for strange conversations.

  6. Will Says:

    I know many people who are aware of WoW, but I’ve never come across anyone in my offline activities who PLAYS it. I MAY have overheard a couple of guys talking about it in the grocery store about a year or so ago, though. But they were walking in the opposite direction that I was, and at a pretty good pace, and I wasn’t about to go chasing after them to ascertain my suspicions, only to be made a fool of by finding out that that wasn’t what they were talking about. >.>

    Since I’m not going to go up to everyone that I meet and ask if they play, maybe I ought to get one of those Jinx shirts and see if any conversations get started when people see me wearing it…

    • Ophelie Says:

      I’m considering getting one of those shirts too! I have to see if there are any cute ones.

      One of my classmates has Blizzard shirt and a horde hoodie and he wears them fairly often. I’ll ask him if it’s a good conversation starter.

  7. Scarlelmo Says:

    I’m going to pray to, like, a million gods for that first conversation to happen to you.

    Also, that DnD camp sounds ridiculously awesome. Only a soulless withered old prune would find it stupid.

    I was talking to one of my friends about why nobody likes to admit/talk about the fact that they play WoW, and he made the exact same argument as you–it’s just another hobby. My response was that it’s not a hobby that makes you look sexy and thin. But, then again, neither does rock collecting and nobody gives them shit. What, in your opinion, makes a hobby worthwhile? Is it fair to even consider a hierarchy of hobbies?

    • Scarlelmo Says:

      Also, your blog is sillypopular now. Go you!

    • Ophelie Says:

      I think it’s a historical thing- back in the day, video games weren’t as widely played as they are now. And I guess they do offer a quiet haven for those who don’t have the best social skills, notably awkward teenagers and overgrown awkward teenagers.

      I suppose one could consider a hierarchy of hobbies since a hobby of teaching children to read after school is more useful to society than a WoW playing hobby, but beyond that, what people do with their spare time is really no one else’s business, as long as no one’s getting hurt.

  8. […] Ophelie from The Bossy Pally and the Giant Spoon […]

  9. […] weeks ago. As I’ve only just caught up on my Feedreader today I got excited after reading a couple of posts and decided to write about my eavesdropping experiences too. Have you ever been out and […]

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