This is my first time doing a shared topic. If I did shared topics all the time, I would write “as usual, I’m using this shared topic as a starting point but am totally going to derail.” Since I’ve never done a shared topic before I can’t say that. But I’ll derail anyway.
So “Relationships within Azeroth”, courtesy of Naithin from Tank’n’Tree.
As your friendly local amateur anthropologist, I jumped on this topic. I had this great informative post planned out to help the many people I’ve run into in WoW who were experiencing a common confusion. It was all about how to tell the different between eHarmony and WoW. Unfortunately for people who don’t actually play WoW but use it exclusively to flirt with the opposite gender everywhere, I decided to quit my beloved guild of two years and moved on to a guild that seemed to better fit what I want out of the game. So instead of an lovely, not snarky at all, educational article, you get a sappy post about getting attached to guildies.
Around my family, I’m not allowed to refer to people I know online as “friends”. “They’re not friends, they’re epals” my mother says. I don’t talk to my family all that often, but I’ve been careful to use the term “people I game with”. But are the people I game with friends? I don’t know them very well. I know bits of their personality – whether they’re fast or slow learners, perfectionist or not, quiet or loud. Some of them, I know about parts of their life, I know what they do for a living, I hear funny stories about their kids. And I care when something great or something bad happens to them. After all, these are the people I hear on vent night after night as we fight dragons and sometimes each other. When I was an officer, I’d run down to the library on my breaks to toss some emails back and forth with the other officers. Day after day. For so many hours in our lives, we laughed together, worked out strategies together and cheered each other up when our strategies didn’t work as expected. Whether I really knew them or not, I got attached.
When I said goodbye, I tried to do it the right way, being all polite and offering to pay back anything I owed them. I said we could stay friends. All those things I do at the end of a romantic relationship. OMG I broke up with my guild!
While I knew it was time to move on, I couldn’t stop the memories from playing in my head:
My first raid.
When I was learning to play a paladin and my class leader asked me what stats I was looking for to which I answered “spirit”.
The first time I got through Lurker without being killed by the spout.
The first time I got pissed off that others were STILL dying to spout on Lurker.
When we had a naked dance party in Magtheridon’s Lair for an hour because one of our healers went offline and we had no replacement.
Our drunken Kara nights.
When our warlock put me on ignore for pugging a heroic and I then went out of my way to make sure he died at every opportunity.
My first BG.
Our awful Arena teams (“dead before you are” and “5 dead guys”).
When we celebrated my birthday in Mount Hyjal.
When one of our priests decided she’d teach me to tank in Shadow Labs. In my healing gear.
When I discovered you could ride in the robots on the way to Mimiron (I bet those who were there that night still have my squeals of glee ringing in their heads)
And those are just some in-game ones. Meeting face to face with some of my Azeroth “epals” was also very memorable. For those of you who’ve never met an online friend before, here’s what it’s like: you have a stranger in front of you, that you’ve never seen before in your life. Then out of that stranger’s body comes a familiar voice. That voice talks about familiar things with a familiar train of thought. It’s the weirdest and coolest experience ever.
Less pleasant, but fortunately much rarer, memories occurred too, however, in retrospec, most of the conflicts that happened seem so silly.
Are the relationships within Azeroth different from real life ones? Yes. I find my online friendships to be much more “in my head”, if that makes any sense. Imagination and personal perception have a larger role than in my offline friendships which are more “in my face”. I do much more overanalysing of my online frienships and I get way more anxious about them because there’s so much left to the imagination. But some things are the same. The same personality traits bug me online and offline and the personality traits that I admire are the same as well. I care about my friend’s happiness and sadness the same whether they’re online or offline. I’m just as sensitive to rejection in the online world as I am in the real world. And I can have the same amount of fun with an online friend as I can with an offline friend (however I *do* need to mix it up, too much online sends my imagination into overdrive and too much offline exhausts me!).
As I say my tearful goodbyes to my guild, I’m filled with mixed feelings. On one hand, I’m excited to meet new people and have a refreshing environment. On the other, I’m reminded of the good times, of the caring, of the laughter. I feel bad for letting down those who tried so hard to keep me happy. I even cried a few times yesterday. Yes, cried for probably losing touch with people in a video game. I’m a huge sap, but it’s ok, I’m sure some people still love me anyway.
That’s the story of my relationships within Azeroth. Tune in next time for something a bit less introspective and awkwardly personal.