Just a game? Not exactly
Without going into too much detail, things here at the Panzercow Bunker are not exactly sunshine and peacebloom all the time. Money is tight, cars break down, children are recalcitrant, family disputes happen. Real Life can, as Real Life often does, suck like an EF5 tornado and do about as much damage. Oh, all the truly important stuff is still there. We’ve still got a roof over our heads, I’ve still got a job (for now, you never know with this economy), we’ve got our health, we’ve got each other, we’ve got a shaken, but intact, faith in a God that loves us. But like that storm-hit house, we’re missing a ton of shingles right now, a few windows are broken, there’s water damage here and there.
So every now and then, after we take care of the important things, it’s fun to sit down in front of the computer and fire up World of Warcraft, and disappear into Azeroth for a few hours. It’s fun, it’s colorful, it’s entertaining, it’s a nice diversion, right? But it’s just a game, isn’t it? It’s just a game.
If it was “just a game,” I seriously doubt I’d still be playing almost every night after four years. I wouldn’t have two level 80s, a 78, two 70s, and a 67. My wife wouldn’t have four 80s, a 72, and a 60-something (she’s leveling so fast I can’t keep track).
If it was “just a game,” I wouldn’t have a very long list of people that I’ve met in WoW that I call “friend” and really want to meet face-to-face someday, just to hang out and talk and maybe have some adult beverages with. They live in Boston, and Austin, and Portland, and Seattle, and Chicago, and St. Louis, and Atlanta, and Australia, and New Zealand, and tons of other places. And I wouldn’t have met a single one of them had I not bought World of Warcraft in February 2005 and stuck with it since.
If it was “just a game,” we wouldn’t have gotten cards and letters and care packages when my wife’s mom died. We wouldn’t have had friends send us little presents to help us through the tough times. We wouldn’t have had two members of our raid offer my wife a place to stay to visit her dying mother–sight unseen, no strings–when her own family hardly helped her out. I wouldn’t have friends that I chat with online almost every day not just about game stuff, but about real problems, big and little.
If it was “just a game,” I wouldn’t be writing this blog.
Just a game? Yeah. And Everest is “just a mountain.”
So here’s my advice to you, unsolicited, and worth exactly what you’ve paid to read it. Keep WoW in perspective in your life. It is entertainment, after all, and not a substitute for any of the important things in your life like family, work, religion, outside time, children–whatever’s in that category for you. Always, always, be careful and use suitable discretion when online.
But remember that while there is a game there, where you kill monsters and take their lunch money and gather eight [Bear Asses] and turn them in to gain the [Gigantic Hammer of E-Peenage]…there’s also a community there, of real people. Good people, bad people, shy people, loud people, young people, old people, in-between people. Never forget that.
And it’s the people that make WoW more than “just a game.”