not surprising, right? even so, i find myself mildly apprehensive about this post. why? because i’m about to admit and almost promote something that for so long i’ve been really in the closet about, so to speak. i mean, the dorky/nerdy people IRL know about this, but pretty much anyone who might judge me for it don’t know this. because i didn’t want to have to defend something that i wasn’t 100% comfortable with yet.
anyway. enough stalling.
a while back, over the summer i think, james approached me about playing world of warcraft (no judgmental comments, please. i really don’t want to hear it.). he used to play a while ago and had a friend who still plays and they wanted to play together and he thought it would be fun if WE played together.
now, wow (world of warcraft) and i have a complicated relationship. i played a long time ago when the ex was into it. i was trying to be a cool girlfriend who did the dorky things that he did. you know? yeah. so anyway, i made a character, i played her, i got really bored. didn’t understand the point. i didn’t know that you could go wherever you wanted to play that had monsters your level, i didn’t know about riding mounts (sweet animals that you ride that are WAY faster than running), i didn’t know about the database that was out there with ALL the answers when you got stuck, and pretty much ALL my friends kinda made fun of me because i played. so, needless to say, i stopped and never wanted to play again.
fast forward a million years to james asking. i remember that we had this conversation in the kitchen of our apartment. he asked. and i thought about it. i remember finally looking him in the eye and saying ‘i’m not playing it alone and this does not get mentioned outside our apartment’. ridiculous conditions, i know, but again, i was trying to be the cool, understanding wife who actually interacts with her husband with his interests. he kinda does the same for me, except my interests aren’t necessarily interactive (playing music, knitting, etc. he’s just supportive when he can be. fine with me.).
anyway, so we start playing.
so james has played for a long time. he’s played lots of other similar games. he GETS it. he’s kinda bored with the low level stuff because he’s leveled 50 bajillion characters. basically, he just wants to get to the highest level as fast as possible to then do the things that you do at the highest level. i don’t know what that is yet, because i’m not there. needless to say, we have different playing styles.
sidenote: crash course in wow for those who don’t know. you make a character, you do quests, you get xp points (experience), you get money, you spend money on upgrades of gear, mounts, food and drinks (which replenish health and mana that get used up while playing), etc. there are dungeons which are special areas of really high level monsters (the guys that you fight to finish quests and get xp) and a group of 5 go into the dungeon and kill stuff and get stuff, whatever. once you reach the highest level, 85 as of very recently, then you focus on getting better gear and doing raids, which to my understanding are times of going to the other faction’s areas and killing them – as in other players. a faction is the biggest classification, either alliance or horde. there isn’t really a good or bad guy situation, it’s like, you’re buddies with humans or you aren’t. then you pick your race (elf, dwarf, human, orc, tauren, etc.) and your class (preist, mage, druid, warlock, etc.) and as you play, you pick professions (mining, tailoring, skinning, enchanting, etc., and these can be used as major money makers). so anyway, as one does raids, he or she gets what are called honor points to buy better gear, yada yada. i THINK you now have enough info for me to finish my post.
so we start playing. i picked a priest. rather, ummm, weak if you will. james picks a druid. rather, ummm, strong if you will. so it basically evolves into james kills things, i make sure he doesn’t die. which is fine and dandy for a while. and then i started getting bored. i wanted to kill monsters too. i’d have to say that pretty much any ‘argument’ we’ve had (which is more like snippy words from me to him) occurs during the course of this game for one BIG FAT reason: i suck. seriously, i don’t know what i’m doing, i don’t really know how to play my character, i’m not very good. for a really, really competitive person, that is probably one of the worst things ever.
however, over the course of playing, i have learned some really cool things and those are what all that background information have lead to. so, the things i have learned from playing video games (there is another one i’ve started, starcraft, but i’m not getting into that one. you can look it up, but the principles still apply because i’m pretty terribad at that too).
1. it’s really important to ask for help. seriously. in this game, and IN LIFE, i don’t have all the answers. sometimes, i don’t have ANY answers. sometimes i don’t even know where to LOOK for the answers. it’s hard for me to make that quarter turn of my chair and tell james ‘please help me’. sometimes, he even just watches over my shoulder and gives me advice on how to do something better. i find that i get really irritated with that even though i KNOW that i don’t know what i’m doing and he does. he’s only played every single class minus one, i think. my pride gets in my way so much while playing that game because i WANT to be really good. well… i can’t BE really good if i don’t get some GOOD information from someone who knows. who can see the parallel to real life? yeah, i thought so.
2. i’m never going to get anywhere if you don’t risk dying. ok, this parallel is a bit of a stretch using the word dying. in the game, however, dying is more of an annoyance than anything. we could exchange dying for ‘something’. i’m never going to get anywhere if you don’t risk something. myself, my pride, my image of knowing everything, insert whatever here. if i don’t put myself out there, i’ll still be a little level 1 sitting in some building watching the outside not really change. if i don’t put myself out there, i’ll still be sitting in a dead end job getting paid $7 an hour doing whatever. in order to succeed, i have to take risks. i have to work really hard.
3. i gotta have a buddy. if i don’t know what i’m doing and i don’t know where i’m going and i don’t have a buddy, ouch. right now, i’m working on a new character. i get to a point where i get kinda bored with who i have and i like to start over. so i’m working on a new girl and james started a new guy. well… he doesn’t really want to play the new guy because he’s just going to transfer over one of his big guys and whatever. so, currently, i’m playing both of them. at the same time. which actually is fun. it’s a whole new challenge because now i’m trying to keep 2 people alive, not just me. there’s really something about having someone else there that is SO comforting, even if no one else is REALLY there. does that make sense? we both run around, we both do all the quests, and he has a two professions that are really good moneymakers, which is the primary reason i started playing him at the same time. i continue to do so because of the challenge of doing it and the ease with which i’m able to stay alive now. he heals me. awesome. it’s like the opposite of how james and i started. now i’m picking the fights and he gets to heal. totally down with that. again, in real life, it’s the same thing. i gotta have a buddy. i have to have friends, i have to have people that i can depend on and lean on and to have sharpen me. to tell me when i’m not in the right. i have to have that social network of support, even if it’s only a few people.
4. IT IS OK TO RELAX SOMETIMES. for someone who’s so used to going going going going all the time, taking some time off is really hard because i’m CONSTANTLY thinking about all the things i COULD be doing or SHOULD be doing. wow is a way for me to really unplug. the best thing about it is that i feel like i’m accomplishing something, even if it’s just getting one level or part of a level or into a new zone. it’s something that i can walk away from when i don’t feel like playing, i’m not letting anyone down by not logging in for a few days and i’m not carrying anyway if i log in for hours a day.
5. be flexible. wow is something that be just for me or it’s something that i can share with james and that is really awesome. while it’s really hard for me sometimes to take direction from him, i’m getting better. wow is teaching me to be better at listening to someone who knows what they’re doing. part of me is just really stubborn and only wants help when i ask for it. well, anyone who knows me pretty knows that i don’t really ask for help. at least not until i’m completely over my head and totally frustrated. so it’s good for me to be getting feedback BEFORE there’s a major train wreck.
so while this is something that i would NEVER have wanted to admit to, i think that gaming has some seriously awesome benefits that i never thought about before. and i haven’t even started pvping yet. 😉