Monday, March 1, 2010

Connections and Memories

I've always thought it interesting the way we forge connections in this game. I mentioned last week about a friend leaving WoW. I have no memory of our first meeting beyond, undoubtedly, our first raid together, in which I was terrified about proving myself, and in subsequent years he teased me about pulling aggro on Hydross, but I have no memories of the first time we grew close as friends. I can't believe this isn't normal, though. After all, how many close friends IRL do you recall your first meeting?

However, I do have tons of memories of people I played the game with and since forgotten details about beyond the gratitude I felt for their presence. Soon after we started playing, the Boy and I met another couple that played together, and we formed a friendship with them as we leveled up. They transferred servers one day, and while I tried to keep in touch with them, it eventually fell through. Yet I'll always remember them as our first WoW friends and the ones that showed me that the people on MMOs weren't composed of creepy assholes.

Bad memories have a way of fading, I'm happy to say, but they do exist. I recall the first time I was truly hurt by someone. She had issues herself, and I really can't blame her for them or the troubles that affected her life, but I certainly disliked how she handled our friendship. Back then, my entire world revolved around my guild. I hated PuGing, I saw other guilds as rivals, and to leave my guild meant entering the big, scary world (of Warcraft) alone and friendless. Ignorant and short-sighted? Oh, just a little, and it took me a bit to grow beyond that mindset. The player that hurt me was in our guild, had good relations with our guildees (until she dabbled too far with some of them), then she /gquit one day. I wasn't hurt that she left the guild as much as she never said goodbye to me. She knew I didn't associate with people outside the guild unless I knew them from other servers, and that I didn't like her leaving the guild, but I had accepted it. But not saying good-bye was like a punch in the stomach. Didn't she value our friendship? I never talked with her, nor her with me, again.

To say that I think it's stupid that people have shed tears over this game, myself included, would be a horrible lie. I think it's far from stupid that people are emotionally invested in the game and the people they connect with. I've cried multiple times - both in anger and in sorrow. I cried when Sunfury Bow of the Phoenix finally dropped in Karazhan, after dozens of weeks of running the instance, and the officer that had switched from his hunter to his pally and then back to hit hunter rolled against me for it and won. I cried when I accepted I could no longer raid with my guild, and cried a lot more the night I transferred off to a more progressive guild. I didn't want to lose those friendships I had forged, and the pain is even deeper now that I've come back only to find most of those friendships can never be reestablished. I'm a ghost in my own home.

I've learned so much about how we interact with each other in this game and found many things funny about it. Like how people are always eager to hear about gossip and the funny incidents that happen to you IRL, but shy away from making an investment into your personal self. The anonymity-power of the Internet doesn't stop just because they hear your voice over Vent. You will always be judged by your gear first and your actions second. Silly things that prevent any lasting relationships from forming, unless that rare someone takes the time and effort to look past them and reach out to you. That takes time, I believe, to become. I've certainly become more understanding and benevolent in my "old-age". I gave a random member of our Ulduar10 PuG 500g so he could get his Cold-Weather Flying and actually get inside the instance. Would I have done that four years ago? Probably not.

I found a good group to end my time on WoW with. We laugh, we tease, we work together to down bosses. I'm happy to raid with them, but they will never replace the years of friendships I've earned and lost over the course of my game play, and that's alright. I'm not looking for what I had, and in a sense, I rather envy my friend who left when he did have many of those friendships still lasting. Those connections existed for me, and that's all that matters. I pity anyone who plays this game and didn't find good people to friend and enjoy it with.

4 comments:

Emerald said...

Great post, one of the most well written and touching things I have read in a long time. Really made me look back and reflect on alot of memories I have had over the years. Thanks for sharing :)

windpaw said...

Yeah - this is good stuff Negs. I keep trying to write a coherent response but figure it's going to end up as a blog post instead of a comment....

I'll just have to stew on this one for a while.

Bristal said...

I wish the people who look at me askance when I tell them I play WoW could read your post. It would be nice to replace the over-done horror stories of WoW addicted zombies with "well-written and creative young woman gains invaluable social insights and maturity from online video game".

Thanks for your beautifully written post.

stupidm said...

That'll do pig. That'll do...