Hi, my name is Tallulah, and I play WoW.
It started last month, when I was in Cape Town on business. I was staying with some friends. Peer pressure gave in.
“Once you play WoW, you don’t play anything else,” one of them said to me.
I should have taken it as a warning, rather than an exaggeration. For not only do you not play anything else, you don’t do anything else either. For who would wash windows and make the bed when there are monsters to slay? Who would watch TV and knit when you could be gallivanting across the
Scottish Arathi Highlands to rescue a princess?
So a word from the wise: don’t go there.
(But totally go there!)
I consciously avoided Warcraft throughout my varsity career. I know that I have no self discipline at all. Avoiding World of Warcraft was not hard, as there were proxies and firewalls in place to make sure I couldn’t get sucked in. Warcraft on the other hand was big stuff. Seriously big. There were at least two DOTA matches a day on the varsity network – one at 12pm, one at 6pm. My friends played. My boyfriends played. I resisted. I knew that was all they did in their spare time, I didn’t want to fall into that trap.
And besides. There was homework. There were essays to write, and tutorials to go to, and lectures to treat myself with if I found the time. Once I moved out of res it was even worse – there was waitressing, and the new media specialisation and in the evenings on the odd occasion there was socialising.
But this particular visit to Cape Town, I found myself with no excuse.
You see, I’ve been integrated in the culture for so long. I was speaking in “lols”, “for the wins” and “fails” before lolcats were invented. I have covered stories on WoW – from internal politics, to new releases, to kids dying playing it. You can’t blame me for being a little curious. So I started a character, just on a trial account – what is the worst that can happen?
Needless to say, I now have a paid account, three characters and spent the entire weekend playing.
I have nothing to say in my defense, or in defense of the game that has claimed lives, altered the world’s economy and ruddied the academic records of many… except this anecdote.
When I was in my early teens I read this sci-fi series called The Web. Set in 2027, it was based in a world where the Internet had evolved to be completely virtual reality. People would literally plug themselves in using special electronic suits and could interact with each other in a virtual world. They could be anyone, do anything. They could go to different areas to complete missions together, or just meet new people and socialise. They could complete tasks in teams for points, or simply explore for a more relaxed experience.
I don’t know if the creators of WoW read those books, but what they’ve created is exactly that – minus the suits. I used to think it was all about killing monsters and declaring war on other players using words like “n00b” and “imba” (it is, after all, called “war” craft). But that’s not it. It’s bigger than that. Your character has professions and skills to perfect (I spent a large portion of Saturday wondering around various countrysides looking for herbs for eg). There are achievements to earn (like becoming a great explorer), there are funny little characters (like the “crazy cat lady” who lives in a house alone with a pack of cats), and odd little missions (help the little girl find her balloons). It is an entire world where you can do or be whatever you like.
So yes, caution is warranted when approaching. Not because it is evil, but because it is awesome. When real life gives you lemons, you used to have to make lemonade. Now you can run away and sell them in WoW.