As promised, from the same guild leadership comes a different point of view which discusses the game in a positive light.
I'm doing the best I can to make sure ALL points of view are featured prominently. I am trying to work with other folks as well to organize their rebuttals of some of the things stated in the article that started this whole wild train a-rollin'.
Without further ado, another guest post from another friend from the same guild.
I never finished a computer game or video game in my life before I started playing WoW. I started dozens of them …. UT, NWN, Donkey Kong, Diablo … and I always got halfway through or close to the end and realized that I was wasting hours a day on something that didn’t matter at all. So I’d put it down and go back to reading or writing or playing music or doing something else that I enjoyed. I figured it was something about lacking that particular chromosome, or possibly being just too practical for my own good. When my friend and co-guild founder convinced me to start playing WoW, I never thought I’d make it to 60. I really didn’t think that the guild we founded with four people (a couple naked dwarves, a human and a naked gnome) after-hours in a little back-office cubicle on Market Street in Philadelphia would get where it is today.
It’s going on two years now, and I’m still playing. Ok, I haven’t “finished” it … Andy’s right about that, there is no end. But why is this game different from all the others that I tried? For me … (personally, not speaking for anyone else here) it’s because it does have an impact on my real life. I got a Masters degree in policy from one of the most difficult schools in the country while at the same time playing WoW and working a part time job. I would come home from a busy day and think about how to use what I learned to make the guild work better. It was a way for me to practice what I was learning and to discover what was involved with leading people (mostly getting all the blame and no thanks, it seems :P). I’ve learned the lessons of clear communication, sacrifice, compassion, tough love ... and balance. I plan to use these skills in my professional life. So in short, I play the game because I get something tangible out of it.
That’s not all. I enjoy it. I like being the very best player I can be; whether I’m playing a priest or a mage or a twink druid, you can bet that I’m crunching numbers and reading theory and strategy and trying to make every action or every cast more efficient. You could say I’m driven, but I feel like it keeps me alert mentally. The same way that I play tetris and bejewled incessantly to work on my spatial awareness, I like reading strategies for boss fights and thinking about new ways to do them and how different people with different specs and strengths can contribute to or change the fight. It’s fun.
I also do it to play with my friends: ones that I would never get to see otherwise because they’re in different states or different countries. I once quit a twink guild because the guild leader said “I don't want people in my guild who have the attitude "screw this guild i'm sticking by my friends" You are NOT welcome in our guild.” (That’s leadership right there, lmao.) Our unofficial guild motto has always been RL > WOW, friends come first. The lesson? If it stops being fun, I walk.
I haven’t given up large amounts of my life to the game. Our guild doesn’t demand a given number of hours or days a week (compared to many raiding guilds, we’re laughably ‘inefficient’ in those terms… but we try to remember that people have lives.) I miss at least one raid a week to go out with friends, go clubbing, or watch a movie with my family. I hardly ever farm. I usually play the auction-house for fifteen minutes before I go to bed at night. I actually gave up herbalism because I didn’t have time for it (and I wanted to DE the stuff my ex gave me when we broke up >.>). If I start feeling frustrated, that the demands of people in the game are getting to high, or that I don’t have anything else to do … I walk away. I go for a walk, pursue one of my other hobbies, or call a friend. Soon enough I’m happy to come back, because I enjoy it and because there are people in the game whom I love and who make it worthwhile for me to play.
Those are my three keys, and whenever someone asks me if I think they should quit that’s what I ask them. Are you getting something out of it? Is it fun? Are you sacrificing things in real life to do it? Basically, do you have things in perspective and realize that it’s a game?
It was on this basis that I told Andy to quit. It’s true! I did. In my opinion, he was taking the criticisms too personally, he wasn’t getting anything out of it (he’s an engineer, not a policy maker after all), it had long since stopped being fun for him, and he clearly regretted the sacrifices he was making in his life to play it. There are many many people that I think can take a lesson from his story, and many stories that are far more shocking and terrifying than the one he told, but the point is the same. Know yourself, keep things in perspective, and keep life in a balance. In all things, not just in this.
So in short, I’m glad Andy quit the game. Our friendship is much deeper now than it ever was before (and let’s ignore for now the fact that I wouldn’t even know him or Yeager or Chuck … or Robert or Brian or Lisa or John or Jim or Shannon or Victor or Kate or Will or Heather or Tim or over a hundred other people if it weren’t for WoW.) It’s a decision that everyone needs to make for themselves, and it’s up to everyone to take care of their own lives. For me, that can include the World of Warcraft … for the time being. ^.^