My life with a WoWaholic…

[Note: This is a guest piece written by Socorro Villa and was written for the We Know guild newsletter.]

…or should I say Warcrack addict? (my husband is telling me that is the right lingo while he is DOTing Scarlet Mobs at the Scarlet Monastery with his warlock character).

Yeah, I know. If you are just an average civilian instead of one of the 6 million World of Warcraft players -or their close relatives, like me- you did not get a word of what I just wrote.

The story goes like this: Once upon a time I used to have a husband who liked games: from the board role-play version of the Lord of the Rings and the dinosaurs-era Atari to the X-men -each version- for PS2 and the Diablo, Diablo II & expansion pack for PC. Just to make it worst, he is a geek and works in the IT field. As for me I am just an artist; though I am pretty much computer savvy -for an artist, that is.

Back to my story. This husband I used to have would play a few hours a week. He would play perhaps for an hour after dinner a day or two on business days and even arrange special “game afternoons” with a group of friends during the weekends.

Last November, for our 8th wedding anniversary I decided to give him this game he had been thinking about…World of Warcraft. He would play with other people on the Internet -instead of alone with his laptop- and it seemed like a nice entertainment for him to relieve all the tensions of the job, of the “real world”.

I didn’t know it at the time but Wilma -yes, the hurricane- helped me indeed to keep my husband for a month or so until all went back to normal in Miami. Then I lost him.

First, he was a Night Elf Hunter in Dalaran (Slimme) then some other characters that no longer exist and finally a level 60 Druid in Eitrigg (Dreadmoon). Take note of that: Level 60. “The game really begins when you reach level 60” he explains to me. So far, that is the highest possible level until the good guys at Blizzard release the expansion set to allow people go up ten more levels. At that level you are able to begin going on raids with another 39 level 60 characters and kill big bosses and dreadful dragons.

Ok, yes, in a way I lost my husband. We still share breakfast, and tea and sometimes, if he is not raiding Molten Core -Fridays- or Onyxia -Thursdays; AQ20 -Sundays- or Zul Gurub -Mondays… we still share some dinners too. Maybe on Tuesdays, after he is done with his administrative duties as officer of his guild, and sometimes on Wednesdays since he is not committed to any raids that day so that can be the “wife day”, unless -of course- I look at him with compassion and say: “that’s ok, go to play”.

But as the saying goes, every coin has two sides, right? According to him, we added some more years to our marriage thanks to WoW. I guess that all those raids are helping him to brake whatever routine is in the every-day reality of a marriage. According to his mood, he can play with a Gnome Warrior (Tinymoon) -please, take a moment to picture the irony of a girl Warrior as tall as a 8 years old boy killing enemies 3 times her size with a mace and a sword and running wildly with her ponytails moving with the wind-; or he can play with a Human Warlock (Ayeela) or with a Gnome Mage (Chilimoon), all those on the Alliance side. Then, there is also his “dark side”: he can also be an Orc Hunter (Grolmoon) on the Horde side. According to my analyst, that range of possible personas has the potential of being highly therapeutic. But that is just too Freudian.

Bottom line is this: I love him and WoW makes him happy. That is all I need to know. Even when I am downstairs doing “my kind of things” and he is upstairs playing… there is like a waterfall of good vibe coming down the stairs from the room where the computer is. I cannot emphasize enough what a nightmare it was when we moved to the new house and we had no dsl connection for about 10 days until we switch to cable modem, mainly to solve the WoW-cold turkey-syndrome. Just joking -or not, you figure it out.

The late Pierre Bourdieu would have LOVED to plunge into this new hybrid reality. And of course, it would be interesting to read what Paul Virilio has to say about it. As the players sometimes wonder, the limits between the “real world” and the “virtual” one are getting more and more blurred each day. My husband meets almost everyday with several guild-mates. He even wakes up very early certain Sundays to play with someone who is living in Tokyo. Nowadays, his list of contacts in the messenger from people of WoW is as long as the list of his years-long friends, the ones he knew outside the cyberspace a lifetime ago. Instead of hanging out on a pub or a restaurant or a golf course, he does so in Eitrigg. Even when it is true that the nature of both realities is different, does that make the virtual reality of WoW less real? For what I’ve come to know sitting beside him when he plays, talking about some issues debated on the forums among the members of the guild it seems to me that such community is as real as any other and the same rules of any other society apply to it. For instance, the theory of some players in the game about how it can be approached as a management-hands-on-training is certainly worth exploring. One member of his guild was recently quoted in Newsweek saying he would open a new company and would only hire people he knew playing WoW. And I can understand that. One could learn a lot about a person behavior, ethics, commitment, etc. by playing the game.

I could bore you to death theorizing about the nature and limits of the cyberspace reality. But the thing is… the cyberspace is becoming as real as the coffee we drink in the morning (unless you’ve chosen the blue pill). Are we at risk of getting into a Matrix-like reality? Well… for now that is as Byzantine a question as when my Philosophy professor in High School asked us to write an essay explaining our viewpoint on the issue of the future being more like Jules Verne’s version or Blade Runner’s one. What do you think?

I just turned 40 a couple of months ago and there is a whole generation of people now that finds it difficult to believe I grew up with the TV being B&W, without cable, dish or Internet. I’ve even been asked how I could live without email, or Google, or the weather on line or the instant news. How did I do to buy a plane ticket before internet? Today, when I call my husband to dinner, instead of shouting I send him an IM. According to my sister in law that is taking matters to the extreme, but it is certainly more efficient than shouting like crazy -specially since he wears a headset to play.

Even when I do not play myself I am absolutely fascinated with WoW. Why don’t I play, you wonder? Hey! I’m just an artist; I cannot handle so much technology ;-). Nevertheless I am fascinated by the game and mostly by the huge potential of social interactions within it.

Would I ask my husband to restrain from playing just as some of my friends do? Not a chance. Ok, may be there are some exceptional situations but ordinarily, no. He is happy, I am happy, there is harmony. Plus, I got the chance to learn.

When you find the first PhD thesis on WoW, please let me know. I would love to read it. In the meantime I’ll be sharing the emotion of finishing the big boss in Molten Core every Friday or getting anxious when big crocodiles threaten my husband while he runs through Dustwallow Marsh.

[Socorro Villa is a freelance journalist and artist. Her interests are focus in the art and communications fields. When she’s not painting or writing, she practices Kung-fu.]

12 Comments so far

  1. oxdevil (eu trollbane) (unregistered) on October 5th, 2006 @ 11:41 pm

    nice writings :p

    hehe, though maybe you should consider playing also, playing wow together with my girlfriend has added a whole new dimension to our relationship. we quest , we raid and we are in the same guild ofc :). we were always the kind that does almost everything together, from cooking, to cleaning up , going shopping etc….

    take care :p


  2. Macy (unregistered) on October 6th, 2006 @ 6:26 am

    “When you find the first PhD thesis on WoW, please let me know.”

    I plan on writing it.


  3. Xoruka (unregistered) on October 6th, 2006 @ 6:30 am

    Your husband needs to seek balance.

    I used to be that way when I was playing 3 hours a day. Overweight, depressed… just generally being a sucktard.

    Granted a lot has changed for the better since then (awesome effin’ job, back on a red meat diet, getting separated, squeezing more quality into the time I spend with kid, starting theological studies once again, lost 55 lbs, etc.) but I play less and enjoy WoW even more so.

    I play an hour a night with 3 hours on Saturdays for Molten Core at best. I pop on for some good Battleground loving, relax (mostly because I am Horde and we win all the time), log off and get a good night’s rest.

    Balance is the key.


  4. Donald (AKA Dreadmoon) (unregistered) on October 6th, 2006 @ 7:42 am

    “Your husband needs to seek balance.”

    As the husband ;-) you might be right… but then again, as long as we enjoy each other and as long as she get a little more involved in my VR, I’m happy.

    As to playing, right now, my main time is spent in our DKP runs, Thu-Sat, the rest of the week I am being more flexible ;-)

    But I love the game!!!!!


  5. Yunk (unregistered) on October 6th, 2006 @ 9:35 am

    That makes me want to go play my gnome ‘lock Yunkndatwunk

    I haven’t played her in awhile.
    :)


  6. Bendyr (unregistered) on October 6th, 2006 @ 11:45 am

    Balance? No way. Feral all the way, man.


  7. Donald (AKA Dreadmoon) (unregistered) on October 6th, 2006 @ 11:50 am

    Sorry to tell you Bendyr… I’m a happy chicken Drood (Moonkin). :-D


  8. Jonus (unregistered) on October 10th, 2006 @ 2:22 pm

    Although not a thesis there have been a good number of research papers written on WoW. Check out.

    http://gac.sagepub.com/content/vol1/issue4/?etoc

    Also http://www.whatalovelywar.co.uk/war/ seems to be very interested in WoW from an acedemic viewpoint.


  9. jim (unregistered) on October 11th, 2006 @ 8:37 am

    What about the kids? That’s the issue I’m finding most difficult to deal with. My wife has lots of stuff she likes to do, and I’m sure would enjoy the solo time while I’m questing. But, add a couple of small children to the mix and my enjoyment of the game really starts to impact my family in a negative way. So now, I get the kids to bed and stay up way to freakin late….


  10. Donald (AKA Dreadmoon) (unregistered) on October 11th, 2006 @ 2:07 pm

    “What about the kids?”

    We don’t have any kids yet, and my cat usually ends up in my lap ;-)


  11. Alextra (unregistered) on October 14th, 2006 @ 8:33 am

    Both my boyfriend and me play WoW, we have 3xlvl60chars each, and still go out with friends, go shopping 3 or 4 times a week, meet with the family every weekend… The fact is that this game is a very important point in our life, but we keep time to our IRL matters: maybe it’s coz we are too young (he’s 24 and I’m 19 years old).
    Our family and irl friends also play WoW, and we form a big part of our main-chars guild.

    I think that one of the reasons why we are so comfortable play together is that my principal char is the guild’s main healer, and he is an MT (Main Tank, the guy who eats all the hits). Before, he played a lock, so we always formed a nice couple ;)

    -And yes, about the gnome hilarious situation… my chars are cute human and troll girls, but my BF’s warrior and lock are lovely female gnomes… I was quite disgusted about his “gnome obssesion” some months ago, until, while I was explaining the situation to a close friend, he pat me and made me realise that I’m look like a big-eyes short gnome :O (I’m only 1’67m high :Both my boyfriend and me play WoW, we have 3xlvl60chars each, and still go out with friends, go shopping 3 or 4 times a week, meet with the family every weekend… The fact is that this game is a very important point in our life, but we keep time to our IRL matters: maybe it’s coz we are too young (he’s 24 and I’m 19 years old).
    Our family and irl friends also play WoW, and we form a big part of our main-chars guild.

    I think that one of the reasons why we are so comfortable play together is that my principal char is the guild’s main healer, and he is an MT (Main Tank, the guy who eats all the hits). Before, he played a lock, so we always formed a nice couple ;)

    -And yes, about the gnome hilarious situation… my chars are cute human and troll girls, but my BF’s warrior and lock are lovely female gnomes… I was quite disgusted about his “gnome obssesion” some months ago, until, while I was explaining the situation to a close friend, he pat me and made me realise that I’m look like a big-eyes short gnome :O (I’m only 1’67m high :


  12. Akai (unregistered) on October 16th, 2006 @ 9:48 am

    Woot? You say that I know you are more skilled than me?
    /pat
    Keep trying ^.^

    Greets from Alextra’s BF



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