This post has evolved and reformed several times in my mind before I had a chance to write it out. The original idea was inspired by Larisa's post over at The Pink Pigtailed Inn in which she responded to a commenter who decided WoW was consuming his life and was a waste of time. From there I went on to read Klepsacovic's post over at Troll Racials Are Overpowered, which was a response to Larisa's post.
So now I present to you, my thoughts and ramblings that have been inspired and shaped by those posts.
The Big “Why” Question
Why do I play WoW? Why do I spend so much of my time invested in this game, on these characters, all of which are not “real.” They aren't tangible creations. They will be gone when Blizzard decides to shut down the servers… lost forever. Syrana isn't me. Syrana is just pixels on the screen.
But I can identify with her on some level. She is my therapy, my outlet. As is the blogging. Some might think I waste even more time by reading so much about “just a game” and then writing about it too. Pfft, this helps me enjoy the game even more and become immersed within this virtual world.
Is everything I do in-game an extension of myself? Of course not. But it's a virtual world where I can escape to and feel comfortable among like-minded companions.
A Hobby is a Hobby is a Hobby…
Why does gaming, as a hobby, have such a stigma anyhow? It's quite strange, really. And why does my every waking moment have to be “productive.” How many non-gamers do you know that are doing something productive every moment they are awake? Yeah, I thought so… some but not all (and certainly not all that shun my game playing!). Playing WoW is more productive, social, and interactive than sitting and watching TV and movies for hours on end. But who questions that?
Do people do things like play hooky from work or school to play? Yes, just like people will to go fishing, play golf, or go hunting.
2 Simple Rules
My leisure time is mine. No one else can determine how I could or should be spending that time. I can do as I please as long as I follow these 2 simple rules:
1. I'm enjoying myself. (And it's semi-legal… just kidding, as long as it's legal!)
2. I'm not hurting anyone. (PvP excluded)
I'm an adult, I can make big girl decisions thankyouverymuch! And I believe this goes for any hobby or pasttime that one may have.
Playing my characters, chattin' it up with guildies, hosting social guild events, and running around Dalaran in circles are how I like to spend my leisure time. So yes, some might say I'm wasting my time WHILE wasting my time! I don't even really hide it ever. My computer at home has a WoW screenshot for the desktop, and so does my work computer. A few of my co-workers even come to this here blog to read my role-playing story. I use my WoW themed credit card with no shame. (Plus, there's no shame in earning free game time!)
All of this is important because everyone needs to have their “me” time and a way to revitalize. Of course, since my husband plays too, WoW also provides “us” time as well. And now that my mother and father play, it even provides some “family” time.
A Moment of Clarity
Escaping reality is a necessity for me to keep my sanity. It's a way for me to effectively perform my job. Especially in our current state of economic troubles, I need to perform my job well. In this time where many lack hope, I must constantly work to provide and instill hope in my clients.
I work with people every day. This can be emotionally draining and exhausting, hence the mental vacation WoW often provides at little cost. And providing hope, is my main commodity. I work with people that are seeking alcohol and drug treatment. I am not a counselor, but a case manager. A majority of the people I have contact with on a daily basis have hit rock bottom or are very near to it. They've gone through a downward spiral, have incredible stories, and have often lost all that is near and dear to them… their lives are fragmented. I am there to help them find those pieces so they can pick them up and put them back together. If I'm not revitalized, refreshed, and renewed, how can I expect to instill hope in people day in and day out? I can't.
World of Warcraft helps me to do just that. It gives me a chance to escape what's bad and depressing to go into Azeroth where I can be a hero and change the world.
So when I wake up, I can really help change the world… by providing hope to someone I'm working with so they are able to change their own world.
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