World of Warcraft: Community

Friendship and loss in the gaming world.

Losing a long-term guildie in World of Warcraft (or indeed any MMO) can be difficult to deal with. The player might have left the guild for another, further progressed, guild, or they may have left the game completely. Either way, it can be a struggle for those left behind, and in a game as old as WoW,  I’m sure it’s happened to all of us at some point.

WoW used to thrive on social relationships. Now, not so much. With in-game features such as ‘Looking for Raid’ providing access to content otherwise unseen by players unwilling - or unable - to find a place within the social structure built by the majority, players no longer need to build relationships with other players in order to progress. 

I’ve always been a social player. If you wanted to raid back in the days of Vanilla and the Burning Crusade, you had to be. Grouping with friends made dungeons easier too, as heroic 5-mans were often time consuming and patience-testing. Looking back at how the game’s changed over the years, I’ve found that it is those relationships that have kept me playing WoW for so long.  

I’ve enjoyed good times with my online friends and they’ve also been there for me through the bad. During TBC, my computer broke down and needed to be taken away for repair as it was still under warranty. Out of work at the time, I relied heavily on the social connections I’d made in-game to get me through the day, and so the realization that I could be without my PC for the better part of a month was, in all honesty, distressing. 

A guildie whom I’d never met in real life, but had spoken with many times over Ventrilo, came to the rescue. Incredibly, it turned out he didn’t live far from me and the very next day he delivered to me his spare computer. It’s a gesture I’ve never forgotten.

More recently, I mentioned in guild chat that I was looking for a new television as the one I had was old and huge and would not fit in my new apartment. Next thing I know there’s a 32” flat screen TV being delivered thanks to another guildie who’d just bought a new one. He didn’t want any money for it, not even to cover the delivery costs. 

Reading this, one might believe me to only enjoy in-game friendships thanks to the materialistic perks, but the point I’m making is I’ve met some wonderful people in WoW. Kind, trusting people. People who would chat with me at 4am because I was depressed and suffering from insomnia. People who would drive seven hours through the night to support me through dark times. 

These people play World of Warcraft, and I am proud to be counted among them. 

I have to wonder though. If I were a new player, with all of the in-game features that have removed the need to socialise…would I meet these amazing people? And would my heart break every time one of them left? 

Penny for your thoughts,

Qelric

Follow me on Twitter: @QelricDK

Comments

Post Comment
Friendship and Loss
# Nov 01 2013 at 6:51 PM Rating: Decent
Avatar
1 post
Community and friendship truly does make a game such a better place. I was lucky enough to find WoW through (an awful) person that I had met years back. While the circumstances were pretty bad, while patrolling through The Exodar with said person, I came across a guild by accident. A man was looking for members to sign their charter and sure enough, we filled the spots. What I didn't know at the time was that this guild was my blessing back then. It was an extraordinary family. They were kind, they were helpful, and they lifted my spirits when I needed it the most. Days passed and one thing led to the other and soon we were chatting on Vent and just having a great time. Eventually by surprise, they even took to their car and visited me. All the way from Texas. I was thrilled! If they showed me anything, it was that friendship can come from anywhere, especially through a game! Unfortunately, we don't nearly talk as much as we used to, since life goes on. But they are absolutely always carried through my daily thoughts and memories.

I know now, years later, that WoW doesn't exactly work that way anymore. People are so encumbered by 'working' to get things or specific tasks done, that I rarely see anyone truly talk. And if they do talk, it bursts into a giant war and it's all about complaining and fighting or bragging. Generally negative thoughts, things I dislike to be a part of. I could only imagine it would be a lot harder to find friends now, for someone who is new. Either it was luck back then or the style of gameplay, but I certainly wish it was the same now. I think everyone deserves to find that one person(s) that they can talk to and confide in, just as that family did for me. Fortunately in this day and age, through the power of YouTube and TwitchTV and the relation of WoW, that is how I managed to also find such wonderful best friends. It might not have started through the game itself, but they are just another blessing that I will always carry with me and I feel fortunate to have them. Every single one of them. And even though we don't personally see each other up close and personal (at least not yet), they mean the world to me and are part of something that I've never even imagined!

Thank you for the wonderful article, Qelric, and also for being a wonderful friend to me as well. :)
Real friendships
# Nov 01 2013 at 6:36 PM Rating: Good
1 post
When I started playing WOW many years ago, as dumb, noobie dwarf, I was standing outside of Stormwind gates, wondering what the **** I was supposed to do next.

It must have been obvious I was lost, because this L30 something 'lok happened along and asked if I needed help with anything. I gratefully accepted her help, and at the end of that play session I was invited to her guild.

We spoke many times over the following few months, using TeamSpeak as we played. I developed some great friendships online playing WOW, but Mylynn (the lok) and our family became more than just gaming buddies.

A year after we met, I mentioned to her that I would be travelling to the USA (Im Australian) the following year, arriving on Good Friday of that year. I was informed (as in TOLD!) that as I was arriving in LA, I would have to spend Easter with her family! Needless to say I had a great time, so much so that Ive been back there several time since, and she has visited Australia with her family, to our delight!

Flash forward to today. We are both still playing, migrating servers together, progressing through new content, sharing achievements, adventures, successes and failures alike.
Joy and I consider ourselves to be the best of friends and often curse that our best mate is on the other side of the world to each other!

The point of my post is, that friendships and relationships made through WOW can, and do, matter as much if not more, than random meetings in real life. When you loose a friend/guildie, its going to be a loss, a void, that can be felt every bit as much as finding your buddy from next door is moving away to another state/country/continent.

Peace all
EQ too, and other thoughts
# Nov 01 2013 at 6:34 AM Rating: Good
21 posts
I started out in EQ back in 99'. I spent all of 2000 unguilded, but during casual conversation one day, i found out one of my coworkers was an active player. This was still in the day when game death meant something, banks were religiously guarded against sneak thieves, and there was a wary apprehension in the air. He sponsored me for guild membership and two weeks later I was a full member. What a tight knit group! We were scattered from Waycross, GA to Vancouver, to across the pond. Just as you said, when a guildie was in trouble, we really bonded together. I remember our rogue leader organizing a donation drive for a sick guildy that needed help with medical bills. I remember our warrior leader volunteering his services for rebuilding systems to run the new graphics when Luclin launched. I followed these guys to WoW, but as one of our leaders put it; 'WoW doesn't have push like EQ." We quickly moved from WoW to CoH and stayed there until eventually, everyone moved on and the guild dwindled. Still, it was a great group for over 8 years of great raids and great times.

Oddly, i found that the opposite didn't seem to hold as true. On average, the people I met in game became more reliable than friends I had outside of the game I brought in to a game.
Friendship and Loss
# Oct 31 2013 at 7:11 PM Rating: Decent
2 posts
really great article Q. it does feel awful when your friend from a game leaves when you have been through so many adventures with them. also I believe friends in game are important and they help you through the game and maybe some cases IRL. keep up the great articles Q, they are very enjoyable to read!

-Aston!!!
AMazing!
# Oct 31 2013 at 6:12 PM Rating: Decent
This was a very great article. People often forget that meeting new people and developing relationships can be just as fun as downing a boss. It's good to know true friendships exist still in WoW. MMORPG gaming will always be my favorite genre because of the human interaction. Even if I get destroyed in PVP. :)
Friendship and Loss
# Oct 31 2013 at 5:56 PM Rating: Good
15 posts
Hmmm. This is something I can sort of relate to-sort of.

I've pretty much had an extremely rough past year or so, And although I have real life friends (as in people I see sometimes), they can't be there 24/7 as they have families, jobs etc. And a while ago I was in a major funk. Depressed as hell, days without sleep and couldn't shake this funk off. So I got back into WoW and came across some great people in game when I went to Argent Dawn server. Some of who I keep in touch with at times. And I felt a **** of a lot better. Then of course, I started talking to yourself and people you know via Youtube at first (back when it was working) and Twitter, and I consider you guys friends even though having never met irl. You've helped me out with things and let me help out with stuff to keep me occupied (like the transcriptions for example)-and done some kind gestures aswell which I wasn't expecting (which irl has happened on a very rare occassion), and I get to rage about trivial things like card games with Bryt on twitter which is a laugh. It's also good for me aswell as there is absolutely no one around here who I can share my interests with locally as I'm like a Sheldon Cooper if you will, which leaves me open to a **** of a lot of abuse-and I've had a tonne of it. Some physical, some verbal. It's something I just have to get used to until I can leave the area.

So I think that despite in game the social aspect has been decimated somewhat, it's still possible to meet great people outside of the game-because of the social environment that's been created by the game, like via videos, forums-even twitter and facebook. Yes there are going to be idiots and noobs, but at the same time, these are heavily outnumbered by great people. It's just harder to find them at times, And when you meet these said fellow people, the reward of meeting them either online or IRL is priceless-they can make you feel so much better and can really brighten a dark, dark time. They are out there-just harder to find these days.
Friendship and Loss
# Oct 31 2013 at 6:05 PM Rating: Decent
Avatar
16 posts
That's the great thing about WoW. You get to meet people with similar interests and you get to like them for their personalities without physical appearances getting in the way. It's as it should be: like a person for their soul, not for their outward appearance.

Thanks for the comment, was a lovely read. My best friends are people I have met through gaming/youtube etc.

~Q
____________________________
Admin
www.Qelric.com
Friendship and Loss
# Oct 31 2013 at 10:30 PM Rating: Decent
I played on WoW EU servers from 2006-2010, and know first hand how wonderful the community there can be. I too had some very dark times that many kind folk helped me through, despite that they lived thousands of miles away. A few of them I still talk with to this very day, they are like family to me. I still play there too from time-to-time in addition to my US accounts.

Upon re-rolling on US servers, the people there are nice as well, but it was very hard to make new friends. Not because people do not want to be nice and friendly, it was as you wrote about, people do not have to be social to do things in the game. Just queue up for a random, never really talk to anyone, that type of mentality has taken over the game.

For a new player who didn't know people from way back, it can be hard to make new friends in the game. But it is not impossible. I've tried to be my kind self and befriend people since being here on US servers. I am honored to consider Hobbs, PatrickJ and Raixcore to be my friends. They have been lifesavers for me without realizing it. Just them being so nice saying hello to me with a smile when they are on livestreams means the absolute world to me.

The same goes for you Qelric, even across the pond new friendships can happen despite time differences. If I can make one of your streams, it is always lovely to say hello and hear what is new with you. The sense of community seems to have gone to livestream chat rooms. Each day we learn of more new "regulars" who become part of the community. It is always a joy to say hello to all of them. Lovely article whose story needed to be told for quite some time now.
Post Comment

Free account required to post

You must log in or create an account to post messages.