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,
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