How World of Warcraft Made My Life Awesome
For endless years, I listened to the ramble of my friends about the glorious World of Warcraft.
I learned all about this magical land, the characters you could bring to life, and the wicked spells you could cast on enchanted creatures. In high school I was Little Miss Overachiever and didn't have time to play video games any more involved than Diddy Kong racing. In addition to extra-currics in school though, I was a busy social butterfly. Fortunately for me, I became close friends with many of the nerdiest and most loving people you can find. After bombing my first semester in college, I shut myself off from pastimes I enjoyed in order to succeed. Along with hobbies like scrapbooking and actually picking up a book just for fun, diving into time-consuming addictions like WoW was not an option. I kicked my undergrad ass into gear and studied relentlessly until achieving my four-year degree, Magna Cum Laude. After the hype was over, I realized I needed to re-teach myself how to engage in hobbies I used to love.
Fast forward years later, and I am now at a baffling wonderful time in my life. I am switching careers from mundane to blissful, moving out of my tyrant-run apartment building, and writing more than I have since high school. I feel as though I can conquer anything, but this was not the case a few months ago. With winter came several life-affecting circumstances that threw me into a deep muddy hole of depression. When I began feeling like some evil had come to suck the imagination out of my soul, I turned to WoW as a fun creative outlet. With time I could focus on feeling better, but never stopped playing World of Warcraft. I can excitedly say that this game helped change my life in these awesome ways...
1. I've never been a "walker." I am more what you would call a "get-there-faster-with-less-effort-by-driving-er." Recently though, I have been trying to trick myself into walking as much as possible to help my money and my muscles. While strolling solo one day, I began daydreaming about the hours spent with my Alliance character touring the world of Azeroth on foot. I suddenly imagined that I were a part of the magical world, and that my upcoming destination was an important quest entrusted to me alone. Instantly boring old walking became an otherworldly secret adventure! Now whenever I am feeling lazy, I remember how much more of Outlands I experienced traveling by foot rather than flying by Gryphon, and set out on my own two feet that I now realize can take me anywhere.
2. Sometimes in WoW you find your low-level Alliance butt in a contested territory and you get one-shotted for no reason other than a good laugh for some Horde guy. Then sometimes after you walk all the way back to your body from the graveyard and resurrect yourself, it happens again right away by some different Horde guy. By sometimes I mean this is freaking constant in some areas. Other players killing me has taught me a load of patience for circumstances beyond my control. When a Horde guy kills you, you just have to get back to your body and try again.
3. Not yet a seasoned WoW player, it's absurdly common how often I can run around trying to complete a single quest and not have a clue what I'm supposed to be doing. Along with patience, this continues to help me learn that persistence really does pay off. The more I practice with different quests, the more I realize that I always solve them eventually and all is not lost after all.
4. When it was difficult for me to make myself engage in any activities, I used WoW as a way of accomplishing something I thought about trying for too long. Whether lifelong dreams or little tiny ones, it is important for our sense of self-worth to check things off the Bucket List.
5. Because so many of my close friends are gamers, jumping into one of the most popular computer games has given me countless social interactions that I would have missed out on otherwise. Like many people, I feel awkward in social settings more frequently than I would like. Discussing WoW with people I admire feels special and gives me an incredible sense of belonging and community.
6. WoW offers a serious lesson in focus, especially for an ambitious Herbalist like myself. The game reminds me the importance of staying on track by literally sabotaging me if I venture off a sketchy path. I've gotten lost, turned around backwards, and attacked by sixteen spiders at once an embarrassing amount of times. At the end of the brawl I collapse back into my computer chair wondering what the heck happened, to realize every time that oops, I am in the middle of the woods and the path is laughably far away. Focus folks.
7. While I am a promoter of mindful living, I will say that the game improved my brain's ability to multitask. By accepting many quests at a time I inherited the ultimate challenge in multitasking as I fight endless creatures at once and gain as much experience in as little time as possible.
8. WoW reminded me how good it feels to work hard and accomplish a long anticipated goal. This speedster couldn't wait to get her flying Gryphon mount to move through the game faster than with the strolling turtle mount. The determination I expressed surprised even me, and a direct reward for my time spent has been a great confidence booster. Give yourself these little accomplishments!
9. Taking social chances is one of the most difficult things for me to do. After creating my first WoW character, I panicked when it was time to take her into the multi-player world of Azeroth. I would be alongside people who have played the game for over a decade, and holy hell would I look like a moron. The best part is that I was obviously right, and I am a much stronger gamer and person for it. It was my first time playing any game like this and I really sucked at first. But when I took a chance and looked like a fool, all I had to do was resurrect myself and keep playing, and all dignity was restored. After learning a lot of ways to die in WoW, I finally learned how to stay alive too.
10. The game has been an overall confidence boost. I used to worry about stupid things like gamers judging me with stereotypes and that I would never have a sweet character. Finally, I signed up anyway, and I am now part of an ongoing life lesson on remaining confident in who I am despite what others think or what their characters are like.
11. All through high school and college, I didn't feel like I was allowed to slow down for a second. I needed to be productive and efficient in everything in my life in some way. Now, I understand the importance of allowing time just for me, and WoW is one of the few rewards I give myself. It feels GOOD to guiltlessly enjoy something that makes you happy.
12. Lastly and most dear to my heart, World of Warcraft helped me get to know myself better. I relish in learning my own details, and WoW opened my eyes to my passion for Fantasy and fairy tales. It was there all along and I never even paid attention.
This theme has always been an important part of my life in books and films, but until I could create my first character in a fantasy world I never realized how much joy these stories bring me in every form.