"Hell, I don't know, maybe?" (for 10 points, name that movie)
This is a topic that is of great interest to me. I read blogs about this sort of thing, and I gobble them up, think about them, digest them, and then read them again. I probably don't have much to offer this perspective, save my own, but hey, that is why you are reading my blog right? For my perspective? Good, glad we got that part out of the way.
Again, I'll throw some brief background and update into the mix. I want to brag for a second, so bear with me. I am the 'proud' pwner of a level 70 (currently resto) Shaman in a fairly successful raiding guild. Our guild is young, but our core is ridiculously strong, knowledgeable, and for the most part, humble and open to improvement. We have been raiding since the beginning of June, and have cleared 4/6 in SSC, and it will be 5/6 as soon as we can get our resist tanks on in the same night, or quite frankly...really care about getting Hydross. We raid two nights a week, for 3 hours tops, each raid. We farmed Gruul and Mag for a bit, and then started in SSC. Over the past 3 weeks, we have gotten first kills on Tidewalker, FLK, and leotheras..usually on our first night of attempts.
Ok, bragging out of the way. So I have had this discussion with my girlfriend several times, and I decided that it would be fun to blog about it. Is WoW just a game? Straight out of the gate, one can always say 'yes.' It is classified as an MMORPG, and we can guess what the 'G' stands for. While it never ceases to be, in fact, a game, it seems to become so much more whenever we enter it (Royal we).
I spend quite a bit of time in the game. I love it. I look forward to it every day. I love the grind, I love the raids, I even, when all is said and done, love resolving guild issues, and explaining for the 100th time why we are not doing TK, or bosses in Hyjal (Oh, I failed to mention above, I am one of the GMs of this guild). I even love the outside time I spend that is related to the game, like reading boss strats, moderating the forums, and the website, and discussing guild direction with my fellow GMs.
So what does this make WoW to me? I don't know... maybe a Hobby, maybe an escape, perhaps as chick gm explains, a way of life/committment, a job? I think in regards to myself, all of these apply. When it is a raid day, I make sure I get home from work at a certain time, give myself proper prep time, and even my girlfriend makes room for this sort of thing in her schedule (whether it's bringin' snacks, snuggling up with a book, or working on her dissertation, or even leveling her own character).
Raiding is probably the most workly aspect of the game. As a GM and assistant Raid Leader, it is mainly my (Really 'our') responsibility to make sure we have the necessary people, smoothe the edges on those that don't get to go, distribute loot fairly and appropriately, set a good example, and most importantly, make sure as many people as possible are having fun.
The committment/way-of-life aspect is partially outlined above, but it goes further than that. That comes in mediating disputes, salving hurt feelings, or helping gear up some new recruits by scheduling Karazhan runs around them, so they can get the gear and badges they need to improve their performance.
I used WoW as an escape for the many hours I felt sorry for myself after a bad relationship, and now, I use it chill out after a particularly heinous day at work, or after a sucktacular commute.
As a hobby, it kinda fits nicely into all of these categories. It helps me build aspects that may not seem overly important, but to me, they are, and will eventually come in handy. I research for boss fights, which will be useful in future jobs, or school classes (well, the research part). I manage up to 20-some-odd volunteers, which will be vaulable in management positions I may hold in the future. I grind out rep in tedium, and mats, and badges to accomplish goals I have set, and marked down for measurement, which can prove valuable, because lets face it... life can be full of tedium. I even mess with video editting software, so I can put together boss-kill movies so that everyone can rewatch the great events.
Getting back to the hobby, I can retire to my office (the garage), after work, and get into comfy clothes (overalls), and start to work on dailies (polishing engine parts, and doing body repair work), and twice every week, I put on my working duds, and take that ol' car out for a spin, and feel all that time I put into it, pay off.
Really though.. It's just a game though... right?
Hell, I don't know, maybe?
As a subtext of this post, I am going to start this coming Sunday, and I am going to log all of my time in-game, and out-of-game, that I spend in regards to WoW, and I will report back my findings. It ought to be fun! Thanks for stopping by!