Video games get a bad rap in society today. Yes, many of them are incredibly violent, with "mature themes", and other players often engage in deliberately offensive commentary, so maybe that reputation is somewhat deserved. My video game experience has been based primarily around World of Warcraft (WoW), an MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) produced for the last nine years by Blizzard Entertainment. Hardcore gamers out there might scoff at my limited point of view, and they'd be right in that WoW certainly doesn't stand up as an appropriate cross-section of all video games, but, it's the one I play, and in Azeroth, I've found a lot of happy moments, even admit some of the negatives.
For me, WoW is an outlet for my competitive nature. I've always been a competitive person... to the degree that controlling the ugly side of that nature has always been something I've struggled with. WoW has given me an outlet for my competitive streak, in a team environment that doesn't cause my grouchy, bad loser side to rear it's head.
I've grown a thicker skin. It's been a necessary part of accepting my place in the online community, and has served me well in my real life.
It has broadened my horizons. I'm friends with folks from many parts of the world, and walks of life, all of whom see things from unique perspectives. I feel lucky to have had such influences. It scares my mother every day that I've shared details of my life, including my real name and cell number with some of these people. While it's certainly not something I recommend doing with just anyone you meet on line, or even with most folks, in my case it has created some wonderful friendships that I know I'll cherish for the rest of my life, even outside the realm of the game
It has helped me connect with my significant other and his buds in a way that many girlfriends and wives never get to. In the game, I'm just one of the guys.
It stimulates my imagination. At the end of the day, I'll always be a sucker for a good story, and WoW is nothing if not full of great stories and amazing lore. Rather than simply reading a novel in which the protagonist gets to slay a dragon and save the day, WoW gives me all the backstory of a novel, and I'm the one getting to slay the dragon and return home a hero. Even if it all is just pushing buttons on a keyboard.
The adrenaline rush that comes with success. Every week we bash our heads against digital monsters of unimaginable ferocity. We die a lot... them, not so much. The celebration that ensues when our team manages to finally overcome a particularly difficult encounter, one that we've been working on for weeks, is nothing short of amazing. We scream with joy into our mics and all lean back in our seats, exhausted and fulfilled. At that point, the rewards we get from the game for winning almost don't matter.
I'm not intending to make a statement on violence in video games, because I honestly don't know where I stand on the issue as a whole, but I do know that WoW has brought some incredible things to my life that I would have never known without it! Do you have these same outlets and opportunities in your life? I'd love to hear about them!!