So, I just watched Second Skin, a documentary about MMORPGs and it's players. The documentary hit home on a few points, regarding social interaction in-game, the affects on the lifestyles of hardcore gamers and their priorities in life.
One quote which got me was:
This coming from a 36 year old Everquest 2 addict."...don't ****ing waste your day, your night, every ****ing waking moment in front of the computer, just because the game is there. Big ****ing deal, crack is out there on the streets, what's the difference if I just go and smoke that?
...Oh wait, that would actually take me physically moving and having to socialize with somebody.
Maybe a ****ing crackhead is more of a real person than a video game addict."
So I wondered...has all the years of playing World of Warcraft made such a negative impact on my life that I could say crackhead has got one over me? Nah, doubtful.
If anything, gaming online has improved my life to a certain extent; Teaching me how to manage my time properly, how to approach strangers more easily and how pulling my weight in a group activity is vital to achieving the end-result.
Sure, I could have learned these things in real-life, and chances are I probably already did somewhere along the line. However, online gaming has helped me improve on these things further. Also, the connections I've made in-game with people are incredible and have met some of the most interesting people I know.
I've made friends in-game which I have been in contact with since I started playing, even though some of them don't play any more or have moved on to different things. It's what we've experienced together, even if not physically, that has made us a tight-knit group of bros and will probably be in contact for many years to come, even if we don't play the same game, live in the same country or have ever met in real-life.
I recall last year, on our Guild Master's 35th birthday, that we all sent money in for him to get a Figureprint of his main character because it's something he said he's always wanted, but could never afford it. Or when our Tank's mom died, but she didn't have enough dough to fly over to Ireland to go to the funeral, how guild members banded together and organized her a plane tickets both there and back. Even little in-game things, like having a very, very rare item drop and everybody passes it to a person they know has had a bad day and needs some cheering up. It's a small gesture, but it could mean a lot to the person who needs a pick-up.
It's **** like this that I don't just see every day in real-life, but see in game often. The helping-hands and compassion which people show in-game to other players, even if they've never met them before or know them in real-life. It makes me feel like I'm part of something more real than the real world because there seems to be a lot more of humanity than on the streets.
So, to avoid this post sounding more and more like a blog entry. How has online gaming impacted your life? Have you met any interesting people online which you keep in contact with?