I think it's also important to note that the online world gives people access to people who are like themselves. A lot of people feel isolated in their situations, such as the transgendered group of people, and they can find online communities to join and feel part of. For me, even finding other gamers was a relief. None of my friends at school or even out of school play games regularly so it was great to meet new people who share a common interest. Online communities have also allowed me to get to know people all over the country too, which expands horizons.
There's a lot of benefit to online socialising which one doesn't necessarily gain from personal socialising. But the same is absolutely true for the opposite. Balance, as always, is key :)
@Dammit, a friend and I had a similar discussion over Mxit yesterday, I told him about how great online communities could be if you really gave it a chance. There's just so much interesting stuff you can discuss with so many people, leading to friendships yadda yadda yadda, copy/paste post above.
He then continued to argue that it's totally lame and that he'd rather have his "forums" with real people he could see eye to eye. The funny thing is, we've never met in person before, and we've discussed much more interesting stuff than what I've discussed with my real friends. So I'm cpying and pasting that post of yours to send to him the first chance I get. :P
I've been playing an assortment of online games for +/-5 years, one of them being severely addictive. I could kind of see the lives of the guys/girls who played it with me for more than a year wither away. I've met some awesome people over the years and that is basically the only positive about the whole experience. They all move on sooner or later, so no point really.
The impact of online gaming on my life has been immense. I went from an over- to underachiever at work and I neglected my rl relationships. The more stat hungry you become, the more serious the game becomes. Loads of online time is required to play any game competitively. Once you reach elite proportions the game becomes a responsibility, your guild members rely on you to be online and before you know it - you'll find yourself managing 'a second job'. At that stage, most of the fun is kind of sucked out of the whole thing. It's addictive. When you actually step away from the game, you'll have a void of empty space to fill and find yourself going back for more.
On a somewhat related note: I really, really can't wait for this documentary. It looks like it oozes quality and showcases some of the best players in the world.
We had the world No.1 10-man strict guild on our server, but unfortunately due to some members taking alts to 25-man raids they were disqualified from the rankings.
With the new lockout changes coming in Cataclysm, I'm expecting to see them on top once again. They're hardcore and determined, so keep an eye out for Saoirse - Kilrogg, EU.
Super massive megaman necro time!
The documentary has been released and after watching last night, I found it brilliant. It explains World of Warcraft and specifically progression raiding better than any other documentary I have ever watched regarding the subject. Not to mention, that as a former WoW player, it's nice to see the faces behind the big names you always heard about and followed. These guys are legends within the community for playing a video game and it goes in-depth as to exactly why that is.
Really recommend watching it. It's really interesting, even if you have never played the game.