This post is long. Very long. And sad. Apologies.
I’ve wanted to write this post for a long time, but even now, I have no idea what I want to say. I don’t want to stir anything up, or hurt anyone’s feelings… that is not my intention at all. I get asked all the time when I will be coming back to play WoW, and honestly, I don’t know if I ever will. That isn’t to say that I don’t want to… I just don’t know if I will or not. It is complicated, for so many reasons. And I really don’t know where to start, so excuse my rambling.
Dramatic story time.
Leaving WoW has been very personal for me. While a lot of people chose to leave because of content, or lack there of, I chose to leave for other reasons. I was fine with the content. I do mundane and repetitive well. What I was not fine with, was how the game made me feel, specifically, how it made me feel about myself.
I used to be someone. I used to matter to people. I used to have friends. I’ve been playing WoW since I was 14 years old, and I always had a group of friends to play with. In high school, when I started playing, it was my best friends who got me into the game that I always played with. But within just a few years, we went from sharing accounts, to getting our own accounts, to getting into our own guilds and raiding without one another… but even as we grew apart, I always had new friends in my life to fall back on, even if it was just through a computer screen. I always had someone.
I don’t feel like that anymore.
I’m a long-term kind of person, I guess. The very first guild I ever found myself in was called Defiance. It was a Horde guild on Dethecus. I think they’re still around. I was 14 years old, and this was over 10 years ago, but I can still remember my guildmates’ names. I’m also still friends with a chunk of them on Facebook and talk to them regularly. I remember my GM’s name, and I remember both of his sons. I even remember when his oldest son came out as gay to me, the first person he ever told. I remember my Shaman class officer, and how he and the GM always took good luck bong hits before boss pulls in Molten Core 40. I remember all the gossip. I remember falling in love with a boy, who I dated online for a year and a half, and then traveled to Missouri to meet, and later to Canada to go to school with. I remember everything. I was in that guild for 4 years, before the guild started to fall apart, which was right around the time I was leaving for college. I started playing much less frequently, and lost contact with a lot of good friends.
When I started playing regularly again, about half a year later, I decided to start fresh with a large group of friends as Alliance on Dark Iron. Our guild was called Eternal Fate, and I have some really great memories from there, as well as many friends whom I still talk to. Unfortunately, my relationship and my college life fell apart shortly after my first year in college, and I moved in with that same friend, who then became my boyfriend. He was very competitive, and pretty elitist. I was never as “hardcore” as him, and it made me feel bad whenever we raided or played together, because I wasn’t good enough. So we decided to go our separate ways within the game, which ended up working out. I casually played with this group of friends for a long time, farming mats and gold, helping out raids when I was needed, but it never felt like I belonged. In real life, these people were my friends, and we clicked so well… but in the game, I dragged everyone down, and wasn’t taken seriously. So I left.
I spent some time on Zul’jin, playing as Alliance with a nice group of friends that I had met on Twitter. I got to see a bit more raiding, but the play was a bit too casual for my liking, as I had developed the taste for progression after playing with my last group of friends.
By this time, I had started my podcast journey, which some of you are familiar with. Something Suggestive was just a few months old when I made my way over to Zul’jin, and people were starting to notice me. I gained a bit of popularity on Twitter, booked a few guests on my show, and played the role of guest and guest co-host on several other, larger podcasts. Things felt amazing, and for the first time in a long time, I felt like I had friends and belonged somewhere. I transferred my main character, a priest, to Kul Tiras, to play with some fellow podcasters, and left my hunter on Zul’jin where I played her just a little while more before abandoning her, and my old guild.
Kul Tiras is where everything changed, and for the sake of the community, I won’t be naming names, or guilds… but things got bad. I started raiding immediately with a guild that I loved, and people that were even better. I was getting gear, improving my skills as a shadow priest, and making friends. It was great. I moved up through the ranks in the guild, eventually becoming an officer and a huge voice within my raid team. My show was gaining popularity, I was making friends, I was getting gear. Things were great.
And then they weren’t.
My GM and I got into a random, heated debate on Twitter, that all started from a stupid joke. It spun out of control, causing a lot of tension between myself and the GM, as well as the friends I had made within the guild. Two days later, I received an email from my GM telling me that I was being stripped of my officer rank in the guild, and was being put on probation, despite the fact that I had done nothing wrong. In the middle of the day, with a hundred guild mates online, I was demoted. I noticed that people were treating me differently after that. I was being ignored, and not getting invited to raids, despite still being a core member, and good raider. I also noticed that almost all of my “friends” from the guild had unfollowed me on Twitter, and that Ventrilo would get quiet when I joined.
Around this time, my GM’s podcast soared in popularity, as did our guild. The numbers grew fast, and there was a lot changing within the guild. I kept my head down, stopped talking in guild chat, and farmed mats to help the raid, which I was no longer getting invites to. And then I saw other people, new members, being made into officers. And I quit.
In the days that followed, I would read subtweets that I knew were about me. I lost nearly 60 followers within 48 hours, and people started leaving anonymous, horrible comments and reviews on my website and my podcast’s iTunes page. I later found out who was behind all of it, and that they had been saying very unkind things about me, for no reason, despite our past friendship.
I packed up all of my characters, and transferred them to Earthen Ring, where I joined the AIE guild. Best decision I could have ever made. Though I was only there for a few months before my entire world started to fall apart, it was some of the best times in-game that I had experienced in years. I made some amazing new friends, joined an kick ass raid team, and found my voice and my confidence again.
Unfortunately, that ended as well. Incoming real life shit.
A few months after joining AIE, my 4-year relationship came to an end. I was broken up with two days after Valentine’s Day, completely out of the blue, and kicked out of the home that I shared with my ex and our roommate shortly after. The next few YEARS were absolute chaos.
I no longer had internet. Within TWO YEARS I moved 4 times between shitty apartments, and changed jobs twice. I had been fired from my job just as I was being kicked out of my ex’s house, and things were only getting worse.
But I did have Kyle. Kyle and I met at the job that I had been fired from. We talked every now and then, but our friendship didn’t really happen until he quit, preparing to move away. After my break up, we started hanging out, and eventually started dating. Blah blah blah, skip to the present.
We have been together for two and a half years. We moved away from that town filled with shitty memories, and now live together with our amazing 7-month old son. Yes, a lot did happen between then and now, but this post isn’t about that. It is about my return to World of Warcraft.
A month before my son was born, we finally got internet. We were both working full-time, and could easily afford it. The day it was installed, I put WoW back on my computer, and jumped back into the game. My two main characters had been removed from AIE, but were back in within a few days. I also transferred my shaman from Dethecus, who had been untouched for years, and leveled her to 90. Unfortunately, my graphics card was shot, which made raiding, even on the lowest graphics settings, completely impossible. I had two years worth of content to catch up on (goodbye farm, hello garrison!), and spent the majority of my time leveling my characters, skills, and garrison. It was fun, until it wasn’t.
I caught up with some old friends, and started to feel like my old self again, until the realization that they had all moved on to bigger and better things set in. They were all raid leaders, big name podcasters, etc., and I was just the old friend who needed up play catch-up. It hurt. I don’t know why I thought that I would just jump back into the game and that everything would be the same as it was before… but it definitely wasn’t. It felt like everyone was too busy for me. I’m sorry if that hurts anyone, but honestly, that’s how it feels.
But then my son was born, and I had ZERO time to play the game anyway. I ended up having to quit my job, and even with all my extra free time, I still couldn’t find the time to log in and get anything done. I sat at my computer, with a baby on my chest, and leveled my battle pets. That’s it. That’s all I could do.
Eventually, I ran out of money, and my game time ran out as well. I had been trying to farm gold to keep my account active, but when you can only play for an hour or two a day, it is hard to get anything to sell. So I let my time run out. It hurts, being gone for so long, and being so excited to come back, just to have it be completely different. To have your friends all move on to bigger and better things.
To be replaced, and feel like maybe you never meant anything to anyone in the first place.
So, that’s why I don’t play anymore. I treated the game like it was real life, and put too much of my heart into it, as opposed to treating it like a game, and it ended up just hurting me in the end. Just like it has in the past.
I lost my most of my WoW friends, I lost my podcast listeners, I lost my Twitter followers. None of this has helped with my postpartum depression. I’ve been a total mess for months and months.
Once you stop being of use to people, you are forgotten, I suppose.
But hey, at least I have a cute kid, and some great stories… right?
But hey, thanks for reading and being there, for those of you who are still here. Sorry for being so depressing.