It’s Wednesday and time for an informative article by yours truly, but I decided to put a pin in the Gaming in Korea posts for a few weeks and write about something that’s been on my mind: Non-gamers and how we react to them.
Let me tell you a story: My brother used to played WoW. He led a successful raid team in the Wrath of the Lich King expansion. He had started his own business and it had yet to really kick off, so he had plenty of free time at night...and not a lot of money. He played Warcraft instead of meeting friends at bars. After a while he started to get teased and called a recluse. His family didn’t understand (I wasn’t around to tease, but I might have joined in too). For Christmas, my sister had a t-shirt made with his toon’s name on it. He unwrapped the present and hit the roof. He yelled at everyone in the room for making fun of him and stormed out. Was she really being mean or did she him a gift based on the one thing she knew that he actually liked?
Have you watched Race to World First? There’s a guy in that film who has literally never told any of his friends about his hobby. Grunz plays with Blood Legion, and is one of the best Holy Paladins in the world. He is a law student, with an active social life who is working towards very specific vocational goals. He is the model of how one can balance a successful gaming hobby with ‘real life’ yet he is terrified to let his buddies know that he is a gamer. How did he think they would react to the news? “If that’s the first thing someone hears about you they just fill in the rest of it with that pretense of ‘Oh he plays WoW, so he must be all of these other things.”
Then there’s me. As an expat, I have the luxury of being a bit eccentric without social consequences. Even after seeing my brother being persecuted (his words, the pansy) it never occurred to me to keep it to myself. My friends do tease me a bit because I prefer to stay home on Friday nights, but I am sure to hang with them on other days and they know I am enjoying myself (you would too if you got to hear my GM sing Call Me Maybe after a few bottles of wine). Sometimes they even try to get into the spirit. Take this example of when my friend, Meagan, bumped into a few guys at a bar who said they played WoW. She had a drunken blast flirting and talking about something that her friend had in common with them. A successful evening, I’m sure.
Coming out of the closetI guess my point is that we should give our loved ones a bit more credit. Maybe if we told them a little about what we do and why we do it, they would understand. “Seth is on his computer all the time and never comes out anymore” is different from “He doesn’t have much cash, so he gave up drinking and stays home hanging with online friends”. Anne Stickney of WoW Insider tells people she likes to kill internet dragons, and gets paid to write about it. Kammi, who got me into WoW in the first place, refers to raiding as a sports team; there is a common goal, but everyone has their own job to do. These simple explanations are things that people can relate to.
And relating to people is what it’s all about, right?
In a few weeks, I’m moving in with my sister. I’m working on my one-sentence description explaining to my niece what I do so she doesn’t think her aunt is super weird.
See you Friday,