Wednesday, July 6, 2011

And now for something painfully earnest

There have been a few moments in guild chat recently that, combined with some other things I've read on the 'net, have combined to make me feel proud of what my guild has created, but in some ways it's difficult to articulate. We recently recruited a new shaman (because we needed more people on the protector token, hah!) and at one point she said something along the lines of "I can't tell you how glad I am to be here."

What I sent in a tell to my boyfriend was: "we have a place that is a place people like to be." I should note that I'm not saying "we" in the sense of "me and my boyfriend," but "we" in the sense of "everyone in the guild."

I think it's easy for people to underestimate how neat that is, but I really think it's important. WoW is a hobby, and we all keep up with it for different reasons. For me, while raiding is fun and I like killing new bosses, I have realized that good progression is not actually one of my personal criteria for guild success.

What keeps me coming back to the game is people and relationships. Some of them I knew offline before I even played WoW, and some I've met in-game. And I love the fact that everyone in the guild is happy to log on whenever.

No one feels threatened by anything in guild chat.
No one feels unwanted.
No one feels ignored or dismissed.

I guess the best way to think about just why I'm so proud of being able to say those things is to contrast it with the real world. In the real world, I'm afraid to hold hands in public with my boyfriend of over 4 years. In the real world - and even in other guilds in-game - our female members have been ignored because they're women. In the real world you can't make a suggestion to Corporate and have them implement it.

This begins to sound weird and unhealthy, like I'm escaping into WoW to get away from the real world, and that's not true. In fact, I think that the real world shades into WoW, in that a lot of the cultural baggage carries over. Stalking is a one of the worst problems that WoW GMs have to try to correct, and people have permanently lost their accounts over it. Things like that. What VA has done is work together to create a space that's better. We've made a little bubble where things are Better, and that's something that not every guild is able - or even wants - to do.

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