My Experience Playing 'World of Warcraft'
"It was one of the greatest learning experiences of my life."
Go ahead, laugh all you want... It isn't the coolest thing to admit to spending over five years doing, but believe it or not, it was one of the greatest learning experiences of my life, and I would do it all over again if given the chance. Even things that at the time seem to be a big waste of time, such as a computer game, can turn out to be one of the greatest learning experiences a person can have. I don’t regret playing it for as long as I did, as I know I played it for as long as I needed to.
But enough of that here is my story...
From the age of about 19–24, I was playing this computer game called World of Warcraft. Let’s refer to it as Wow. I am sure many of you have heard about it. But if not, it’s this very addicting video game, that takes up many hours of your time in order to get good at it. I started playing with no real expectations; however, it slowly became apparent that I wanted to get good at this game, like really good.
I started playing in 2010 because my boyfriend at the time was big into the game, and it was something fun we could do together. He asked me to play with him, and since I didn’t have my own computer he decided to buy the parts and help me build my own, which I remember as being such an amazing experience. Some of my fondest memories with him were actually spent playing the game.
When we first started, we leveled our characters up together, and he taught me everything he knew, which was a lot. We were living together at the time, so we spent 95 percent of our time at home, playing the game, snacking late into the night, and gaining weight... It was not a very good time period for me in that respect.
I leveled a night elf druid because I originally wanted to be a cat. Her name was Adanessa, and she became weirdly important to me. Like I had this emotional bond with her, and I swear if anyone ever had deleted her, I would not have been okay. I felt like I was living my life through her, and every quest was a new adventure to go on, I even spent many hours exploring all the different continents of WoW, just to get the explorer title, I guess wanderlust was in me way back then too. At level 50, I decided to change from cat to boomkin and I remained a balance druid until the day I quit.
Eventually, we decided to start a guild together, and we started finding new people to play with; we were building up a raiding team up, and making new friends along the way. When we finally reached the max level, which was level 80 at the time, we started to raid. Now raiding was scary for me, because at that time in my life, I was socially awkward and really shy... But raiding required you to talk on Skype to complete strangers a lot of the time.
After a while of doing the casual raiding scene, we decided that we wanted to actually work on becoming better and getting a solid team. Ultimately raiding started to take up more and more time, I basically put most of my time and effort into learning the fights, learning about my class and figuring out how to improve my gameplay. I started getting better and better, to the point where one would say that I was actually very good at the game. We had at this point now built a pretty decent raid team, and we set a goal that we wanted to really become a good raiding guild and reach server first, which meant you were the best raiding guild on your server, which is a pretty big achievement to aim for, especially if you are on a server with lots of people.
So we started recruiting more and more, doing interviews, helping coach people on becoming better, managing the players we had. It was like our own small business essentially, which taught me a lot of leadership skills as well, since I was second in command. I felt like the boss of my own business, which was an empowering feeling that prepared me greatly for the future.
We were only raiding Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights at this point, but during the weeks we spent many hours analyzing encounters, coaching guild-mates, and trying to recruit better players. We had a goal in mind, and we wanted more than anything to succeed.
After years of hard work, and about one year of total play time, as well as sacrificing many things such as parties that a normal 20-year-old girl should be going to, we had a pretty darn solid guild going, and we could have made it. As a matter of fact, we almost did make it.
Until one day, our guild completely fell apart overnight, completely out of nowhere... I was actually devastated, and I remember I cried a lot that week, I felt like my whole world was falling apart. All our years of hard work was just stripped away from us in a matter of a few hours. I easily could have just quit the game then. Like what was the point to continue now?
But instead, I decided to keep at it, since I still hadn’t reached my goal of server first achievement (which meant you reach the end boss faster than any other guild on your server). It’s a big one to strive for, but I wanted it bad, and I wouldn't quit until I had achieved my goal.
So I decided to apply to the best guild at the time on the Stormrage server.
Which was "Blood runs cold."
They were shocked to see my application come in, as they knew who I was and I already had a few friends in the guild, I passed the interview process and was invited on to their main raid team. I was still pretty resentful about my old guild just abandoning us, but I was grateful that this new guild was willing to take me in. I started raiding with them, and they were much more hardcore than the guild I was used to. For example, I went from raiding two-three nights per week to raiding nearly seven nights (every so often they gave us a night off).
We worked our butts off every single night, spending about seven hours a night working on these boss encounters. I learned a lot during those days about teamwork, dedication and staying focused. I knew these days wouldn’t last forever, but at the time I felt like this was my life, and eventually, I was getting pretty bored of the routine I was in. Which was work during the day, take a short nap, play wow until late at night, sleep, repeat.
Eventually, my hard work finally paid off, on November 13, 2013, we got server first "Heroic" Garrosh (which is called "mythic" now). What a memory! I was so proud of myself for my persistence and determination, and I felt like I could do anything if I set my mind to it. It was one of the happiest moments of my life (lol) !
I also became very good friends with these people that I spent several nights a week with, and still to this day we all are friends. We even went on a couple trips together, (one was to New York, and the other was to Anaheim, California) which now that I think about it, is absolutely CRAZY!!!
But holy crow, what an experience playing wow was for me. I learned so much about work ethic, patience, working with a team, being persistent and not giving up. Having to talk to random people all the time also helped me become less shy and I actually became such a friendly, social person because of wow. Before the game, I was quieter than a mouse, and speaking to people scared me more than anything. Now I can talk to anyone.
The social skills I developed were enough to make the five years I spent playing that game worth it over and over again.
I quit the game back in 2014 for good, and it’s funny because I would always ask guildmates, “What do people do with their time if they don’t play a video game?” I still don’t really know what the answer for most people is, because I picked up a new habit right away, which was working out (a much healthier habit than playing WoW)
My total /played time was about 400 DAYS spread among all my characters! Over an entire year of my life, I spent playing that game. So crazy!
I encourage people to have that experience of becoming good at a video game, you don’t need to necessarily play for as long as I did (which was about five years...) but it helped me grow so much, and I don’t think I would have learned those skills anywhere else.
Now and then I really miss those days, not that I could ever go back to playing it like I used to, but I still have some wonderful memories from the game, which I don’t think will ever fade away!