In recent times the internet has become a prevalent source of information and communication. Furthermore, the interactions that have developed from the internet have advanced greatly in only a few short years. However, the internet does not provide the same results to everyone. Given that there are vast regions of the internet, many people associated with each, and differing viewpoints that are subjective to each. The internet above all is a mixing pot of ideas from all sides of the spectrum, no one voice is solely heard as everyone has something to say. Thus, I confidently say that if one opens up their mind to the fountain of knowledge that the internet can provide they too can in some way find a community to belong to.
Many people find communities and friends via the internet on websites such as reddit, Facebook, or forums known by many as 4chan. However, these communities are not limited to these websites but these are the popular ones from my personal experience. Yet, for many years I was a part of a different community, a different world even. I was an active player and member of the World of Warcraft. I have since quit my journeys in Azeroth (the world that the game takes place in) but my memories and experience from within the game have stayed with me, and will stay with me for the rest of my life I bet.
Initially starting the game at the age of 12 I did not expect much to come from it, nor did my mother who was strongly against me playing it. However, as I grew up I learned all kinds of things from the game. These included: skills in economics, leadership, social skills, and research. Examples to illustrate these skills would be accurately represented in pictures. I have included three pictures to describe what I learned from the game, but finding a picture to describe social skills is quite difficult so I will try and extensively describe it. There are millions of subscribers to the game, all bringing with them their own uniqueness and personality. Furthermore, each of these individuals brings with them their own ideas of not only the game world, but the real world as well. Whether it is to clarify a stereotype of China from your friend playing with you across the globe or a discussion of American politics, it can all happen in Azeroth with a few keystrokes. I had over the course of 6 years made friends I would never had made without playing World of Warcraft and the things I learned were invaluable. As mentioned with my example of a Chinese player, I did in the last year befriend someone from China whose English was not very good. While this made it difficult to communicate with him it did not stop us from enjoying the company of one another. At its foundation it is a game, but in the big picture it is almost pseudo-reality. Furthermore Blizzard Entertainment, the developers of the game have speculated on multiple times that if they wanted to they could use the game to test social experiments. This is because the people who play the game act almost as accordingly as they would in person. Thus, the potential that World of Warcraft possesses is much more than being just a video game.
Pictures with descriptions of the activity in game
However, it is very hard to convince just about any stranger to World of Warcraft of the positive benefits capable of being reaped from playing the game. This is a direct result from the negative connotation and attention the game receives for things like breaking up relationships or addiction. While these occurrences are very real, it is due to the lack of will-power on the individual to break that connection between reality and cyberspace. Yet, who can blame them when it is so convincing? I will admit as a veteran of almost 10 years leaving was not easy, but I had to remember that my real life responsibilities and needs came far before anything in-game related. Jokes are tossed around often within the game’s chat channels about players being losers, nerds, weirdos, etc. It is simply like our real lives and it is what you make of it.
Whether it is to make friends or to just play a video game, World of Warcraft offers a plethora of opportunities to anyone. However, it is important to remember that as a product of the internet it does contain certain cautionary aspects. You are at risk to certain dangers as you are interacting with actual people, but if you play your cards right then like me you can come out a better person than you were before. From the game I became more mature as I realized my childish behavior would not get me invited back to play with other people, or it would not allow me to play the game at a competitive level. In the end as I have pointed out I did quit playing, but not because I stopped learning from the game. Just like the internet the game too is ever growing in many ways, and sometimes things outgrow us. This only means that my adventure is over or maybe I just needed a break, but either way the World of Warcraft has made me who I am by making me realize who I was not.