Not the Best Day Ever

July 1, 2009 at 2:20 pm (Navel-Gazing, WoW General)

So, within 24 hours, one of my favorite guildies /gquit and server transferred (for reasons I totally understand, though I certainly regret), and two others (one of them is one of my closest in-game friends, the other is one of the people I’ve known in WoW the longest – since the days my lock and his warrior killed murlocs together near Southshore) basically said they won’t be coming back to WoW any time soon.

People come and go in this game, it’s inevitable.   Hell, I’ve taken time off of the game periodically on more than one occasion (sometimes because I needed a break, sometimes semi-involuntarily, as when my computer died, or when I was cost-cutting during lean times  and let my subscription lapse) For all that we (who spend more time online than we probably should) talk about how the friendships we make in-game are every bit as real as those we make outside, we’re not really telling the truth.  Oh, they certainly have a certain reality to them, and they might become as real, given time.  But they are transient, and for the most part, we all know that.  Perhaps they’re as real as the relationships with have with, say, coworkers, who (when one of us moves on to another opportunity) all talk (over cake at the farewell party) about how we will all stay in touch, and we should go out for beers next week, and so forth, but it never….quite….works out.  Weekly check-ins become monthly catch-ups become semi-annual whatever-happened-tos.  And then you realize you haven’t spoken to your former coworker – perhaps your onetime regular lunch partner, smoking-break buddy, or after-work drinking compadre – in a couple of years.

You may, of course, meet a friend (or someone who becomes a friend) at work.  You may meet a spouse or significant other at work, for that matter.  But most people, in their work relationships, are making the best of proximity and mutual benefit, and when proximity ends, the relationship ends.  Particularly in raiding guilds (even as friends-and-family a raiding guild as ours is, with as many outside-the-guild relationships (one parent-child, three spousal) as there are), one must admit, there is an outside purpose beyond the social to our connection – namely, raiding.  And as is always said, when someone has to step away, “Real life comes first.”  An implicit acknowledgement that what we do in-game is not “real life”, feel-good assurances to the contrary notwithstanding.

If you have doubts – how many of us know our guildies’ real names?  I know two of the three above (well, first names, anyway).  I know almost none of the real names of the rest of my guildies.  To them, I’m Kahleena, even when I’m playing Albeon or Teleria (Kahleena being somewhat close-ish to my real first name, I got over the weirdness of it eventually).  I also know almost nothing about their real lives, as most of them know absolutely nothing about mine (some of which is by design, as I’m a very private person).

And yet….we miss them.  Not just their DPS, or those wonderful HOTs.  Their laugh over vent.  The occasional back-channel gripes when we’ve wiped for the twentieth time on a farm boss.  The encouragement when we’re down, the cheers when we’re up.  In one case, the valuable advice on starting this blog.  In another case, comisseration while I was quitting smoking.

Tolkien wrote, upon the death of his friend CS Lewis, that he felt “like an old tree that is losing all its leaves one by one:  this feels like an axe-blow near the roots.”  In a slightly melodramatic sense, I flashed on this quote in my head when I heard about the second and third departure I mentioned above, coming so soon after the /gquit.  No, I’m not comparing a buddy server-transferring, or others taking breaks (even possibly permanent ones) from a game to a death.  What I think it captured, though, is the feeling of disconnection – that as people come and (especially) go, I feel progressively more detached from this game (a detachment that some of Blizzard’s own decisions are facilitating, as anybody who regularly reads my rants probably gets.)  Friends (or the WoW equivalent) keep me here more than anything else at this point.  Lord knows I’ve leveled all the alts I really feel like leveling (my level 24 warrior?  Will almost surely not see 25).  And three friends (or the WoW equivalent) are, at least for the moment, not coming back.

For any guildies reading this, no, I’m not going anywhere anytime soon.  And yes, I like the rest of you too.  It’s just a bit depressing.  And it got me thinking, and that way lies madness and major emo-fests.  So there it is.

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5 Comments

  1. Temitope said,

    Boo.

    Sympathy. It’s always difficult when these sorts of things happen. WoW is ultimately a social game, and it’s people who make it what it is.

    I’m glad that there’s been no drama, at least.

    You could always come join us on the EU servers…

  2. Salvànus@khadgar.eu said,

    😦 We all have lost in game Friends at one time or another, I feel your pain and sympathize with you.

    My long time guild, of which I was one of the founding members and as such an officer and a member of this guild for over a year, blew up about 6 weeks ago.

    The Kernel as I took to calling them, the Backbone of the Guild, still stays in touch in game, but it is just not the same as it was. Sure we are all raiding and other stuff but…

    /sigh I miss the magic of the first Toon from lvl 1 to 70.. everything was new and the people where just nice and sweet 😦

    enough about me, again my condolences and unfortunately this is the way “virtual” friendships are..

  3. Sylly said,

    I am going to miss you too, my sweet Kahleena! I missed you terribly when you were away from the game last time. I still have a mage in LV if the powers that be are willing to let her stay put, so I will be on from time to time to say hello. I’m sorry that I added in any part, big or small, to your sadness or melancholy. =(

    • Kahleena said,

      As I told you, Syll, I totally get why you decided you needed a change. No worries – and do stop by and say hi when you get a chance!

  4. Tamarind said,

    Can you tell I’m catching up on things backwards?

    Sorry to hear about this – people moving on, in any sphere of life including WoW, is always saddening.

    It sounds a ridiculous thing to admit, but I’m always surprised by the intensity with which I miss WoW friends. And then I think it’s stupid to be surprised by it because people matter, and affect you, regardless of the medium.

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