Okay, because I am…. who I am, I can’t quite view this as something other than a self-absorbed space to work out stuff in my brain. All these personal reflections feel a bit… personal. Nevertheless! Onward with them I go.
It’s weird to make friends in WoW. Some of the people in the guild, J. and my former TA, are people I knew outside WoW first, and so interaction with them is, oddly, simpler. Grounded in bodily relationships and context, it’s easier to understand and be understood. Well, no, that’s not exactly it, but maybe…. it’s less fluid, more anchored in specific structures like “student” and “Janet’s mother”.
Online, the people I interact with – although perhaps also associated with structures – have far more fluid relationships with me and, it seems, each other. It is so difficult to define and classify those relationships, so difficult to find stable spaces that can provide context in upheavals.
For example, when P. stopped playing for a while, he retained his title of “Guild Master” but not his role. We rapidly adjusted to his absence, even though we missed him. The space itself seemed far more powerful as it actively unfolded than the structures invoked to order and make sense of that space.
It is as though online, structures have less inherent staying-power; they seem less powerful, more temporary.
Relationships, too, have this characteristic. My friendship with M., such as it was, was rather intimate and in-depth (I know far more about him than I wanted to, really). But when he disappeared, I hardly gave it a thought. Sadly, the same is somewhat true of my reaction to P.’s absence – in spite of many wonderful conversations we had, I trolled along just fine when he left.
Different, of course, are my relationships with J. and with C. With J., there arose a conflict between her online self and who I saw when I was with her in person. The latter experiences were about 90% serious personal issues. The former were interspersed with very light and fun jokes and group-oriented things, although both in person and online we would move between the unloading of problems and laughing.
With C., of course, an entirely different level of interaction was introduced when we met in person (although hints of that were present before), and his feelings for me, in particular, added tension that made it a lot of personal drama, but actually, not much guild drama. We didn’t talk about what was going on in any given moment with anyone in the guild.
Nonetheless, it is in large part that personal drama that fuels more interest in the game, ironically enough. Well, interest for me, anyway. Those relationships drive much of my *need* to be on, although, in the end, they are not actually the source of entertainment per se.
It’s interesting. Sometimes I want to go on because I miss people, but then when I “see” them, I’m good. Then I look about thinking, ‘Okay. I’m bored. What do I do now?’