Recent posts from a simply hysterical and brilliant WoW blog, “standing at the back in my sissy robe“, have reminded me of a key way in which this game has changed for me in recent months.
For many, many months last year, I quested, bg’d, pugged, and hung out with a dear friend. My pocket tank/dps, if you will. But no longer.
Playing WoW with a particular person for the bulk of the time is a radically different experience than playing as part of a group, even a smallish group of folks who know each other well. In my recent Alliance leveling experiences, I keenly feel the difference between having someone to help out with both the tedium and the technicalities of questing versus going it alone. Pugging all on your own is depressing, but can be hysterical when you have someone to share the griping.
The development of pairs of questers/players can be rough on guild dynamics, as I found long ago (see my post on Guild Drama) from both sides. When I started questing with Ll., I only added to that awkwardness, but for me… well, it was a wonderful experience. Having a questing buddy gave me a support, company, and enjoyment that was both wonderfully social and technically helpful; I always looked forward to meeting up online, and felt a bond that, put simply, always made my day. Ll. became a best friend and so WoW became a place that was our playworld.
Then he quit. And I was sad. Am still sad. And WoW has changed for me.
I do love my guild, and the folks in it are wonderful fun. I enjoy chatting and “hanging out” and raiding, etc. But having a Pocket Tank/Healer type you frequently play with is a very different experience. You do more silly stuff like running instances in a tuxedo, or go after otherwise boring achievements. You have someone who is, let’s face it, kind of “yours.” Maybe it’s all the giggly, gossipy joy of a 14 year old whispering with a best friend, but somehow in WoW it works again.
A few of my friends play mostly with one other person, usually a significant other. This is, of course, the stereotype of girls playing WoW: they only do so because a boyfriend/husband got them into it, they are kind of an appendage rather than a player in their own right. These people I know are not like that, but… well, let’s just say I understand the appeal. Playing WoW with a special person in your life, romantic partner or not, is fun!
But the “drama”. Sigh. I can not tell you how many stories I’ve heard about this girl or that who goes off with a guild member and breaks his heart, or someone else’s heart, or they break up and the guild gets weird, or they both leave…. “Girls in the guild create drama” I have heard on more than one occasion.
To that I say, BAH! Human beings in a guild create drama. Girl, boy, or otherwise.
But I miss my paladin. I miss having someone who can always be counted on to have my back in a pug, or try running SM in a party dress, or grind Netherwing rep, or lend me 2000 gold. I confess that the WoW experience is a bit more hollow without him. Not bad in any way, just less personal, maybe.
I suppose that, like anything, WoW is most fun when shared, and most fun when shared with your favorite people on a regular basis. It’s true that some of my favorite people do play with me, but maybe we don’t spend enough time doing the silly stuff.
Gotta get on that.