Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

my_lost_mind: (foolish)
 I've been thinking a lot lately about the days I spent playing World of Warcraft.   I stopped playing last Spring before I moved across the country and have not bought the MOP expansion... yet.

However, I think about WoW all the darn time.  Sometimes I have flashes of memory of running around in Orgrimmar , or various raids I participated in over the years.    Hell, I remember the nights I stayed up far too late after the previous 2 expansions came out  (remember when flying over Durotar was a novelty?  yeah.. those were the days).

Anyway, I got to thinking about some interesting comparisons between real life, and World of Warcraft:

When things get boring in WoW, you can always log onto a different toon, or roll a new one.   No such luck in real life.

In WoW you can take up a profession that allows you to craft a flying carpet.   I'm still waiting on that flying car in real life.

In WoW you can carry weapons that are almost as big as you are, with no visible signs of stress.     In real life, it's a pain in the ass to lug 40 lbs of cat litter from the car.

In WoW you can play an elf, an orc, a goblin, a tauren (which is this big cow-like creature), an alien, a human (yawn!), a pandarin monk, a reggae troll, a flesh-eating zombie (undead FTW!), or something called a "Death Knight".   You can be fierce, overpowering, and downright fugly, or your toon can be lithe, ethereal, and downright hot.  It doesn't matter what you are in the real world, male, female, old, young, tall, short, fat, thin, in WoW you can be something entirely different.     No such option in real life, unless you're into cosplay (and well, you're still somewhat limited by your actual human form and costuming skills).

In WoW, there is no laundry, you don't have to pay rent, and your job is to run around and kill monsters, or enemy players (or heal other characters in raids or battlegrounds).     Real life?  Yeaaaaah.. no comment.

In WoW, when you do something really stupid like aggro an entire room full of dragonkin hatchlings, or survive a fall from a great height, you get an achievement.     In real life, you end up getting the crap beaten out of you, you break your leg, or worse - you're pwned and without the benefit of getting to go and find your corpse so you can try again.

In WoW, you work together with a group of your virtual friends (guildies) or a group of random players to achieve some sort of positive, winning outcome.  You kill some big honkin evil thing, gear drops, sometimes you actually get gear you can use, and you feel some sense of accomplishment.   Not quite the same outcome in real life when you're working on a project with a team of software engineers who really just want to get the project done so they can put the release on their review for the year.   Sometimes the project is bound for epic fail status, but there's no kicking the hopeless newbies from the group.  You're stuck with 'em for the duration of the project.

In WoW, there are characters that can heal another toon from "almost dead", and some can even resurrect the dead.   In real life, we don't get the option to resurrect our dead friends.   Yeah, you get it.    (yeah Denise, I'm thinking of you hon - and wondering if your hubby is still playing your Orc out there on Suramar)

I have to admit that I do miss World of Warcraft, my old guildies, and flying over various landscapes searching for archaeology dig sites, or enemy cities to wreak havoc in for one of the "holiday" achievements.  Hell, I even admit to missing LFG or LFR for a random dungeon.  It's a harmless form of escape that allows you to interact with other beings without a lot of risk.

I started playing WoW back in 2007 or so and played up until May of last year.   Even though I rarely met folks in real life that I played with online, I always got the sense that I "belonged" to some sort of really strange club.     In times like these where I'm feeling a bit disconnected from the real world and so-called real humans, I think about picking up that expansion and venturing back into the world of Azeroth, just to go kick a few murlocs around, see what my old guildies are up to.   

One thing that WoW and real life have in common is that there always seemed to be something to laugh about, and like any neighborhood bar there was always someone around at 1am to shoot the breeze with and make an attempt to pwn insomnia.

With that, I'll leave you with a now legendary internet meme (that actually lead to a real achievement you can get  in the game.  I have it on 2 of my toons).  

The epic fail raid that spawned LEEEEROY Jenkins....

my_lost_mind: (weird)
I have a confession to make.  I really don't love Facebook.

While it's done a lot toward reconnecting me with some childhood friends I wouldn't have otherwise been able to reconnect with, it's also been the source of some rather unpleasant experiences.


I seem to collect them like some women collect shoes.  Some of them are guys I dated once or twice, while others I shared a more long-term thing with.  One of them is the very first "boyfriend" I ever had, going back to when I was still a teenager, the first guy to break my heart.

I've had at least 3 of those "Rob Gordon" conversations with some of these exes (see also the movie "High Fidelity", where the character Rob Gordon starts looking up ex-girlfriends while in a semi-breakup from his steady girlfriend).     At least 2 of them have apologized for the shitty way they treated me back in the day.   Some just become Facebook "friends" and the next thing I know I'm treated to photos of them with their wives and/or kids, or daily updates from their everyday lives.

The only time this has ever been a problem is when I'm still "friends" with someone that I had a bad breakup with.  This requires an elaborate filtering setup and in some cases turning off chat, blocking chat, etc.  

Really more trouble than what it's worth.

Friends who post religious crap

I really do have a "live and let live" attitude about religion.  If it makes a person happy and they don't try to convert me, then it's generally no big deal.  The only time this becomes annoying is when they're clogging up my Facebook feed with Jesus memes that border on being political, or are just insane "click like if you want to send a prayer to this kid dying from cancer".   really?  who actually reads this crap?

My usual response to such things (if they get out of hand) is to just hide them from my feed.

Facebook chain letters and pointless marketing ploys for shit I don't want

The chain letters are the worst.  "Click share if you want to tell this sick child that you care".   Really? 

Or the "click like" or else memes... those are also fairly pathetic.

I have a lot of friends who click "like" on some particular product, which then clogs their feed with every single marketing campaign from that company.  Don't we get enough commercials on television and radio (not to mention the ads that FB includes by default?)    Yeah.. no.

Zynga Game Requests

First there was Mafia Wars and Farmville, then several varieties of poker, and a dozen plus variations on the same theme. Not all of them are zynga games, but most game invites are annoying because the game designers are out to make a profit and to do so they have to cull your personal data so they can serve you ads.

No thanks.  I already have enough of a footprint on that site, and don't really need my name and click thru preferences placed into any more marketing demographic buckets.

The games aren't all that great, and they can be a huge time sink.

Empty calories and hollow sentiments

Spending hour after hour tethered to Facebook, clicking "refresh" waiting for someone to post something interesting is often times a futile endeavor.   Unless you have 1000 friends who are always on and always texting you it's typically the same dozen or so folks on your feed posting the meme of the day, photos, music, etc.

While I adore my friends and love to hear about what's really going on in their lives, the limited amount of data that one gets through a Facebook status update just leaves me feeling sorta empty and disconnected.   Nobody picks up the phone anymore and has a conversation.     There was a time when I was connected to the IRC for hours on end, it was like a big partyline.  People engaged in conversation even though the conversation was virtual.

Facebook is more like standing around waiting for someone to throw a paper airplane over a wall at you.  You're never quite sure if there is anyone actually on the other side of the wall, and you never know if anyone is actually going to respond to anything that YOU might post to your status.   It's easy to get caught up in feeling like a social leper if your status updates go unnoticed for days.

This is really why I decided to take a break from the great timesink of the 21st century.  I've been feeling a bit down and out, frustrated, and disconnected from humanity.   Hanging out on Facebook waiting for something to happen, for someone to "notice me" just invokes some bad old feelings that go back 30 years in my life.  

Right now there are better things I can do to occupy my time that don't involve quite so much risk of rejection, like going out and actually interacting with people face to face. 

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