WoW: Wow.

At work I’ve started referring to my daily To Do list as “my Quest Log.” I think I may be playing too much World of Warcraft.

Yes, I’ve taken a flying leap onto the World of Warcraft bandwagon and landed squarely in the dogpile. For the philistines among you, World of Warcraft (WoW), like its less talented and slightly buck-toothed brother EverQuest, is a “massively multiplayer role-playing game” (MMORPG) where you play with and against hundreds of other human players at the same time in the same game world. Despite attempts to break the mold, the emphasis is still on building a better and better character with better and better equipment and better and better abilities. It emphasises the “just a little more” hook and is kind of like crack cocaine injected directly into your eyeballs.

I held out on WoW for a really long time because I was literally afraid for my life. Not that I’d die, but that my life would be radically changed nonetheless. In college and grad school I was REALLY addicted to MUDs –that’s “Multi-User Dungeions,” the text-only predecessor to today’s modern MMORPG. I managed to keep my grades up, but everything else was secondary. I’d get up at 4:30 or 5:00 IN THE MORNING so I could play for a couple of hours before work or school. I’d play between classes. I’d play late into the evening. I’d play while my girlfriend watched TV in the other room. On some Saturdays when I didn’t have to study the sun would slide all the way across the sky without my even noticing.

I had “Leafy Greens,” one of the most powerful characters on the whole MUD where I played, but it cost me a LOT of time. I was only set free when the University computer that hosted the MUD was abruptly shut down and never brought back. I pushed back from the keyboard, took a deep breath, and said “Okay, that’s over. Never again.”

But I did do it again last week when I bought WoW, installed it, and brought Leafy Greens back to life. I have to admit, it’s been a really fun week and I love the game. It’s well done in almost every respect, but I’ll leave the high praise to the reviews. The game is so huge, though, that the intimate social aspect that I enjoyed so much in MUDS is largely lost. It seems that you can’t really get to know the people you play with unless you join a guild or know them outside of the game.

And while I’m really into the game, I’m not really into it any more than I’m usually into a good game of any other kind. I want –badly– to play it when I have free time, but I’m not obsessed with rearranging or paring down my schedule to create time to play it, and I still manage to shower every day and clean the cat box.

In the meantime, look me up on the Uther server, Alliance side as “Leafygreens” the Druid. I’ll be on most evenings unless my real-life Quest Log needs attention.

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