The BRK effect

Balancing Real Life and World of Warcraft: A Joint Blog by Slig and Sy

With all of the awesome bloggers calling it quits these days, we at 4theHorde decided that we needed to say something. We aren’t doing this to bash on anyone, or to put someone down for their choice of lifestyle, but rather to add our perspective into the mix. Two of the five bloggers at 4theHorde are happily married individuals, but not to each other mind you! Over the next few paragraphs we are going to give you an inside glimpse in the lives of two crazy bloggers, and see how we have come to terms with balancing our real lives with that of our virtual counterparts.

Sy

sy_and_mrs

Hello, my name is Sylus, aka Chris. I’m 28, and have been married for nine years to a wonderful, WONDERFUL woman, ladygil. I’ve been playing world of warcraft for over three years now, and find it to be one of my favorite hobbies. Now, when I say world of warcraft, I’m actually talking about all aspects of the game for me, from actual play time, to blogging, chatting in gmail with guildies, reading blogs, theory crafting (if you call what I do theory crafting,lol), and trolling forums.  A typical week’s worth of gaming would include several hours of play on Saturday (3-8) and two to three evenings a week of 2-3 hours of play time. Now, that is actual game time, not all of the other stuff I listed. I am currently in a unique situation in my life. I graduated a few years back from PSU (go gorilla’s) and began a career working in a management position. I HATED IT. Sure, I made decent money, but money truly doesn’t buy you happiness. My wife, whom I have previously stated was wonderful, I’ll also add AWESOME here, let me quit my job and go back to school to get a teaching degree. I am currently finishing up that degree, and working part time at a “mom and pop” shop bible book store. I love it there. I get to work with people, talk to people, and do my homework when it isn’t busy. It’s perfect for right now! So, you see, I have a busy schedule. I recently was able to take a wonderful vacation where I was unable to play world of warcraft for over a week, it ended up being 8 days of no play time. It was a great week. I spent all of it with my wonderful wife doing so much cool stuff. This really got me thinking that I have poured a ton of time into this game, and made a ton of friends as well. (Don’t worry, I know you are all reading this going, “OH CRAP, HE’S QUITING!”) I’m not quitting wow, don’t get all crazy people! This week did however make me sit back and realize how awesome my wife is for letting me play. Now, I have begun to make a conscious decision to back off somewhat on my playtime when the wife is home. With her job and her crafting I have many hours that I can fill with wow, but I will not sacrifice time with the little Mrs. Sy to hang out with a bunch of grimey old hillbillies and Slig! Does this mean that I won’t be around in wow? Nope. I’ve still got my Thursday evenings put aside for raiding with the guild, and I will still pop in almost everyday to say hi and see how things are going. Does this mean I can’t level alt #570923475? Probably, but hey, I have several alts that need work and I can give them some attention when the time arises!

You see, life is an amazing journey, and to be honest, if I wasn’t married, I would be pouring a lot more time into this game than I currently can. Such is life. I will still take part in this very enjoyable hobby, but even if wow had to go away, and I totally understand why it does go away for some people, I would still consider some of the people I met in game to be true, great friends! So, with that, I want to thank my wife for putting up with me during those times I played too much wow, for enduring long raid evenings when we wiped on bosses over and over again. Thanks for even playing Wow with me those wonderful six months, Rhonna the hunter and Blayne the priest will never die! Those were great times, but I know that the time we will spend together outside of wow are so much better than any time I spend in this game! Also, I want to take this opportunity to announce to the world that in roughly six months, my wife and I will be introducing our own little Thrall or Thrallina into the world. That’s right, we’re having a baby!!!! As you can guess, this will also drop my in game time, but hey, can you blame a guy?

Slig

catalina2000_medYikes, Mr. & Mrs. Sy’s new Hordeling is a tough act to follow! I’m Slig, aka Natalie aka Game Dame, and no, I’m not pregnant, so let’s just get that out of the way. I’ve been married for 6-1/2 years to my husband, Mr. Slig, and I have been playing WoW for the last 2-1/2 of those years. Our family includes two Feline American children named Calvin and Hobbes. I also knit, ride my bike, look for jobs, lunch with the ladyfriends, write freelance, and often shower. Together, my husband and I like to swing dance, watch movies, go to the beach or park — oh, and we will also play some football sim games against each other from time to time. Mr. Slig doesn’t play WoW and has zero interest in playing it. It’s not that he doesn’t like games, but he prefers casual console games like Bejeweled, Peggle, and Halo 1/2/3. (Hee hee — see what I did there?) So being married to a fellow gamer does help, I think, even though we like vastly different types of games.

I think there are two key factors that help us balance our married life with gaming — and WoW in particular, since it’s more of a time-sink than other games usually are — flexibility and communication. I have to be flexible enough to cancel a raid appearance if necessary (and be in a guild that’s okay with that) and he’s flexible enough to be okay with the occasional, “Can dinner wait 30 more minutes until I finish Heroic Nexus, honey?” Hubby and I also try to talk about stuff as soon as it becomes a point of contention. Sometimes it’s surprising who brings up the topic. There has been more than one occasion where I worried aloud to Mr. Slig about whether my WoW was getting out of hand. It’s also important that each person has their own alone time. Mr. Slig likes to take a night to himself to go to the bookstore or music store and I usually take those nights for WoW time. (Obviously, I don’t choose WoW 100% of the time. Like Sy says above, sometimes a WoW vacation is the sweetest thing.)

Lastly, more to the point of the conversation that has started around BRK’s leaving, I think that this whole on-bit/off-bit discussion of whether WoW is an addiction misses some key ideas. I don’t think it’s a black-and-white topic. I believe there’s a continuum that runs between hobby to avocation to obsession. Nearly everyone has hobbies, whether it’s gardening, stamp collecting, celebrity gossip, or gaming. I think the definition of a “casual WoW player” is one who is a hobbyist. If you garden as a hobbyist, you probably have a nice yard with flowers and subscribe to a few magazines. Those who get into WoW a little deeper and start theorycrafting, blogging, or attempting high-level game achievements (not to be confused with Achievements) are moving into the realm of making WoW an avocation. To continue the gardening analogy (mostly because I have such a black thumb), this description would fit a person who studies plants more in-depth, perhaps blogs or writes an article or two, and maybe even teaches a little gardening class at Home Depot. Going further than that, when you start sacrificing other parts of your life or your health (mental or physical) for your “hobby,” then you can welcome yourself to the world of unhealthy obsession no matter WHAT you are doing. I think gaming in general and WoW specifically is unfairly labeled as obsessive — take, for example, employers who flatly refuse to hire any WoW players — when I don’t think WoW is more likely to disrupt your life than any other hobby. If you have an addictive or obsessive personality, you can become unhealthily attached to ANYTHING. (Octomom, anyone??) The thin blue line between avocation and obsession is the extent to which your hobby negatively impacts the other areas of your life. Mrs. BRK indicated that she was not happy with BRK’s WoW schedule and that’s his thin blue line. We should respect both of them for their decision. However, let’s not be too hasty to judge ourselves or others by a false choice like “Either I’m addicted or I don’t play WoW.” BRK did not take the high road by quitting WoW. He took the high road by choosing balance over obsession.

BTW, I resent NOT being called a hillbilly!

Wall of text crit you for 4000,

~Slig

~Uncle Sy

One Response to “The BRK effect”

  1. Wait a second, freelance writer at 38 studio’s, as in THE 38 STUDIO’S?!?! as in Curt Shilling, Todd McFarline 38 studio???? WOW, you’re like, famous!

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