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.
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?
Yikes, 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,