Duff: The wages of Warcraft are linked to the guild one joins – choose wisely
World of Warcraft is more than just a game. With a worldwide customer base of 8.5 million people, Blizzard’s award-winning computer odyssey has become a legitimate cultural phenomenon. World of Warcraft, commonly known as WoW, is devouring free time all over the world, leaving a trail of strained marriages and sleepy employees in its wake.
World of Warcraft is a Massively Multiplayer Role-playing Game, an MMORPG for short. Players use Internet connections to run quests, fight monsters and trade goods and services with other people playing live at the same time. Players form guilds that are run like midsized corporations, working out elaborate schedules for group raids and loot distribution.
Warcraft is cheap, as addictions go. You can buy the original and the expansion together for about 50 dollars, or try it free for 10 days by visiting http://www.worldofwarcraft.com.
And if you think computer games are just a sideline for teenagers, guess again. My old guild played host to a swarm of players from the ages of 12 to 60. World of Warcraft cuts across all kinds of professional and social boundaries.
The warrior guarding your back in that end-level dungeon could be a doctor, a lawyer, a musician or a teenager. My group included a family of four who played together, and a college-age guy in Alaska who played every night with his mother in California.
The social dynamics of the environment bring out the best and worst in people. I’ve seen adults reduced to the emotional level of children, and I’ve seen children who handle stress better than adults. The social aspect makes Warcraft more than just a game. The environment becomes a canvas for human drama, with all the fun, and all the pettiness, you’d expect from a social game.
Of course, Warcraft has its dark side. The game is terribly addictive – an all-consuming passion that can strain marriages and destroy grade-point averages. Good guilds can strengthen families and build lifelong friendships. Bad ones can take over your life and turn recreation into an arduous chore.
Most churches think of video games as a destructive influence, but I’ve seen Warcraft actually make families stronger. Online games can bridge geographical boundaries, and the teamwork aspect can actually bring children closer to their parents.