I wasn’t good at this when I started playing.
I happily spent my entire day playing WoW instead of cleaning, cooking, or even playing other games. Even before I had made the friends in-game that I have now, I spent far too much time in game. I remember, sometime after BC came out, typing the dreaded /played command and balking at the number there.
Comparatively, it was probably small. But to me, it was a textual representation of exactly how much of my life this game had taken up. It scared me, so I made a rule.
Rule #1: If all I’m doing is sitting around and waiting for something to happen in the game, then find something else to do.
It was simple. Instead of farming Timbermaw for no real purpose, log out and go play a different game. Pick up the bedroom. Play with the cat. Or if I simply -had- to be in game for whatever contrived reason, find something else to do while I waited. I refused to spend my life in game simply because it was there.
Months passed with this rule, and all was well. I started raiding, and caring about my class, and the mechanics of the game overall. Then I realized that suddenly, more than before, real life was conflicting with the game. I had to cancel appointments to raid, or raids to keep real life appointments. Then I really had to sit down and figure things out.
What was the game to me? In most ways, it’s a way of entertaining myself. But with raiding, with its strict scheduling and demanded focus, I couldn’t just slap the ‘for fun’ label on it and leave it there. Raiding was more than fun – it was competition. It was self-challenge. It was a chance to better myself for the sake of a team. In lieu of softball, which I had played for 11 years, I now have World of Warcraft. And I am totally okay with that.
So I made another rule.
Rule #2: Raids are scheduled on par with real life events. Raids cannot bump real life events. However, real life can bump raids.
And, for good measure,
Rule #3: Real Life > WoW
This is working pretty well.
March was a very busy month for me. I’m sure you noticed (or didn’t, actually) that I hardly posted at all. That’s because I was between work, a gaming convention, a visit to Georgia, and doing taxes. As per rule #3, real life came before WoW.
This all works so well in part because of my wonderful husband, who I won’t gush about too much here. But we’re both gamers, geeks, and neither of us can live without an internet connection for very long. He’s incredibly tolerant of my raiding, and I’m learning to be tolerant of the new ASCII game he’s been playing for the last month and a half.
It’s hard. I’m trying, I swear.
In the end, I’d like to think that if I reach a point that I realize WoW is just more detrimental to my health than beneficial, I will have the presence of mind to pull the plug. Cancel my account, uninstall the game, and focus on the things that matter far more than a computer game. So I have a lot of respect for BRK’s decision to do just that, and I pray that all of his readers show him that same respect.
Best of luck to you, BRK, to you and all of your family.
Oh…and can I have your stuff?