After playing this game for so long, it's easy to see that everything WoW is all about balance. Character balance. Hit/DPS balance. Class balance. Etc. But that balance doesn't just involve things internal to the game. On the outside, you need to have symmetry as well. Play time vs. responsibilities, and everything that comes with it, for example, should be attuned to one another well. For some more than others, this harmony is easy to find, making for a very wonderful and healthy gaming experience. For those that have difficulty, however, the gaming affair can often fall ill, and the effects are usually very negative.
We've all heard about the extreme cases of "illness" that has accompanied MMORPG gaming over the years. The kid in Korea who stayed online for several days straight and succumbing to sickness and eventually death. The guy who was beat badly after hitting on a player's wife in-game, and antagonizing a fight by giving out his home address. The self-esteem that is artificially exaggerated or reduced, based on the drama of players each gamer faces or gets to know. And of course, the relationships that suffer due to excessive gaming, and the break-ups and divorces that result. To me, that seems like it would be the worst kind of pain -- not when you neglect yourself, but when those that "love" you give up that connection as well.
We know it happens, and all too often, actually. We hear stories about relationships gone sour and even experience first-hand the guild member who skips out on a movie with his wife for SSC, or ditches spending time with his kids in order to down Gruul. We meet people online at odd hours of the night and question why they aren't in bed with their spouse (I've been guilty of that a many nights), or find them eating dinner alone at their computer and wondering where their other half is eating.
Even on a small scale, on a single server and in a single guild, that kinda thing happens all too often. Imagine how grand the problem must be on a scale of 9 million people.
Some individuals deal with it and end up living a ridiculously unsatisfying existence with their partner. Others (like me) try to involve their spouse or significant other in their hobby, hoping for the best of both worlds. Then there are the more entrepreneurial types take what they're dealing with, recognize the widespread reality of it, and turn it into something productive.
How's that, you ask?
I received an email from one of my best friends this morning, pointing me to an MSNBC article about the significant others of gamers who are completely immersed in their digital lifestyle, and as a result, make their counterpart live a "widowed" existence of sorts. Very sad indeed, but embedded between the QQ stories of spouses were two women who took their "grief" and used it to create a website to connect with others experiencing the same thing. The results were two popular sites, Gamerwidow and GamingSucks, complete with their own logos, clothing, blogs, forums, comics, etc, all of which that seem resonate well within the neglected, anti-MMORPG (especially WoW) community.
The two sites are definitely geared towards chicks who have an RPG-addicted male in their life, but I found the material kinda funny even, so you may want to give them and even the MSNBC article a look.
If you have a WoW-related relationship issue or know someone that does, and we all do, hopefully this will help with the awareness of it all and get everyone moving in the right direction. Take some time and think about it, and I'm sure you can understand what it would be like in the shoes of the ignored. Once you get it, it won't take much effort to change things up a bit to make them better.
Me, I should stop writing and get my WoW on now before the wife gets home so that I'm inclined to spend time with her when she does. So, I'm off!
It's all about balance, afterall. =)