Greetings and Salutations, Blog Readers!
Today we are discussing my return to World of Warcraft…and since everyone is searching WoW, due to the major scandal surrounding it, I figured I would type up some thoughts on it, as a woman, returning to WoW after a decade, who left the game because of the same toxicity that has brought the game under fire, once again.
To clarify, no, I never worked for Blizzard, and nothing I ever went through in game compares to what many have dealt with-but that is largely due to a few friends who were smart enough to clue me in on the culture surrounding the game, including their own observations from attending the very same conventions that are now being featured in lawsuits. I was VERY LUCKY in that I frequently had a group to go to who wasn’t *too toxic*- But the facts are I still ended up leaving and now I am coming back so….Let’s get into it.
I left for a few reasons, the surface level ones are the ones I tend to tell other people- Between Deathwing destroying my city, toxic gamer bros, and me having finally worked through the stuff in my life that had led to me playing the game in the first place, I had “gotten what I needed” from the game, and logged off, never to log in again. Very Felicia Day/Codex at the end of “The Guild.”
While this answer is a concise and accurate statement, as to why I left WoW, it is worth noting that the middle reason, the one I crammed in there, was much larger than I give it credit for.
Deathwing destroying Stormwind is not really a major reason at all, because I was actually really excited for that expansion.
Why? When so many people think Wrath of the Lich King is more golden era WoW?
Because Alliance and Horde were going to be forced to work together to defeat a danger presented to all of Azeroth, and I liked that. Rumor had it they would even have to raid together, which was exciting. I had friends who played as loyally to the Horde as I did to Alliance, so it was exciting to think we could raid together.
But what was really happening was- I didn’t like how toxic the game had gotten: And I will now go into my own unique side of things- Although my story is not that unique, really, I know several women with similar.
At first, if you didn’t have the best DPS (Damage Per Second) in a group, you would maybe get shit on, or people would talk crap, or whatever, and I had issues with that, so I worked to be better. Sure, I may be squishy mage who is easily killed, but I wanted to at least have the best DPS. I worked hard to join a professional raiding guild and worked even harder to have the very best DPS, so no one could say girls suck at video games. If I have the very best stats, I reasoned, then I wouldn’t need to fear using the mic and speaking into the vent channel. (Because back then kids, we used Ventrilo (vent) instead of Discord, to talk to our gaming friends)
So, I did. And my DPS got pretty goddamn good.
And then a different kind of harassment started.
For 80 levels I had dealt with sexual harassment, and back then I accepted that as part of the experience, you just had to deal with it. (Pause for a moment- I never should have merely accepted this, but I was a largely different person back then and I didn’t respect myself or my boundaries as much)
But then I hit 80, grabbed gear I had saved in my bank, and began raiding, big girl raids. I spent time at the trainers, working on a perfect rotation re-tuning my skill tree, all to make sure I, a tiny little human mage, could put out some l33t DPS.
And then…well…it wasn’t as great as I had hoped.
Now, while I did have some friends who were wonderfully supportive, encouraging, good gaming friends, there were many people who suddenly weren’t very nice. Suddenly, they had to shit on me any chance they could get, to say nothing of all the shitty ways players can be rude to other players in game. People I had once been at least friendly with, were now actively hostile. Again, not all, but enough to make me wonder who I could actually call a friend in Azeroth.
At this same time, at a national and global level, we were seeing women gamers being not only harassed, but doxed. Rape threats become much more realistic and harder to brush off when the same people making those threats are also posting your real name, real address, and real job, online for any psycho to find and then act on.
I have a wide set of trauma that makes me paranoid, and that was all too much for me. I knew I didn’t know enough to defend myself online, and I didn’t want to test and see if I could defend myself in person.
Not to mention, the mere idea of swat or some other legal entity breaking down my door because some toxic dude bros thought it would be funny, was literally causing me to have panic attacks, jumping at noises, and terrified to play the game that was once my escape from the shitty world.
The real world wasn’t as rough as it had once been for me, at that point, as I had a decent job and an okay circle of friends, so I decided to log off, and try my hand at reality, leave Azeroth and the toxicity behind me.
I don’t love reality, and the world has only gotten more messed up, and I missed Azeroth every single day.
Eventually, there would be days when I didn’t think about how much I missed WoW, but I never lasted more than week without wanting to play. I would load up old Nymn Machinima videos, and that would help, in some ways, but it always made me miss playing.
For years, I missed WoW. I eventually found a game that I call WoW lite, which even had some features WoW didn’t have, and I should probably do a whole blog post on it: Villagers and Heroes.
V&H had some of the features I missed, like an online world to escape into, and didn’t have PvP, which I was also a big fan of, since I don’t really like PvP. Having no one able to engage in it meant I wouldn’t get stuck in a shitty situation, which can happen in WoW all the time. (It’s not hard to get someone to accidentally flag themselves for PvP when they simply want to quest, so V&H solved this by not having it as an option) V&H also allowed for you to have all the crafting and gathering skills, not just two, and you could have a house with a small garden and animal pen.
If you wanted to simply grind out a small farm in a cute village and do crafting and gathering, you could. And you could also jump out of your village and do quests and raids. Sure, it wasn’t as elegant as WoW in many ways, but it was totally free, and I could play on my phone, which worked well. I couldn’t really raid on my phone, but I didn’t really feel like trying for raids anyways, the wounds from WoW still stinging in my memory.
But now, Justin, with some other friends backing him up, has convinced me to download WoW and start playing, and I am now going to document the experience, as my plan is to level both a Horde and Alliance Mage, one on Justin’s server and one on my old one, and compare and contrast the story lines and level progression. I will still be putting my usual blog content up, including daily blogs, skin care reviews, cooking recipes, zombie content, etc, but I will also be including some more WoW content.
Am I worried, considering the fire WoW is under right now for their toxic shit? Yes. But, I don’t work at Blizz, and I am much stronger in regards to online bullying, and I also know parts of the community I can engage in to stay reasonably safe. I am still worried, mind you, but, I feel now is as good a time as any. If I let things like the Blizz lawsuit impact my desire to play the game, then the same assholes who forced me out of the game continue to win. A fish rots from the head, and while Blizz is the head, plenty of the rest of that fish is rotting…But if I don’t do anything to make the community better, more people like me will get chased off. Maybe I can go back, and others who felt they had to leave can also come back…because Azeroth is way too cool a place for a bunch of assholes to run the game.
So, it has me nervous, but, also excited. Because it’s about damn time to go after EVERYTHING I want in life, and yes, that includes a game many may think is lame. But I like it. And that’s what matters. It’s my content, my gaming, and my blog.
As you may or may not know, this blog is meant to be an authentic telling, a decent collection of content content, content that makes me content, or brings contentment, but it is not meant to be niched down-Because I am a human and humans are more than one simple niche. So, all the content I like to offer, skin care, zombie reviews, productivity help, daily blog life, all of that? It’s going to continue, and now I am adding something else I love to the list.
Follow/Subscribe if REAL (And albeit it, nerdy) authentic content is what you are looking for- You don’t want to miss the stuff I have planned for the second half of our year 2021.
Thanks for reading,
P.S. I completely understand and support everyone leaving the game- I simply have been gone long enough and I want to come back. We are on different paths and I support yours. I will be doing this until I decide I don’t want to anymore, because I am tired of knowing I let the same bullies who continued to act this way, who make WoW suck, I hate that they pushed me from something I liked, so…I am coming back, on my terms.
P.P.S- Happy Friday the 13th! This is one of my favorite days, I’ll probably blog how it goes and schedule that for sometime next week.