How strongly you identify with WoW

I’ve been reflecting a little on how strongly I identify myself as being a WoW player. There are a few dimensions to it.

Do you admit to being a gamer? Many players do not admit they play WoW to their non-gaming friends. If the friend isn’t a gamer, they might not understand, and it’s often easier to just be silent on the matter. If they’re a workmate, depending on your job, it could be career-limiting to tell them you’re a raiding WoW player. Your significant other in a relationship is likely to know, although I remember one guy in a guild had kept it a secret from his long-time girlfriend (somehow). If you have a gamer friend, then it’s great and you probably talk with them about it. I did have a mate who liked RTS and FPS games, which I hate, so whilst we were both gamers it was like being from different planets since we really had no common interests. There was a funny The Guild episode where two girl gamers meet, and there’s this awkward silence.

How much do you spend on gaming? I don’t mean the subscription to WoW. When you last upgraded your PC or Mac, was playing WoW the most important selection criteria? It was for me. I bought a rig with i7 920 CPU, 6G DDR3 RAM, liquid-cooled and overlocked with one ATI 4870 card. I was conservative on the LCD screen though, and bought just a 20″ Samsung SM2032BW with 2ms refresh and high-contrast. The PC is way overkill for WoW, but I wanted zero problems when raiding. I could have bought a much cheaper PC. In fact, I’m a Mac fan, but they’re just not fast enough per dollar, so bought a PC. All that is because I love WoW.

I’ve bought all WoW USA clients twice, Europe once. I’ve paid for one race change and at least three server transfers.

How about gaming peripherals? I’ve got a normal mouse but am needing to replace it soon. The guys have some wicked gaming mice and keyboards. They’re a lot more expensive than a normal optical cabled mouse.

I am so passionate about DK tanking and blogging that when this site started hitting the host’s ceiling, I didn’t hesitate to spend money on upgrading it. I went from a $10 or $15 plan originally, nearly a year ago, to the next plan up. I pre-paid $115 for a year’s service for a ‘business’ shared host plan. Eventually that plan wasn’t enough, so upgraded again just last week to a top-tier host (LiquidWeb) and after a hiccup because even their shared host didn’t have the headroom, went way overkill again and ordered a ‘Webmaster series’ dedicated server from Liquidweb. It costs more per month than I had paid for a year.

I certainly do not intend to wear it all myself forever, and will look for donations or similar, but my point is I did not hesitate to upgrade to keep the forums up, because I knew I could deal with the costs next week or change plans in a few months’ time if necessary, and would wear the costs myself until then. I really didn’t want another day of the forums being slow or unreachable. Interesting in itself, my attachment to the DK tank community. I was taken aback at myself. Gave me pause for reflection.

That’s not all though. I’ve donated $50 to the wp-united guys, about $20 to the wowhead-tooltips developer, $20 to TankTotals, $20 to the guy who developed this wordpress theme, $20 to EJ (won’t renew that) and ~$40 to Tankspot (if I remember right) and probably more to others I’m not so sure about anymore, like Auctioneer and Questhelper.


Why on earth would I spend so much money on a game like this.

I spend 10 times more on my gaming environment than on WoW itself. I remember Tobold did a similar analysis of his own spending.

I identify myself as a WoW player, and if I was specific, as a DK tank. I really like to be part of the WoW community, and to contribute to it. I had 2500 posts at dkinfo before starting forums here. I have written 237 posts since starting to write in June 2009. I’m a geek like that.

I like to support other geeks who are into it, and invest their own time for the hell of it.

I definitely would not tell a non-gamer how much I spend on all this. Shit, I’m surprised I’m telling you guys. :)

I’m also addicted to the game, of course. It takes serious self-control to not play when I have real work to do.

I wonder if other online communities attract the same dedication and personal investment as gaming. Like open source communities who gather around a particular project, or the creative commons organisation or wikipedia. I know they can get very passionate, but do they spend on it too?

Blizzard does their best to a larger share more of  my wallet. They should, they deserve it. I bought a little pandaren monk, I considered buying DTV Blizzcon tickets, I’d love to get to the upcoming Blizzcon but it’s in the USA. They’ll offer some kind of auction house on a phone, but I would not pay for that since I’m not so into the economic-minigame. I’d buy the Trading Card rewards from Blizzard if I could, like spectral tiger mount or similar, for a reasonable price (ie. not via untrusted sellers at high prices on ebay). I was not interested in the plush toy but think it’s a great idea. Perhaps a bling cash-shop for WoW would be vastly successful.

If I worked in the new media, internet, gaming, entertainment or youth industries in some way, I would brag about how much I love WoW. :) I think Professor Christopher Penn is particularly awesome for his geeky openness about playing WoW, he recently wrote an article drawing comparisons between healing teams and marketing teams. Maybe I should get a new job! Who wouldn’t want to work in the game industry these days. I did consider applying for a Blizzard France role once, but, with two kids and a wife to consider it was always just a dream.

So that comes back to why do I invest so much of myself in WoW?

Perhaps by doing my bit on the internet I can feel a part of that worldwide WoW fabric, like working for Blizzard by-proxy. It also gives me a huge sense of satisfaction.

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11 comments to How strongly you identify with WoW

  • Sougent

    >>I wonder if other online communities attract the same dedication and personal investment as gaming

    Second Life does, or at least did when I was active there.   People spend literally hundreds of dollars a month for virtual land, spend money to hold virtual events, on related websites, podcasts, PC’s that could better run SL.   Basically the same things you’ve spent money on related to WoW.

    And it does have a similar situation where people who like it and spend time in it don’t really talk about it to other folks, because they just won’t get it.    It’s the same thing as FPS gamers vs WoW gamers, both consider Second Life to be boring because it doesn’t have a purpose or goal.

    I think every “hobby”, for want of a better term, has its enthusiasts who go above and beyond in effort and money because they love whatever it is.

  • Toran
    Twitter: warcraftic

    I can relate on all counts. Here’s my reaction.

    Do you admit to being a gamer?

    I do actually, but really only when the topic comes up. I’m in marketing at a large software company, which you would think WoW would be rampant. I don’t think it is, and even less so in marketing.

    How much do you spend on gaming?

    Pre-kids (also have 2 kids and a wife), I would spend a couple thousand every two-three years. I used to build my own systems and keep upgrading. Since my kids were born, I have only upgraded once and I’m WAY overdue. But, yeah, I view this as my main hobby and spend the necessary funds to support it. It’a bit tempered in the past few years, but I’m keeping up. My blog is not nearly as well off as yours, so no need to invest huge funds there yet.

    Christopher Penn (@cspenn on twitter) is really awesome to track. I follow him on twitter (via a separate account) and love him tying back Wow to business. He make some stretches here and there, but overall he’s spot on. I agree though, his recent post is a good one. Being able to know the strengths of your team is something that far too many organizations don’t encourage – mine included.

  • Bill

    I don’t recall who did it, but someone once wrote an article on how much raiding in WoW saved him per year — hours that would have been spent in movies or bars or restaurants add up quickly.  ANd bravo to anyone for spreading the financial love around where they spend their time.  You’d be amazed how many people will use something over and over and over again, complain bitterly at the slightest problem, and still expect it to be free.
    I’m pretty sure there are some basic Paypal widgets usable with WordPress, I look forward to the addition of a donation button here.
    By the way, as a retired human factors engineer, let me say that the gaming mice are worth it for the fantastic ergonomics, let alone the gaming mechanics.  In case you need another reason to switch.  Now if those companies would get reasonable and start providing Mac apps to program the mice I’d be happier still…

  • Sazh

    I agree with Sougent. Every hobby has enthusiasts who invest enormous amounts of resources.
    I am a subcontractor running a one-man workshop at home, sometimes getting gaming-related work, so I have no problems identifying as a WoW player. I suppose in that regard I’m the luckier few. My friends and family just know that I play games, some of them may ask what I play, but generally they don’t care whether I’m playing WOW or Super Mario—they don’t know the difference anyway.
    As for investments. Well, time is money, so one could say I’ve invested a lot of money into WoW. But otherwise I’ve not really bought a lot just for WoW. My 24 inch LCD is an enormous help in my daily work, and my Cherry keyboard is to me what gloves are to a professional baseball pitcher. I use an ordinary (cheap) Logitech G1 mouse, only upgrade my machine once two years or so. I’m still using C2D E6750, 8800GT, 4GB. I still use the same multimedia speakers from about ten years ago. Since I share hardware for work and play (yes I know I shouldn’t) it’s hard to say.

  • Gravity
    Twitter: gravitydk

    @Bill re donation, I’d like to give something in return for any donations, so am just thinking about that. Like beyond the typical fancy-coloured name or in forums.

    @Sougent, do you have trouble focusing on work sometimes when the game is just sitting there, ready for you?

    @Toran, have you read Marcus Birmingham’s strengths books? They’re absolutely fantastic.

  • Lashe

    I work in the video game industry so I am very open about being a gamer, but I rarely mention that I play WoW unless the subject comes up.  I find that even in the gamer community, WoW has a large negative stigma about it.  Other “true gamers” will look down on me for it, and it’s not til I mention the other games that I play that they stop giving me a hard time.

  • Evilcabell

    “If the friend isn’t a gamer, they might not understand…” Lol, I don’t think I understand sometimes.
    In all seriousness though, I am a closet Death Knight. I’m currently in my first year of law school; I mentioned it to a couple of fellow students once and their reaction was “Shouldn’t you be spending your time studying/How do you have the time?” I tried to explain that compared to the pasttimes of many other students (drinking to excess, partying, etc) wow was economically more viable, easier on my liver, and actually fairly time-efficient—though that last bit does require a good bit of discipline on my part.

  • Karilee
    Twitter: karileeo

    I’m open about it, it’s mentioned on my Twitter and on my website’s About page , but people DO still look at me funny, particularly in a business context. Doesn’t matter, overall Wow has been a positive experience for me, and it is a valued part of my life – and I am who I am.

    Wow got me started in blogging, and I’ve met some really good friends via Wow. My guild has an open invitation to come visit “in real life”, preferably one at a time…

    I suppose my spending patterns are similar to yours, in terms of buying somewhat overpowered hardware to make sure I don’t lag on raids. I played EQ before Wow, and dated a guy I met there for a couple of years. He estimated that gaming had saved him about $30,000 that he’d otherwise have spent in drinking in bars, etc.

    As Toran said, it’s my main hobby. Given that, overall it’s pretty inexpensive.

    Oh, and I think you meant Marcus Buckingham. His stuff is great – I’m not surprised you’re a fan too, Gravity.

  • Vincto

    Bump for a Paypal donation button :)

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