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.