“There was no reason for me to stay in the real world any longer. In the real world, it didn’t matter if I was there or not. When I realized that, I was no longer afraid of losing my body.”
On the topic of Virtual Reality, and the extension of oneself into the web, I decided to compile some data recently, to put things into perspective. To summarize everything better, I focused on one key focus (World of Warcraft), and worked outwards. This is what I came to:
Hours spent total: 3300+
Days spent total: 137.5
Total amount spent in £: 450+
Yet, when I think about the time I spent in there, I don’t regret it. Take for example, my character, Sombre.
This, in essence, is my be all and end all in the WIRED. I started him on the 26th January, 2006, and I went through the entire game with him, end to end. Now, did I choose an undead character as a subconscious realisation of how I wanted to be in the real world, projecting inner angst and alliances towards death and darkness (As is the common userbase for them, apparently) ? No, not really. I just figured “Hey that guy looks pretty neat, why not”. With this character acting as a healer class, I was essentially the shield to everybody elses sword, implying (and hey, it’s right), they I enjoyed playing as an ultimately passive character, whos main focus was to look after other people while they did the work around me. I was just the assist.
Some time ago, someone on the WoW forums said:
“Your online friends know you, but they’ve never met you. So with certain things, you could feel more comfortable getting an opinion or feedback on an issue from a WOW friend because you are still sort of anonymous to them. This means they sort of know you on a different level than your real life friends”
In a way, this is true. In the reality of things, you live and die on the fact that you’re playing a premade, albeit customized avatat, there’s no denying it. But considering where the real world ends, and an online life begins is a tough idea, as people who have become addicted can surely testify. There’s a special bond you get when you play with a “WoW friend”, especially when you synergise well. Take the notion that backs all successful MMORPG experiences. The “Tank” and the “Healer”
The tank is often the powerhouse character, the one who stands up front, and takes all the blows, protecting friends from otherwise certain death. The healer is the one who has their back, constantly, making sure they don’t go down. There’s something inherently intimate about this relationship. The idea that, from a tanks point of view, you’re trying to actively manage everything around you at once, and knowing that you have a dedicated person looking out for you, making sure you can keep going and going. It’s all quite pleasant.
However, I digress, to conclude the WoW talk. In the long run, it’s numbers, it’s synergy, it’s skill. Saying that however, there’s no feeling I have had in videogames quite like getting 25 of my dear friends together, having them all jump onto a voice chat room, and hear electic screams of joy, when after 4 hours doing one thing, we finally get our thing down. And then I get a lovely little message in private, saying:
“You are an amazing healer, we couldn’t do this without you”
In conclusion, I can recommend falling into an online world. There’s something about coming home from work/school, firing up your client, and just….being a somebody to someone. At least for a moment. Life is about actuality, right?
“The wired might actually be thought of as a highly advanced upper layer of the real world. In other words, physical reality is nothing but an illusion, a hologram of the information that flows to us through the wired.”