July 19, 2005 I embarked on quest that would continue to this very day. The landscape, Azaroth, the age, World of Warcraft Vanilla. Today marks the anniversary of when I first started playing.
The summer of 2005 was a hard one for me because I was in a bad place mentally. The little escape time I got into Azaroth helped pull me through the worst of it. I had suffered the only major heartbreak I had known up until that time and I was fighting with one of my best friends at the time. Being only 22 years old, I wasn’t all that experienced in the world and wasn’t good at resolving conflicts. It was easier to just ignore what was going on around me for a while and just enjoy an interactive game.
Since I first started playing, the game had released six expansions. Each one gives me new quests to complete, characters to interact with, and a story to follow. I still continue to play to this day but to a lesser degree than I did that summer. I have some friends who have been playing as long as me and others that join in later on. Sometimes we play together and other times we just chat in the game to catch up on life. One of my best friends from high school even met her husband in the game.
I picked this game back up again after my latest break up because I wanted something to occupy my down time. I haven’t really been into my knitting lately and I haven’t really been watching a lot of TV. This game doesn’t require a lot of my time, I can just login and play through some quests or run a dungeon. The nice thing about it is that there’s always something to work on in the game. You can’t actually “finish” it because you have all sorts of classes, specs, and profession combos that you can try out.
What does this have to do with yoga? Nothing, except maybe just reminding people to enjoy themselves once and a while. Life isn’t so serious that you need to be working on the pursuit of enlightenment all that time. You are allowed to enjoy escapism like books, TV, movies, and game when you want to.
The caution I would offer is to recognise if your gaming or other forms of escapism are causing you to retreat from the real world. If you have not seen your friends or family in weeks because you have been raiding in World of Warcraft or binge watching Netflix, then maybe you need to look for assistance in dealing with addiction or depression. Escapism should not stop you from connecting with other people or replace real human interaction. While games like World of Warcraft are social, they cannot replace time with the people in your life.
I recognise that I have used my gaming experience as an escape in the past but now a days, I prefer to spend time with my friends and would rather go out for coffee with them, then sit in my home with my computer. I will say that those first few weeks of playing World of Warcraft in 2005 were a magical time and I loved that experience. The game has changed since them but I still love going back and playing my Druid and Mage and seeing their adventures in Azaroth!