Sept. 21, 2015
“I’m going on an adventure!”
After an eight year hiatus, Martin Freeman’s line from “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” summarizes the excitement and anticipation I felt returning to the online roleplaying game, “World of Warcraft.”
The first time I attended college, I quickly grew tired of the cliché party scene. I played WOW religiously for two years. Many nights I teamed up with friends, ordered a pizza and tackled stages in the game such as the Wailing Caverns or Molten Core.
After enlisting in the military and starting a family, I found my time to play the game I love limited. This was in 2007, when many were convinced the Massively Multiplayer Online days were at an end.
But eight years later, as I went back to school and my wife became fully invested as a reborn gamer, we tackled her final transition into hardcore gaming together by introducing her to MMO gaming.
It’s been nearly 11 years since WOW was released, and although numbers are not as high as they were during its’ glory days, the game is still popular. As an example, there are four expansion packs (with a fifth coming), a decade’s worth of conventions and an upcoming motion picture.
As I delved back into the game I noticed how streamlined it is. Objectives are clearly marked on the mini-map and reaching level 20, a feat that used to take over 10 hours of gameplay, could now be done in under five.
The interface is much easier to grasp, the missions more clearly laid out and the different areas of the world are much easier to access.
Feats now transfer from character to character as well. This encourages players to play across multiple classes instead of limiting themselves to just one.
What has struck me in my return to WOW is recalling how much more I enjoyed my time in Azeroth than I did at frats or parties 11 years ago.
The camaraderie I felt with my friends then is as strong as I feel with my wife, and I realize now, as I did then, how much fun gaming is for a college student.
Sure, gaming and MMO carry the classic “nerd” stigma that it did back then, but hey, I AM A NERD, and now, nerd culture is a standard many strive to emulate, while 10 years ago it was a stigma that got you beat up.
The only opinion that should matter in how you spend your college days is your own, and it took me a long time to realize that.
Gaming may not be the first thought many people have when they think “college,” but what about the alternatives?
What about meeting a significant other? Gaming has proliferated to the point so there are many men and women of all ages playing, so wouldn’t you prefer to meet someone who shares your interests rather than someone obsessed with being the life of the party?
Sure, you can indulge in the party scene that I grew tired of, a scene that encouraged underage drinking and illegal drug use, which led to college DUI charges and police appearances that then led to expulsion.
Or, you could order some Chinese food, link up with your friends and spend a night conquering raid bosses in games such as WOW or “Star Wars: The Old Republic.”
I choose the safer (and significantly cheaper) option.