With WoW’s subscription count in the tens of millions these days, and the console market covering everything from Wii Fit grandmas to NASCAR devotees, I think it’s very safe to say that gaming isn’t as closeted as it used to be. But, there still is a prevalent stigma associated with being a dedicated gamer, the slightly raised eyebrow when you declare that you spent your weekend leveling a hunter or farming mats. Aside from practicing some derisive responses–“well at least I’m practicing strategic thinking while you’re watching another season of people giving themselves brain damage”, I think it’s up to us gamers to start pushing for greater levels of acceptance by flaunting our affection for digital entertainment.
So, in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, here are some ways you too can express your love for a game that has given us so much (while only asking for hours of our life in return):
- Take screenshots of your little baby alts, and put them in your purse or wallet. When co-workers or random strangers start talking about their children or pets, bust out your screenshot of your lvl9 warrior and talk about how she solo’d Hogger last weekend. Be sure to talk about the character in the third person, and mention how proud you are.
- Purchase a personalized license plate for your vehicle (“wow4lfe”, “gamer”, “rshaman”, and “lifeing5”, or some derivation thereof, are all viable options.) Top it off with a decal of your faction.
- At least once in a meeting or in class, shout “Shadow Crash on me!” or “Defile on me!” before running out of the room. Alternately, incorporate in-game catch-phrases into your professional interactions. “I remember you … in the mountains!” or “You are not prepared” can be particularly hilarious in the right context.
- Use geeky apparel to express your dedication. Shout to your significant other at least once, “Honey, do you know where my ‘Less QQ, more Pew Pew’ t-shirt is?”
- Send your parents the link to College Humor’s “N00b Boyfriend” skit along with the message that this is what cool parents are like. Suggest that they take notes.
- Schedule your vacation time around patches and xpacs. When you go back to work or school, talk about how you subsisted on only Amps and hot pockets for multiple days. Also be sure to talk about how you need another vacation from your vacation.
- When people ask what you’ve been up to lately, send them a link to your guild’s boss kill videos. If it’s someone you really care about, sit with them while they watch one of the vids and narrate the entire encounter, making sure to pause when elements require more explanation.
- Engage in PVP IRL. Walk up behind someone in WoW apparel and yell “Sap!” If he/she yells “Bubble!”, counter with “Vanish!” and then dive behind the nearest small solid object.
- Include WoW titles on your personal resume and/or business cards. Clients and customers are more likely to trust Joe Smith, the Astral Walker than they are to trust Joe Smith, Assistant Manager.
- Call your WoW friends and guildmates during off-hours; if someone else answers the phone, ask for the player by his/her in-game name. Don’t offer any clarification when the person pauses for a moment in confusion. Bonus points for leaving a message on an answering machine inquiring if “Tremlin is going to make raid tonight because we’re doing Lurker and need the extra Sheep.”
- Write a blog about your dedication to one spec; wonder why you didn’t start sooner.
So, with that, a happy Valentine’s Day to WoW, you are my one and only (no matter how sexy COD/MW gets or how much hype surround Starcraft and Diablo III.) And to all the gamers out there and the geeks who love them, the best of the season to you as well. Have a charm bracelet, ya saps.
And PS – There’s only one of the above that I haven’t done. (/snicker)