Hey, you don't have to ask me twice, I know I'm addicted. In fact, I am more heavily addicted to the computer game World of Warcraft than I have been at any point previously in the last four years of playing it.
It started late February 2004. Mathias, Rythter, and many of my other local friends had been telling me about this new video game that they were playing and insisting that I try it. It's a MMORPG - a Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game. They said I'd love it. Well, I knew I wouldn't. I had tried its predecessor, Ever Quest, some time previously and hated it. Why would this be any different?
Janet urged me to try it. "I'll buy it for you for your birthday." No. I don't want it. No. Don't get it for me. No. I won't play it. And what's more, when I realized you had to pay a monthly subscription fee to keep playing, I was livid. No way my blue-blooded New England Yankee frugality would stand for that.
Yep, she bought it anyway.
I rolled up an undead priest whose name I no longer recall. Not that there is any actual dice rolling involved at all. It's all on the computer. Just shows how pervasive some Role Playing concepts are. I played him for two levels. I hated him. Rythter told me to try something different. He invited me to join him on his server on the Alliance side. I perused the class options at my disposal. There was only one. (There can be only one.) I rolled a Paladin.
Now I needed a name. Hmm... Something basic. I tried a few bland sounding, average names. They had all been taken. Then I tried Wulfgar. Taken. I tried Wolfgar. Taken. I typed in Wolfgaar. Bingo. I was in.
That was four years ago. While most of the friends I've made in WoW play two, three, four, eight characters, I've made playing my one single character into a science. I do have a couple other "toons", but I almost never play them at all. Most people refer to their toon in the third person. I call Wolfgaar "I".
So why do I play?
Ask anyone of the friends that I play with and I think we'll all agree: we play for the people. It's the array of truly special people that I've met in the last four years that keeps me coming back. I've made a number of friends that I truly would lament were they lost to me. While they may not be local, they are as much "real life" friends as any others that I have here living near Upham Manor.
Reason number two, I'd say is the amazing depth and complexity of the game. You can fight monsters. You can follow storyline quests. You can fight against opposing players. You can become a professional and craft amazing items to sell or give to friends. You can get involved in commerce, auctions, and the economy. You can fly on a dragon, you can ride a horse, you can construct mechanical devices. You can role play and be anyone you want to be. If you can't find something in World of Warcraft to draw your attention, you're probably already ganked.
I did some calculating. Figuring that I play several hours each night every night I possibly can, over the course of four years, I've spent over a year of my life in WoW.
All I can think is that one day, I'll be on my death bed thinking about all those days I spent in World of Warcraft and I'm going to say to myself, "I really regret not having seen all of The Black Temple."