The most daunting part of writing about how World of Warcraft has changed my life isn’t finding the right words but rather narrowing down all the things I’ve gained thanks to this game. I guess I’m probably better off starting with an introduction…
I’m Kalico. I’ve been playing this game since December 2004, it goes without saying that I’ve met a rather impressive number of individuals through the years. I’ve constantly told my close friends that this game has actually enriched my life in more than one way. When I saw Aunaka was looking for folks to tell their experience about this game I quickly jumped on it. I was ready to fight a la Hunger Games style for the opportunity, which considering my survival skills I’m quite certain it wouldn’t have ended in my favor. Lucky for all involved, there was no need to kidnap bloggers and hurl them into a fighting dome.
Without further ado, here’s my story.
To an extent World of Warcraft was the first true MMO I played. While I had dabbled in Ragnarok Online, it was on a small server so the massive aspect was never quite there. Not to mention that I was a loner, so I rarely interacted with other players.
Just like Félicité, it was my boyfriend of that time that introduced me to the game. We didn’t last long and it’s actually hilarious that we broke up because I got better at this game than he did. But let’s go back to the beginning, shall we?
I approached Azeroth with the mentality that it was just another game. Make a magical character, grab quests, kill stuff, turn in quests and kill bad guys. After all, that’s what I have been doing in all my console games prior to this and it was the very same thing my hermit-like self did on Ragnarok. From the minute I logged on I saw the community. General chat was bustling with life and it was impossible to ignore.
Through trial and error my noob night elf druid found her way to Westfall. It was there that I met a tauren and an undead. Just to keep things in perspective, I started out on a PvP server and I didn’t quite grasp the concept of opposing factions. I ran to them eager to see them closer and promptly found myself standing in front of the Spirit of Resurrection. I repeated the process about three times before I got a whisper.
“Are they camping you?”
“Hold on, I’m getting a friend to help out.”
Apparently my antics caught the attention of a human warrior and his rogue friend. Without me asking, they came in and saved me from the two Horde players. After exchanging pleasantries we went our separate ways. Later that day I got a care package from both of them welcoming me to the game. It took me three days to work up the courage to whisper them directly and say thanks.
And so a friendship began.
It’s Just a Game
Little by little this game began to change. Azeroth went from being this decent little world to this grandiose space of boundless opportunities. I wasn’t just a shy girl in this game, I was a druid who was slowly improving her powers. For a few hours every other day I could be something I wasn’t in real life.
I also had two friends, who contrary to my then boyfriend, actually cared how my day had been. To an extent this served as a motivator for me to try out new things in real life, meeting a new person, trying out a different school club, volunteering, etc. I wanted to have things to tell them, so off I went on real life adventures to make sure when they asked that I had more to say than just “fine, you?”
It was terribly heartbreaking when my parents would argue with me over spending time in Azeroth. It’s just a game, they would say.
But it wasn’t just a game and at that time I couldn’t quite string the words together to make them understand that this was much more. It was an adventure, a motivator, an escape, a hobby…
Eventually I graduated from high school and immediately started on a pre-med program. As time went on I realized I had picked this path not because it was my true calling but moreso because the councelor made it seem like it was one of the only three options. I had no interest whatsoever in being an architect or a stockbreaker, so naturally medicine was the only option.
I was extremely unhappy with my choice, so I started jumping from one program to another. Through the entire time the only thing that remained a constant was this game. It helped center me and give me something constant as I sought my place in life.
World of Warcraft had opened me to a new world and changed the way I looked at the real world. It had given me friends that I hold very dearly in my heart. It motivated me to weave stories, fueled my passion for writing, improved my English (which is actually not my first language) and was a sanctuary whenever I needed to escape real life for a few hours. This game had been the one thing that I hadn’t changed through the years.
I had one thing certain, whatever I wound up doing I wanted to make sure I made an impact on someone’s life.
This game had made an impact in my life. Not in the way the media usually paints it, with people living in their basements after having divorced because of the game. This game had helped me become a better me.
It was then that it finally dawned on me, I wasn’t meant to be a doctor. There’s no denying it is an honorable craft but I couldn’t see myself in that role because it wasn’t something I was passionate about. I was meant to be a video game designer.
Just like that I started from scratch. I finished my Bachelor’s in Biology and switched to a Computer Science program, if things go well I’ll be finishing this February. Surprisingly enough the backlash from this decision didn’t come from my family, my parents though realistic have been supportive of me, but rather the gaming community itself.
I remember a particular forum friend tell me I had to grow up that I simply couldn’t drop everything and start again. He told me quite bluntly that I was chasing an impossible dream, he called it a pipe dream to be more precise, that it was something I would never get.
To an extent this former friend was right, you see I want to work for Blizzard. Why? Because I know the great things I’ve gained thanks to this game and I want to make sure I can make at least one other individual gain as much as I have, if not more.
As I began to get ready to apply for Blizzard I began to realize there might have been some truth to what he had said. Blizzard has grown… a lot and they’re now in a position where they can hire the best of the best. Mediocrity has never been my thing, in anything I do I strive to be the best. I won’t lie and say that I was cocky enough to think they’d hone in on me, what can a girl from a remote island offer them?
It was with this doubt that I traveled to last year’s Blizzcon.
I met Mike Morhaime, president and CEO of Blizzard Entertainment. I had twenty million questions I wanted to ask him but only a few precious minutes to talk with him. So I asked him the one thing that mattered the most.
What do you look for in potential employees?
He pondered about it for a few seconds. Passion, he smiled as he answered. Passion for our games, passion for our company and passion for geeking out. We can work with individuals and help strengthen their knowledge but we can’t make someone be passionate about something they’re not.
I was over the moon. I have the knowledge but what I’m absolutely certain I have (and in drones) is passion for this company.
With that simple word, Mike Morhaime proved that former friend wrong. With that one word he helped ignite a flickering dream.
I must apologize for the long read, but it’s impossible for me to explain how big of an impact this game has been in my life without explaining it all.
I have been truly blessed to have met the most amazing indivuduals in my journey through Azeroth. People who celebrate my victories, support me during my trials and inspire me to improve. Not all of those have met me, yet their friendship is just as real as those people who I grace with my presence (jk!).
This game has also helped me find my one true calling. Had it not been for World of Warcraft I would probably be wrapping up med school. Ten or twenty years down the line I would probably find myself feeling hollow because I followed someone else’s passion and not my own.
Above all, this game has taught me that nothing worthwhile is ever easy. That trials and tribulations only serve to make the reward that much sweeter. Never give up on your dreams and dare to dream big.
Last but certainly not least, I would like to thank Aunaka for allowing me the opportunity to tell my story. It doesn’t have as much dragons as I would have wanted it to have but it’s my story nonetheless.