My fascination with online games began with my introduction to NeoPets in high school. I was able to meet other people my own age, from all over the world, and learn about them and their country. My first friends were mostly Singaporean and it opened up the possibility of interacting with people who I never would have met in my real life. Years after that, I started playing a game called Runescape. I made many new friends, from all over the world. From the United Kingdom to Greece, to America and Canada, to Bangladesh. It’s been over 9 years since I started playing Runescape, and I am still good friends with many people I met through that game. Since then I moved onto playing World of Warcraft, though probably the friendships I made, and the people I met through Runescape are the ones that will stay with me the longest.
WoW is such a dynamic game with a distinct culture and player base, with an active community and sub-communities. It’s hard for me to explain my interest in games for people who have never experienced the kind of massively played online games that I like to play. There’s an easy camaraderie and connection with other people based on a similar interest. They give you the opportunity to meet and make friendships with people from all over the world, with different backgrounds and experiences. Where you may never have any cause or opportunity to meet some of these people in your real life, or have nothing in common if you did, games are a gap bridger that doesn’t care about social status, age, gender (usually) or even appearance.
Engaging in the online communities based around the game I’ve found very rewarding also. Gaming kind of encourages a community where people share their knowledge and experiences, and take the time to help other people out, usually for no expectation of reward or compensation, but simply for the joy of contributing to the culture and community. There are many many websites, blogs and youtube channels (the latter which probably do generate some income) dedicated to different aspects of the game and helping other people. For my part, in the past I’ve been active in the Druid communities (which is the class I play on WoW) to the point of even blogging about the subject myself in my own time.