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2-17-2012 @ 2:17PM
The gaming community as a whole has plenty of bad apples -- I mean there's a reason people say not to feed the trolls -- we assume, and know there -are- trolls. But if that was all there was, people simply wouldn't play. What keeps and binds most of us to WOW is that we have guilds, or people we encounter in the blogosphere or on wow forums, or just general in game friends which have come to mean something to us personally. I wish I could explain what wow has done for me, without sounding a bit like a freak to some people .. but I can't.For most of my life I have suffered from obsessive compulsive disorder, and depression. As I moved further into adult hood this transitioned into a full blown anxiety disorder. As a result to some pretty serious panic attacks in public places, I really don't get out a lot. For years, I was a very internal person because there wasn't really a lot of people to talk to in my home, alone .. and since I don't hear voices in my head, it was relatively lonely, and I remained very afraid of new people, and it was difficult for me to "come out of my shell".Through wow I have met and had several relationships with people I met in game, several which translated into offline romances, and is one of the ways my best friend and I who live states away have remained in touch, besides frequent phone calls. Wow has let me come out of my shell in a place which doesn't leave me prone to panic attacks, and is one of the few places in my life I've been able to make and maintain friendships. It's given a pretty lonely person, friends .. and given me confidence in real life when I encounter situations which cause me a great deal of anxiety.I'm not going to say that I am cured, because I am far from that -- but having wow in my life has made me a stronger person in my real life. I've met a lot of people through my journey through wow who are battling with their own real life limitations as well. For each of them, I've seen wow provide a social group, and a haven for them, that they were unable to find in real life for whatever reason. In all of them, I've seen wow build their confidence, and help them over come some of their real life anxieties or issues to be more productive members of their real life communities. I'm not sure this measures up to people forking over money to save Rocky .. but for me, it's just as important and precious. Because I know that that literally without wow, that my life and who I am as a person would be very different from whom I am now.
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