Thursday, January 15, 2009

One in Eleven Million: Lessons from World of Warcraft

This is it, I'm coming out of the video gaming closet. In another world, I am a level 76 Night Elf Druid. Or, in other words, I play World of Warcraft.

Shocking, I know.

World of Warcraft, for those who are unfamiliar with the game, is an MMORPG, or Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game. It is a video game where you create and play a character, and other people log in and play characters as well. The landscape, towns, weather, and events are persistent, meaning that even when you're not logged in, they exist, virtually on a server. You can group up with other people and fight together for gold, loot, and of course, glory. WoW, as it is called, is a game produced by Blizzard Entertainment, and it currently has eleven million players worldwide. That's more people than the entire state of Michigan, which as of the last census has 10,095,643 people.

I like the game for many reasons. I enjoy the story, I like the challenge of the game, and I really do like that I've had the same character for over four years. I've met a lot of interesting people, and created some online friendships that I cherish. It's great to have a group of people who are online, playing, enjoying themselves, and who are always happy to see you. In many ways, it is a place where "everybody knows your name." (Albeit your character's name.)

Once, at a retreat I was attending, we were encouraged to reflect upon some of our favorite pastimes and think about lessons that might be learned from participating in them. Some people might say WoW is a pastime, and I would list it as a hobby, if it were on a survey sheet.

So, what had I learned from my druid? Sometimes she's the healer for a group of players. That means that I go into a dungeon with a group and keep an eye on the health level of either five or ten people; healing them as they are taking a beating from a mob in a dungeon. The thing is, you have to watch your own health, too. Because if the healer goes down in a group, well then, everybody will probably die and the group will need to start over. The healer is as important (if not more so) than anyone else in the group.

"A healer is no good unless they heal themselves first," was what my brain was saying to me. And that was it! What I'd learned from WoW! We each have to take care of ourselves before we can be of service to anyone else.

It's a simple lesson, really, but so hard to learn. We are each busy trying to be care takers, to cram more into every day, to keep a full schedule. So many of us are people pleasers, looking to make everyone else happy in our lives. Maybe it was Martha Stewart who encouraged such bad behavior, but we (especially women, in my opinion) often think that we need to be able to do it all, and expect no less from ourselves.

But, in the hustle and bustle of every day, we each need to keep an eye on our own health meters in the midst of looking out for the other folks in our lives. Are we tired, or worn out? Did we eat lunch? Would taking a walk around the block, or stepping out to get a coffee be a nice break? What can we do to "heal" ourselves so that we can take better care of the other people in our life?

Once I'd had this little epiphany, I've come back to the thought many times. It's a lesson in balance. It's a lesson in appreciating everyone for their special roles in our life, too. While the healer might not be out in the front, getting all the glory for hitting the hardest or downing the big boss, the group would not be able to be victorious without a healer in their midst. The support of the healer allows everyone to succeed and shine.

So, as you go about your day, take stock in healing yourself if you need to. And be sure any take notice and appreciate the healers around you as well.

In Iron Forge
My druid is the the tall female, second from the left. This a group shot in one of the cities, named Ironforge. She's a shape shifter, so that's also her above, in "moonkin" form.

4 comments:

Liz said...

I have not ever played World of Warcraft but I have heard a little something about it. I am glad that you enjoy it so much.

I agree with you about taking care of yourself first. I have watched my Father take care of his elderly parents for the past 5-10 years. I am beginning to see the toll it is taking on him. His father passed away in '05 but his mother is still with us and she is mentally draining. It's all very sad!

Paula said...

It's wonderful that your Dad is able to help take care of his elderly parents. That can be a really draining task; it is hard to see those you love getting older. I hope your Dad is able to find some time for himself. :)

Sheri said...

I've never played WOW, but I did play FFXI for 3-4 years and I play Guild Wars off and on. In my life in FFXI, I was a lvl 75 Black Mage, White Mage, Bard, and Summoner. I spent way too much time on there. LOL It is true there too though, that you have to heal yourself or you can't heal others. Very wise words indeed. :)

world of warcraft gold said...

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