A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Mailbox

My mage and my long-lost friend.

My mage and my long-lost friend.

“Did you used to play on Cenarion Circle?”

I always fret when I ask complete strangers random whisper questions as I know that people doing the same to me piques my anxiety. But here I was, standing at the mailbox at Shrine in what can best be described as a head-on collision with fate. It’s hard for a skeptic like me to wholeheartedly accept the role of True Believer but sometimes you have to go along for the ride when life presents you with something too unbelievable to chalk up to mere mortal calculations of probability and chance.

As of maybe a couple of days ago, I’ve been using my boredom with the end of the expansion to start chipping away at some of my neglected alts, most notably my Horde characters on another server from my main, who is Alliance. This is my mage, Misandry, that I created for my first mage leveling guide (obviously titled “Levelling Through Misandry.”) She’s been bounced around a lot – first created on Mal’ganis, then moved to Drenden and then gently settled on Earthen Ring in my guildies’ alt guild for our Horde toons. Little by little I’ve been pecking away at XP, a handful of dungeons and poking at the Horde storylines I had yet to see via questing. I was stuck in Camp Nooka Nooka and needed to use a mailbox to do some auction housing. Instead of teleporting to Orgrimmar, I decided on a whim to fly to Shrine since I hadn’t really been there but I somehow magically had the flightpoint.

I was standing at the mailbox only half-paying attention and disenchanting items when I see a mage log in. I mouseover their frame as they had MyRoleplay installed and I have a habit of reading people’s backstories. The name looked familiar to me but given the usual cobwebs with my memory, I couldn’t place where. Slowly it dawned on me – was this one of my old friends from Cenarion Circle? That name was fairly unique and it wouldn’t hurt to ask. So I timidly whispered to the mage standing next to me.

What happened next can only be described as a sheer unbelievable luck. Yes, she had played on Cenarion Circle. I asked her if she remembered my gnome. She remembered me. We started shrieking. It was my friend that I had used to play with and roleplay with. The warlock who I had RP-fights with, her Horde, me Alliance. The person who dueled me on plateaus in Nagrand while we laughed ourselves stupid as we would fall off and die. Out of nowhere, we just happened to run into eachother. On a server that I barely play on, and her, a day after re-upping her WoW account and logging into a character (her 10th 90) that she barely plays with the same name as her Horde warlock. We just happened to randomly be standing next to eachother at the same time in Shrine when I had decided to go there completely by chance.

It was like a deluge of things being said, like if you had run into someone from your past on the street.

How are you?

What have you even been up to?

Wait, didn’t you used to have a stalker problem too? How did that work out?

The deluge of past and present came tumbling out. It was weird that both of us seemed to have similar trajectories regarding reasons for dropping off the radar; a combination of toxic people on our home server, life changes and dealing with harassment. She was one of the few people I had wished I had kept better contact with and here she was, right in front of me. We both were overjoyed at the idea that both of us were doing so much better now, that we had come so far and gotten to better places in our lives. The idea of meeting an old friend and knowing she was a survivor too was also emotional but I was mostly just unbelievably happy knowing that even if we lost touch, that stories went on relatively happily. The odds of us running into eachother, now, seemed impossibly low. But yet…

We quickly exchanged Twitter accounts and battle tags, something that wasn’t nearly as easy to do even 3 years ago. A lot of people prior to the introduction of RealID and Battle tags especially would move off-server and then just drop off the face of the planet unless you knew them outside of the game. Social media and particularly WoW’s move towards socialization has made things like this more possible, if you are so lucky to find yourself in this position. I know I am beyond lucky and I have to wonder if this wasn’t some higher force. Obviously, I can’t be certain but this has conceivably made my month.

With Blizzcon around the corner, plus now this, I can’t help but think that despite us all being nerds playing a video game, that the connections we form online can be just as impervious to time as any others. Much like remembering the face of someone you hung out with in kindergarten, coming across a person you once knew happens, expanded to a global scale. Obviously World of Warcraft is a far smaller place but I still can’t help but feel that this was almost too good to be true, and so I felt moved to write it down hastily, in case I woke up tomorrow and it wasn’t real.

I’ve struggled all my life with losing friends rapidly in short time spans due to some sort of drift and I always regret it. Even if not for every individual person but just that it happens so much and it haunts me. The idea of getting a second chance to see someone I enjoyed being around due to kismet, fate or whatever you want to call it makes me feel a little less alone. The Internet having an endless memory may be true in more ways than just preserving the shitty moments you’ve tossed out there into the ocean, but perhaps something you put out there finally washing back up on shore.

Love Is In the Air

Tarecgosa flies against a sunset sky, heart over her head.

Despite the fact that the in-game holiday has been going on for well over a week now, today is the real Valentine’s Day! I know that this day, even in gaming, is fraught with emotions at both extremes: the sappiness of couples in love and the bitterness of those who feel the holiday’s sting of loneliness or commercialism. I find myself somewhere in the middle of these poles, even if I’ve been in a long-term relationship for 3 years. I always look for an opportunity though to share my feelings and admiration for those around me, even if it isn’t always romantic. Making someone’s day feel great is something we should strive to do every day but a holiday reserved for it motivates me to be as silly and gooshy as possible. Maybe you should do the same today, even in Warcraft.

Let a flag-carrier go to the base just this once.
Give a lowbie some gold and bags.
Be polite to someone in Trade Chat.
Help someone out in LFR.
Point out a neat spot to explore to a guild-mate.
Craft a piece of pretty mogging gear for a friend.
Write an appreciative note to your raid leader.

These are all little parcels of love that aren’t consumerist or necessarily romantic and are sometimes oft-needed in our harsh gaming landscape.

What am I going to be doing today myself? Oh, this and that. My partner and I don’t really celebrate holidays overly much and we already spent the morning playing the Mass Effect 3 demo together (okay, so they played and I watched and provided useful color commentary) and sharing chocolates that I bought at Walgreen’s. That’s about as awesome as I could hope for. I know that I’ll probably be doing a guild-run LFR tonight and maybe some last-minute charm grinding for another Swift Lovebird. I bought one for myself cheap out of Trade chat, and had one that I purchased with charms to sell after the holiday was over. However, a guild-mate who has her daughter in our guild really wanted to give one as a present, so I concocted a scheme where we take the one I had and send it from an alt named after the daughter’s favorite NPC as a Valentine’s Day present. Stuff like making a kid and a guild-mate happy is a little more important than gold, as far as I am concerned.

I think I’m also going to spend some time leveling alts with new WoW friends and writing queer goblin fanfic.

Two fashionable goblin ladies hold hands.

Now onto Mandatory Sappiness!

To My Fans: Without you, there wouldn’t be a blog, it’d just be me prattling on and on. You give me enthusiasm, hope, laughter and motivation in piles. Interacting with an intelligent audience and being a voice to some of my fellow gaming nerds is what got me out of one of the hardest times in my life. I love all of you and you make me smile every time you comment or Tweet at me.

To My Guildmates: Not only has it been a pleasure being your officer and now guild master, but also your stupid friend. I don’t feel like we’re a guild so much as a family. I love all the stupid jokes we have, all the good times doing stupid things we do – LFRs, mount runs, exploring, talking on Mumble until late at night (11 PM). I love you even if you guys fill up the guild bank with gray items that I have to sell. do u even lift???1

To my RealID friends: Thank you for putting up in my insanity via status updates. Or responder spam from my boss mods. Or talking to me in general.

To my boyfriend: You don’t read my blog! I still love you anyways.

To Blizzard Employees:¬†Thanks for making one of the best games I’ve ever played. Keep doin’ what you doin’.

To my haters: Y’alls my motivators. To the left.

Have a really amazing day guys. Hope you spend it with people you care about. But most of all, love yourself! It’s pretty groovy.