WOW Has Entered My Workplace

I am a known gamer in my division at my company. It’s one of the few “personal” things that I will talk about*. Whenever a games-related news item penetrates the mainstream media, people come up to me and talk about it**.

When there was an article about taxing virtual income, the Technology Policy Counsel forwarded it to me.

When there was an article about how an enterprising young gamer was making money by coaching players on their gaming skills, the Senior Science Advisor forwarded it to me. He also suggested that I could do that as a job, too.

When the hype about the PS3 vs. the Wii raged in the mainstream press, the Senior Research Analyst and I had a chat about it, and it concluded with him saying that the Wii looked like so much fun and the PS3 was too expensive.

When my division Vice President needed a Wii for his children, he asked me to use my “contacts” to find out how he could obtain one. I think he’d be a little irritated that I won the opportunity to purchase one on less than a week before Christmas, but sold it to one of my friends at-cost, instead of selling it to him. He reported to me the other day that his wife was unable to obtain a Wii. They were discouraged that they needed to camp out the night before to significantly increase their chances of securing one, so they didn’t bother.

When the (now) husband of one of the Counsels in the division started playing Guild Wars Prophecies, he told her to tell me about it. He’s now in my guild, though I don’t see him online too often.

One of my co-workers, a manager, started playing World of Warcraft over the Christmas holidays. Right after Christmas, she and her boyfriend (who is an avid WOW player) bought a new computer specifically to play WOW. They have kids who play games. Prior to World of Warcraft, she mainly played a golf game on the Xbox (360?) and Burnout. She said that she lacked the co-ordination to play videogames, and that they were too complicated for her to understand.

So when she started playing WOW, she apparently told her boyfriend that she couldn’t wait to talk to me about it. Her boyfriend’s level 50 Orc Warrior is twinking her (female) Orc Hunter out with some decent gear, Mageweave Bags, and of course running her through quests fairly rapidly. She confesses that she still has to come to grips with the controls and angling the camera correctly, and that she never would have got to level 14 without her boyfriend’s help.

The other day she gushed to me about her Hunter’s Savannah Prowler pet which she named “Georgia”.

Yesterday, she reported that she had joined a guild. Though membership was ostensibly closed, her boyfriend’s friend, a guild officer, allowed her to join. I assume (and hope) that her boyfriend will train her out of newbie behaviour before partying up with the rest of the guild.

Today, she excitedly reported that she had been in her first instance last night.

She was disappointed that I was no longer playing WOW, because she thought that it would have been neat for me to roll Horde on their PvE server so we could all play.

It’s really cute to hear new players, especially non-gamers, talk so excitedly about games, and so excitedly about WOW. It reminds me of how I was when I started playing, when everything was new and shiny. The first time I saw another playing flying on Gryphon back through Elwynn forest was so amazing to me. I felt a sense of wonder about the scale and depth of Azeroth. I was excited about new discoveries and adventures that lay around the corner.

Now, I’m somewhat jaded about WOW and have quit playing, but I’m glad that newbies are being introduced to games through their partners. It sort of says something about the accessibility of World of Warcraft to the non-gamer. If she’s been able to stick to WOW for 14 or 15 levels so far, whereas before you couldn’t get her to sit in front of the Xbox to play a platformer for a hour without being frustrated and quitting — that’s pretty cool.

* Through some effort (direct questions!), some of them have managed to drag out a few bits about my personal life. :P

** I also get asked technical computer questions. Like, “What kind of laptop do you suggest I buy?”

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