World of Warcraft. Everyone has heard of it, whether they’ve ever played video games or not. It’s a game that has forever changed the landscape of MMOs and video games. It can be a life ruining curse or an enjoyable past time. Rarely is it thought of as improving someone’s life outside of the game. For me it has done just that.
First a little about myself. I’ve always been a gamer, I was given a Nintendo with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles video game at a very young age and played through it more times than I care to admit. Through the years I’ve owned several consoles; NES, GameBoy, SNES, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, Xbox, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and my latest, Playstation 4. It wasn’t until the PS2 that I played my first online game.
Along came Everquest Online Adventures, a game that hardly anyone has ever heard of and only a handful played. Those of us that have played it have a special spot for it in our hearts. It was similar to the legendary Everquest MMO that is well known on the PC, but for PS2. It lasted far longer than anyone ever expected it to especially because it only had one expansion. It was this game that got me hooked on Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) games.
Fast forward to November 23, 2004, the day World of Warcraft (WoW) is released. I was one of over a million players to login that first day. There wasn’t nearly as much to do in the game then as there is now, but it was far more than any game at that time. The graphics were often criticized for being cartoony, but no other MMO could match the combat and content that WoW offered.
I’ll be honest, I spent a lot of time in this game. To the point where I’m sure that it was a hindrance to my social life and probably my education at certain points. Over the past 11(!) years I’ve managed to limit myself. In addition to limiting myself on play time, I’ve also tried to take a different outlook on how I can learn from the game. This might seem pretty far fetched, but it is true.
One day I was running around in the game trying to learn some new recipe for one of my professions when it dawned on me. Why don’t I do this in real life? Now its not like you can click on an object in real life and learn its contents. But you can learn something by just clicking something on the internet and reading it. This epiphany has prompted me to teach myself several things.
In the past 3 months, I’ve gone from only doing woodworking in seventh grade shop class to installing my own hardwood floors and baseboards. Doing no plumbing to unclogging multiple drains, having no idea about electricity to changing multiple outlets, switches and lights.
Now I’m sure some of you have done all of these things, but my guess is most of you have done maybe one, if any of these.
The purpose of this is not to brag, but to show that you can learn professions just like your avatar. It takes a bit more physical labor and a bit more time, but it is so much more rewarding and will save you money.
Don’t know where to start? Google. For myself, I spent many hours learning about hardwood floors before deciding I wanted to try to take it on myself. I read countless blogs, watched hours of videos and even resorted to reading a couple books. Whenever I had any question though, I just typed it into google. Someone before me had the same question every time.
After deciding I wanted to install my own floors, I spent even more time researching every little thing that I had to do, learning about every thing that could possibly go wrong. For those of you that do play WoW, think of this as having to grind a reputation before you can learn a recipe. I went to the local hardware store and quizzed people, learned what they ran into. I asked coworkers about their experiences. Think of all of this as trade chat, a lot of it is opinionated garbage, but if you can sort through the garbage you get some helpful pointers out of it.
After all was said and done, I managed to get my floors put in by myself. I ran into snags, but nothing a little trade chat and Google couldn’t solve.
What game has helped you in real life?