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27/11/2008 em 14:30
So it's that time of year again here in the US--time for us to gain another 10 pounds, and to start thinking about what we're thankful for.
I started thinking about this recently and it occurred to me that in a very real way, one of the things I'm thankful for is WoW. I hate to sound like a sap, of course, and I know that there are some people out there who have met friends, significant others, even spouses via WoW--or people who have real social lives thanks to WoW friends, etc. I read those stories and I can't help but smile. But that's not
story. My story is a little different.
When I was in high school I had already decided I wanted to go into the music industry. I learned a bunch of different instruments, and became passable at a few of them (I still take out the guitar now and then). Now, I grew up in Southern California, and living that close to Hollywood you have no illusions about your chances of "making it" in the entertainment world. I knew that I was only mildly talented to begin with, and I had seen plenty of people who were more talented than me go through their whole lives and never being able to make a career in music. So rather than playing for a living, I resolved that I was going to learn to record, and become a recording engineer.
Now at about this time I had bought my own computer for the first time. I bought a Mac, because most of the recording industry (at the time at least) seemed to be made up of Mac users, and I wanted to make sure that my system was compatible. So I bought my brand new PowerBook, and I loved it--but suddenly all of my old games were gone. Aside from flash games on the Internet, and some old ROMs I had collected, I had nothing to play. I'd been a gamer all my life, and suddenly I had made the decision to abandon games in favor of work. Only one game company that I knew of released their games for both PC and Mac on the
--and that was Blizzard.
During this time I played two games, and two games only:
. I had just splurged on an admittedly overpriced computer, I couldn't afford to buy games from the Mac catalog. All I could do was find the few games I had that were
Mac compatible, and play those. To this day I'm very thankful that Blizzard releases their games on PCs and Macs simultaneously.
Well, I was not an MMO player before WoW came out. I had been fascinated by games like
, but never enough to cough up a monthly fee. A few of my friends had started playing WoW, and had started bugging me to join them ("You'll love it! It's just like Diablo!"). I resisted for a LONG time, until my birthday finally came around. My friend
, a WoW player, was moving away to go to law school. Before he did, he gave me a birthday present: a copy of World of Warcraft. I don't remember what the card said exactly, but I
remember that it had a picture on it of a quaint, coastal village. The inside of the card said "I know that as we grow up we're going to have less and less free time. Hopefully, this gift will help us spend just a little bit more of it together. This card reminds me of Shadowprey Village. You and I should visit there sometime."
I took a long time levelling, and we had characters on different servers. I settled into Horde, while he stuck to his Alliance main. Months, even years went by. But the day finally came when he and I went off to run
together, and we both flew in to the Shadowprey Village flight point. I had forgotten completely about the card he sent me, but while I was fussing around on my mage summoning water, he demanded that I stop what I was doing and walk with him out to the end of the Shadowprey docks. Once we were there he said to me, "We made it, old friend. We're finally here."
Now while this was happening, I worked a number of different jobs. I worked at Guitar Center, I went to trade school and got certified (never graduated college), and worked for a while at a big-time recording studio in Hollywood, fetching coffee for
. But after three or four months (right about the time I was upgraded from "intern" to "real job", the studio went bankrupt and was forced to close. I was a wreck. After all, if one of the biggest recording studios in the world--the place where the Beach Boys recorded
--couldn't make enough money to stay open, what chance did I have? What kind of a business was I getting into?
I was in crisis. I found another job for a little while editing sound effects for cartoons (Did anybody watch
? Yeah...um, that was me). But after a few months of doing it, the work ran out there too--and I was unceremoniously sent home, knowing that if I had done better, they might have found more work for me to do. I couldn't find work in music, I couldn't find work in audio...eventually I just settled for finding work at
, and even that wasn't easy.
I kicked around working random odd jobs for a year, maybe more. I worked the ticket booth at an outdoor theater. I did afterschool daycare for a while. I checked
daily. Finally I applied to a temp agency at the nearest place I could find, figuring that all that WoW meant I could probably type fast enough to get a reception job somewhere. After a few different gigs with the temp agency they sent me off to do data entry to a company I had never heard of, called the
After that things become a blur. Apparently I impressed the people at ZAM enough that they decided to hire me full-time, and started expanding my responsibilities beyond simple data entry. I started working on actual content, and when Wowhead joined the team I became the new Community/Content Manager. It was, and still is, the first
I've ever had. Now I have an apartment, a car, a real job, and a happily wedded wife--I have a
now, of my very own. And in a very bizarre but very real way, it's all because of WoW.
Let me say that again:
I have a life thanks to WoW.
I am very, very thankful to Blizzard, to my friends and family, and to my fellow players, every day. So now I ask you, at the risk of sounding cliche:
How has WoW affected your life in ways you never thought were possible?
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