I started this blog in a much sillier time, when the world was young, and I’ll admit, when it comes to this crap I’m an innocent. Writing some fun stuff and gushing about a game to a few friends isn’t exactly supposed to draw attention. This is the real world, and what I do used to be called ‘being a geek’. Anyone could play, all it took was the desire to write copious amounts of drivel about something you love in a place where they can’t taze you. It helped to be a little monomaniacal, too.
I know a lot has changed over the years. I’m not a complete idiot. There is money to be made, and the progression is clear-cut. Be outrageous, generate a lot of content, gain a following, produce merchandise, post ads, build the ‘brand’ of the fake identity you craft to appeal to a demographic and grow into other media markets through networking.
Nothing presents a clearer picture of the business side of selling yourself as a product quite as well as the recent Strip Search reality series/contest by Penny Arcade.
It wasn’t like that when I started, and when I think of the people who I follow within ‘the community’, the ‘build a brand and say crazy shit to get attention’ crowd aren’t the people that come to mind.
“The Community”. Dun dun dun.
The community, to me, are all of the people who love this or any other video game so much that we can’t help but be inspired by gaming, by the worlds, the stories, our characters and what we see and do with our friends, and take that inspiration and blast it out there to share it because if we didn’t we’d explode.
It’s that honest enthusiasm, that irrepressible joy in living in the game with our friends, moment by moment.
The rage we have to vent somewhere about desperately wanting that one drop, and seeing the fickle favors of RNG smile, flip us the bird, and call “Yoinks!” once again.
The delight at the new pets that will be coming to the game, and our frenzied desire to have a cute little dinosaur hatchling as our very own pet. To take pictures of our pets, and show them to our friends just as if they were our real kids, KNOWING that our friends are right there looking at those pictures, and being happy for us, buying into the whole thing because that’s where our heads are at.
The emotional attachment we have to our characters, the world, our place within it, all that can drive someone to write a magical piece of true storytelling that comes from the heart.
That is the community to me. It’s defined by what we are; people who love video games so much, people who are so emotionally engaged that far from being ashamed of it, we shout it from the heavens and share it with our friends and roll around in laughter, feeling that warmth that comes from knowing we’re not alone.
We’re all caught up in the same craziness. It’s what we share.
When I read a webcomic by Rades and Vidyala, I feel that bond, I feel that love for and immersion within World of Warcraft shine through.
When I listen to the Group Quest podcast, I can hear the faint traces of obsession in the hosting tones of Hasteur, and the genuine spark of madboy craazy in the voice of DeGei when he starts talking about Garrosh and Thrall and lore. I always expect Gulvan to have a Tranq Shot sound file at the ready when those times roll along.
Or when I follow along in the travels of Skolnick, as he takes the path of the Warcraft Less Traveled. Now that is some seriously awesome shit right there, and you don’t just decide to make that your gimmick. You’ve got to have a massive love for exploring the game as a voyager to do that.
I recognize the spark of community the strongest whenever I read the “Know Your Lore” segments on WoW Insider by Anne Stickney and Matt Rossi, and then read the comments. Oh lord, the comments. Especially to tinfoil hat editions.
That is the community to me, right there. Loving it, rolling around in it, wanting more, wanting to talk about anything and everything and speculate and tie it all together and wonder aloud, “What if… what then?”
So long as that spark is alive, so long as the enthusiasm burns, there will be a community. My idea of a community, anyway. And I’ll be happy to be a part of it, even if all I do is read the awesome things everyone else has burning within them that they want to share. I don’t have to write to be a part of it. All I have to do is read, and listen, and know I belong.
Godmother, Rades, Vid, Hasteur and DeGei and Gulvan, Skolnick, Anne and Matt and yes, so many others, too many to ever give a proper shout out to except to say, yo, blogroll, right side, read it, love it, live it.
Thank you all, you and everyone else that continues to share your crazy with me, and let me know I may be insane, but at least I’m not alone.
God bless you all. We are the new normal, because I said so.