You've gotta read this thing-- I don't think I could make up something so out of touch.
And World of Warcraft is the granddaddy of online communities. On one hand, it's a sprawling, seamless fantasy, where you choose an avatar -- a rogue, fighter, Mage -- and go forth in this virtual world to hack, slash and maim your way to glory.
On the other hand, it's supremely social. Players band together, chatting incessantly. They hook up for virtual drinks at the inn, share a slab of wild boar meat. They dance, they have picnics in the woods, they even share a bed on occasion.
But do they love?
That's exactly what I aimed to find out in my social experiment - without crossing that fine line into creepiness, of course. It goes without saying that the age range can be anywhere from 10 to 110 in the virtualverse. And gender identification is notoriously spotty. The idea is no more ambitious than to connect with someone in cyberspace.
So I dress my online persona for success, a slick sorcerer in a long blue robe, flowing Magely locks, and, of course, nice shoes. Footwear, I'm told, proclaims the man.
I name my avatar Prufrock -- and wade into Warcraft.
There are dozens of people running around the entry point, the old stone abbey, and chatting and obviously getting adjusted to the control scheme.
"Yay! I got my Voidwalker!" some warrior declares in the general chat window that runs along the bottom of the screen. He is, I assume, referring to some fancy piece of equipment earned in battle.
"Share a bed"? "Fighter"? And don't even get me started on the warrior/ voidwalker thing.
MBAzeroth thinks he thinks it's a dating service (and not a hack and slash), and they might not be wrong. But the craziest thing is that this guy is supposed to be a videogames journalist. He's played with a PS3, for Thrall's sake! How can you possibly be a gamer, and yet so completely clueless about what WoW is?
Of course, there is the possibility that he's trying to be funny. For someone that names their character after a T.S. Eliot poem (about a clueless loser--- oh, the irony), maybe this is what passes for a joke.