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Breakfast Topic: Explaining an alien world

Amanda Miller

There are a myriad of answers to the question of why we play World of Warcraft, and we've all had to cough them up to inquiring minds at one point or another. Whether we are answering to a partner, a parent, or a skeptical friend, it can sometimes be difficult to generate understanding.

Of course, it's an entirely different dungeon when you're attempting to explain to someone who has seemingly less than zero knowledge about the subject. Recently, I was in my doctor's office enduring small talk with the nurse, when she asked me what I do for a living. Now, I can believe that a 25-30 year-old woman might not have heard of World of Warcraft. I was prepared for such a reality when I replied that I have been working for a blog about the game.

I was completely bowled over when she asked me what a blog was. After all, my parents know, and she was awfully young. How to explain that I write about an MMORPG in an alien format? Completely dumbfounded, I don't think I enlightened her much with my reply. Conversely, when I try to explain the situation to my grandparents, I feel like I'm describing some distant fairy-tale world in which things like virtual economies and elves run amok at my fingertips.

Then this morning, while perusing the official forums, I noticed a blue reply to the question "what is your excuse for playing WoW for countless hours at a time?" Eyonix wisely points out that conceiving of one's reasons as an excuse suggests an "apology or a justifies a transgression". Although, I suppose that need for justification might arise should one play for "countless hours".

When prompted, how do you respond as to your whys for playing World of Warcraft? Do you tell the truth, or do you have ready-made speeches tailored to different audiences who, as an example, might not know what a blog or an MMO is? Do you sometimes feel that you are making, or need to offer, excuses?

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