I am sure many of you have on occasion heard quips about spending more of your life within a virtual world instead of the one your corporeal form inhabits. It happens. As gamers, we can become very attached -- dare I say addicted -- to our lives in the pixel realm. From scheduling appointments around Dredgion or Beshmundir Temple groups to skipping meals and sleep in a drive to meet that last goal (AP grind, anyone?), aficionados of Aion have had game commitments dictate real life. I am sure everyone here can admit to such an occurrence once in a while, if not more often. But what happens when the worlds overlap -- when the world of pixels invades the rest of your life?
After some poignant experiences in my own life, I became interested in this topic and wondered whether other folks had similar happenings in their lives or I was just that weird (hush now!). So over the past few months, I have asked readers to share their experiences of how Aion has affected their lives by completing the phrase, "You know you have played Aion too much when..."
Fold your wings, grab some popcorn, and settle in past the cut to chuckle over some of these interesting experiences and -- if you are brave enough -- share some of your own!
Usually, our real lives affect our game lives by dictating when we can log in (most of us can't hop in during work hours for a quick Dredgion!) and how much time we have to play. It can also dictate where we sleep, especially if our significant other isn't a gamer. It even colors our conversations in-game (Chuck Norris jokes, this means you). However, with the time investment, effort, and care we put into our lives in Atreia, it is understandable that the influence flows the other way as well. I have no doubt that in some cases, the game may feel more like one's real life than the real one does! But by and large, most people can keep the two separate (I'm pretty certain your boss isn't going to drop any loot, so just forget about it). The following is what happens when you can't.
Our first example is one that I can, with relative confidence, say that every gamer who has been gaming more than the length of a trial period has experienced: saying "AFK a moment" when getting up from the dinner table or talking to your family. Admit it! I couldn't even count the times I have used this statement without a monitor in front of me. Slightly embarrassing, yah.
However, AFK doesn't seem to be the only phrase that slips out at non-gaming times. Dblade shares this experience, saying, "You've played too much when you respond to real life questions with 'Akakakakak welcome!' or 'Business is bad. Nyerk.'"
Waking hours aren't the only ones affected by gaming. I know I cannot be the only one who has dreamed Aion-themed dreams, can I? The dream seemed to be the standard adventure-type with the anticipation of a fight building as the enemies crested a hill and charged... all with red names over their heads!
Hammer expressed a sentiment that I am confident is shared by many others: "You know you've played too much when you start believing that the items you want will drop."
And lest you think your escapades into Atreia affect only you, Kalevra from Israphel shares this amusing tale: "You know you have played Aion too much when you, just to mess with your significant other, say ASMO! when a traffic light turns red, and she goes, 'WHERE!?!'" While our reader did not share the result of this little vignette, we highly recommend you do not try this one at home folks. Or at least you should avoid any busy streets.
Learning to fly, but I ain't got wings
Tom Petty isn't the only one who thinks coming down is the hardest thing -- once you experience wings as a Daeva, it seems hard to let go of those urges to spread them. Personally, I have found that I now have an uncanny knack of trying to glide each time I jump regardless of what game I happen to be playing. A number of our readers also chimed in with wing-related intrusions.
Yarr sent in this admission: "You know you have played Aion too much when you forget for a few moments you don't really have magical wings or fantastic jumping abilities every time you come to a flight of stairs." And Yarr is not the only one. Perseus stated that he has on more than one occasion thought he could "glide down the stairs in [his] house instead of walking down."
My own fanciful-flight moment occurred while I was driving down a steep hill near my house. Instinctively I went to hit the space bar to glide down the hill and only paused and realized what I was doing a split second before I honked my horn.
Hitting the books
Sleep to school/work to Aion to sleep. Include a few meals here and there and some might just say this is the circle of life *cue Lion King*. I am sure some have combined sleep and Aion (I swear I have never actually drooled on my keyboard) and a lucky few of us can manage to sneak in some gaming while at work *does a happy dance*. But what happens when education collides with our pastime? Elixabethclaire discovered the answer to this one day at school, offering the following:
"You know you've played too much Aion when you take a metalworking class and almost punch someone when you're told that you need to buy flux. Not even joking -- I was in an introductory metalworking course, and I had already made the few requisite jokes about grinding my crafting skill, but when my teacher said that we needed to get some flux for a project we were working on, I was torn somewhere between laughter and tears."
Takes the cake
Of all the comments sent my way, one stole my heart. Not only is it just plain adorable, but it is totally adorable. I cannot help but smile each time I bring this image to mind. Mykael, a Cleric on Israphel, shared the following, explaining that he had recently come to the conclusion that he has played too much because when he sits at his desk, his "five-year-old stomps around behind [him] growling 'I smell Daeva'." I only wish my munchkins were small enough to be that cute.
Thanks to everyone who sent in tales of Aion infiltrating daily life. I am sure many others can see themselves in these stories. I certainly enjoyed learning more about and growing closer to the community. And when it comes right down to it, the community is really what makes a game (and Massively) great! If you have an amusing, scary, or downright bizarre experience of Aion in your life, please share it in the comments below. And until next time, may the forts be with you!
Soaring through the Aionosphere, MJ Guthrie touches down weekly to bring you Wings Over Atreia. Featuring tips, guides, and general snippets of life in Aion, the column is better than Tutty-on-a-stick, ackackackackackack! Have a suggestion to share? No need to bribe a Shugo -- just send mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.