World of Warcraft Isn’t Real, And My Name Isn’t Ambermist

Heads up, this one’s long, personal, and maybe sort of pointless, but it’s been swimming around in my head for a long time, and since I did just ask everyone to tell me about themselves, it seems relevant.

This post has been in my head for months–as a matter of fact, I started writing it there the day I came back to this blog, but I kept coming up with reasons not to flesh it out and post it.  When I came up with the July Challenge, it was on my mind, and then I read this post at Tree Heals Go Woosh (which is, by the way, the best blog name ever). It got me thinking about all of that stuff again since the end of Wrath/beginning of Cataclysm brought a lot of this to the forefront for me.

Over the course of Wrath, I learned so much about WoW. I’d been playing half-blind for a couple of years, I realized, and with the leap into blogging, I suddenly had a world of information and experiences at my fingertips. As an expansion, Wrath encouraged that exploration, and I honed a lot of my skills there.

See, I knew my stuff. >.>

I had a lot going on in my life during that expansion, too; a lot of change: my father-in-law passed away from cancer, my brother-in-law had a heart attack and a stroke, my daughter started kindergarten, and my son was diagnosed with autism. I was stressed out, at my highest weight ever, dealing with my own issues on top of everything else, and profoundly insecure.

I started using WoW and its many, many things to do as an escape, but more than that, I started to find my identity there. I didn’t know who I was out here. To myself, I didn’t have any worth out here in the real world. I couldn’t stop the pain my husband was experiencing from the loss of his father. I didn’t know how to reach my son. I felt like I was shortchanging my daughter.

In WoW, I was becoming a decent moonkin, my dps improving little by little as I grew determined to become a better player. My raid awareness improved leaps and bounds. I was writing boss strats for this blog, so I knew the fights inside and out. I was succeeding in Warcraft at the same time I felt like I was failing in the real world.

first moments in icecrown

I did what I could with my family, I did everything I knew to do with my kids, I comforted my husband the best I knew how, but I never felt like I was doing enough. When they all went to bed, I’d log in to WoW and  be someone that didn’t suck for a while. When I did fail, I took it hard, because more and more I was finding my security in the game.

At the end of Wrath, most of the guild was burned out, myself and my husband included. Everyone had much shorter tempers, and those that were past getting irritated had gone completely indifferent. There was a lot of bickering, a lot of being nasty behind people’s backs, and a lot of disappointment. We were on edge, and we got pushed too far. After a tough week of discussing it with each other and with the officers, we left our guild of four years. It sucked, and my safe WoW identity began to crumble.

We found a new guild and joined, and they were great. They weren’t raiding at the time, which gave us some breathing room before Cataclysm came out. We went into Cataclysm raiding and hoped for the best; we enjoyed the fresh, mostly positive attitudes we found in our new guild.

throne of the four winds with ephemera

But every guild has its issues, and when we went to 10-man from 25, things got messy. People started to quit–the people we felt closest to in our new guild started to fall away one by one. The things tying me to WoW were disappearing.

I won’t go into details, it’s kind of personal (I know, like the rest of this isn’t), but I had my eyes opened to what I needed to be doing one night to connect with my family, and I quit raiding altogether.

With the end of raiding came the end of WoW for me for a while. I play to raid; I always have. Everything else is fun, but it’s not raiding. Over the next several months, I got to know both my kids a little better. I spent more time with my husband. I refocused on my faith. I started writing fiction and poetry. I started to figure out who I was.

The biggest change, though, came when my husband and I kicked our weight loss into high gear last summer. Suddenly, I could do things–things I thought were impossible. I could walk for miles, lift weights, even run!

85 pounds later...

My writing started to garner some appreciation. I watched fat start to melt away. I grew closer to my husband and spent more time with my kids. I learned more about my faith and where I stand. My accomplishments stacked up; my confidence grew. I didn’t need WoW to tell me I was a worthwhile person anymore–I was proving it to myself in all the ways that really mattered.

When the kids started school, I suddenly had time on my hands. They were gone for hours during the day, and they went to bed early at night. I realized I missed WoW, and I started playing again. Through a random encounter with a former guild member (and friend) in Baradin Hold, I rejoined my original guild. They needed raiders, and I was in a position to give it a go again.

Now I play for different reasons. I play because it’s fun. I play because I like improving my game, I like killing bosses, I like the camaraderie, I like my guild.

I’m not just Ambermist the druid (though I like being Amber very much, don’t get me wrong! :D), I’m a lot of things. I’m a mom, wife, friend, writer. I’ve accomplished things that have nothing to do with achievement points.

The game is fun again for me, not because it changed, but because I did.

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22 Comments

Filed under Experiences

22 responses to “World of Warcraft Isn’t Real, And My Name Isn’t Ambermist

  1. ‘The game is fun again for me, not because it changed, but because I did.’

    I don’t think enough pople grasp the correlation between the game and their life, and how the two can (and do) become inextricably intertwined. Sometimes you need a clean break to establish your boundaries.

    I am glad you felt able to write all of this down because, more than anything else, it helps you to say out loud what you needed to change to make things good again.

    You should be proud of all of your achievements, and you should be especially proud of what you are.

    • battlechicken

      It took some time for me to understand WHY WoW had become the way it had for me. I needed to look at it from a distance to see the connection. A clean break is exactly what was needed.

      I wasn’t sure about writing about it, but I needed to for myself. To lay it out and look at it and know it in the way I can only know something once I’ve written it.

      Thank you. <3

  2. This is a beautiful post! It’s about where I was, when we moved to North Dakota two years ago, but I didn’t quit, I started school, and put my play time from logged in 8 or more hours a day to just 3 to 5 on raid nights. Now I play more, as GM I try to log in most nights…but usually its only after my children are in bed.

    • battlechicken

      Thank you! :) I don’t even know how many hours I used to log in game. I was scared to put it into a number, I think. Now it’s limited to maybe an hour or two on regular days and 4-5 on raid nights. There’s just so much STUFF out here to be done.

      To say my priorities have changed is an understatement!

  3. Congratulations on the weight loss! Speaking from experience, I know it’s no easy feat. September 2010, I began trying to lose weight. I started at 350lbs. and today am down to 265. 85 pounds gone in a little over a year, mainly from cutting out some of the junk food. I’m proud of myself, and you should be proud of yourself too!

    Regarding the game, I find myself identifying more and more with Hyperious than I do with myself. I think it’s because in Azeroth, your success and well-being are directly tied to how much you’re willing to work and how intelligent you are, while in the real world, life isn’t so fair and just.

    • battlechicken

      Hehe, that’s funny, I’ve also lost exactly 85 pounds so far! I still have 60 more to lose to get to where I want to be, but I’m just chugging along!

      Ambermist almost seems like a section of my personality. Because I use that name in game, here on the blog, on Twitter–she is more or less me, but different. It’s hard to explain to someone who hasn’t been there, but I know you’ll get what I mean.

  4. I love how you have written this, about how the game doesn’t drive you (crazy) or isn’t your goal, but the journey you have made with it. As always Ambermist, you are an inspiration to us all.

    • battlechicken

      *HUGS*. That was really beautiful, thank you. I’ve never considered myself an inspiration; just doing what I do! :D

      • I agree with Navimie that you are an inspiration. To you, it might be just what you do but, at least to me, even simple things like your general positive and kind attitude is inspirational. Thank you for sharing this story and for being awesome. :)

      • battlechicken

        Well, I can say the same about you–and thank YOU for being awesome! :D

  5. This is amazing.

    And honestly, I feel the same way. When I left my old guild in Feburary, I discovered a side of myself I didn’t know existed. Before, despite everything, it felt like I was the “Raidleader’s Wife” despite being an officer before he was, playing longer then he was and (to be honest) a damn good healer.

    Now, I have carved out a niche for myself in my guild that is amazing. I am part of a good team, people don’t assume I’m there because my husband is. I’m a good healer so I’m on the team.

    This has actually led to me being more self confident in my real life. I’m working on losing my weight. I’m about 70+ pounds overweight, probably closer to 90, and I just joined a gym and am working on an eating disorder that I seem to have picked up along the way. I’m getting a part time Pampered Chef thing going and I’m making plans for the future. I’ve never done that before.

    I will make this work, just like you did. Thank you for being an inspiration :D

    • battlechicken

      It’s funny, when I first joined my guild, I don’t think anyone thought I would raid. I’m pretty sure they saw me as “Ultraking’s girlfriend.” I think I eventually blew that categorization out of the water. :P

      Coming into your own is a HUGE confidence booster–and I know you’ll conquer your weight loss and your future. I’m proud of you for taking those steps!

      Thank YOU for being an inspiration. :D

  6. Cassaberee

    Gratz on all you accomplished! And glad to hear you still enjoy the game and play to have fun, so many seem to have forgotten the fun part. =)

    • battlechicken

      So true. It’s a game, guys–yes, there are things we take seriously in there, and that’s cool, but frame it in relation to your real life, and suddenly it’s like: wait, isn’t this supposed to be fun?!

      Thank you!

  7. What a beautiful post! Thank you for sharing.

    And congrats on all the life changes! It was very inspiring to read.

  8. its funny, its like you said in the July challenge post, you do build relationships (however transient or casual) with fellow gamers and you can forget that you are dealing with only one facet of their lives… thanks for sharing, I enjoyed reading, especially as it ends so positively :)

    • battlechicken

      I knew now was the right time for this post because of that challenge, even thought I wasn’t thinking it at the time. WoW has had both good and bad impacts on my life, but only because of who I was.

      And the relationships–the people–that’s one of the good things! :D

  9. It’s funny how much of a yo-yo effect gaming can have on a player and how that spills into real life. I’m glad that you were able to take that break from the game and blog that you needed and were able to come back when you felt you were ready to do so. Especially now that you’ve found the game fun again.

    • battlechicken

      Sometimes stepping away is just the best thing for every reason, and I definitely think that was the case for me!

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