A couple of months ago I finally got around to watching “Avatar” and was quite intrigued – so much so I probably watched it 5 times that week. Right around the 3rd viewing I figured out why I was so wrapped up in this epic fantasy film. I was Jake Sully – or at least lived as he lived in the film for short to long periods in the last 10 yrs, thanks to MMORPG’s.
Just like Jake I didn’t really understand completely what it was that I was going to be doing, but was interested to find out. Upon entering my fist Avatar, (A wood elf ranger named Fruehoff in Everquest) it took me a little while to get my coordination and see a new world through new eyes, but it wasn’t long before I fell in love with my little avatar’s abilities and challenges.
Every day we drop ourselves into our avatar link machine and run as our alter personas for hours and even days at a time, with our real bodies slowly decaying away –along with all of our worries and concerns of the real world. Jake ignored the problems facing his real life, (Inevitable demise of the species he had “become” and loved, being a quadriplegic and loss of his brother) and became completely immersed in his Avatar’s reality.
People tell me I’m wasting my time / life by playing these games and running my avatar for hours and hours every week. Even in the movie, the colonel told jake “Time to wake up!” I’m not balancing checkbooks and cleaning hair out of drain in my free time. Jake bypassed his opportunity to “get new legs” in Real life to continue his journey with his Avatar life – just as I haven’t spent more time writing posts and learning more about the WoW blog community.
To these people – 90% of who have never stepped foot into a virtual world – I say; don’t knock it till you try it. Unlike facebook, twitter, myspace etc, ad infinitum, I actually travel to new places and experience fantastic epic battles with Real life and virtual friends within my Pandora. I can meet with somebody I don’t see more than once a year in real life as often as we like, and while we are in contact within WoW, DO something. Not just exchange youtube links and send cute messages back and forth. We are flying across continents on griffons and dragons – and Banshee’s too!
Luckily for us and our Avatar’s, Eywah has heard us and is responding with more and more Pandora for us to escape to. Thanks Blizzard!