Real Me vs WoW Me

Posted December 3rd, 2010 by Miss Mediocre

Over the years I’ve met a few people IRL that I have known in World of Warcraft. I always find it so interesting to meet someone in the flesh that I’ve gotten to know well in game because I find they are either exactly the same as the character I’d gotten acquainted with, or really nothing like them at all. It can be disappointing when you you’ve gotten along flawlessly with someone in game, only to spend an awkward few hours together IRL realizing you have absolutely nothing in common other than World of Warcraft, but sometimes it’s great and a in-game friendship can pass into real life!

The truth is, I believe the majority of players out there aren’t actually who they portray in game, but that’s not always a bad thing. It’s not that people are out there trying to deceive you and make you believe they are who they aren’t (for the most part), it’s just that interacting with others through an avatar can make it easier to act like the person you might aspire to be. Sometimes it can be bad, like when it comes to trolls or ninjas or people who just like to spout insults and be jerks, but those people would likely find some other outlet for their negativity if they didn’t have WoW, and really, I’d rather they ruin Trade Chat than bully a peer or yell at their kids.

For some players though, (those who don’t enjoy the misery of others) an avatar can be a great filter! I’ve played with quite a few people over the years who have had some pretty serious social anxiety or other issues, but these things didn’t effect them nearly as much when interacting with others in World of Warcraft. The game can be amazing for overcoming such things and making friends, if used as a stepping stone instead of a hiding place. A lot of players I knew who were having problems connecting with people in the real world, have since overcome the majority of their issues and are now are too busy with real life to find time to play WoW.

Anyway, on to my story!

If I had asked myself how close Real Me was to WoW Me back when I first started playing, I would have been sorry to say that they were actually two very different people. I’d never played an MMO before, and even though I knew real people were behind those other players, I just didn’t really think about it. I was way overly flirty, got involved with all kinds of drama, broke up guilds, made enemies, and seriously hurt some feelings, because to me it was “just a game” and when I turned off the computer, it was over for me.

Looking back on those first few months in game, I feel really bad! In real life I hate drama, and run the opposite direction when I see it coming, but I do like reading about drama in novels, watching it on tv or creating it in my stories, and that’s sort of what WoW was for me in the beginning, a story with characters that I was a part of! It really only hit me that those characters I had been talking to in game were actually REAL people when one of the players I’d been talking to said he was looking for a house in my city so we could be together. I had only just turned 19 at the time, and was freaked out by how the two of us could end up at such extremely opposite conclusions from the same conversations. He’d been fun to talk to and fun to quest with, and that’s as far as it’d gone for me, but he had been ready to change his whole life and just pack up and move thousands of miles!

Needless to say, we lost contact shortly after I’d realized the errors of my WoW ways. Ever since then, I’m more cautious about overusing that /flirt emote!

I believe the WoW Me of today is a lot more like the Real Me than it was in the beginning! The biggest difference between them is that I’m super shy IRL, but only a little bit shy in game, lol. IRL I have a few really close friends, and a lot of distant acquaintances, and WoW tends to be the same way. I may appear to be disorganized and a bit messy IRL, but I always know where everything is, and the same is true if someone other than me were to attempt to find something in my guild bank! I always smile when I pass a stranger outside on the street (which I think is maybe just a small town thing), and try to always be friendly whenever I encounter a stranger in game. Also, I tend to be a bit over-generous IRL at times and lend or give my close friends things I end up needing later (like my pink winter boots…), and I have that issue in game as well when it comes to gold, though these days it’s not as much of an issue because I have less in game friends, and more gold… though I don’t think the two are directly related!

WoW became so much more enjoyable for me once I started acting more like myself and ditched that “it’s just a game, and those people don’t matter” mentality! I can’t help but wonder if the reason that server/faction/guild community feeling has been lost is perhaps because this latest generation of WoWers have yet to have similar eye opening experiences about their fellow players.  There really are a lot less opportunities to spark up in game conversations and friendships now. My fingers are still crossed that Cataclysm will magically bring us all back together while tearing Azeroth apart, but so far it doesn’t look promising…

My questions for all of you are, do you act like yourself in game? Do you think people should act like themselves (if they aren’t on a RP sever anyway) or do you think it really doesn’t matter either way? Would you or have you ever met someone from WoW IRL? And finally, don’t you like how much I made my WoW character look like me!? I’m a little proud of that… hehe

As always, Thanks for Reading and Thanks for Commenting! There’s nothing that makes me happier than when people share their opinions about what I write, except maybe when those opinions happen to be positive ones that agree with me, lol.

Miss Mediocre <3

25 Responses to “Real Me vs WoW Me”

  1. Phill

    This is a great post. I am always surprised by how many people are rude in the game. They just take the whole gig so serious. But then I know even more people who are really cool. We have 2 wow players in my house. I am the oldest one. But I am pretty much the same IRL as I am in the game.

    The other player in the house has actually made some friends through vent and guild and they even talk on the phone now…One of his guild gave him the full boat for purchase of a rare mount. I heard this guild say…”name” u are one of the most gracious people I have ever met on WOW. You are so helpful and nice, compared to everyone else. So I wanted to give you this gold.

    It was really cool…and if you were to meet the other player in the house you would see that they are the same way IRL…

    Very cool post.

  2. Vee

    I’m much more confident in rl than in the game, mainly due to lack of confidence in knowing the ins and outs of the classes I play so I wouldn’t want to make a comment on that aspect in case I’m wrong. Also I prefer to play with my rl friends in wow rather than getting to know people from the game, who I’ve found are often different than who I thought they’de be in past experiences.

    I am disappointed with the way everyone fights in silence in dungeons now because whilst I wouldn’t contribute a great deal it didn’t feel as hostile as it does now and its really hard to meet new people to be in a guild with.

    I’m always polite, treat others how you want to be treated yourself, I also try to stand up for people when situations arise in dungeons etc.

    So in conclusion I’m superficially there in wow but no one except my rl friend would ever dig beneath the surface and get to know me. Another thing I’ve found id if guys find out you’re a girl one always seems to get attached which my bf def doesn’t appreciate :)

  3. Stede

    Good discussion. I’m pretty much the same guy – especially when it comes to dealing with other people (raiding, etc). I’m friendly, respectful, assertive, and constantly surprise myself with the amount of patience I manage to hold on to.

    On the AH, it’s different. I’m stoic & relentless. I don’t really have an entrepreneurial mindset IRL, as I work for a large company.

    But that’s the way games have always been for me. I’m a nice guy, but my competitive spirit scales with the challenge (which sometimes isn’t so nice).

  4. TheUndying

    Nice Article!

    I agree with Stede; I’m the same way with the AH.

    As for my playing, it’s usually with my real life friends that I spend my time in WoW, so obviously I act the same way as I would IRL. When it comes to random players that I meet, I don’t feel like I’m different that the usual, but I usually limit my interaction with them to the bare minimum.

  5. Fleuret

    I have been stalking (maybe not the best word, but I don’t mean it in a creepy way) your blog for a while now because I just find everything you say so interesting! I completely agree with a lot of what you talk about, especially on the aspect of trying to get back that old team spark that some games start out with, but slowly disappears as people change or leave.

    As far as this post goes, I would say I am exactly how I am in-game; too shy. IRL, it can be cute and all, but my shyness takes a huge toll on me in-game. The weird part is that I can’t seem to get over it, and normally people are a bit more open to socializing online. My own shyness comes from being afraid of being judged, so I generally play alone, with someone I know IRL and I keep to myself.. which doesn’t make sense in an MMO, but it isn’t something that has been easy to overcome. I’m really trying hard to find a guild that will help me out of my shell.

    As far as meeting people from WoW, I actually ended up meeting a guy and we are now married and have a baby on the way. In some ways, I am so eager to meet half the people I speak to or see, and I always find myself wondering, “I wonder how this person really is IRL…” Especially when it comes to trolls, then I question if that is how they really act or do they put up a tough front online because they are actually timid IRL?

    I think it is something awesome to make your character look like the real you — sometimes I feel like a lot of people should do that. I try to with my characters (I don’t have pointy ears or hooves for feet, but I do what I can with the options they give, even if it is just hair ;P). I feel like it gives some kind of weird connection between you and the character, and even though its just pixels and we don’t live in a world as magical as that, I feel like I’m bonded to the character and I love them as if they were really myself and make decisions as if it were really me. I think its just another way to sink yourself into the game and really get into it. :)

    Okay, I’ve talked too much!
    Great post, as always~

  6. Rivs

    I’m actually a bigger douchebag in real life…if that’s possible. LOL!

    Seriously though I’ve been lucky enough that I played with some genuine people. Some I still play with after 8 years of being in the same guild.

    Funny though when you’re too honest, you tend to get a rep…mines a bit of a party animal. LOL!

  7. Rivs

    Oh and that picture is scary indeed.

  8. Michael

    I really like philosophical posts like this, and definitely appreciate your blogging style. Keep up the good work!

    As much as I enjoy WoW (given how many hours I spend playing), the thing I hate more than anything else is how much unmitigated rudeness there is online. It disgusts and infuriates me how many people think it’s cool to be a jerk.

    In real life I’m a recluse (by choice) but online I’m fairly social. Aside from that however, I’m pretty much the same person. I’m very frugal and money-wise, I only take calculated and well-planned risks, I never swear, I stink at PvP, and at my core, I’m very friendly and accepting in both RL and in game.

    I’m in a guild that first formed over a decade ago at the release of EverQuest, and while there’s obviously been a lot of change in our membership over time, some of the core remains unchanged. We’ve been a hard core progression guild, achieving server firsts on content at times, a middle of the pack competitor, and more recently we’ve been a more casual guild (as many of the core members got older, got married, started families, etc.)

    During one of the low points of our guild’s history (early in LK expansion) our guild had pretty much no online activity, so I decided to find a new raiding guild. I spent a LOT of time researching raiding guilds, and finally selected one I thought I could be satisfied with. I was with them for about three months. Loved the raiding, but there was only about two people in the guild I actually enjoyed spending time with. I ended up returning to my old guild and helped to rebuild it. It’s great to be spending my time with people who actually care about the people around them, and that is what has ultimately kept our guild together over the years.

    Long post to basically say that if people really are in RL anything at all like they are in game, then I’m leaving my house as infrequently as possible!

    By the way, it’s a little spooky how similar you look to your avatar, but also really cool! I look nothing like any of my avatars, but that is probably good since I play For the Horde!

  9. Miss Mediocre

    Phill : Thanks for commenting! I used to have some guild mates I was close enough with to chat to on the phone, I really miss those days and those players!

    That’s awesome that he’s a nice player and that another nice player recognized this and rewarded him. Those types of players are so rare now-a-days!

  10. Miss Mediocre

    Vee : I’m basically the opposite, I’m more confident in game than out for the most part, lol. I hate that dungeons aren’t a social experience anymore too, and at times it does feel quite hostile! If you ever try to spark up a conversation, the majority of the time the rest of your group will just be angry that you are slowing the progress of the dungeon.

    I’ve been pretty lucky and have only ever had a few incidences over the years of regretting someone finding out I’m female, lol, but it definitely happens, though it seems much less common these days, perhaps because there are so many of us girls playing now.

  11. Miss Mediocre

    Stede : You sound like the perfect gamer, lol. I think it really helps to have that fierce competitive spirit to drive you to greater heights in games, and the fact that you’re a nice guy (competition aside) must really help to balance it all out.

    I tend to get competitive only when I’m caught up in the moment. If someone sees me about to pick something up in game for example, but rushes and grabs it first, then I usually attempt to do the same thing to them. Unfortunately I usually just feel bad afterward, lol. I tend to be pretty forgiving in the Auction House as well. I’ll battle it out for sales of something specific, but I tend to duck out of a market pretty early if it looks like someone’s putting a lot into it.

  12. Miss Mediocre

    TheUndying : I spent a good deal of time through Wrath playing with RL friends, and I miss it. I did tend to limit my interaction with players outside my little RL circle a bit more back then just because of how rude most people were, but now I am RL friendless in game, and all alone (more or less). I wonder if perhaps I’m having trouble finding a new guild because people who aren’t jerks are all sticking together in little groups and limiting their out interactions?

  13. Miss Mediocre

    Fleuret : The average player sure doesn’t make it easy to start breaking out of your shell, that’s for sure! I hope you can find a good guild to help, because people keep telling me they’re out there, lol. It’s strange, but I think my in-game shyness has gotten worse over the years. I’m alright talking to one other person if I’m selling something or buying a port, but the thought of posting in trade almost gives me an anxiety attack, lol. I actually always spellcheck what I’m going to say in trade because I’m a pretty poor speller for the most part and try to do everything I can to keep myself off the troll radars! Usually they can find something nasty to comment on though, regardless of what I do to prep. That’s another reason finding a guild can be so difficult!

    I do feel a lot more connected to characters that resemble me in some way too! I’ve noticed that my characters with long hair the colour of my own (whether it’s black or brown at the time) are the ones that tend to reach level cap first, hehe.

    Congratulations on the baby! It always makes me so happy to hear about couples who’ve met on WoW, because it’s just further proof that it really is more than “just a game” and that the interactions players have with each other can and do matter, sometimes in a big way!

    Thanks so much for your comment! I hope you continue to stalk my blog! :D

  14. Miss Mediocre

    Rivs : It’s nice that you hold back some douchebagery for when you play WoW! Usually it’s the other way around! :)

    I wish I had people to play with that I’d known that long, that must be great! I really miss playing with people I know, who really know me and who I can feel comfortable with.

    I have noticed there’s a fine line between being honest, and being too honest, though having a rep of being a party animal doesn’t sound too bad!

  15. Gnomeaggedon

    Scary similarity between RL and Avatar.

    Of course, I look pretty identical to mine as well.. short, green hair and beard… I even possess a smattering of magic.

    I don’t think I have lead too many people up the garden path in game, though I am unlikely to share too much either.

    That isn’t to say I haven’t, or don’t… but I was brought up not sharing personal information unless it really mattered.

  16. Miss Mediocre

    Michael : I’m so jealous of those of you who have such long histories with your guilds and guild mates! It’s great that you returned to your original guild to help rebuild it, and I wish I had a guild from my past that could be rebuilt. I tried to re-make the guild I’d made back in 2005, but even the original players that I got to re-join had changed so much, that it didn’t work out at all and only served to push us farther apart.

    It is fortunate that you don’t look like any of your characters if you play the Horde, lol. Other than maybe a Blood Elf, I’m pretty sure someone saying “Hey, you look just like a , would be pretty insulting! hehe :)

  17. Miss Mediocre

    Gnomeaggedon : I’m at the opposite side of the spectrum I think, in that I probably share too much too often, lol. :S It might be from my upbringing, as I think my parents are both basically the same way.

    If you’re out there in the real world though, 4 feet tall, running around with green hair and a beard, casting fire balls . . . I don’t think it will matter what information you share, everyone will know exactly who you are the moment they see you! hehe.

  18. Nevyn

    I am me in game – I talk… a lot, I try to help, I’m fairly nosey & I’m emotional – I’m not shy, never have been but people think that just ecause I can talk the hind legs off a donkey, that I’m confident – but I’m not. My main looks a bit like how I always tried to look but with her perfect hair, I never actually achieved that polished look! lol My gnome has the pink ponytails – which is something I always wished I’d had the courage to do during the punk years & my dwarf has the very long plaits that I’m trying for now :)

    I’m one of the oldies in our guild and somehow, we’ve ended up with a lot of youngsters (under 20’s) so now I’m auntie to a whole new bunch of strangers. It’s fun & rewarding to see a 13 yr old get his 1st 80 & get sooo excited but it’s hard too. What on earth do you talk about to a 13-15 yr old who wants to talk on vent or skype all the time? lol

  19. Nate

    See this is what happens when you (meaning me) are on duty for 24 hours… although I guess finding blogs I have never read before is a good thing.

    On-topic, I think I am probably nicer in-game than IRL. In IRL im a “boss” and have to maintain a certain line of personal interaction with my subordinates, in-game I can just relax and be more myself. Then again I am pretty sure my brand of humor can come across as slightly sarcastic at times, and I guess I tend to ask a lot of questions I tend to answer myself after just a moments (after I have already asked) thought.

    I actually enjoy helping out lowbies and poor (like me) altaholics that aren’t decked out in full heirloom gear. I dont have any crafting professions maxed out except for inscription, so I dont have anything to just give to new people except for gold or greens I find when i farm cloth in a dungeon or from a mob I kill that stupidly aggros on me when Im farming ore or herbs.

    I was in the gigantic guild on Zangarmarsh horde-side, and I am sure it was pretty busy during the day (the moderators are pretty good) but since I am currently overseas (Korea) I was only on at nighttime hours and there were only a few of us ever on. No one ever wanted to play together, or run anything together (again this was late at night, not during the normal times everyone was on.

    I miss actually talking to others in the game, especcially during instance runs. Now if you even have to stop to drink mana, let alone type in a chat message, you get left behind. Its rare to even get a responding hello when you greet people in the party.

    Wow…long post. Long story short, I wish i could play during the day to be able to play with more people. Then again The people I generally tend to come across seem a bit more mature than the dayrunners…lol.

  20. Miss Mediocre

    Nevyn : I wish I could have pink ponytails too! :) hehe. There were a lot of younger players in my old guild that I’d talk to on vent, though not too often, lol. They were lots of fun, overly silly at times, but I’m the oldest of 9 kids (cousins included) in my family, so it seemed pretty normal to me! Eventually a lot of the older members in my guild decided they didn’t like playing with younger people anymore, and the guild had it’s first split up, which was sad. It’s funny because I still talk to some of those younger members today if I ever seen them online, but it’s been 5 years since they were in my guild, and most aren’t actually kids anymore!

  21. Rathay

    You sure have a lot to say. That’s why you’re a good blogger and that’s also why I wouldn’t make a good blogger. Hm.. where to start…

    I’ve had similar experiences when it comes to girls in games. For me, it is a game, but it’s a game that real people are playing.. So plenty of emotions come into play in that situation. I’m not really flirty per se, but I guess one could say that I don’t really notice if I am flirting. I probably have without realizing it. One girl wanted to be my girlfriend and I really didn’t understand her that much, as neither of us were willing to leave our homes plus we didn’t hardly know each other. /shrug

    Well, for the most part, I’m the same in game as I am in real life. Even my shyness carries over to the game, which can be a real pain in the butt. Though in game, I’m probably more protective as I have the means to do so through my warrior tank and I have gained some leadership qualities. I think part of my promotion to a manager at my old job was from skills gained while leading raids! Hah!

    I play on all types of realms, including RP so I know that the game can definitely help you be another person. It’s made for it really. It can be very fun to do so. For me personally though, if I wanted to be someone else I’d just head over to my RP realm and just roll a new character.

  22. Miss Mediocre

    Nate : That’s good that you actually enjoy helping lowbies! I do too, and try to as often as I can! I know exactly what you mean about instance runs, they just aren’t social a experience anymore, and most of the time it is hard to even get a hello in return, lol. I play at all hours of the day, sometimes I’ll be on in the middle of the night, sometimes in the middle of the day, whenever I happen to be awake, and I find that other players in general are antisocial or rude no matter what time of day. It definitely could be and hopefully is a different story in a guild though! I need to get myself one of those…

    Thanks for commenting! I hope you stop by again! :D

  23. Miss Mediocre

    Rathay : That’s great that you think your promotion was partially from tanking! :D I have definitely done my share of accidental in game flirting as well, lol. I do believe in dating people from in game, and actually have a couple times, but only in a *lives close by* situation, or if you know one of you would be willing to move. Otherwise, what’s the point really?

  24. Crusard

    Awww! MM you are such a great person. I am glad that I met you on here. Those halves are pretty close. I look nothing like my main but I still like the dwarf look better than human. Take care MM. ~Crusard

  25. Miss Mediocre

    Crusard : /hug

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