The end of the road

Checking back on the blogosphere halfway through my little holiday break, I was gutted to read that Tamarind and Chastity announced their resignation from Righteous Orbs (if not from the blogosphere entirely…yeah you better not, we know where you live! or something) the other day. And I can’t help but find myself sigh a “not again” in resignation, because I’ve been reading far too many farewells this past week.

Beruthiel suggested a great way to honor the passing of such a cherished blog and its widely respected writers, is to include some cheerful or fun article of your own in the days to come, in honor of the witty and funny articles we were used to reading from RO. And while I agree with the sentiment wholeheartedly, I simply cannot be cheerful right now. I know, I will at some point, but it’s way too early for me – I want to sulk and mourn.

The truth is, I am a silly and frivolous person; I like making fun of others, as much as of myself. I love sarcasm and puns and generally delight in silly things and dark humor. Life is way too short and ridiculous to be so damn serious all the time. If you can make me laugh, you’re pretty much in my good books.
So, as a blog reader too, I keep scouting for WoW blogs that make their readers smile. There are more informative and commentary blogs out there than I can keep track of, good ones too and I read them regularly – but there’s only so much information and advice I need on WoW or Blizzard.

The posts that will always stand out to me are the daring; the personal writers that share their joys or loathing (and both in equal quantity) with their audience, the ones that allow themselves to be silly and creative, witty and funny for the sake of entertainment. Needless to say what a loss RO will be in that respect. When I created this blog, it was for the sole purpose of enjoying myself – and that someday somewhere, one of my articles might make a reader laugh in a similar way I have laughed reading their blog every week. If I achieved this, if I could say that at some point in the far future, a few readers enjoyed a post of mine that made them smile or chuckle in the morning on their way to work, I would be happy. That would be enough for me – and it still is. RO was a great example for me, a source of inspiration to look up to and find motivation for my own writing.

The end of all things

The reason why I am dedicating a whole, rather long article on a goodbye is not just me being sulky and selfish – luckily the blogosphere is full of fellow writers I respect and enjoy reading for my own reasons. I am only just beginning to get to know some of them better, while I discover new and great blogs every week that will hopefully stick around. Oh and: hereby I encourage all of you to dare be silly and playful on your blog sometime and whenever you feel like it!

The underlying theme for me is the topic of goodbyes in and around World of Warcraft. Saying goodbye is such a controversy in most MMOs; it’s almost like a taboo not to talk about leaving the game until you leave it – and then disappear quickly from the midst of everyone else, short term and long term buddies alike, popping like a bubble in mid-air.

We all know that we will not play this game forever. We all know in general, that all things must come to an end. And yet, for as long as people are playing WoW in their casual circles or raid guilds, they never utter that most feared and loathed of words: we all act as if we’re here to stay forever. If we read goodbye posts of guild mates that take us by surprise, we joke and secretly think “he’ll be back”, and often we are quite right about that. If we refer to “that time” after WoW, it’s some obscure era in that “real life current” that sucks everyone back in sooner or later. Mates leave and sometimes we mourn their passing for a while, wondering about the true nature of online friendship, until our time has come and we disappear too.

“None of us will play WoW forever”: this overly obvious sentence has the potential to leave a shocked silence depending on where you say it and when. You do know that, right? That includes you, too. But for now, let’s not speak about it. Let’s be those “other people”, utterly free and remote from the course of time, life’s constant changes and changing expectations.

I’ve a hard time thinking of similar social behavior for other activities or clubs where leaving is such a break of contract, happening so entirely and abruptly like it’s often the case when members leave an MMO community. Maybe it’s because most of us do plunge themselves so fully into their alter egos after all, that illusion of a second life and world in which, RPers or not, we are all a little bit “in character” for as long as we’re playing. And if someone leaves that circle, he better be gone entirely; half-assed departures are usually frowned upon as weird as it seems. You could think that if you enjoyed somebody’s company, any casual logging in or sign of that person would be better than nothing – but that’s not how it works usually. You’re either with us or not, pal! Uhhh…

Do you know when you will stop playing WoW? Do you think about it sometime and does it make you feel uncomfortable to leave people behind? Or do you already think about what will come after, like I’ve actually heard some of my guildmates do when they talk about their life and plans for “post-WoW”?

Ripping off the plaster

In the past week, two of my longterm WoW guildmates and core members have announced their leave from the game. I doubt they will be the last ones, Cataclysm just doesn’t do it anymore for many raiders. Both were rather abrupt announcements, even if thinking about it some longer made it somewhat less of a surprise.

When it comes to leaving your longterm WoW guild or online community, the best option for most people seems to be to do it quickly: like ripping off a plaster from a wound. You know it’s gonna hurt, you know it’s always gonna be uncomfortable – it’s not like you’re enjoying yourself. So do it quickly. Then, get the hell away from everybody, catch your breath and sigh out in relief. That’s when you know it was the right thing to do: when leaving feels like a load lifted off your chest.

I’ve seen the plaster ripped off many times in these past years of WoW, I’ve seen it done at least four times over this week. And as quick and harsh as it might be when it happens, I dont blame anyone for it one bit. To all of them, I wish the most sincere and best of luck with whatever they might be doing in the future – in that new era of “post-WoW”. All of their reasons I can understand very well.

But I will still be gloomy and sulky for a little, staring at their empty spot and wishing they were still here with the rest of us. Until one day it’s time to rip off my own plaster and hit the road.


  1. Thank you for this post. I was trying to articulate something similar and completely failed to do so in the way I had wanted. But this hits the nail on the head.

  2. I don’t know, I quite enjoy acting as if nothing’s ever going to change at times, it makes life more bearable. I’m a “living in the moment” kind of person, and moments tend to be more fun if you don’t spend them thinking about how it’s all going to be over eventually.

    I have a hard time thinking about what will come after WoW for me as well. Obviously it will happen eventually, but it’s been such an important part of my life… I definitely wouldn’t be where I am now if I hadn’t started playing WoW. And like Pugnacious Priest hinted in the post that you linked, it’s a habit very connected to using the computer and internet in general, I couldn’t tear myself away from those completely.

    Whatever will come will happen eventually; I try not to fret about it. Though knowing me, I’ll likely just replace one obsessive hobby with another, just like I was a crazy Sims 2 player before I discovered WoW. 😛

  3. “Nobody will play WoW forever.”

    What?! That can’t be right. I’m gonna play forever with my friends and the guild will never die and la la la la la I can’t hear you!

  4. For me, I don’t think it is the quitting part as much as someone leaving. Going away. Kind of like… dying. In the sense that I will (probably) never be able to enjoy that persons thoughts again. I don’t mind some irl friend quitting wow, that person will still be around. I can still talk to them! But when a blogger or guildie says they’re quitting, I won’t have a connection to them anymore, and I’ll miss that. 🙁

  5. I feel much like Zinn, that when I especially see a “blogger or guildie” leave, it’s tough because “I won’t have a connection to them anymore.” Some bloggers are more technical, others more personal, but each has a unique voice, and to some I can’t help but become attached.

    But like you, I prefer a rip the bandaid off approach, just leave and be done with it. It’s healthier for you and me. Finality is easier to deal with when I know it’s actually…you know…final.

  6. @Shintar
    You’re quite right. I couldn’t play the game like that either, somehow it’s all part of the ‘illusion’ that makes the moment and playing together enjoyable. but whenever someone leaves, which must happen, there’s like a tear in that fabric all of a sudden. it feels almost ‘schizophrenic’ to me at times how we try to manage this whole duality of two realities and how we act when someone leaves or comes back. but then I wouldn’t know how to solve this, either.

    and like you, I’m always gonna have that passion hehe, I will always play some game.. sometimes I miss having the time to play more console RPGs besides wow though, I used to enjoy those a lot.

    lol! I was of course not being serious there! 😉

    It’s very much like dying, that’s probably what makes it so different from a friend simply moving away in real life, there you can still keep in touch, but with online friendships that’s most likely not the case. I think it was Tam too who wrote about this not long ago, that when we quit the game we also leave rather completely. this can be disappoiting when it’s somebody you’ve played with for years.

    yet, this will probably always be a problem of online games, even if nothing stops people to show a bit more of themselves and be friends outside the game too. it just doesn’t seem to happen so often – most people just want to play a cooperative online game but not necessarily find friends, I guess.

  7. I’m kind of left wondering what it is that causes the departure of valued friends as often these things seem to come in waves. I mean we all know that irl pressures or a change in personal circumstances and priorities are usually the root cause but there usually seems to be a catalyst such as, for example, a new expansion or major content patch – but what makes people decide that this is the tipping point, that this is the point where it just isn’t worth it anymore.

    That’s not to say these are the only times friends leave us, it happens all the time for a whole host of reasons but it just seems to happen a lot more at certain points like patches and the blogosphere has been awash recently with people hanging up their pens.

    It’s sad to see people guy, especially bloggers who pour so much of themselves into bringing fun, entertainment, commentary and information to the rest of the community. But all communities are ever evolving things, and with the departure of old friends comes the arrival of friends not before met – whilst you fondly remember the departure of your friends also remember that it is this cycle that keeps the community alive and vibrant and provides yet more opportunities to hear the voice of someone new.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *