Dear WoW Insider

gw7jl

You taught me something important: You’re a part of this game. Once upon a time there was a very nervous boy who listened to the 1337s. The nervous boy did his best to copy what he read but no matter what he did things rarely worked out. Elitist Jerks was an awesome forum. The knowledge hidden within the sometimes patronizing posts was an absolute goldmine – but the way it was presented scared the nervous boy.

You’re either on top of the game or you’re nothing.

One day, the nervous boy was eating a kebab. He clicked around here and there and somehow he ended up on a site he had never even heard of. He had gone to Thotbot, he had gone to the Official Forums, he had gone to sites that made his antivirus yell “OH NO YOU DON’T!!!”. The site he ended up on was one of those buddies that your mother would be proud of. My, she would give them milk and cookies. This site, had in its comments and articles a simple message:

You’re a part of this game.

That’s how I met WoW Insider. This was years ago. I started playing World of Warcraft around 2008. As many others, I looked upon the people in their shiny armors straight out of whatever raid that was current. As many others, I thought ‘this is what I have to do’. As many others, I soon realised that I would never become what Those People were. I don’t function that well in ‘team sports’. I blame high school (but that’s a completely different story).

As many others, I thought I had to be hostile to play this game. I read comments all over the place in the years to come, somehow trying to convince myself to become a “raider”. The problem was, I had no friends in this game of ours.

Wow Insider changed that.

Before WoW Insider, I read MMO Champion, Wowhead, the forums, Elitist Jerk (again). Over and over I saw the same thing: 1337. The one thing all those sites except WoW Insider taught me was:

You’re either on top of the game or you’re nothing.

I’m used to being nothing. I’ve been a nothing all my life. I’m so fucking 1337 at mediocricy you can’t touch me. I was complacent with being the one who never went into a dungeon until I was 80 and could roflstomp everything unless it was current content. I got the Kingslayer title less than a year ago, just to give you a pointer at how I play.

Now, see … the introduction of Dungeon Finder and later Looking For Raid, LFR, changed things. But more importantly – WoW Insider changed my mindset. I realised, from the multitude of people commenting, usually in the Queue, that I didn’t have to be All – or nothing. I could be something, because there’s room for everyone in Azeroth. Which, of course, is solely Blizzard Entertainments idea – and a mighty fine idea it is!

But this post is not about Blizzard (even though WoW Insider wouldn’t even exist without World of Warcraft). This post is about WoW Insider. I stumbled upon them years ago, in 2008 or -09. For several years I simply lurked. People just knew so damned much! All that knowledge was, well, intimidating. Between the in-depth articles on warriors and lore and raiding and whatnot, there was a simple message hidden:

You’re a part of this game.

Over time, I started to realize that you didn’t have to be 1337. There were so many people playing this game we love, this hobby of ours, this internet dragon-killing philatelists society (before the internet people who collected stamps were wieved, buy some, as just as weird as we are). This outpouring of ordinary people investing time in something they cherished and felt was important was simply astounding. I had’nt realised how big it was, World of Warcraft, until I came across WoW Insider.

Hardcores, casuals, trolls, lurkers. Moms, dads, singles, couples. Hetero, bi, gay, trans. Vanillas, doms, subs, switches. Girls, boys, women, men. Dads, mothers, grandparents. Brothers, sisters, cousins, strangers. Haters, lovers, poets, warriors. Soldiers, oh so many soldiers; americans, brittish, french, swedish. Europeans, americans, south americans, asians. Englishmen, britons, russians. Dragons, ponies, giffers, orcs, draenei, belves, nelves, goblins, dwarves, worgens, inquisitors, Monty Pythonists, pop culturists … on and on and on and on.

Humans. All of you. Humans. THIS is WoW Insider. In the Queue following the news of AOL rumors, people started posting selfies. The orcs and the trolls and all the avatars had faces. I rarely get so moved that I burst into tears from something I see on the internet, I have the often spoken of “thick skin”, but dammit!

Without the staff none of this would be possible. We commenters would not be the band of brothers (and sisters) that we are without you, the WoW Insider staff.

Rossi, with your passion for warriors you made me fall in love with this game (fuck man, you made roll a warrior! Several times!). Sacco, though you left WoW Insider – you talked to me. Stickney, Ziebart – all of you: You talked and still talk in a way that I, a nervous boy, can listen to. You’re like that great teacher I had, the one that actually made me who I am. You have never patronized me. You have never trolled me. you have always stated the facts. You have had the courage to stand up for what you believe in – be it the state of the warrior or some other more volatile opinion. You have improved me, I dare say – you, and all the commenters of your site, has made me a better person.

WoW Insider showed me that there was more to World of Warcraft than killing internet dragons. You showed me, through personal editorials and comments and the multitude of various posts you did before the cutbacks a year or two ago, that behind the gamer there is a person. You have a tone of personality, of intimacy, that I have never seen anywhere else. Food recipies, beer brewing bravado, how to loose weight or else it might kill you – all of that played an equal part in me simply falling in love with “your” site. The fount of lore knowledge you all possessed was a gateway to just how big this game is! Blizzard themselves couldn’t do a better job presenting lore as you did, WoW Insider. There’s been many nights that I’ve been fighting a desire to sleep, just to catch your podcast. Time zones be damned!

I made myself public on WoW Insider around 2010. That’s when I started commenting. Just a few things here and there. At first I was … well, bit of a jerk, I think. I can’t remember, honestly. I didn’t post any comments on a regular basis until you integrated with Twitter (whenever that was). That’s when I started taking off. Over time, I started to develop a sort of friendship with some of WoW Insiders regular commenters. I live half my life on the internet. Most of my social life is virtual. You, you guys and gals, you are my friends, though we have never met.

Thank you, WoW Insider, for making this possible.

This is not the end. I’m sure your fanbase – and your connections – are working on a solution. You are a pillar of the WoW Community and if you fall, there will be dark days ahead. So let’s end on a WoW related paraphrase:

There must always be a WoW Insider.

#savejoystiq #savewowinsider

Others on the fate of WoW Insider: Sportsbard , World of Matticus , FecklessLeader , Apple Cider Mage , Captain Cakewalk , Growing up in Azeroth , Battle Pet Round Up , Lib Feathers and many more to come when I find them.

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Dear WoW Insider

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s