I’ve been playing this game online called Dawn of the Dragons (DotD for short), which I imagine is sort of similar to games like Magic: The Gathering and D&D, although I really have no idea because I’ve never played those. DotD is boring and pointless, and I hate myself for playing it, but I nevertheless feel driven to level up my character. His name is Fancy and he’s a World-Strider level 119.
The site where I play has a chat window placed vertically alongside the game. There are many different games on the site, each with its own chat room, but this one is different somehow. It’s like a clubhouse. Everyone talks in code and signs each message with a “kawaii”-styled emoticon: “Just blew 300 stam and only got 3.45b on my raid. Anyone with a golem-specific proc in their legion or some good debuffs want to help me out? ^_^”
What I’ve just written could be gibberish. In fact, I’m pretty sure there are no golem-specific procs in DotD. Puh.
I used to make fun of my girlfriend for playing role-playing board games with her nerdier friends. I would deliberately misidentify it as LARPing (Live Action Role Playing). “Have fun LARPing,” I’d say to her as she left for game night.
“Stop calling it that.”
Then she’d leave and I’d lounge on the sofa, her cat sleeping on my stomach, flipping channels or just doing nothing for hours until she’d get home. She ended up breaking up with me, but I think there were other reasons.
That’s one of the cliches about people who play these kinds of games — that they don’t have girlfriends, which by extension suggests that they’re all males. I can’t speak to the truth on that. The Internet hides gender fairly well, and I have no reason to investigate. I don’t know any of these people in the chat, though they seem to know each other, if only by their online handles. Conventional wisdom is that online communities are full of lonely people making superficial gestures to replace meaningful human connection, filling the void where real friendship should be with a cheap approximation.
I don’t know if that’s true. In fact, it’s probably an unfair assessment, but I still feel kind of lame for playing DotD. Whenever my brother comes around and sees it open on my computer screen I tell him, half joking, not to look at my shame. I don’t like the idea that, by playing this game, I am somehow performing loneliness. It hurt, the breakup. It still hurts. There is a void, yes, but I swear to God I’m not filling it in. ^_^