Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Bloggy XMAS 2: A Family Like No Other


Syl over at MMO Gypsy has put out the call for a Bloggy XMAS, where we talk about gaming and community, and how gaming brings us together.  I lucked out with Day #2, so I get to see others take a swing first, but still go early enough that no one accidentally snipes my ideas!

Gaming has played a huge role in my life, from learning how to play Super Mario Bros. and Duckhunt when I was around 4 years old, to LAN parties and Goldeneye marathons in my teens, to online games in my adult life. For me, gaming has always been an activity you do with friends and family. Oh sure, you can play by yourself, but even those single player games, I've found the experiences to be greatly enriched by sharing said experiences with friends and hearing their version back.

One of the biggest boons in my adult life and gaming was joining a guild in World of Warcraft. Until about mid-2009, I had been in a couple of guilds, ran a small one with my then boyfriend, or played largely guild-less for most of my WoW career. With no one to tether me to the game, I found my time fluctuating--playing, not playing--and my activities were fairly limited to solo content.

A different boyfriend (at a different time) introduced me to his guild on US-Proudmoore, The Stonewall Family. I joined to play with him, but I stayed because I had found a new home. As a gay gamer, I found in the past a stigma within both the gay community about being a gamer, and the gaming community about being gay.

It kind of put a pretty heavy damper on having fun in game without having to deal with casual slurs, or not-so-casual homophobia. I mean, I couldn't even say in a dungeon run, "Sorry, have to bail, my boyfriend needs help," without someone realizing I had a male avatar and then getting called out on it negatively. Or on the flip side, finding folks to date that don't just assume you're a man-child because you play video games. On the plus side, it did make it easy to whittle down the dating pool, I suppose.

Proudmoore Pride Parade 2012
So getting into a guild that was LGBT friendly, and active about it, was immense for me. I could be myself without having to worry about what other people think. Folks to talk to in cases when I felt I had nobody else, really. We help hold Pride parades on Proudmoore every year. Our guild chat is some of the friendliest I've ever known. Actually, to be fair, Proudmoore as a whole has a ridiculously excellent server attitude in general. Sure, Trade still has it's trolls, but interestingly enough, homophobia tends to get shut down really quick on Proudmoore.

Five years later, I'm still around. I've contributed by running or help run raids all the way back to Ulduar. There've been a couple raid tiers where I've been MIA for half the tier, usually because of burnout because raid attendance is awful to try and deal with in a casual guild, let me tell you. And yet I still wouldn't trade it for anything.

Our current raid team that I'm a part of is the best the guild has ever had, actually taking down content while it's current, and doing so splitting the difference between having fun and being totally silly, with actually being able to buckle down, point out mistakes, and improve as a team. The guild itself is quite laid back, with members running the gamut from hardcore pet battle enthusiasts, to WoW tourists, to hardcore raiders (some who raid in other guilds, but come back to The Stonewall Family for their other characters).

I've known some people in guild for the whole five years I've been around, and others for much less than that, but to me, they're my community, my friends, my family. I hear about when they get their teaching licenses, or when they're working to adopt their foster children. Many of us have met each other in real life at different times, and hearing about other guildies meeting always feels a little like magic. Celebrating victories, and helping each other through hard times. That's what friends and family are for, right?

So while WoW is an excellent game, as they put it on the LFG documentary, it's about the people. If I didn't know the people I do now, if I wasn't playing weekly with my fellow raiders, who knows if I'd still be playing WoW? And that's led to me blogging, and meeting many excellent bloggers. My community has done nothing but grow in excellent, awesome bounds since I started playing the game, and I'm so very thankful for it!
#WorldOfWarcraft, #BloggyXMAS, #Personal


  1. That's so important. Even in my younger, more ignorant, and more narrow minded days, I was always impressed by my raiding guilds policy of "no ignorant speech." We never had to deal with someone being casually racist or homophobic because that sort of language wasn't going to be tolerated.

    We never marketed ourselves as a mature guild or 18+, but I think it helped create a culture/climate that was far more welcoming than our progression raiding core otherwise let on. We still made fun of anyone with poor talent specs or bad enchanting though.

    Can't win them all!

  2. Its great that even a gaming community can provide support. One wouldn't think thats possible with the conversation so heavily slanted against the gaming community with the #gamergate drama. Yet it still seems to find its way.

    Kudos to sticking it out.

  3. I love this. It can be SO tough to find a community that's welcoming of everybody, regardless of background, so when you find one it's a great idea to grab it with both hands.

    I actually remember somebody from the early days of WildStar looking for an LGBT friendly guild and thinking that actually, yeah, me too. Purely because I want to be in a community that is tolerant of people, and an actual community for real human beings.

    Plus those pride parades sound like immense fun! :)