Top 5 Things I Learned Playing Everquest
I am Seleste deLaney, and once upon a time, I was a gamer. I started playing Everquest because my ex played…a lot. One of the reasons I wrote Gaming for Keeps was because of my time spent in the land of Norrath. In fact, if you look at the dedication in the book, it was written for my old guild. Mind you, I haven’t played since shortly after the launch of EQ2 (which really wasn’t the same), which would have been early 2005. Gaming for Keeps was published more than eight years later. So…yeah, the game and the people in it kind of had a big effect on me. Here’s a few reasons I felt I had to write a book about gamers:
1. People Aren’t Always Who They Seem–Now this is such an obvious thing I feel stupid mentioning it, but Everquest was really my first foray into strangers-on-the-internet. (I know, I know, I was a late bloomer.) Personally, it never occurred to me to be anyone but me online. I mean, sure, I “wore” the guise of a wood elf (who ended up being where I stole my pen name from), but in interactions, I was 100% me.
Not everyone was. There were guys playing as girls. Girls playing as guys. Teenagers pretending to be adults. It was mind-boggling and made me a little leery of taking any interaction seriously.
2. Some People Are Exactly Who They Say–Turned out though that I was not the only honest-to-a-fault person on the internet. Over time, and learning many tricks of how to suss out the fakes, I started making real friends. My online persona (email, etc) was crafted around my Everquest character for ease of sharing information. To this day, I still use that email for friends and family. (And junk mail…a lot of junk mail.)
But time playing online taught me a hard truth about the world: some people always pretend to be someone else, other people are perfectly happy being themselves.
3. A Guild Is Like a Family and a Family Is Like a Gang–You may not like a lot of people in your family, but when push comes to shove, they’ve got your back. An in-game guild is kind of like that. You fight, you argue, you wish some people would never come around, but when you need them–they’re all there. And damn it, planned or not, you actually like a lot of them and consider them friends for life, even if you never meet in person.
4. Acronyms–Did I mention EQ was my first foray into the wideness of the internet? BRB, GTG, AFK… prior to gaming, I had no use for such things. (I didn’t text way back when either) But in the middle of planning a raid on the big bad, rapid communication becomes vital. Now, every time I LOL or TTYL, I think of the game and my guilds and it makes me smile.
5. Your Style Is Not My Style but Your Style Is Okay–Those in the kink world will note that I stole a kinkism for this one, but it applies here. There are different styles of gamers: the leveler, the socializer, the crafter… (I think there were five basics, but I don’t remember them all now.) I was definitely a social gamer. Sure, I liked to kill stuff and level up, but if I wasn’t there doing it with my friends and chatting at the same time–what was the point? It only started to suck when all my friends out-leveled me so fast that I couldn’t play with them until we had a massive power-leveling party for me. (Sad but true.) But again…that’s what your gang, I mean your guild, is there for–to keep you with them through thick and thin and hell-levels.
So, there you have it. If you notice, I didn’t talk much about killing monsters or making things. For me, gaming was all about the people. It’s the reason why, when all my guildies scattered to play different games, I stopped playing. I didn’t have time to follow them all, and I didn’t want to start over. For me, my years with The Fourth Wall were kind of the apex of gaming fun. Nobody could live up to that. But I wanted to pay homage in whatever way I could to the hours of fun and the awesome friendships I made there. And hey…falling in love never hurts 😉