It is hard to get my boyfriend to do anything fun with me because he is always playing his massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), World of Warcraft. I offer to buy him lunch or take him to a movie, but he insists on running instances in molten core or slaying trolls and crocolisks in Stranglethorn Vale. I'm fed up. I feel like WoW is more important than me, but every time I tell him this he just calls me a n00b. Brenda, what do I do?
—Pam With Nerdy, Enslaved Dud
I feel for you, PWNED, because this is a matter with which I have confronted my husband Steve on many occasions. You see, PWNED, like your boyfriend, Steve is also an avid WoW player. Since childhood, from Dungeons and Dragons, Atari and Nintendo in the ’80s, he has been a gamer. When Steve first started playing WoW in 2005 I was happy he'd found a new game to enjoy, and glad I would no longer have to watch him play Hogs of War on the PlayStation in our living room. I was also amused that he was slaying boars online.
That amusement quickly wore off. Some days his "questing" was relentless, and I'd have no access to his time. Soon I felt I'd been thrown out like vendor trash as Steve became increasingly obsessed with his main, Sonuva, an orc hunter with a beastmaster spec, and his growing collection of alts. While this was puzzling enough, sometimes when I looked at his computer screen, he was engrossed in absurd tasks like upping his herbalism skills, which involved Steve's avatar harvesting the finest sungrass while roaming the hills of beautiful Feralas.
Over and over I told Steve I couldn't fathom a grown man, much less the one I chose as my life mate, devoting so much time to videogames. To that he would say things like, "You are no longer revered with Steve," "Patience, discipline," or "Leave me alone or I'll sheep you." This sort of thing caused a lot of Damage Over Time (DOT).
Then one day I decided to embrace Steve's passion and play WoW myself. I created a character, a human mage I named Diedre. It was fun: slay some boars here, collect some copper there, reclaim some woman's grapes, go see a guy in the castle. I played for three hours straight and leveled to 8. Something had taken over me. After that I never played again because, just as Steve does, I would waste too much time if I kept leveling Diedre.
But now I understand WoW's appeal and addictiveness. Steve's gaming habits continue to irk, but I've learned ways to look on the bright side: I get lots of time to myself, he's too much of a nerd to spend hours looking at porn and he's become quite popular with his guild members (and Steve could use new friends).
PWNED, I suggest you do the same. Your boyfriend is not quitting WoW until a better game comes along. So take some time to talk, when he's not questing, and set up rules for your time together, both of you making compromises. That way, you may save your relationship and make it as valued as Steve's epic flying mount as well.
For the Horde!