One of the most awkward things for me is talking about some of my hobbies with real life friends, coworkers, and associates. The conversation inevitably comes up at work, parties, or whatever you’re doing: “So, what do you do for fun?” There’s a little bit of a pause, then I would say something along the lines of, “Well, I mostly play online computer games.”
Depending on the company, there is a good chance for an awkward pause. Yet, there is always the chance that the conversation will continue and you’ll find out that some people, who you may have never thought would, also play online games – or even better, play World of Warcraft. Crisis averted!
I know my first question in this case is always the same: “Horde or Alliance?” That in itself is usually a good icebreaker, since that conversation can go on for a long time debating the merits and downfalls of both sides. The best thing about it is that you found common ground with someone else who enjoys things similar to you. Who says that geeks can’t socialize?
A great benefit of knowing fellow WoW players in real life is that you usually have something to talk about. After the usual talk of the weather and how the local sports team is doing, you can get to the meat of it all. The forums can get quite heated in their discussion, and that’s through faceless walls of text. If you have someone in front of you, that’s where great things happen.
The game also has a great way of introducing people. Back in Burning Crusade, we had a random applicant who was looking for a Band of Thorns guild on another server and found us, and applied. We let the person know that we weren’t that guild, but they sounded like a great fit for us. Sure enough, they applied and were a great addition to the guild. One day, we ended up talking through a Karazhan run, and through a lot of conversation we found out that I knew her from junior high school. Not only that, but she was one of my best friends through those years, and we hadn’t spoken to each other in about eight years. Through random chance, I rekindled a great friendship with this person, her fiancée, and some of her other friends.
Lastly, another fun example is a story that I overheard on Twitter. Fyreuni, one of the people behind the Daily Quests webcomic, was at a restaurant with friends and talking about WoW. The waiter heard this, and at the end of the meal he gave her the leftovers in a container with “For the Alliance!” written on it. She paid the bill, drawing a Horde symbol on it and writing “For the Horde!”
WoW has a great way of crossing all age groups, social groups, stereotypes, races, genders, and so on. There is usually never a lack of topic when you can talk about the game and solve all of its problems. There’s lots of fun to be had discussing the game online, but I think it can be even more fun when you have friends in real life who can do it with you.