It’s been niggling at me again lately. That scourge of a game that swallowed so many hours, days, weeks, months and years of my life as a late teen and early to mid twenty-something. I left it many times, yet like so many, I kept coming back to it. Right now, stress and depression means I have a strong desire to play World of Warcraft again. That endlessly time-wasting game that could shut my mind and the world out for ages at a time.
Luckily, it’s not just easy to get back to it. A year ago, I managed to save up to buy a new laptop. I’ve been running exclusively on Ubuntu ever since. To get WoW to work here, I’d have to fiddle with a windows emulator and pull our some small programming effort, read tutorials and download a massive amount of gigabytes over our slightly wonky wifi.
I suppose all of those things are problems I should be overcoming or cursing, depending on my mood, but on the contrary. If they can keep me away from that game I don’t really want to play, that is good. Or rather, I want to, but don’t want to at the same time.
Right now, a part of me really want to play. Work is stressful and a depression is looming. I want to play with my partner too. But he knows no one who played WoW who was not addicted in some way and he is very apprehensive about it. Luckily for me, as it adds yet another layer of obstacles on the road to playing again. Most of these obstacles I’ve laid myself, and with good reason.
So we have been playing these ridiculous smartphone games instead. For hours and weeks when we have spare time in the evening and on the weekend. It might be just as much a waste of time, but at the very least a smartphone has limits. It has a limited battery life and there is a limit to how big the games can be, just as much as there is a limit to how complex they can be. After a certain amount of hours or days, we grow bored and move on to something else. They give that gratification of a few hours wasted on a mindless game, but without the hook of just another level or just another X, Y or Z.
It is something I have never been able to explain to someone without an addictive personality. That pull and desire to get back at the colourful, fantastic world in front of the screen. A world where you are good at something without much investment. A world where you earn money, complete quests, level up and life seems to work.
Yet, and this might sound odd considering all I’ve just written, I don’t really want to play. At some point, I realised that I didn’t want to be good at tailoring or alchemy or herbalism in some game. I wanted to be good at those things in real life! It might sound ridiculous, but that was my revelation, and I’ve tried hard to clutch at it whenever the old desire rears it’s head and makes me stumble.
I have googled more than once how to play WoW on Ubuntu, but I am happy to say that I have not actually gone to the step of downloading the game. Yet. Knock on wood, etc.
I want to write, I want to draw, I want to create and… to my own astonishment, right now I also want to research and do science. Good scientists don’t waste time on WoW. I try to tell myself, which is ridiculous, of course. They do if they want to, they are people just like everybody else.
In less than five months we will pack up our belongings and return to Norway. If we are lucky, perhaps we might even return to a city with a healthy, thriving viking reenactment community where the urges will be stalled by crafting nights, tea, laughter and hiking in the fresh, crisp air of the mountains.
And I want to keep writing and creating. While we are here, writing is the easiest, but I hope to take courses in ceramics as well. That feel, that smoothness, that touch a good artisan has with their trade, that is not something any amount of skill points in a computer game can replace.
At least, that is what I am trying to tell myself.
I might just put on The Hobbit again. The gorgeous craftsmanship and attitude of the hobbits always seem to help quell these urges. And have you looked in the art books? Goodness me, those things are gorgeous! Enough to make even someone like me want to pick up carpentry and woodcarving as well!