When I first picked up the World of Warcraft box almost 8 years ago and installed it on my computer, I told my friends that I would probably play for about three months. I suppose I was quite wrong about that. In reflecting back on 8 years of being part of the World of Warcraft community, I wanted to talk about what I am thankful for and what this game means to me.
I never intended for anything I gained by being part of the WOW community to have an impact on my actual work or research. However, after I graduated this summer with my PhD and started with a new lab (and had collaborators with much more unique perspectives), my experience as a WOW blogger is actually paying off in more ways than I could even imagine. Right now, I have earned just over $2,000 (22% of my goal) through a crowdfunding campaign (that I started almost a week ago) to fund a project where I’m bridging my video game knowledge and autism knowledge to help design a new autism video game intervention. The generosity of the WOW community is actually changing my life and my research in ways I never could have anticipated or planned. We still have a long way to go, but I am truly and sincerely grateful for all the support.
I spent many years trying to hide who I was in real life to the WoW community, and hiding my WOW playing from my work/school. However, following my last blog post, the outpouring of support that started the day I blurred the line between gamer and psychologist has been incredibly outstanding. Even after 8 years of seeing how great this community was, you all still surprise me with how awesome you can be. I have had a huge outpouring of support from gamers, including those who either have autism themselves, or have a child with autism. I love hearing your stories, and all of your support means more to me than you may ever know.
In this case, I’m trying to explain that – being part of this WOW community has changed my life in ways I never anticipated when I picked up this funny game called “World of Warcraft” off the shelf. I think that playing this game has made me a better person, a stronger person, and a smarter person. I’m proud to be part of this game and this community.
What I am Thankful for is all of you.