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There is no “Faeldray” in “Community”

I know that I missed my last Machinima Monday. In my defense, I got an awful cold right after the wedding, spent the week working in the comfort of my home. This past Monday had been my first day back in the workplace, where I actually had to wake up early and couldn’t hang out in my pajamas all day, and I still had a lingering sinus headache and cough. I was not in the mood to write anything that day. However, I hope to resume the regular feature next Monday.

I want to tell all of you about the great time I had at the wedding, my latest activities in WoW, and a whole lot of other things on my mind. But before I do any of that, there’s something I need to get off my chest. There’s an issue that has been pestering me for months. It’s been jabbing insistently at the back of my brain for a long time, despite my various attempts to beat it into submission. I kept telling myself that it was inappropriate to bring to the table, that I was just being my weird self and whiny. Poor Kazi has had to listen to my rants about it, just as he’s always willing to listen to my rants about anything. And I was going to keep on ranting until BBB reminded me of something I should really try doing more often: Being myself.

Well.

My issue is with the WoW blogging community. Or I really should say “community” with the finger quotations and all. Because lord knows that I do not feel much a part of any community there.

Perhaps I should put it a different way. Due to the fact that I have a blog about WoW, I am indeed a member of the WoW blogging community. Just like how I was one of about 300 people in the community of my small town. Some people knew me and I knew them. We lived in close proximity to one another so we had at least one thing in common.

However, I did not feel like I was a part of my home town. In the same way, I do not get the warm and fuzzy feeling of being a part of the WoW blogging community.

Back in February, Larísa wrote a post suggesting that the blogosphere may be a better place to make friends in WoW. I remember reading it with a confused expression, trying to understand how this could be possible. I quite enjoy Larísa’s blog but this post did not strike true to me at all.

I will admit to not being the most social person in the world. In fact, I will readily agree that I am rather shy and anti-social. Large crowds and new people make me slightly nervous and uncomfortable, so it should be unsurprising that I have few friends, but they are close ones. I’m picky with my friends and frankly, I like it that way.

This “community” that WoW bloggers keep referencing in glowing terms reminds me of high school. There were 36 kids in my graduating class and I had known some of them since kindergarten. We were a community as far as we all lived within an hour’s bus ride of the same school and we were all born in the year 1985. It’s true that we weren’t at each other’s throats every day. But this did not make us all best friends.

Just like high school, WoW bloggers appear to me as a series of cliques, formed around certain topics or alliances. In the almost 4 years I’ve been blogging about WoW, I’ve seen “elite” clubs formed and disband, vicious jabs and sneers being thrown around like candy, new people flailing against the current of the more established and popular, some becoming popular simply by befriending someone popular, and others leaving in tears and anguish, never to return again. High school can be a vicious place. Apparently so can the blogosphere.

In high school, I was one of those who stood outside most of the drama and cliques and simply watched this real-life soap opera unfold around me. I wasn’t popular but neither was I despised. I have come to realize that this is also my position within the WoW blogging “community”. I’m never someone who’s named when popular or long-timed bloggers are praised, but hey, at least I’m never caught in the crossfire of all the mud slinging.

Maybe my efforts haven’t been enough. I tried to get into Blog Azeroth but quickly lost interest. I try to comment whenever I feel it’s warranted and I’m not simply mimicking someone else’s response. I do have a Twitter account but let’s face it, it’s not a conversation like some claim. It’s a bunch of people saying random things that happen to them/pop into their heads, taking no heed to the random things that other people are talking about. I’ve imagined that Twitter is like a room full of people all talking at once and the majority of the statements or questions get lost in the general chaos. More often than not, my own words disappear into the Nether. Which mirrors the feelings I get at times in regards to my blog posts.

I’ve been aware of Alas‘s guild Eff the Ineffable since she first mentioned it on her blog. It certainly sounds like a good idea and more than once I’ve toyed with the idea of joining it. I might finally be able to start raiding and what better way is there to become a part of the “community” than to join a guild that boasts so many bloggers?! I was getting ready to roll an alt to test the waters when I stopped myself and confronted reality.

Was I really considering transferring to another server that had absolutely no roleplaying, where I would have to change Niqora into an Alliance race, and join a group of people that I barely knew? I could see myself now, quietly hanging around guild or voice chat, feeling miserable for not just being friendless but for coming there on some disillusions of the “community”.

In my guild Bloodriver, I can identify just about every member. Our characters are intertwined with RP stories and we as players are bound by many memories. I’ve laughed with them, cried with them, done stupid crazy things with them. I’ve even met some of them in person and did more crazy stupid things that made me laugh and cry. I’ve been furious when my members have been betrayed, I grieved for days when a prominent member passed away, and I was elated when I was able to attend my guild leader’s wedding. These people are my community, my family, for better or for worse. Sorry blogosphere, you’ve got nothing on these people.

I’m certain that Eff the Ineffable is a great guild. Just as I am certain that not all bloggers belong to their own created factions that war with each other and look down their noses at “lesser” bloggers. There are bloggers who are kind and friendly, who always make you feel welcome and a part of something bigger than you are. Maybe one day I’ll even get to know some of them better and be able to call them my friends.

So to the bloggers who tout the virtues of the WoW blogging “community” and how close everyone is, I’d like to humbly disagree with you. Everything is not all peachy and not all of us feel a part of the “community”. Friends can indeed be found within the game, as I found almost all of mine there. I won’t ask you to change but I will ask that you realize that you’re like that person who remembers their high school life through a rosy haze. And I’m getting tired of you walking up to me and talking to me as if I was your BFF back then. Simply being in the same class makes us nothing more than acquaintances.

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