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hitting home?

2009 April 20
by Cat Durante

So my best friend is also a mawrtyr and her boyfriend is absolutely addicted to WOW. He is online for hours and hours on end, he sets up raids and has 6 characters that he has each levelled to 80 (the highest I believe). I’ve mentioned him before but in an informational context, he’s guided me through WOW and has led to me to level 10. It was so interesting the other day when we were talking about goldfarming cuz he had mentioned something earlier about an experience he had recently had but he didn’t use the specific “goldfarming” term. About 2 weekends ago I visited him at his apartment in Philly and he was the angriest I had ever seen him. I of course asked him why his mood was so sour and he replied “f*ckin WOW!” I immediately rolled my eyes and just asked,”What is it this time?” He then told me how someone had hacked into his guild’s account (filled with gold that the players can use to gain equipment etc.) and stolen all the money and then proceeded to sell it to get real capital. I think my jaw dropped to the floor. Hacking in WOW? Identity theft in a fantasy world? This was hitting too close to home. And with our recent discussions about the occurrences online having a “real” effect in the “real world” I found all of it a little freaky and I also felt sad. Here is this guy who devotes his efforts to being the best player he can be and it all gets taken away in 3 seconds. He saw WOW has a haven/ safeplace and that security has been destroyed and he was heartbroken. 

I felt soooo guilty for making fun of the game after this. He used to devote so much of his time to playing that his girlfriend would get so frustrated and shout “YOU CAN’T GROW UP TO BE A SHAMAN!” and I suppose he’s realized this now. I suppose someone’s utopia is another’s dystopia and that utopia can so easily become a dystopia and their dystopia can become another’s utopia and the cycle continues. WOW (utopia), I don’t understand (my dystopia), gets hacked (becomes dystopia to player), hacker sells for money (hacker’s utopia). As a math major I can’t help but see the cycle this presents. Will the cycle eventually reach a limit where everything is a utopia or worse a dystopia but no utopia to become of it? This is worrisome.

P.S. I also vote for option 3 for the tech presentations.

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