Updated: Feb 10, 2019
Guild Wars 2, like many online games, is structured around the players. Everything the players do and say in-game, creates the world around them. Alliances are forged and wars are waged, all led by the leagues of players within the game. However, I find that it’s easy to forget the player, when constantly talking about the players. And by doing that, I feel like a major aspect of online gaming is being ignored, even though it’s so important to games like Guild Wars 2.
In 2007, I used to play a game called ‘Furcadia,’ it was known as a MMOSG, or Massively Multiplayer Online Social Game. It was in this game that I met two of my closest friends for most of my adolescent life, and while we’re not quite as close as we used to be, what I gained from those years of friendship, founded in a 2D isometric roleplaying game was invaluable. I learned how to be social among complete strangers, I discovered a sense of humor unique to myself and most importantly, I learned how to create friendships.
I think now, more than ever, creating friends and forging relationships online is an invaluable skill. In a vast, ever-growing online space, more and more people are meeting solely over the Internet. These days, people meet their future spouse, create businesses, and make lifetime friendships all online. To be able to connect with someone, even when restricted to some keystrokes or a voice over a microphone, is something wholly unique to this period in time. It’s something that isn’t going away.
And, that’s where games like Guild Wars 2 come in. An entire world built for you to create yourself anew. In the same vein that many people believe going to college or moving to a new city is a chance to reinvent yourself, online games give people the opportunity to be the self they want to be and meet the people they want to meet. A world to have fun with strangers, make new friends, and build yourself as a communicating human, whether you’re consciously doing it or not. It’s in these games that players are free to try new things, explore different ideas and personalities, all without the fear of being in the physical world. And while that isn’t to say they’ll face no ill-will online, I’ve found it’s also incredibly beneficial to be introduced to inherently abrasive people from the comfort of a computer chair. And, it’s moments like those that also allow growth and reflection from the safety of a computer.
After spending so many hours in the world of Guild Wars 2, I’ve made an important connection. To so many younger kids, this game is their Furcadia. It’s their chance to grow without realizing they’re growing, to make friends they’d never make otherwise, to act stupid and learn from it within the confines of a virtual world. A completely fresh canvas for any person, whether they be a kid, teenager, adult, or senior. These virtual homes are important because they allow us, to find us.