I hearthed to Shattrath, at the request of a very good friend of mine. She had something to show me, she said, and I had a good idea of what exactly that was. I had, after all, 'twinked' her with 1,000 gold a few weeks prior and, as it turned out, it was her snowy gryphon mount that she had purchased with my parting gift, that she wanted to share with me. I felt like a big brother to a little sister - I had never met her in the 'real 'world. She hugged me, made a *sniff emote and said with lots of exclamation marks that she'd miss me. I was going to miss her too.
Recently, after a particularly bad experience with an overly controlling and somewhat arrogant guild leader, I was left without a World of Warcraft guild that I called home. I wanted to 'progress' and to see (and beat) new content but finding a new raiding guild to start building relationships within was just not something I was prepared to do again. University was also starting to heat up, with an increasing amount of work having to go into assessment tasks and my major thesis, when my job, which that suited me and my study timetable perfectly, sadly dried up. Without a steady income, and having to still pay the bills (not many, but a few) I decided that, well, after a good run of a year and 6 months with the World of Warcaft, maybe it had become time to hang up the gauntlets and retire gracefully.
So I did. And it's probably one of the best things I could have done. Now, I'm not saying that wow is the devil or anything knee-jerkingly reactionist like that (although I *do* have some serious issues with some elements of it: the grind, only having one somewhat flawed model of guild leadership, etc, etc). But instead, much like Mr Brainy Gamer himself, Michael Abbott, said - it means that I can play other games again. I mean, in all honesty, how many people who play wow seriously do you think also play other games seriously and critically on a regular basis? I'd wager not many.
I make no secret of the fact that I want to work in the games industry. I am working towards that with my degree and with my thesis, and also, now, so with this. I can't just play WoW all the time and call myself a gamer. I honestly have no desire to work in any other field. I recognise that I probably will, but I hope that eventually I will be able to work for a living on what I am so most passionate about. My passion is for gaming, and that's really what this experience has been all about. I've left WoW and all of the amazing wonderful (and some horrible) people that I met on the Alliance side of the Dath'Remmar Oceanic Realm, and yeah, I'll miss them too. But I'm not a really a WoW-er. Not anymore. I'm a GAME-er.