The article successfully manipulated me to only consider the heart-warming side of the situation, even though I have a disability myself (albeit a milder one, visual impairment with no impact on life expectancy). As I was growing up, the need to be independent was repeatedly emphasized to me. If the commenter's complementary opinion wasn't obvious to me, I expect it would be even less obvious to many readers.
Now, consider the negative consequences of a widely read article like this one for future people with that kind of disability. Will their parents or other involved adults even think about encouraging them to pursue a job or independence? I think not. That's why a comment like the one I pointed out here needs broader exposure.
Most people not familiar with gaming don't understand that, but I have very fond memories, found friends I'm still in contact with and even achieved a level of competitiveness I'm still proud of today and mention it in my full CV (Arena #1 and Top3 world raiding guild for whose curious). And that for ~12€ a month in a time where I and my family had little money.
I still went out two to three times a week to do sports and occasionally met with friends apart from sports, but my fondest memories are about the time spent in this other world with a big circle of friends and a place in my guild, where I was appreciated.
My fondest memories about my earlier childhood are not only vacations or building wooden airplanes with my dad, but also beating Zelda Ocarina of Times.
Most people I met outside of IT and gaming don't understand that and even think it's sad. But I'm just glad I grew up in the time I did and had this amazing opportunity games and online gaming gave us.
I met my wife on World of Warcraft 8 years ago, now we live together with our big family. We stopped playing a while ago but still have a close friend from our guild we see most years.
WoW has brought so many people together, sometimes in life changing ways.
I used to play a lot of MMO games when I was a teenager, not WoW exactly. I wish more kids played that genre nowadays. I think all the competitive games nowadays like dota2/lol/fortnite don't have the same feeling like MMOs. Obviously, you can find many friends in them too, but the culture is so much different. In MMO games you could just spend hours chatting with people and doing nothing else.
I'm sure there are many more cases like that and I think that MMO games are really one of the best experience in gaming. You can meet people from all over the world. It's a bit like traveling, but focused solely on people not on food/history, etc. Ofc, that's my opinion.
Nearly every belief I now hold about what it means to be a team member, to commit to a shared and ambitious goal, I originally felt while working through the game with my fellow 24 guild mates. So much work is required to plan and coordinate with people, to re-invent new strategies after unrelenting defeat by bosses for many many months with no progress, etc.
Many of whom were my closest friends during those years!
Thanks very much for sharing :)
However I spent 10000s of hours on an online MUD called Godwars Apocalypse. I spent nearly all of my time helping people, finding and exploiting bugs, helping the game designers and programmers and just playing the game.
Then for reasons I can't at all recall, I had stopped playing the game for a while. In the interim, someone had accessed my account (seemed to have been from my main computer in fact. Cute practical joke :\ ) and told everyone that I had died.
I came back months later to play some more and I found out there were vigils, an entire area created for and named after me as if I was the in-game lore itself. Players were incredibly confused when I said it was me, and able to prove it by logging into all of my accounts and discuss previous private interactions in an intimate manner with a variety of players.
I was _incredibly_ touched. I didn't realize anyone cared that I existed. I just played the game and tried to make it a better place for the few hundred people that also enjoyed sitting in front of a black zMUD screen for 12+ hours a day.
That day that I came back truly changed my life. Outside of the game I was an in-compassionate jackass. I was crass and heartless. After that day I realized that every little thing you can do can mean something to a lot of people. It really did form my life (and my eventual hobbies and profession as an adult).
I also learned something unfortunate.
Days later, when it was found out that "I had lied" (I did not! I didn't even know anything about me "dying") because "the IPs matched", everything was torn down. My characters were gutted. I was made fun of and I lost real life friends.
I became completely ostracized from the game, the community and 2 other gaming communities close to it. I was destroyed. I lost everything. Quite literally everything that mattered to me in my adolescent life.
Nobody believed me that I did not try to deceive them (and was wholly unaware of the situation until I logged back in). Nobody cared about the 10000s of hours I spent building the community, helping newbies (with in-game items I spent 100s of hours farming myself) or how much time I spent working testing the game so others could have a better experience.
I've always held this as a moment of, "They don't care about you until you're gone, but when you're back they go back to not caring again."
It did lead to my first programming job that really mattered to a group of people (another MUD, Cursed Lands), and my first major teaching experiences. Guess what my profession is now?
Fast forward to my mid-20s and I was diagnosed with a rather terrible chronic disease (I will likely die because of it, but not from it). I once again manage a community (of 10000s) of people as a hobby and after reading this article I can see what happened to Mats happening to me.
It makes me about as happy as it makes me sad. Hopefully I do a good enough job in enriching people's lives to matter as much as Mats did, or even as I did at one time.
And hopefully my brother/father/mother/friend doesn't decide to play a prank on me again.
Someone online went out of their way to 'dox' me (in the early 90s no less!) and contact everyone they could that may know me.
Awful things were said. A wide variety of things from me being a practicing satanist (with a screenshot of me role playing in game) to some strange elaborate claim that I had tried to defraud people online.
Quite the rollercoaster for someone that just wanted to go home and MUD every day after school.
I too have made a number of friends on WoW, and met some in person. You can truly meet some of the best people in that game.
- Epicgrim @ Area 52 (currently)
I'm remembering one of the first touching stories of an influential MMORPG gamer disappearing because of her dead: A story known as "A Story About a Tree":
But perhaps it was unrelated.