I find myself in a bit of an quandary. This past Saturday, I was playing both my pally, and my hunter. Switching back and forth. I ran the pally through a few instances. I'd log out, and log into the hunter to run some dailies for gold, then to farm mats for the pally's professions. The weather outside was windy, rainy, and raw. Overall, it was a miserable day. A perfect day to play WoW. Or was it?
Things started out okay. I ran a couple instances with the pally, and ran them with a couple of good groups. Then I started talking to a player on my friends list who was in an old guild with the hunter. Another player from said former guild started up a new guild with her, and brought over several other players. I wanted to bring the hunter over, but the guild that toon is in has a couple of people I know in real life in it. If I left, they'd probably wonder what's going on. So I asked her about the pally. She said she'd like to have that toon in the guild, but being mostly 80s, they were planning on end game raiding. I felt a little bummed about that, but that's how things go.
Later that afternoon, my pally was in Stormwind, after running yet another instance, when another player offered me a guild invite, I accepted. Mainly because she whispered me, instead of of just sending out a random invite. After 14 levels of being guildless, the pally found a new guild. Granted, it was one of those small, start-up guilds; the kind that usually disband after a couple months, but I'm willing to give it a shot. Especially considering the guild message told us to "...and have fun =)" Isn't that the point of playing this game?
Needless to say, I found myself questioning if I should have the hunter leave the guild to join the new one my online friend is in, or stay with the current guild. I decided to stay in the current guild for now. However, I found myself thinking of online friends in WoW. Mainly due to the fact I'm realizing end-game content can separate online friendships. Player A may have a priority with raiding, or rep dailies with faction X. Player B instead opts to focus on profession achievements, or rep dailies with faction Y. The social elements at end game definitely have a different vibe to them than during the leveling process. While I feel somewhat connected to my game friends, I'm feeling that connection separate ever so slightly, and it will probably continue to do so as they focus on what their goals are, and I focus on mine.
After I logged off Saturday night, after playing who knows how many hours, and blowing off an invite for some drinks with my buddy at a bar where the local hotties hang out. I was disgusted with myself, asking why I'm concerned about my in-game friends when I have real life friends to tend to. Some of whom I haven't spoken with in months. I began to question my role in the game (not the toon). How could I pour so much time into building up those toons, while things in real life such as hobbies, and life in general, are being neglected? Hence the quandary.
When I reflect on the past weekend of playing, I realized I need to learn self-control. To know WoW's place in my life, and that other things should to precedence over it. I also came to accept that when it comes to on-line friends, they are not people I know in real life. As a result, I should accept the fact that they are paying their subscription fees to play how they want to, and I pay mine to play how I want to play. I can't be jealous because friend A is doing a 25 man ICC run, and I'm hanging out in Dalaran fishing. There's no excuse to blow a Saturday night out just so I can run multiple heroics for badges...
It's all about moderation, and putting things in context...