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I probably never told you this. Wait, I haven't told you a bunch of stuff really.
I started playing World of Warcraft back in September 2004 (US beta test); I
first made a Night Elf Druid on the US Realms (Khadgar), by the name of Twolions.
Man, those were the days. And it's freaky too. Last night, I was so bored, I went back to just ride through the "old world" with my main, Thundersnow. I ended up going through The Barrens and passing the broken wooden barricade (you know the one) to get into the Ashenvale forest. If you can believe it, I was overcome with fond memories of my good friends: Thundersnow (an Alliance warrior who I've named my main after), Simz, Scout -- the old gang. Back when Lower Blackrock Spire seemed like an insurmountable obstacle to a bunch of people who had a vague idea of how their class worked.
I am telling you, no one, _no_one_ outside this game would understand how a human being can feel genuine nostalgia for places that don't exist, but that's just the thing. To this day, the events and places (and especially the people) are very real to me. It's a part of my life, a memory just like any other. Not that much different from any of the times I got drunk with my buddies and had a good time in real life.
That said, how are my WoW memories any less real or not part of my real life as such?
It takes just a little bit of introspection and self-awareness I think to conclude that my life in Azeroth is just as real to me as anything else. Sure, people will call me crazy, but that's the thing with change (and the notion of "future" as we know it). It takes us by surprise, it never actually takes the direction which we thought it would. We are simply not smart enough to read its path and so, we are often left to look in retrospect, or, more often, it would take several generations and a number of history books to decipher the future that was in plain sight for the ones living it at the time.