Play together and stay together

Leslie Arntz

sert a long pause. “What are you doing?” I ask, as if I can’t hear a blade hacking into some creature in the background. “Playing World of Warcraft,” he answers. Insert the second long pause. I begin to say something only to be cut off by laughter echoed by his brother at some onscreen antic. “Umm … I think I’m going to go now.”

He eventually responds. “OK, I’ll talk to you later, hunny. I love you!” he replies. “Love you, too, dear.”

I can’t begin to count the number of times I have had some variation of this conversation with Brian. Unwittingly, my boyfriend has become a polygamist of sorts. I was so brash as to think that I had his full love and devotion. Nope. I share him, and not even with another woman! The second object of my beloved’s affections is a computer game.

World of Warcraft, Blizzard Entertainment’s newest release, has swept the gaming world. The MMORPG — massive multiplayer online role-playing game — hit shelves in late November. Joining hundreds of thousands, Brian started playing in the very first days. He hasn’t logged off since. He stands by Blizzard as the greatest PC gaming company out there and World of Warcraft as its current crowning glory. He should know, he’s majoring in computer science and plans on making these things later.

So, here’s the problem: I can’t deny him his lifelong passion. I couldn’t. I wouldn’t. Video games and the like have been part of his life much longer than I have — since preschool to be exact. I can’t expect him to idly sit around pining for me when we are apart.

I spent a month waiting by the phone while he finished up “this one last quest” and leveled up his dwarf paladin for hours on end. Finally, I gave in: I had to see what World of Warcraft was all about. What choice did I have?

It began as piqued curiosity over what could divert his attention so well. Now I’m hooked. He can have his games and his girlfriend, too!

I learned the ins and outs of the game and created my own character, Alexial. She’s a kick-butt Night Elf rogue wielding double daggers whose armor fulfills the female warrior clich‚. The less she wears, the more she is protected — by a sexy aura, of course.

Bri and I play together, too. We have a pair of Tauren, cow-like humanoids that we only play with each other. Our characters blow kisses to each other and dance together. Romantic, yes?

Up until this point, I had been playing on his account, forcing him to use his brother’s when I was on or when we played together. This Valentine’s Day, he remedied that.

Forgoing the traditional teddy bear and chocolates, Brian presented me with the access code to my very own online account. Unconventional at least and expensive at best, it was the perfect gift. It also helped that my nose was still buried in the flowers he gave me along with it.

Leslie Arntz is a freshman journalism major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].