A while back at Unfogged I read a post about Second Life, which is an online "virtual reality". In the Second Life world, you can earn and spend money (lindens), which actually translate into real US dollars. In fact, a few people have become real-life millionaires by buying, selling, and building "virtual" real estate and things like clothing. I checked it out and played around with it for a little while, and though I was endlessly fascinated by the concept, I found it kind of boring. It's not really a game -- there is no objective per se -- and I sure as hell ain't going to get rich on building cyber-houses with my lack of interest and lack of computer skills joining forces. Besides, a huge number of people just want to have sex. And if I'm going to seek out some sex, it ain't going to be with a "virtual" penis. More than anything, Second Life seems like a chat room with decorated avatars. Boooring.
Scatty, hearing me talk about this, told me about World of Warcraft, which is similar in concept -- that concept being Massively Multi-Player Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) -- to Second Life, but a billion times more fun. It's a game, unlike Second Life, and it's played alongside several million other subscribers who you can talk to, team up with, duel, etc. Scatty surprised me with a gift of the World of Warcraft CD's, and I'm here to tell you, at risk of sounding like the biggest geek-nerd-dork in the world, that I am absorbed in it. It's a great gift because it's something that a) I would have never bought for myself and b) I really enjoy. I've had it for two days and have had trouble breaking away. I can see how people become obsessed and commit countless hours to playing this game. I'm still figuring out the ins and outs as it is very complicated...and with all the other people online playing, and all the choices for what kind of creature you can be, and all the "quests" you can choose among, there are a seemingly infinite number of scenarios. All I want for Christmas is my productivity and good posture back.