Finding friends in games, and then losing them in real life.

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At first I couldn't relate to this guy, but then I projected it onto a real life experience and realized how arbitrary some of our goals can be when trying to prove something to somebody (and oneself). Just because it was in a video game, doesn't mean that not meeting this goal for his friend was any less meaningful.

Dr. Mark, making me feel more empathy for WoW players every day...


That is certainly one of the most inspirational questions/stories I have read in my life.

A promise is a promise and you have succeeded in doing what you promised. Don't let anyone convince you otherwise, the fact you poured in blood, sweat and perhaps tears into this is already enough for her, I bet my ass on it she is smiling about this fact.

She will be in my prayers, RIP.

Its a pretty sad circle - People who cant pull back find themselves trapped inside whats going on...Its all about striking a balance

Oh man, I rarely cry but this moved me to tears... Hope things work out in the end :(

If you tried your best then you can't have let her down mate.

Very touching story. I'm moved, that I am.

I've no doubt this young man will find closure, eventually.

This is a great article, but a sad story behind it. I am sorry for your loss, whoever-wrote-this.

I, too, use gaming as a means of escaping problems. It really helps.

Somehow, I can't imagine Luke wanting a do-over because Han saved his ass on that trench run.

Victory is often built on shared sacrifice and effort... and all involved usually know that.

By denying the value of the end because you aren't pleased with your personal role in the means, you are coming very close to insulting everything and everyone that contributed to your "less than perfect" victory. This includes the time you and your lost friend spent together in preparation for this fight.

A battle was won, a world was saved.. and a promise was kept. That should be more important than how bad-ass you were in the process.

The easy part is over. Your grand quest that kept you occupied, gave you focus and guided you with a purpose is done.

Good luck with the hard part: Not getting lost in the past, while still honoring it, and letting it enrich your present.

- Tir

I was gonna say something witty and generally not serious, but I just remembered seeing my father die.
Sad story, hope you get better.
Also, great article as usual.

Really a touching story, that goes a long way of showing what games can do, in a positive way.
And don't worry who-ever-wrote-this, like many of the above posters, i'm sure that you have fulfilled your promise.

Again, thank you for telling this story, reviving what little thrust some of us have left in humanity :)

You write good articles, Doc' and it does make me feel sad to hear about stuff like this happening.

I'm not looking forward to the day I have to hear about one of my friends dying or having to tell them I'm dying...

maybe he should get another raid together,
in his friend's name?

What an amazing response. At first I couldn't relate to the situation, but it was approached with such a fine mix of empathy and straight advice that I feel I now have a firm understanding and some empathy of my own.

To the letter-writer: Closure is important, but the ending of the "quest" will never be as important as the journey to reach it. In the big picture, delivering a perfect final victory would not mean as much to her as the time and memories you shared. You already won for her by being her friend to the end.

Wow, that was tear-jerking.
I am seriously loving this column, it makes you think about how video games affect us, whether in major or minor ways. That story really drove the point home better than most that friends from online can be just as important as friends IRL and we can have emotional connections with them just as strong as with our real life friends.

Dammit Dr Mark! We all love you and your wonderful articles. You know how to make a man feel better.

That was extremely well written.. And makes it easier to understand many gamers situation, that it is an effective way to feel better about yourself..

This article damn near almost got me to tears..

I salute you!


Wow, I simultaneously feel better and worse. Amazing article and a very unique look at how relationships and connections and the human psyche all interact through the medium of video games. Thank you.

As a jumping off point: I've noticed that looking for support with real life issues within certain communities online (be it an MMO or a forum, not 4chan or youtube comments) the anonymity of the internet surprisingly lends itself to an open and honest discussion between complete strangers and allows for people to discuss things that are really bothering them without fear of anything more than mean comment that is very easily ignored and to get usually very supportive responses from the community at large.

Sorry for the paragraph/sentence.

The underlying issues surrounding the Lich King were really heartbreaking to read.

Straying Bullet:

That is certainly one of the most inspirational questions/stories I have read in my life.

A promise is a promise and you have succeeded in doing what you promised. Don't let anyone convince you otherwise, the fact you poured in blood, sweat and perhaps tears into this is already enough for her, I bet my ass on it she is smiling about this fact.

She will be in my prayers, RIP.

unless of course he rolled greed for The Lich King's loot. [/badjoke]

Its often hard to remember that our guildmates and other players in a game are real people with lives, which gives a pretty good buffer when something does happen to a good online friend.

The way I see it, they defeated the Lich King regardless if the writer was with them or not, and while I can understand his feeling of letting his friend down, he should also remember that its only a game, but the fact that the guild contributed to the kill should mean something also.

I mean, its not very likely he was her only friend.

I've spent way too many years in MMOs learning to know the people as real. It's not much of a step from there to an instant messenger program to meeting them at a cafe' somewhere. and yeah, the games an be an escape. Before surgeries and treatments for my spine I spent way too much time playing MMOs, even when my arms hurt too much to move, I'd just sit in ventrilo.

It's like everything else. If at first you don't succeed, try again. (edit) Set up another raid. Everyone one knows its mroe fun to pound them into the dirt the second third and fourth time. You need the whole armor set! >.>

Reminds me of when a player in a game I frequented. She made some odd comment, went AFK, DC'ed, and never came back. Her house caught on fire, and in the course of making sure her children and family made it out, she did not survive.

(Yeah. People DID stop using a certain acronym for a long time on that server.)

There have been a lot of 'online deaths' in the world, from games to forums, etc. In the end it boils down to just not being aware of how many people another person truly touches the hearts of until they're gone.

(another edit) Wow. I'm going to blame my grammar errors on being moved. I had to go back and look over the other Dr. Mark articles. My friend and I were discussing putting a bunch of work together about 'living online' at one point, and how the 'stereotypes' don't really seem to fit as most all of the people we met were pretty normally adjusted, had jobs/degrees/careers etc. We're pretty much convinced (both of us are oddly biologists) that there is the need for a paradigm shift in the viewpoints on gamers and online folks in general away from the stereotypes that still exist. (I admit being a BBS girl from the 1980s I know where the stereotypes came from, Aieee :) )

Great post, Doc.

As we struggle with the idea of video games and MMORPGs, situations like these help us to yoyo back towards the idea that there is some good in gaming. Many of us already believe this idea. Dr. Mark's post before this one, in which someone questions why parents unilaterally condemn gaming, is a tug in the opposite direction.

One can die from drinking too much water, but I doubt many of us would argue that water is inherently bad. My hands are used for a lot of good...but I've broken a nose in my time, and I doubt anyone could argue that my hands did good, then. I guess the difference is that most people don't have either water habit, or a breaking-noses habit, but many have a gaming habit. It's always refreshing to have reminders like this article that there can be some good in gaming.

By the same token, though I liked the movie "Hangover," there's no way in bloody hell that my 5 year-old will see it...yet. A little framing, a little guidance, a little reason behind how you play the game, seem to be what's necessary, and bringing the WoW burners and the WoW players who play 24/7 (and urinate in their cups rather than leave the game) closer to the middle is probably what's necessary. Right after we do that, let's get the Reps and Dems in the middle and sing Kumbaya.

Wow. Tough one.

Not a problem to take to a normal psychiatrist, it's good to have Mr Kilne around.

I didn't know you still wrote articles here Mr Kline! Clearly I'm not paying enough attention, in any case a good read, I can't think of any other psychiatrists with the kind of understanding of videogames you have.


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