Hooray for late blogs! And apologies for them as well. (Apologies also to British people. I love you folks. I really do. Acce) I’m hoping to be able to go back to a regular (and on time) schedule starting this weekend. We’ll see if I can pull that off…
Blogger Goes Philosophical…
…and doesn’t have enough people talking to her. >.> I’d hoped to add in perspectives from a large group of people, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to drag enough folks into answering.
The question: “People often talk about TW (Tribal Wars) and RL (real life) as though there were clearly separate. I want your opinion on this. Are the two separate, and if so, where is the border between them?”
“I don’t separate them now. I used to, but that’s because I actually met Princess and am gonna again in November. I met her last month. Before that, I really did seperate TW and RL. I think most [people] do.”
-lodi1970 (keanosmagic), member of Dos X
“The real question is, ‘Where is the line between panda and person?’”
-RaginPanda, member of ModWar
“Well, TW is def not RL. In RL, I would never send armies out to kill poor villagers.”
-bcruss (Evocablepanic), member of ModWar
“TW is an on-line community (and game) to get away from RL. Some people would then think the absence of RL is then TW as RL. The line lies where the player wants it to. In some cases, this could mean a full immersion into TW as RL and a complete absence of RL in that individual.
For me, as I have work, I can keep away from TW (and, therefore, keep my RL life) as with any other game I play (as in a casual basis of a few hours a day).”
-Zord Gaf, elder mod who was in the unfortunate position of talking to me while I was working on this
In addition to these answers, I had one person say he’d get back to me, one person say it was a bad question, and one person say it was depressing. Also, one of those answers was supposed to be more complete, but…
Anyway, on to my thoughts about it. I realize the question was vague. I intentionally left it fairly open-ended. I’d hoped to see where people went with it.
The critical aspect to determining where TW and RL diverge is defining what each is. I will begin by defining RL as being real life and every part of it.
TW as the online game is certainly real. The code is real. The computers that you and I use to access the game are real. The developers, despite being robots, are real. TW takes up a real amount of time in my life and in the lives of everyone else reading this, and it takes a real monetary investment from many of us as well. In this sense, TW is most definitely a part of RL.
In another way of thinking TW, is also real. I’m real. Everyone I’ve interacted with is real (or I think they are, at least). The mods who’ve warned, infracted, and even banned me (Morthy, I love you too…) are real. My tribemates are real, and the enemy players are real. Those people answering support tickets are real, as are the ones keeping us all in line on the forums. The active forum posters and the trolls are real, as are the lurkers. Everyone who reads this blog is real. All the people here are real, and together we form a real community. In this sense, TW as the community of people is also a part of RL.
The aforementioned definition of RL is clearly not consistent with the assumption that RL and TW are distinct. It also doesn’t fit with the acronym IRL (in real life). IRL is used to refer to the speaker’s (or writer’s) life offline. This leads to a new definition of RL, which is much more consistent with the term’s usage. RL is not simply real life in general, but rather offline life. RL is the absence of TW and other online experiences. RL is what happens when a person is away from TW. I must also explicitly define TW for that definition to be relevant. TW is the experiences that happen while playing the game, and it is also the directly related personal interactions (ie. Skype chats with other players about the game).
For me, RL is school and friends. It’s building and programming a robot, and it’s sweeping wisteria flowers off the front steps. RL is stressing out about having too much homework, and it’s getting together with classmates to play D&D. RL is much more than that, but I’m gonna try not to bore you poor readers with all the mundane details of my life.
TW is friends as well, but it’s a different set of friends. It’s people I’ve never met in person but who I’ve gotten to know over the past year and a half. It’s timing attacks and support, and it’s grumbling with annoyance when I log on to a bunch of untagged incomings. TW is looking up stats to back up my argument on the externals, and it’s putting together maps for the blog. There is more, of course, but again, that’s boring details.
However, some things aren’t so clear cut. As I write this, I’m sitting in my programming classroom after school. I’m watching my math teacher from last year walk a student through a math problem on one of the white boards in the front of the room. I’m listening to the distracting chatter of several girls on the other side of the room and wondering why they don’t have anywhere better to be. I’m sitting next to a girl who is taking a test she missed earlier this week. I just ate a bunch of raisins because I was hungry and that was the only food available. In all of this, I’m still thinking about TW, and I’m working on this blog post. Is this RL, or is it TW? Another example. (I would like to ask that any British readers not take offense at this one. I simply enjoy playing the part of the ignorant American from time to time. I love you all, particularly your accents.) Some of my friends IRL (in other words, friends I know through some connection other than TW) have heard me talk about people I know through TW. A few weeks ago, I got into a conversation with several friends in my Mandarin class about British people. We were discussing the fact that there really isn’t anything special about them other than their accents, and the only thing they have to be proud of is fish and chips (which aren’t even real chips because Brits are weird like that). I mentioned a British friend I know from TW with whom I often argue “Britain vs. America.” I said that the argument he finally falls back on when I’ve shot down everything else he has to say is that the British have fish and chips. Does this bring TW into RL? Third example. Not all social interaction that happens between people who meet in TW is about the game. I’ve gotten to know numerous people, and I’ve heard about their lives outside of the game. I know about their families and their jobs, school and friends. I’m pretty sure most everyone knows the basic facts about me. My name is Rebecah. I’m 16. I’m female. I go to high school. Beyond that, I have an obsession with banana slugs, and I love nature. I want to study the ocean. I build robots for fun, and I’m a member of the school math team. I stress about homework a lot, and people often have the distinct pleasure of listening to me whine and gripe about that. I have also had various political and philosophical conversations with people I know through this game. Two examples of topics are gun control and nuclear power, both of which are distinctly unrelated to anything set in the middle ages. This interaction is with people I know from the game, so is it TW? Or is it RL because it is about things other than TW? Final example. I know several people who play together in TW and are in a relationship IRL. Some of these relationships existed before the people entered the game, and other people met precisely because of the game. In some situations, siblings play the game, or best friends, or a parent and child. When they interact in the game, is this part of TW? Or is it RL for them because they know each other? When they discuss the game at a time when they aren’t actively playing, is this TW or RL?
I’m gonna wrap up this rambling now. Just a little food for thought. Lots of unanswered questions in that massive block of text up there. If anyone wants to give their input on this, please comment away. Also, if anyone wants to threaten me and tell me never to make another philosophical blog like this again on pain of gruesomely brutal death, you’re welcome to do so as well (but I may still do this again if I ever need a topic and can’t think of something doable in the time frame I have available).
I should have another blog coming out this weekend. Supposedly, it will be about TROUT’s leadership system, if I can force any of those hooligans to submit to an interview. If not, I’ll make up something random that readers will have to deal with. For next weekend, I’m thinking that YAY need some spotlight time. If anyone has suggestions for beyond that, please let me know. I’m having something of an inspiration drought.