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I'm not afraid to tell people that yeah, I have one hell of a cool job getting to write about videogames. What I don't tell people is that the reason I got this job in the first place was because I played entirely too much World of Warcraft in college. The sequence of events that led me to sitting here and writing this Editor's Note still boggles my mind: I happened to start playing WoW on a particular server because my friends were playing on that server (because their friends were there in turn).
The guild I joined ended up merging with another guild, and there I learned that two of my new guildmates had what was clearly the best job ever: They worked in the videogame industry. Hell, they even got to go to E3, which was like gaming Mecca (before all the cutbacks, anyway). I became friends with one of them out of game, began chatting with her over instant messenger and finally, desperate for a summer job, asked if her company was looking for an intern.
"Wait a minute," she said. "I think we might have been, actually. I'll go check."
Several days later, I got the call and started making arrangements. I drove down to North Carolina that summer to start work at Themis Group, the parent company of both WarCry Network and The Escapist. And that's where I work now.
It's staggering to think that if any part of that sequence hadn't happened exactly the way it did - if I hadn't started playing on Skullcrusher, if I hadn't joined [Symphony of Destruction] and [Shadow Syndicate], if I had never befriended my guildies and gone out on the limb to ask for an internship - I wouldn't be sitting here right now. But it's also staggering to think about what actually happened: I asked someone who I'd never met in real life for a job opportunity, and she helped make it happen.
To people who spend their time in MMOGs, though, maybe it's not that surprising after all. You may have never met your guildies in real life, but that doesn't mean they're not your friends. You share defeat and genuine frustration with them, and you share victory and elation with them. There have been more than a few online guilds and clans who have banded together to support one of their own in need, whether that means donating actual money for medical expenses or just offering advice when needed.
Online games can make strangers into friends or give friends who live half a country apart a way to still spend time gaming together. We're all connected in these games, as heroes, as gamers and as humans - and that's what this issue of The Escapist is really about. In this issue, Nova Barlow discusses communal mission development in the City of X MMORPG franchise; Erin Hoffman explains why we should toss the word "virtual" out the proverbial window; Brendan Main turns semi-online PS3 RPG Demon's Souls into a ghost story; and John Constantine argues that Nintendo's much-disparaged Friend Code system might actually be a good thing in a way.