Tuesday, October 25, 2016

It's a Small World (of Warcraft)

Who likes an unrelated header? Yes you do! Yes you do!
I don't know the best way to frame this, so I'll start with what I'd normally tack on at the end: have you discovered any interesting real-world connections with players you've found in game? I'm not talking about finding someone who's favorite food is also beets, or someone who doesn't enjoy both Star Trek and Star Wars. This is more from a six degrees of separation standpoint.

I've got two.

Three years ago I'd just joined the guild I'm currently in, along with a couple of friends. We aimed to have more organized PvE-opportunities and it was proving to be difficult with just the three of us on a server that was better known for its PvP activity. Contrary to the server's motto "where PvE comes to die," we were able to recruit enough people to field a raid.

One of these recruits had been on the server for a number of years---much longer than I. I'll call him Bobby. One night, several of us were chatting in Mumble and we got to talking about where we were all located. When I said where I was from, Bobby said he knew people from my city. Now, I live in medium-sized city in Wisconsin, and unless you've been here or know someone from here, you've likely never heard of it. So the info was a bit of a surprise. Turns out, he had been playing with some guys I'd known for several years, guys I'd met via the local music scene. Small world, right? It gets weirder.

Right around the same time that I merged with this guild, I landed a new job. If this detail seems out of place right now, it won't in a minute. The job was open because the previous web manager left for greener pastures (#russ).

Last June, a group including myself, Bobby, and nine other guild members got together in Colorado for our annual meetup. The topic of Bobby's connection to my city came up again. After a short while, we learned the connection was even weirder: the web manager who I replaced was in fact one of his best friends in-game. She'd actually come on a couple of our early raids when we were short on people.

Little did I know, on the mornings after those nights, I'd wake up and go to work only to sit in her former chair!

Now, the second one, this one happening more recently.

We received an application from an interested member. Given the type of guild we are, we like to get a sense of the person as well as the player, so we ask questions that provide the opportunity to do so. This applicant was pretty involved in the NYC music scene as an educator/mentor/engineer. He volunteered a healthy dose of information about himself, enough for Google to do the rest---it wasn't creepy I swear, he wasn't freaked out.

But let's back up again. Years ago, I discovered an indie band via a SXSW sampler CD. I heard the one track and went to find more. I made a point to see them any time they made a pass through the Midwest, even if that meant making the two-and-a-half hour drive to Chicago. When you're playing at the bar or club level as a band, you tend to recognize familiar faces in the crowd. By the end of show two, I had struck up a bit of a camaraderie with with their bass player and their drummer. We kept in touch, on and off, well outside of the one-time-per-year we might brush elbows.

Back to the present: this recruit is a perfect fit for the guild, that's without question. But as a musician myself, I'm more interested in learning a bit more about his professional resume. I stumbled across a video on YouTube of testimonials from his current and former students. About halfway through watching, who do I see on screen? The friggin' bass player from that indie band...he was one of this recruit's former students!

I almost fell out of my chair.

It's fun to think these connections are all around us just waiting to be discovered. So, I'll close how I opened: do you have any similar stories?

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