Warcraft Helped Them Through The Pain Of Divorce

The mainstream stereotype of video games, especially MMORPG's, as antisocial diversions that rip up relationships is well known. That makes Wanda Kirk's recollection, of how playing World of Warcraft with her son helped her through her divorce, heartwarming indeed.

Kirk, a mother nearing 50, writes that she ordinarily would have refused her nine-year-old son's request to spend his allowance on a Warcraft installation disc and subscription. "Until my husband delivered the 10-minute fatwa: he wasn't happy, had never been and wanted (or already had) the younger girlfriend," she writes for Salon. "Without warning, I joined a great and storied company: the Unwanted."

Seeing the video game as means of therapy for her son, Kirk ended up exploring Azeroth with him, learning qualities of his personality that she wouldn't have seen otherwise, and discovering things about people and herself in the process. She ends the piece with 13 tips for playing World of Warcraft; many of them, of course, read like metaphors for getting through life.

In the end, what defeats the antisocial stereotype is the fact the game was played socially, and by that I don't mean unseriously. Kirk played with her son. "He sat with me and hugged me and helped me fire-blast Scarlet Hunters and retrieve crates stolen by Dustwind Harpies," Kirk writes. "Through these wild characters, all the gore and running, with the shrill shriek of Decayed Morlocks in my ears, I felt his love."

I very much encourage you to read this, and please share your own experiences in the comments.

How World of Warcraft Helped Me Through My Divorce [Salon]


Comments

    When my Mum did a runner she took my amiga500 with her. The new bf wanted to play tetris. When I finally got it back the games on it did bring my Dad and I closer. He became the test subject for any games I made in AMOS and it became a nightly routine for him to try and handle the mouse and keyboard in games that I unfairly slanted towards the hardcore. Good and bad times :)

      She took your A500?!?!? That's low!

      I don't mean to be rude or anything, but your mum's a *****. Sorry :P

        Yeah, it was a bit of a shock. Having to deal with everything that was going on and THEN not be able to play the A500 games. Whatever you wrote with ****, she's been called worse. :)

    well, no to belittle this story or anything, but im pretty sure if the boy was into fishing and she joined in, the same result could've happened.

      Except they'd both have real world skill and food to eat at the end of it. Not end up with a vitamin B deficiency, and not have a fat bottom.

      I'm sorry but in no way does a MMORPG offer anything close to the real world.
      People (parents even more) are just lazy, clicking on a button to craft a garment, while eating chips and drinking softdrink.
      I'll take dressing barbie dolls, playing action figures, building a sofa fort, and kicking a ball with my kids as a way to bond over a computer game every minute of the day.
      Reality check time, moving a mouse around and pressing a button is not challenging a persons developmental skills. Having a virtual character with stats is not something you can stick on the mantel and brag about for the next 50 years.

        Woah, negative much? Would it have made a difference if it was, say, comic books? Say she actively read the books with her son, discussed the stories with him, engaged in the activity in the way he did and got to know him through that. And then 50 years later she could bring out the comic books and remember the times they spent together?

        By dismissing the benefits of this story out of hand, you miss the point of it: spending time to get to know your children and build a relationship with them, whether it be through 'traditional' activities or through new ones, is always a good thing.

        Maybe he won't have the physical co-ordination of a football star who got coaxed into the game early by his parents, but he certainly won't be an over competitive brat who only knows of one way to please his parent.

          I agree with Kerber. Is it really coincidence that this woman chose to "bond" with the son over a game that is known to be as addictive as heroin?

          It seems to me that, sure, they both found a common interest, but that's just coincidence. The mother just chose to fill the void in her life with something, and WoW presented itself to her.

          I bet the mother plays WoW while the son is asleep too. And I bet she isn't looking for a job either.

          This is a fairly sad (and by sad, I mean the pathetic kind of sad) story of a emotionally vulnerable family being consumed by the timewasting, life-destroying, addictive-as-drugs franchise known as WoW.

            I hope that post helped you feel superior to a 50 year old mother that went through one of the mos traumatic things people experience in life .

              Thanks for saying that Glen.

              It must be so easy for you desk jockeys to blatantly fob off a story like this because you've probably never experienced anything like this poor woman has been through in your lives, it must be nice to not have any feelings or compassion.

              Her son wanted to play it in the first place, you don't try and force/make your kids do things you want to do, you do the things they are interested in and if that so happens to be Wow then so be it; Who cares if you think this game to be a waste of time or as addictive as crack, if you enjoy something you generally continue to do it.

              I do however slightly agree with one point in that yes she could have bonded in many other ways but does it really matter? the fact is it happened and it's a good story of someone getting over the issues that they have in their life by whatever means they had @ hand.

                Divorce may be hard, but who are you to claim that it's harder than the majority of issues that others have gone through in life? Let alone, issues that I have gone through?

                Additionally, alcoholism or drug addiction is also "enjoyable" to people, and they continue to do it. So, is that also fine?

                If you really boil this story down, and disregard all the "nawh how beautiful" attempts, it's really quite pathetic. A nine year old shouldn't be exposed to WoW, nor should WoW be used as any sort of "therapy".

                You don't solve a void in your life by introducing an element that expands that void.

                Yep, agreed. The kid wanted to play it and his mum decided to join in. If nothing else, expressing an interest in something that her son has, and discovering what people are like in the game, not to mention what her son's like online compared to the real world, are all good things that came out of it. How could killing and eating a fish help her find out what other people are like, or what her son is really like? Sure they can talk and bond, and possibly wipe the fish guts off each other, but playing a game together is just as good a way of getting through it as any other.

                Arguments that make assumptions like playing WoW every minute of the day, or start with "I bet..." don't really contribute much.

                  Kind of strange how quickly some forget about all the people that have:

                  1) Died.
                  2) Lost their jobs.
                  3) Lost their partners.
                  4) Dropped out of higher education.
                  5) Lost their social skills.
                  6) Lost their friends.
                  etc...

                  Also, online MMORPGs do not show what people are really like. Internet identities are not real representations of people.

                  I would assume that the best way to get through any difficult situation is to talk about it? And if you're going to use an activity to bond with somebody, make it a beneficial one.

                  Finally, WoW is M15+. This kid is 9.

            She call Murlocs Morlocks, but you're right, if she plays Warcraft at all then obviously she must be super hardcore and obsessive about it. There's no way she could enjoy it and play it in moderation like millions of other people.

    Whoa! Some ppl gotta get off the hate train...

    I think this is a good story.
    There is way too much presumption in some of the negative comments.
    The simple facts are the Husband walked out, the Women needed a distraction and not only did she find one that was benifitial to her but also to her son, who must also have been affected by his Father walking out.
    Nowhere does it say the Boy (or Mother) does not play soccer or have friends and go fishing. Nor does it say they are "addicted" and play the game 24/7 at the expense of their own health, education or employment.

    Wow so much negativity and so many assumptions. The author mentions going swimming at the beach with her son so it probably isn't like they are holed up in the basement for weeks on end getting addicted. For all we know they only played the game one afternoon a week.

    Not everyone that drinks is an alcholic and not everyone that plays WoW is addicted!

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