On WoW Conversations with Strangers

Last night I went to dinner with some of my boyfriend’s coworkers. I’m a quiet type, so when meeting new people like this I usually sit back and observe how everyone else acts. They were all fun people, though not the normal type of folk that I’m used to hanging out with. Eventually one of the girls piped up and admitted to playing Magic (the card game) last week. She had borrowed a deck from one of her friends and actually won once!

This led to the accusation that she had done another unbelievable nerdy thing in the past, playing World of Warcraft. She confessed that yes, she played up to level 35. At that point, she said, the game took too much of her time, so she quit.

They all laugh and lovingly mock her for her mild nerdiness. Meanwhile I’m checking the time on my phone to see how late I’m going to be to my raid. I never say anything about my own habits; this doesn’t seem like the right crowd. The last thing I want to do at this point is tell a bunch of strangers how I spend almost 20 hours a week playing this game.

I’m not really ashamed to play WoW. Well I am, a little bit, but my biggest concern is the stigma that comes along with admitting such a thing. I’m not prepared to let strangers get ahold of something that is basically a quick judgement. They hardly know anything about me at this point, and I don’t want WoW to be the one thing they do know. I’m not prepared for the conversations it could open up, the incorrect assumptions they make about my favorite pastime.

There have been other times where a stranger directly asks me whether or not I play the game. I’m a terrible liar, so I bashfully answer “I do, a little bit.” Understatement. At this point I hope the conversation moves on to a different topic, but often it leads to more questions. If the inquirer has played WoW at some point, I can expect a stream of questions about what I do in the game, what I play, etc. Things I don’t want strangers to know about me, but of course I answer truthfully, though usually in a limited fashion.

Again last night, a similar topic arose among the ladies of my guild about whether or not you should tell people you’re interested in about your gaming habits right away, or ease them into it. Obviously I’m on the side of easing them into it. If a guy didn’t accept my playing WoW, then he wouldn’t be the guy for me, but I don’t want to push all of possibly crazy aspects of my personality on him right away.

Does anyone else try to keep their WoW habits a secret? Does it still pop up in your conversations with strangers, and how do you handle it when it does?