6 Ways World of Warcraft Is Better Than Real Life

Sometimes, the real world just sucks.

We retreat into a virtual world because, let’s face it: Virtual worlds don’t come with the myriad of downers you’ll find in the real world. From the minor quibbles to the permanent, irreversible catastrophes, the World of Warcraft is usually a much less stressful place for the frazzled player. Sometimes, it’s even a better alternative.

1. There’s no such thing as traffic. Here in Southern California, we lovingly call our most trafficked freeway “Carmageddon.” Impatient drivers weave in and out and inevitably cause more accidents than they avoid. Bumper to bumper traffic is the sign of a relatively good day.

In WoW, you’re never going to see a five kodo pileup in the Drag. In fact, most of the time you don’t even have to worry about walking or riding anywhere on your own. Talk to a flightmaster, board a transport, or coerce a mage. Even when you’re forced into a tight corridor, you can barrel right over your fellow players without fear of comeuppance.

Now if only we could find a way to keep people from mounting on top of mailboxes…

2. Death can be reversed by a quick resurrection. In real life, death is unforgiving and often unexpected. Most of all, it’s permanent. No amount of prayer or bartering will bring back a loved one. For those that believe in an afterlife, there is some hope for a life beyond death, but even that is uncertain and governed by abstract rules that only the dead can truly understand.

In WoW, death is but another casual fact of virtual life. Eventually you’ll get in over your head and you’ll die. But one quick corpse run and you’re right back at it, able to fix your mistakes. And if you’re a healer, you wield the ultimate power in correcting screwups: The ability to resurrect the dead.

Best of all, you know exactly why you died. You didn’t have the right gear. You were standing in the fire. You drew threat from the tank and got smacked in the face. One glance at the combat log tells you exactly why you died, giving you a surefire way to make up for it once you’re back on your feet.

3. Right now is all that matters. The first few months after I lost my daughter, it was a struggle to get through each day. Guilt tore at me from every angle. If I would have caught it sooner. If I would have watched more closely. If I would have researched more alternative medicines. If I would have given more time, more money, more everything. When I wasn’t dwelling on the past and its many ‘what ifs,’ I was desperately trying to sort out the future. How could I possibly pull it together for my son? What would I tell him when he was old enough to understand? How the hell was I going to survive her next birthday?

A huge draw for me in WoW was the ability to focus on the now. Nothing in the game reminded me of the past. As soon as I logged in, the past and the future disappeared. I am raiding with guildies now. I am browsing the Auction house now. I am leveling Jewelcrafting now. Specific, defined events with immediate rewards for completing them. And after you’re done with one thing, you simply move on to the next, with no agonizing over the past or being fearful of the future.

4. Money really is no object. The real world comes with real responsibilities and a heaping pile of bills to contend with as well, as if working hard and raising a family wasn’t stressful enough. Anyone who’s ever lived paycheck to paycheck knows what it’s like to be crushed under the weight of financial obligations. And just when you think you’ve gotten a bit ahead, the car breaks down or the baby gets sick and everything you’d been saving up gets put toward fixing an inevitable emergency.

Wealth in the real world usually involves a tradeoff of some sort. If you want more money, you have to work on it, and that means neglecting others things you’d rather be doing.

But in WoW, you can log in a few minutes before a raid, post a few items onto the Auction House, and then have them sell without any further action on your part. You don’t have to pay taxes on the gold you bring in; only a small Auction House fee for the convenience of it. And if you want to invest a little more time in making gold, you can use any number of surefire methods for a quick score, or you can take a gamble and hope it’ll pay off big. If you lose that gamble, your heater won’t be turned off; bill collectors won’t call you at all hours. You just start again.

5. Nobody cares what you look like. Genetics sure can be a bastard. The same genes that make someone tall and slender with the metabolism of a race horse can make someone else short, stout, and left to find a creative comeback for uninspiring teapot jokes.

In the real world, you can’t really choose what you look like. Sure, you can go to the gym, put on makeup, and add a bit of heft to your chest if you have the time and money, but that’s all on the surface. You weren’t born that way, no matter how hard you try to change your appearance.

World of Warcraft is sometimes criticized for its lack of character customization, but knowing your character is going to look almost exactly the same as every other character is a comfort to many people. Sure, WoW human males may have massive, meaty paws, but every male human in the game has the same colossal clobbermits.

It used to be that some of the elitist players based someone’s worth on the gear their character was wearing, but now even that isn’t much of an issue. With Transmogrification you can wear whatever you want and no one can tell how ‘leet’ you are unless they take the time to inspect you. Go ahead and wear those mismatched greens you’ve been keeping in your bank for no particular reason. No one will be the wiser.

6. The unemployment rate is 0%. Less than fifty years ago, the average, able-bodied US adult was expected to work only a few jobs their entire life, with the average lifespan of each job being about 15 years. Now, the average lifespan of even the best jobs is somewhere around 5 years, and new college graduates are expected to hold almost three times the jobs of their grandparents.

Job stability is a very rare thing these days, and many hard workers have experienced the devastating reality of having a reliable position taken out from under them, leaving them unemployed with absolutely no prospects.

You’ll never see this happen in WoW. No matter how shitty your server’s economy might be, there’s always work you can do; always gold you can earn. In fact, from day one you already have a full-time job: You’re a freaking adventurer! You slay dragons, you save innocents, you pick grapes from fields. Alright, maybe the last one isn’t very heroic, but you still get paid for it, and the average WoW player will make over 20,000g by questing from 1-85.

And in case being an adventurer isn’t challenging enough, you can have two different professions and up to four additional skills that all bring in extra gold. You’ll never get fired. Never get demoted. Never suffer a pay cut. And if you ever want to switch jobs, you can pick up a new skill and start making gold again within a few hours.

Whether it’s a petty annoyance or life-altering devastation, there are so many real world problems that don’t exist in the World of Warcraft. Why do you think WoW is better than real life? What gives you peace of mind after a long day in reality?

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7 Responses
  1. Rilandune says:

    A truly fantastic post in every way! Not only did it stir my emotions, I agree with every single point made.

    WoW is better than my real life for each of these 6 reasons, they have all touched on exactly my own feelings about each topic. I have said so many times “I wish WoW was like real life and if I needed more money, I could put in some extra hours, work harder, do more “dailies” – only my job in real life doesn’t account for any of those things. I cannot think of anything to add because you truly touched on every aspect I would have said myself.

    Bravo, a truly brilliant post!

    • Lilpeanut says:

      Thank you! I think that if we could learn to be okay with the reality of these 6 things in our Real Life or at least change the way we view them, we’d be able to love our Real Lives just as much as we do WoW. If we could be okay with traffic. If we could learn to easily accept that death is part of life. If we could learn to live in the now. If we could change the ways we view money – It isn’t all evil, is it? Can’t we look at money in abundance rather than view it in scarcity? We have more money than most people do in this world. Is working longer and harder really the key to making more money? If we could be okay with what we look like and not judge others for how they look. And lastly, if we could earn money doing what we love. We’d truly be happier if we can turn around the way we view these things, don’t you think? Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Funny how I KNOW this, but yet it’s so damn hard to truly believe and live it. I’m not sure why that is. It’s perhaps a mixture of how I was raised, our culture, and our society… I could go on and on and turn this into a post itself 🙂

  2. Michelle says:

    I love this. I make myself jump through hoops for WoW time because it’s so much better than regular life. I wouldn’t pay for a world that wasn’t, honestly. I do accept this real world for all it is, in its ugliest, harshest, most serene and most beautiful. This world is pain and triumph and misery and hope all lumped together. Sometimes in the same breath. The real world breaks my heart with its complexity along with its fundamental simplicity. But WoW is a part of this world. It’s a thing, a game, an invention, a place of its own, which makes it as real as the minivan I drive in or the Christmas tree beside me. The minivan is a tool, it fulfills a purpose. The tree is ornamental, it fills me with a warm and fuzzy feeling. WoW is a game I enter into, a tool to help me relax or disconnect, or feel strong or (ironically) connect with people, or any number of things. It’s better than regular life because it has to be. I can’t begin to fathom the despair that losing a child would bring 🙁 But if that happened to me, I would definitely seek refuge in something. Maybe it would be endless writing, maybe it would be WoW, or hours and hours at the piano, or I’d become lost in reading books or become like my grandmother, lost in her church, but I think all of those things (WoW included, in your case) are much better than what COULD happen in such a violently horrendous life experience. You turned to WoW. There are much worse addictions, and much sadder ends. But that’s a tangent… oops. 🙂 Basically, I’m happy that WoW is a part of my life. It ADDS to my real life, and I’d be sad if my real life didn’t include WoW.

    Great post! Lots of food for thought here. <3 <3

    • Lilpeanut says:

      I agree, WoW serves a purpose. I know one day I’ll say that it fulfilled its purpose in mine, and it will be no longer. It’ll be just another memory. Another thing of the past that came and went, as most things in my life do. Until then, it’ll continue to have its hold over me. And I’m totally okay with that.

  3. Wils says:

    Agreed. I agree with them up there. My real life and game life mingle, so that is what it is. I began playing because my kids did. We seldom play together but I have met a bunch of other people of “a certain age” that play and have kids too so its all good. And I agree with that job thing.

  4. Honeybaby says:

    Very fantastic post…. I agree wholeheartedly… though I wish I could snap out of my jam quicker than I am! 🙂 But WOW does serve a purpose and it does help…..

  5. Whisperwind says:

    Glorious! Truly glorious! I couldn’t agree more! Oh if only real life would be like WoW… Adventure every day, real traveling, defeating dragons and such… How cool would it be to just wake up one morning, hopping on your mount and riding off to a new land, exploring everything, meeting elves, dwarves, orcs, ect. (unless they’re an enemy, lol. Then you’d have to fight them, which is another reason why it would be so cool). Being a hero… Just wonderful! While real life is so boring… It’s like, what… You’re born, you go to school, you finish school, find a job, if you’re lucky – get married and make a family, your kids grow up, go to school, then to work while you grow old and then die, as your kids repeat the same life steps. Not to mention the stupid technology… Now it’s cars instead of horses. I would MUCH prefer to ride a horse than drive a car. Much less dangerous even. I wish people would still do that… and I wish people would use swords, bows & arrow, ect. over those stupid guns. Gosh, and school… In WoW world, you could learn the ways of a warrior, paladin, priest, mage, ect., ect. and it will be your way of life. While in real life, you have to learn math, physics, chemistry, history and all the other s*** you most likely won’t need in life. And if real life was like WoW, you could also travel normally. Now to travel, you’re gonna need money, which you could ONLY get from a job. And you could never be able to travel on foot, like in WoW. Jeez… It’s so sad. 🙁
    Well, at least there is such a game like WoW. Never, in this life, could I feel such amazing feeling of such adventure if not for WoW. Blizzard is my idol! <3

    Also, I really hate it when people say that WoW is a waste of time. The truth is – WoW made us feel good, and if something makes us feel good, should we categorize it as something that wastes time? LIVING WASTES TIME, all you'll do is f***ing die, if you die happy playing a MMORPG – then f***ing good for you! At least you f***ing enjoyed your life! Not many people get to say that.

    So anyways, I'm saying it again, your argument is glorious! I agree 100%!!!

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