***Please note: anything in [ ] was a footnote in my word processing document.***
Spectre (Todd), whom I still call Spec, is another good friend I made. He was also great friends with Reggie, along with Josh and Ginny, whom I’ll be introducing later. All of us were in Anomaly and we treated each other like family, sharing laughs and tales of how our days went, things going on in our families, and even how the weather was in our respective neck of the woods. Since everyone was from all over, mostly the U.S., it was interesting to compare climates, poking fun of people in blizzards or miserable heat waves, and envying blissful climates. Me being from New England, I often envied my fair-weather friends.
Spec, a Georgia native who’s married to a wonderful woman named Lauren, has two adorable boys who will continue the gaming nerd tradition into their generation. They play games like Pokémon and Mickey Mouse, and the boys bond while watching each other play games on Spec’s old iPhone. His wife has never been interested in video games. Sure, she’s busy helping raise two boys but Spec still tried to coax her into the awesomeness of the MMO universe. And while he’s not being a gaming nerd, father, or husband, he’s a management consultant.
His love of video games started when he was young. He really wanted a Nintendo but his mom wouldn’t get one for the longest time. They were pretty poor and couldn’t afford the games. His grandmother finally convinced her to let Spec have one so it would make his grandmother’s Christmas shopping easier. From there, Spec progressed to the GameBoy, Nintendo 64, Playstation, and then PC gaming. Command & Conquer was one of his favorites, and the Warcraft trilogy for it fantastical elements. Command & Conquer was a blast because he loved the premise of building a base, a big army, and then invading the enemy base and destroying it.
Spec got into WoW because he played the original Warcraft games and Command & Conquer, so, for him, it was a natural progression to take on WoW. He’d been eagerly anticipating its release, and he spent the first few weeks trying to figure out the game, as well as which class he wanted to play. It was his first experience with an MMO, so it was totally new for him.
From there, he got into Starcraft and Diablo as well, as did I. I remember trying Diablo II back in high school, because of my childhood best friend. It was fun, but I was better at dying than staying alive.
Spec was a huge altaholic and switched mains a bunch. [Main: toon that is considered the main that you play.] He’d get to endgame content and either didn’t have a group to make progress, or the current game balance made his class obsolete in a way (Blizz constantly tries to perfect class balance), so Spec explored his options. Plus, leveling alts was a way to pass the time while waiting for enough people to log on and form a group for endgame content. Spec’s schedule has always been strenuous, so it was a challenge to get a static group to raid with.
The steady release of new content kept him engaged for a long time; however, it was the friends he made that really made him stick around. He could jump from game to game with his core group of friends, like Rift, League of Legends, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, and more. I didn’t do any game hopping with Spec in particular, but I agree that trying new games with a group of friends is super fun, especially when you’re using Skype or Vent to chat and squeal with delight—no actual squealing went on, but you get the idea.
With the exception of WoW, Spec didn’t stick with any of the aforementioned games. Rift and Guild Wars 2 lacked endgame content, and since he didn’t know anyone playing Star Wars, it was hard to make progress. He stayed with WoW the longest, but as people stopped playing, he got tired of starting over in new guilds all the time. Ultimately, it was the people who made the game worth sticking around for. When friends went poof, his desire to play the game went poof.
Some of his most memorable moments include beating raid bosses for the first time, including one called the Lich King, Arthas, and spending countless hours in the raid Karazhan. He doesn’t have any hugely memorable moments. The game as a whole was a lot of fun, and the good times and good people steadily came and went with new content. He was big on running damage and healing meters to see how often he topped the charts.
Spec and I spent most of our time chatting together about anything and everything, whatever was going on in our lives at the time. We chatted about me and Reggie, along with his two boys, who were born around the time we met.
One question I’ve been asking everyone is if MMOs have led them to any opportunities, be it, jobs, relationships, or something else. Spec said that WoW presented him with good friends more than anything else, since he was already well into his professional life and got married to a woman he’d been serious with before starting WoW. His real life circumstances were relatively unaffected, other than creating fights with his wife about how much time he spent playing video games.
The online gaming community, to Spec, means many different things to him. He’s kept that and his real life fairly separate because he doesn’t really have a reason to combine them. It’s an escape and a hobby. For others it’s a support structure or even a network of their closest friends, but he just hasn’t had that experience, as it’s hard for him to form lasting relationships without tangibly meeting people.