Chapter 18: Josh and Ginny

KazonTalbukBurningCrusade  ***Please note: anything in [ ] was a footnote in my word processing document.***

I met these two lovely people through Reggie, who actually introduced Josh to Ginny. They’ve been happily living together in Iowa for four years now and they take turns introducing each other to new games. Marriage will happen when the time is right. Nowadays people can meet their future spouse through online gaming. Makes some of the best bedtime stories for children. Has magic, monsters, romance, and epic tales all in one.

Out of all the friendships I’ve formed, the one with these two is unique. They’re the only people I’ve gone back and forth between being great friends and going months at a time of not talking to one another. I hated those dry periods. Whenever we clashed, their method of coping was to avoid, where I’m the exact opposite and want to address the problem right then and there. This led to my characters getting put on their ignore lists several times but, once they’d cooled down, our friendship would bloom again and we’d act like nothing ever happened.

Sometimes forgiving and forgetting is the best way to go, especially when you’ve already forgotten what exactly needs forgiving.

Ginny is native to Mohawk, New York, a region full of rolling hills and endless farmland that sits between Buffalo and Albany. She grew up in an old house from, it’s estimated, the 1700s that used to be one side of a street, but then people dug up the foundation sometime during the 1800s and transported it to the other side, horses, logs, and all. It used to be a carriage house.

Ginny got into WoW back in the beta testing days. She started playing because her best friend’s husband got his wife into gaming, who told Ginny she had to play WoW, too. Before, she played Everquest and one other MMO that escapes her memory after all these years. On top of that, she’s been gaming since the days of the home Pong console. Her parents bought it when she was about 6 years old, and it opened up casual yet competitive gaming for her.

She and her mom were the big console gamers in the house. Her dad and brother never really got into it as much. Still, the nerd gene runs deep in her entire family. Board, card, TCG, computer, console, tabletop, etc. Everyone likes some kind of game and they spread into family pastimes, like Pinochle. Ginny can still remember listening to them play while she and the rest of the kids were in the living room, watching TV.

Her mom used to test games for Intellivision, which was out around the same time as the Atari 2600. Then one day she brought home the original Nintendo and, shortly after, her Dad made Ginny her first home computer. He’s now an Air Force retiree who’s been working with the computers since the days they took up entire rooms.

I know her best as Lyssandra, a priest, and her mage, Kazulniteoak. Some of her most memorable moments involve killing Shade of Aran (a boss) with just her mage and a healer for the last 5%, along with teleporting herself at the conclusion of a raid, instead of using the group teleport feature on a number of occasions. (I’ve done that, too.) Habit mode kicks in, and next thing you know you’re saying, “Oh, no!” over Vent while your screen is loading. You’ve accidentally just stranded 9 to 39 other people. You get a mix of laughter and “Aw, man!” in response. It’s an inconvenience more than anything.

Like me, she’s an altaholic, but very good at what she does. She’s also been an avid raider, pet collector, and achievement point acquirer. [Just like in real life, you can be a pet hoarder, but in WoW you don’t have to feed, water, clean, groom, or anything; just summon them to your side with a click of a button and they’ll follow you to the ends of Azeroth.]

PvP has never really been her thing. It was good until a PvP feature called Arena came out, where the environment grew toxic with chronic complainers. Before Arena, people used to employ teamwork and verbal support; now it’s more about numbers (damage and healing output) and name-calling.

Ginny believes the toxic numbers game stems from an addon called Recount, which tracks many things, including damage and healing output. It’s meant to help people improve their DPS and healing (it’s helped me, too) but instead it drove people to turn WoW into a numbers game, instead of a collaborative effort to overcome a challenge. There’s been a serious decline in motivation to work and learn together.

Ginny still plays WoW on and off, taking breaks to let the game sit, so when she comes back it feels fresh again. She’s really enjoyed the game all these years, but she’s stuck with it for so long because of the people. There are still quite a few people, including myself, that she’s still friends with and stays in touch with mostly through Facebook or texting.

* * *

Josh, whom I like to call Joshiepoo, has played mostly on his Rogue and Druid, whose names have changed a lot over the years. [Players can change their characters’ names for a fee.] He’s a sweetheart who’s always willing to help, has a mountain of patience when it comes to teaching others how to raid or play their class, and is one of those people who is always happy and smiling. It’s super rare for him to be in a bad mood, but even then, those moments are fleeting. He prefers to be in a good mood and will do everything he can to get back into one, especially listen to music, like symphonic and Christian Metal, but just about any type of good music will lift his spirits.

Josh started playing WoW during late Vanilla, thanks to his brother, who was a huge fan of Everquest. That game never did it for Josh but WoW looked rather interesting, so he grabbed a copy and started playing. He didn’t really get into it until somewhere in mid-BC, thanks to his ex-wife. The two didn’t have a whole lot in common; he was a nerd and she was a country girl. Josh had been hoping WoW was something they could do together, but that didn’t work out so well. Since then, he’s been a regular player while taking short breaks here and there.

Josh and I didn’t talk a whole lot when we first met. All he remembers is my toon Midgetofdoom and that my voice on Vent didn’t match that name. Wasn’t midgety enough.

He’s a Pella, Iowa native, a town in the middle of nowhere, and currently works for Pella Corporation as a Utility Operator. He’s the go-to guy, the “gopher”, since he’s been working there so long. Despite how well the company has treated him, he has big dreams for his future outside the facility. He’s creating a trading card game from the ground up, writing lore, rules, marketing, etc. WoW inspired him to pursue this passion. Some friends don’t understand this passion but for Josh it gives him a focal point in every aspect of his life, and honestly, it’s probably the best thing to happen to him in the last fives years—besides Ginny, of course.

Josh has been gaming since the tender age of five, beginning with the classic Nintendo. His dad set it up and he played Mario Bros. and Legend of Zelda for hours on end. He’s enjoyed every genre and form of gaming (like D&D, which he plays to this day). His dad played video games as well, but not nearly as much as Josh and his brother. However, some of Josh’s fondest memories are of going to bed and his dad coming into their room to play. Josh and his brother would watch and try to help him out with solving puzzles in Zelda and whatnot.

Joshiepoo enjoys every play style in WoW. He’s got six 90’s thus far and more in the coming weeks. [The max level in the game as of February 2014 is 90. It’s easier to say “90’s” instead of max-level toons.]

Two of those are PvP-specific and he raids often with two other toons. He’s also a big fan of the pet battle system, having six solid contenders at the highest level of competition, and then a complete zoo at his disposal, since he loves collecting them all. Ultimately, he’s the sort of gamer who prefers exploring every aspect of a game and enjoying it for the whole and not just one particular part.

In his opinion, WoW has done a great job of creating an enjoyable whole, especially compared to other MMOs. They’ve balanced every aspect of content for casuals all the way up to hardcore. He’s met and built an amazing WoW family whom he’d almost call blood. He enjoys playing with them and it’s the best medium when it comes to staying in touch. Community is imperative in an MMO, since he’s a very social person. WoW, especially the guild Anomaly, has given him that. Heck he’s even met four gaming friends in real life: me, Ginny, and two guildies who live in Minnesota. There are distant plans in the works to visit some friends in Florida. He keeps in touch with everyone via Facebook and WoW, since he’s not much of a phone person.

It’s a struggle for Josh to pinpoint memorable moments in WoW. The whole experience has been one big blob of a memory where all the defining moments blend together, the biggest one meeting the love of his life and soul mate, Ginny.

Josh admits that WoW possibly saved his life. He went through a horrible and nasty divorce in 2009. Ironically, it was because of WoW that his marriage went downhill, but he admits the marriage was heading south before all that. During that tough time, he met a couple key people who knew what was going on, along with Krymsen (whom you’ll be meeting later in the book), whom he met during a drunken stupor late one night. Those three helped him keep his sanity by being there for him and helping him through it all.

Yes, his friends and family from the real world helped, too, but the escape from reality WoW provided, along with the real people in the game helped so much. His gaming friends were caring and showed genuine concern, and he’s so thankful for that. He’s usually the guy that people seek to cry on his shoulder and vent to. His WoW friends gave him that outlet to vent, have a shoulder to cry on, and to get stuff off his chest so he could start thinking clearly.


About Angela Macala-Guajardo

Author, teacher, soon-to-be full time writer for two companies. Also a lover life in the Arizona desert, puppy butt wiggles, and kitties purring away on my shoulder.
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