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January 20, 2011

“How ‘World of Warcraft’ Helped Me Through My Divorce”

Filed under: Treats — posted by Breakup Girl @ 2:30 pm

Read; weep. Nothing to add.

World of Warcraft is definitely not for someone facing the end of three decades of marriage. Yet I am all of these things as well as a Darkspear Troll mage, with my home in the Barren Lands, a savanna populated with livid pink T-Rexes who wear blue necklaces and matching earrings. I am Level 21 (out of 70), just high enough to get out of the newbie playpen and die suddenly as I stray past cave bears or mega-spiders. /snip/

In many ways, “WoW” was weirdly evocative of what I faced in life. I was newly alone and, like my avatar, dependent on the skills I had, not the ones I wished for. At each turn, I seemed to be facing new dangers. Often, I died. But I rose again and again, finding within myself a bedrock strength that even this calamity did not erase.

My son and I learned “WoW” together. While he commandeered the keyboard, I sat beside him, to help him choose a path…My son has a generous, intuitive spirit. Though I’ve done my best to seem normal, like a weather vane he reads my moods. For weeks, I walked like the Undead through the routines of family life. I felt as gaping as the creatures in Undercity, a “WoW” metropolis, with their chests ripped open to expose neon-colored hearts….Then my son would invite me to play, his voice shiny with intentional cheer. I would find myself with his arm curled around my neck like the tenderest, toughest vine. His fear of what was happening to us moored me to earth. The end of love is a voyage to an unknown land, with mysteries and dangers that I had to learn to navigate…

So here are my “WoW” lessons, thanks to my son:…

Nope, sorry! Click here to behold Robin Kirk’s amazing essay in its full, gory, glory.


  1. Old story? There are now 85 levels, not 70, in World of Warcraft. It was raised up from 70 when Lich King expansion came out, which was in 2008. The guards with exposed neon hearts (they’re morbidly obese exploded corpses, called abominations, but yeah, the exposed hearts are there too) went away from Undercity not long after: at about level 75, you go through Undercity fighting rioting undead, and after that you only meet orcs guarding the place from further riots.
    And it’s Barrens, not “The Barren Lands”, but I guess a 21 level player can be forgiven for mixing that up.
    Also, the links to Salon’s full story are broken. Too bad. I wish I could read what her lessons were.

    Oh, and by the way, WoW helped me end my own undead relationship, so yeah. Way to go sister!

    Comment by nem — January 20, 2011 @ 4:18 pm

  2. Horrors! Am currently working from supersecret location, away from primary supercomputer. Will fix links asap! Sorry!

    Comment by BG — January 20, 2011 @ 4:36 pm

  3. nem — I actually didn’t have any problems with the links, so I’m not sure what the issue was on your end. Anyway, here, I’ll paste the lessons, but I still recommend you find a way to read the whole thing (just got to Salon.com’s Life section and you should see it). Cheers!

    The lessons she learned: “Adversity earns experience that levels you up and gives you more power. I don’t advise you to head heedlessly into an unexplored place; monsters can smack you down without warning. Read the rule book first. On the other hand, exploring can lead you to a particularly choice piece of treasure. Caution and adventure can be compatible, in other words.

    Flying is always a good idea. Watch your health and mana, the “WoW” term for spirit and magical power. But do not conserve these endlessly, since spending some can lead to great rewards.

    Repair your armor. Drink water. There is always a king at the center of the castle or the depths of a cave and it is a good idea to talk to him. Help other players when they are in trouble. If you are lucky, another player will help you just when you need it….”

    Comment by Breakup Girl — January 21, 2011 @ 10:28 am

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