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Do you escape the real world with WoW?

I think we all know this feeling: sometimes the world around us just sucks and we want to get away from it all. Video games can be a good way to do that, especially something like WoW that isn’t super competitive (whereas games like Overwatch and Heroes of the Storm can be frustrating when you lose).

WoW can be ideal escapism because it’s not always a challenge. Sure, a Mythic dungeon or raid requires your full attention, but a lot of lower level content doesn’t. You can get absorbed in the story details and read every line of dialog, or you can just let it roll past while you grind for reputation or hunt for crafting materials. The game has lots of small tasks with little rewards at the end — from killing a rare for some neat loot to finishing a quest — each of which is a tiny achievement, and you can feel good about that achievement, no matter how small.

WoW — and any game, really — has a set of rules by which it operates. Learn the rules — or figure out the rules — and you can beat the game. Do a quest, get a reward. Even if the game can be frustrating, in the end you have complete control over your success or failure. (Okay, except for those quests where you need to collect four bear paws and only one in ten bears has any paws. Those are just annoying.) Real life is never quite so simple, always throwing you unexpected challenges and frustrations. The structure a game world offers can be soothing when life is chaotic.

And most importantly: games are fair. Okay, sometimes they have balance issues. Sometimes your class gets nerfed. But games are, overall, inherently fair. The purpose of game design is to challenge you, but never to be impossible. After all, if you ragequit, you’re no longer paying subscription fees. There are obstacles, but they’re built to be overcome within the set of abilities all players have.

Real life just isn’t like that, but it’s nice to get away to a pretend world where there’s no challenge that can’t be overcome.

So, readers, today we’re talking escapism. Which do you retreat to when the real world is just a little too much? Is it WoW, another game, or something else entirely?

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