WoW Insider had an interesting post this afternoon: Has WoW had a positive or negative impact on your life? As you would expect, many of the people who responded said that WoW has replaced TV in their lives, and I think this might be true for a majority of players. It’s a positive, social experience, rather than an extremely passive one wherein entertainment is fed to you. I never watched much TV, since the majority of programming is worthless, so WoW for me replaced some of my reading and the films that we would rent to watch because we weren’t big TV watchers.
This has a lot in common with recent articles that I’ve read, which show that, especially in a younger demographic, virtual worlds, social networking, and other web/networking related activities are replacing TV time.
I still do an enormous amount of reading, we watch favourite shows, and we have an Amazon rental list of films. I ride my horse, my partner kayaks, and still we manage to play an awful lot. Although at the moment we’re on different servers (roleplay just wasn’t his thing), playing was always a shared experience for us. It strengthened our relationship and gave us something to talk about rather than the daily mutinae of our lives…guild drama is ever so much more entertaining. :)
So, has WoW had a positive impact on my life? Definitely, without a doubt. I’ve experienced so much, I’ve taken what I’ve learned about social interaction in a virtual world and have created a new career…and potentially a head-line making site. I’ve made deep, true friends. I’ve fought monsters and overcome incredible odds at the side of the person who I love the most, and it just doesn’t get any better than that.