My dad never played World of Warcraft. In fact, he’d quite often grumble when I’d play Warcraft when he was visiting my house or I was visiting his. That’s interesting considering that he’s the one responsible for my interest in and enjoyment of computer/video games in the first place.
My dad was a software engineer but he was also quite savvy with mechanical engineering elements. He loved technology and bought one of the earliest personal computers, a Commodore 64. That computer gave me my first introduction to computer games. I remember playing all sorts of games on it, although I no longer remember their names, and a Google search proved too overwhelming to sift through.
Those first computer games led to games on additional gaming systems as I was growing up, including Sega, Nintendo, and PlayStation. My father continued playing video games, but they were always PC games and were usually war themed games or strategy games. I was into all types of games, but preferred ones that moved a bit slower and had a story, such as Legend of Zelda and the various spin-offs.
But as I said, my dad never played World of Warcraft. I think he might’ve enjoyed it if he’d given it a try, but he didn’t really have the desire to. Perhaps if he’d known about it before he had his strokes, he would’ve been more open minded and less grumbly about me playing it.
For a long while after my dad’s death I felt guilty about playing World of Warcraft while he was around. I felt I’d wasted time when I could’ve been spending it with him. But I eventually realized that playing Warcraft was my way of escaping the reality of an unhappy marriage and also an escape from dealing with the sadness of how my father’s physical and mental health were deteriorating. It was a coping mechanism and it was certainly less destructive than other outlets.
Now, almost 10 years after my dad’s passing, that guilt is gone as I’ve realized I can’t change the past. One thing he always wanted was for me to be happy and World of Warcraft certainly contributes to that happiness. Another thing he always wanted for me was to never give up on my writing and Warcraft has provided me the inspiration to write more frequently than I have in decades. This blog is an example of that.
Then a funny thing happened a few weeks ago as I was playing my low level lightforged draenei mage named Caruun. I realized that the character reminded me of someone. The broad stature, the laugh, the behavior, and the ornery nature of his water elemental all struck a familiar chord with me. I soon concluded that Caruun reminded me of my dad and my entire perspective on that character changed.
While writing this, I went back through my screenshots because nowadays I always take screenshots when I create new toons. When I looked at the date that I created Caruun, it was October of 2018, the nine year anniversary of my dad’s passing. I only vaguely recall doing that now that I’m trying to remember. On that day I think that was my father’s spirit at work coming to life during a time when I miss him keenly and feel deep sadness.
As my dad was an engineer and loved tinkering with things, Caruun picked up engineering and mining as his two professions. I then became very focused on leveling up that profession for the first time ever on any of my toons. One of my other toons, a void elf hunter named Valessa, had mining as well and I mailed her surplus of materials to Caruun. That development led to an interesting thought for my Warcraft fanfiction and deepened my association between Caruun and my father.
Would my father have been a mage if it were possible? Yes, I think so. Why? Because as pointed out by Kalecgos in Christie Golden’s novel, “Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War,” magic is just a form of math. I bet my dad would understand the workings of mage spells inside and out from a mathematical standpoint and that it would work perfectly with his engineering intelligence.
Whenever I play Caruun, I feel close to my dad’s spirit now. While I see a lot of my father in Caruun, he also has his own personality and backstory. Being from the world of Argus, Caruun is unfamiliar with many elements of Azeroth. He’s learning about new creatures and races and cities and it’s all very fascinating for him. However, his constant curiosity and slight confusion tends to annoy his water elemental, who my daughter helped me name Slosh McSloshers, and therefore Slosh never looks happy and occasionally burbles off elsewhere.
While other people might find it odd that I feel like I’ve found my dad in World of Warcraft, especially when he never played the game, it makes perfect sense to me. I always believe that my dad’s spirit is close by me and I feel like he influences some of what happens to Caruun and Slosh in the game. Those happenings have also inspired me to delve further into their adventures with my writing and that’s something my father would definitely approve of!
Stay tuned for The Adventures of Caruun and Slosh McSloshers! =)