When WoW came out 8 years ago (Yikes, has it really been that long…?) and my college roommate asked me to play it with him, I never expected it to have such a profound effect on my “real life.” It was just a game, after all. Who knew that I would meet some of the coolest people ever on “just a game” and that they would become some of my closest friends.
I played with my roommate on the Mannoroth server for some time. It was a pvp realm and that was what I was about in those days. I mean, my Tauren warrior made Grand Marshal and that was pretty hardcore back in the day. She is gone now, though, unfortunately. Yes, I had to sell my beloved first character and the account she was on because I needed money for rent and junk. (Clearly my priorities were all wrong but I was only a kid then. Don’t judge me.)
When I decided to start over again, I didn’t want to roll on another pvp server. I was so burnt out from that. Two friends that I met on a gaming forum (you crazy kids know who you are) had their characters on an RP realm – that apparently did close to non-existent RP – so I decided to go there. The first character I ever made was my elven hunter, Aldyth, and she would be my main for the majority of the Molten Core content when I joined Empyrean and eventually Afterlight. However, when Afterlight started doing Blackwing Lair, the raid leaders realized that we needed more healers, or more specifically, we needed cleanse-bots for Chromaggus. Enter Rhulain, my newly-level 60 paladin who was still rocking dungeon blues. I went from wearing Luminary Kilt from BRD straight to Judgement Legplates. Don’t laugh; I healed my butt off in raids with that stupid leather skirt. And I was good at it.
Rhulain was powerful, independent, invincible (when pally bubble was up…), and could kick some serious undead ass while looking good doing it. Rhulain was not the kind of woman who would take crap from anyone, not even Nefarian. She’d Hammer of Wrath his face in with her Lok'amir then walk away from his corpse with a casual flip of her luxurious raven hair over her Judgement Spaulders.
Though she had many traits that I could only wish I possessed at the time, she also took on some of my own characteristics. I was never a girly-girl and that became obvious to my guildies. A fellow paladin friend once told me long ago, “You’re not a girl, just a really cool dude with odd parts.” The more I played Rhulain, the better I became at being a paladin. I honestly felt that I had the respect of my peers in the guild and their friendship. I began to have more confidence in myself, not only as a player and a leader, but also as a person outside of the game.
WoW provided me with a place where I could be me, a place where I could share my geekitude with those of like mind. I could talk about game-related things without drawing weird looks or fear of judgement. I had a friend in the guild that was a fellow bibliophile, loved everything Joss Whedon, and actually knew who Joel Grey was. I met yet another friend who shared my passion for writing. I even met my husband in this game and even now that we are no longer 2000 miles apart, we still play together.
Because of Rhulain, I found myself and I have an identity. I am a geek, a nerd, and proud of it. I am a quintessential Asian girl in that I get straight-As and want to be a doctor someday (unless I actually make a career out of writing, of course). According to the media, I weigh more than I should but whatever; at least I get to eat a rib-eye and not feel bad about it afterwards. I have weird compulsions like needing everything to be straight or even and needing clothes to be folded a certain way. I love to cook and bake, especially for my husband who is always so appreciative and tells me everything I make is delicious. My idea of a successful shopping trip is finding an anticipated book, the right color floss for my cross-stitch project, or a designer pair of shoes for only $13. I do my makeup to indulge my theatrical side and as an outlet for artistic expression. I have been called weird, abnormal, bitchy, and too sarcastic/sardonic for my own good. But I am me.
I am Rhulain and she is Cindy.