Well – here we are in February.  2 months since my last post – and my how that has flown!   I have given thanks for a fantastic 2009, and am looking forward to an even BETTER 2010 🙂

Here in Australia it has been the height of our summer holidays.  There has been time with family, and time with special friends – all in all a wonderful couple of months.  Combine all the fun and festivities with a feeling that we are languishing at an inbetween while we wait for expansion – and this has meant I have not really been playing very consistently.   Our guild has however just recommenced raiding ….. so that has been a lot of fun 🙂

Over this last couple of weeks, I have managed to FINALLY get Kilanna to that magical 200aa.   Otherwise I have just been messing about, collecting items for transmuting on my Paladin, a little bit of work on the dirge, and pottering about on various other low level insignificant alts.  That is the gift of a game like EQ2 – so many options of things to do.

I was reading one of Stargraces posts over at MMOQuests today, and was starting to write a response.  Instead, I thought I would dedicate a part of my posting to explore her topic of Guilds, and talk about what my mmo and guild means to me.

Almost three years ago now, I moved Killy into Pax Fatalis.    I categorically state that my guild has made my MMO experience a much more rich and diverse experience than it otherwise would have been.   I have experienced content that I would not have without them, and I have achieved goals in game that I would not have without them.

I have made lifelong friends as some of my guildmates have become part of my everyday life.  Many of my guildmates live geographically close, so we get together socially on a fairly regular basis,  our last gathering had around 20 of us.   Some of my guildmates have been to my home and I have been to some of their homes.   I grant you this is not typical, but my family have met some of my guildmates and I have also met some of their family and friends.

Our guild has seen one couple celebrate the birth of their son, and they will soon enough celebrate their wedding.  We have also sadly seen the passing of one of our dearest members after he battled illness for 6 months.   Many people have come and gone, but the core of the guild have moved from EQ to EQ2, and have played together for many years.   We are far from a top end guild – but we have worked hard and achieved quite a bit this last year which is a source of pride, and brings a sense of family and community.

In this context then I say that I will never forget some of the experiences and friendships I have shared over the last few years.   They have absolutely changed my life.    Parts of the last few years have been among the most personally difficult I think I will ever experience in my life after my marriage ended.   It was a blessing to find a place to escape from some of that, and to have a sense that those closest to me were looking out for me.  To be able to log on at night, laugh with friends and have some sort of sense of belonging, with no pressure and no questions asked.  It is even my intention to travel overseas later this year to meet two of the most special brothers that have been a part of this journey.

The friendships, acceptance and support of some of my guildmates has been invaluable in helping me to come through the last couple of years to a point where my whole life is now flourishing.    It has been a long time since I have had such a strong sense of self and what I want from the future.  My career is flourishing, I am preparing to go back to school part time, I have the joy of watching my little baby nephew grow with my family, I have a bunch of amazing and varied friends, and have found a beautiful and comfortable apartment that I call home.

My point with this whole diatribe – I am not ashamed to say that my guild and guildmates are an incredibly important part of my life.  I accept that people may not understand that fully.  Such is life.

And then there is a very special lady that I met one night almost three years ago.  I had been reading her blog, and sheepishly started talking to her about raiding and healing.   We soon became firm friends and shared many confidences.   She metaphorically held my hand and cried tears with me as I dealt with some demons and found my inner strength.   We have never played together and dont even live on the same continent.  Our lives have gone somewhat seperate ways more recently, but I will always be honoured to call her friend.  I am not quite sure that this is what she had in mind when she wrote her own blog post but there you have it!

Who would have thought a computer game could change your life this much!

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