For as long as I can remember, I was always playing some type of videogame. Some of my earliest adventures were with Pajama Sam, Spy Fox, Putt-Putt, and the Backyard Sports crew. From there, I gravitated towards the consoles of my childhood - the Game Boy Advance, GameCube, and PlayStation 2 to name a few. But it wasn't until I became a new student at Ravenwood that I truly experienced a game like no other.
Wizard101 was my very first MMORPG. That's right, swapping gear pieces, completing dungeons, and interacting with other players in real time were completely new concepts to me. Looking at my gaming knowledge now, it's hard not to crack a smile. In fact, Wizard101 taught me many things that my previous games didn't.
Wizard101 taught me about MMORPGs.
I'm glad that Wizard101 ended up being my first MMORPG. It's not as complex as the more "hardcore" games, but the basic concepts are still there. Because of its simple interface and easily understandable objectives, I was able to dip my feet in the MMORPG genre without getting too overwhelmed. Now I can apply what I learned in any future MMORPGs that I decide to play.
Wizard101 taught me about people.
Unlike solo games, MMORPGs surround you with other living breathing people. That can be an exciting thing, but it can also be a slightly scary thing. People are unpredictable. I've seen all sorts of behavior both in game and on fansites, and it's eye opening. Being around tons of different personalities forced me to analyze and adapt to various situations. It mirrored the real world in a way. I'm going to run into many different types of people throughout my life, and I'm definitely not going to agree with all of them. The key however, is to be sensible and not let others get the best of me.
Wizard101 taught me about friendship.
It's crazy just how real virtual friendships can become. I never went into Wizard101 thinking that I would come out with lifelong friends, but I think that's exactly what I've done. I genuinely care about the people I play with and what's going on in their lives. Before Wizard101, I didn't know that such strong friendships could be created through a game. Now, it's changed my life and given me a second family. A family that follows me to every city that I travel to and provides a constant through life's many unknowns.
No matter what happens, Wizard101 will always have a special place in my heart. The game will have its 8th birthday next month and I couldn't be more excited. I'm confident that the game will be around for many more years to come and with it, even more lessons.