Monday, March 26, 2007

World of Warcraft and the 583rd Medical Logistics Company

This story begins with a big salute to a special gamer – one who is in the 583rd Medical Logistics Company currently deployed in Afghanistan.. But that is just where the story starts. Marshall Mcluhan, the popular author, spoke about there being a global village. When he wrote about a global village (although he did not coin the phrase) in 1962, the internet didn’t even exist. Today it is hard to imagine a world without it. While the internet has yet to reach the self awareness of Skynet from the Terminator movies, the recent launch by Britain of the Skynet 5 satellite made more than one person stop and think, I am sure. It is this global village that enables us to play massively multiplayer online (MMO) games like World of Warcraft (WoW) in the first place. WoW is a virtual universe that truly embodies the concept of a global village.

There are many small communities within WoW- static groups (groups of five people or so who regularly play together), guilds, and even servers. The latest issue of MMO Magazine has an article about a WoW guild that started all the way back in Ultima Online. That is not the first time I have heard of guilds that branch across MMO games.

Where but in virtual worlds like WoW could people who live all over the world meet together, play together, and still be home for their next meal? Every Wednesday morning a group in one of the guilds I belong to plays together and it consists mostly of Australians and Americans. Games like WoW have allowed me to meet, and get to know people I never would have met otherwise - people like the gamer who we shall call “Aerrar” (for that is the name this player goes by). Last night I received a whisper or tell from Aerrar. Now this in itself is nothing new for me. I have played Everquest, Ultima Online, Eve Online, World of Warcraft and now Vanguard. The last four games I played since I have been a nun. Most people who meet me on line are surprise to find out I am a nun. That is not news to people who have read my articles before. For me getting “Sister can I talk to you” whispers is part of the reason I am online. I am usually the resident nun and I make no effort to hide it. Wow and games like it have allowed me to meet a lot of people in various situations; women who are in abusive marriages and have had to flee for their lives, Women who are in custody battles for their children, and people like Aerrar.

This soldier is surely being watched over by God, or whatever name you care to attach to a divine entity. Recently as we were both playing WoW, Aerrar told me about being in an Artillary unit in Iraq and having survived a blast from a hand grenade from 3 feet away. In a rather sheepish whisper, I was asked to pray for both Aerrar and the 583rd Medical Logistics company, now stationed in Afghanistan of which Aerrar is a part. Without the virtual community, the global village, that is created by games like World of Warcraft, I never would have found out about the miracle that saved this soldier’s life. We had a nice conversation and joked for awhile about one of my favorite lines from the Robin Williams movie “Good Morning Vietnam”. It is the scene where he pretends to be called for a song dedication from someone in an artillery unit, and when asked what song to play the “artilleryman” says “ANYTHING JUST PLAY IT LOUD.” I found out from Aerrar that line is very true.

What amazed me, as we talked, was how things had changed in the military. When I was in the military back in the 80’s (the 1980’s not the 1880’s - I am not that old) there were no computers in our unit and certainly no internet. Now I find out about military units were soldiers are able to play World of Warcraft overseas, and Aerrar is not the first soldier I have found out about that way either.

So thanks to the global village of MMO’s like World of Warcraft I found out about a special gamer and soldier who was protected by a miracle. This article is dedicated to the soldiers of the 583rd Medical Logistics Company in Afghanistan…

Keep your head down out there – see you on line.

Sister Julie

© 2007 Juliemarie WhiteFeather

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