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Coping with RL through MMORPG: My Life as a Cow Person, Part I
Tarsonus   |  

Tarsonus takes a flight pathThis is going to be the true-life accounts of a cow person, just trying to make it in the world, and his IRL alter ego’s battle through depression and life changes.

You see, on July 7th, one day after my birthday, a good friend finally convinced me to try playing World of Warcraft. Upon getting the 10-day free trial, I was stumped as to what kind of Toon I should make. The guild I was destined to join was Horde, so it limited my options. I finally decided on a Druid, as I have always been fond of nature, and I mean, Shat is a druid, so that pretty much sealed the deal. This pretty much meant I had to be a ‘Cow Person.’ Taurens, the gentle giant of the Horde. My friend started up a Tauren Hunter, and soon we were in the heart of Mulgore–Bloodhoof Village. The breeze coming off the plains and the Kodos, ah, this was home. We spent the first day alive wandering around, doing random quests and taking treks to both Thunder Bluff and Orgrimmar. It was simply epic.

During this time in my real life, a big event was going on. My mother, very ill for years and years, began to take a turn for the worse. She was always in the hospital, and I would only really get to see her once every few weeks. I just kept paying the bills and going to work. I’d get a phone call while in Ragefire Chasm and have to go AFK, so I could talk to her a little before she would go to bed. I would come home to voice mails and get no answer when I called the hospital, my mom was busy sleeping or having test after test run on her. So I would jump on WoW, and my guildies, along with the fine people of Thunder Bluff, would help me not think so much about the fact that there was this horrible aspect of my life, which I held no control over. July slowly rolled by, staying hot as ever while I ran through the Barrens, Ashenvale and many other areas.

My mom continued to get worse. I slowly grew in level as she became more and more ill. I came into my own as a DPS cat and a pretty good Instance healer. We would go see my mom, only to have her ask us to leave because she just wanted to sleep so she wouldn’t hurt anymore. It hurt so bad inside to have her call me the next day and ask if we showed up to see her, because she thought she just dreamed it. But I kept talking to her, because if it hurt like this for me, what about her. I always had a stout of Dwarven ale and a good string of Ally kills to chase away my feelings. All she has was a hospital bed and her thoughts.

The whole time my mom was slowly getting worse. I remember going up to see her and telling her I had started a new devil game. My mom use to always watch me play Diablo 2, and fight with me over how much time I spent on it. She asked me about it and I told her I would have to show it to her when she got home. She told me she would check it out. July eventually rolled its way into August.

One day while at work, I received a phone call. It was from the hospital, asking for permission to do emergency surgery. What else could I do? So I got someone to cover for me, rushed to the hospital with my sister, and waited for many, many hours. We sat and talked a little, joked, (my family has always had the skill to deal with anything with humor), and just tried not to think about anything. A constant thought was Azeroth, and at first this made me feel really bad. As we rode home, my mother in SICU, my sister and I knew things were bad. Probably the worst they had ever really been. We both knew it would take a miracle to save our mother. Neither of us said anything, her lost in her thoughts and me, silently hoping my server was up and that I could find solace running through Winterspring with my guild mates. I didn’t sleep much that night. I mostly ran around, farming skin, taking random flight paths, and just really enjoying the world around me. So much to explore, so much to do. Everything I needed to keep my mind off of the worst thing happening in my life.

The next day everything was a blur. My mom lived through the night, something all of her doctors said was a miracle all on its own, but they told us that shouldn’t mean we should really hope for anything, because she was slowly slipping away. I think that was the first time I knew I would lose my mom. She was put into a medically induced coma after the surgery because it was the only way to keep her from horrible pain. They told us the best thing we could honestly do is head home and come back later or tomorrow. They said they would call us if anything changed and that a hospital was no place to deal with this. since I have a horrible phobia of hospitals, I was all for that. I rode around with my sister, just talking and crying and remembering being a little kid.

She dropped me off and instantly I was logging in. By this time my guild pretty much knew my actual life was falling to shit. Everyone knew what was happening, but no one mentioned it, or asked me any questions. They just offered me exactly what I needed, a comfortable escape where I could find solace in Azeroth. We worked tirelessly to make our guild something worthy of Dalvengyr. That night I didn’t sleep much either, to busy finding jobbers and running quests, doing all I could to better Tarsonus as my own world was becoming worse and worse. We never got a call that day, but continually called to get updates. I spent the entire day leveling, managing to get close to 50. Time seemed to drag, and when the sun finally rose on the fateful day of August 4th, I walked away from my computer and Tarsonus to check on my mother one last time.

…to be continued


  1. I had a LvL 70 Tauren Druid (A 70 troll rogue and a 70 troll mage and one of every other class above LvL 40). Druids are all around good characters. They own when it comes to heals. Another fun class are Rogues (once you get passed 40ish). I quit the game. Too addicting if you ask me. Good to clear your mind though. Hope all goes well.

    Comment by JoJo — October 18, 2008 @ 6:13 pm

  2. funny thing is, I started wow with almost the same thing going on,with my mother, then also back in march my 1moth old son passed away, maybe the game is addicting, but it has helped me escape if for a little while the turmoil of my life, although I rolled a human ally, I understand

    Comment by dimesallah — October 18, 2008 @ 11:47 pm

  3. Shatner is a Tauren Shaman, NOT druid.

    Comment by Slipstream — October 19, 2008 @ 2:13 am

  4. Sorry if that came off sounding pompous. But somebody was probably going to eventually :)

    Comment by Slipstream — October 19, 2008 @ 2:14 am

  5. Oh and now after finally finishing the article concerning what it’s really about, I feel terrible and humbled. Apologies for bringing up something so stupid, Tarsonus. I wish we had delete buttons.

    Comment by Slipstream — October 19, 2008 @ 2:20 am

  6. Slipstream, don’t feel bad…after sending this article out, i felt like a jackass the next time i saw the commercial.

    So for what its worth, i kind of felt the same thing about myself.

    Comment by Tarsonus — October 19, 2008 @ 3:18 am

  7. this is a really touching article, thanks for sharing and I look forward to part 2.

    Comment by josh — October 19, 2008 @ 6:40 pm

  8. I too threw myself into an MMO to deal with grief. When my brother died on New Years Day, my family was understandably shocked. He rode 10k miles on his bike last year, and was in great shape for a 50 year old, but his old smoking habit caught up with him and his heart gave out while he slept.
    My brother was a functional autistic, so while he could function on his own in society, he was very open about his interests. He liked simple things; mainly trains and dinosaurs. In fact, as a young man, he assigned everyone in the family dinosaur names which stuck for years. For whatever reason, I decided that a nice way to honor him would be to create a hero in City of Heroes. Thus, Allo Express was born. I played a ton during the week that he died. Playing as my brother in hero form really helped me cope, because I knew what a kick he would have gotten out of it. I wish I’d thought to do it while he was alive.

    My heart goes out to you and your family for your loss.

    Comment by mrsachmo — October 21, 2008 @ 11:34 am

  9. I’ve blogged about and played WoW for a long time. I’ve come to one conclusion: it may be the best diversion for “real life” ever created. Sometimes, as most certainly in your case, that’s exactly what you need.


    Comment by PTD — October 23, 2008 @ 2:06 pm

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