As a gamer, it started as “MORE TIME TO PLAY GAMES! HELL YEAH!”. That got old super fast. I began doing yard work, taking chores off the plate of my wife and watching more movies. Game releases were stagnant. Then, opportunity struck. I started a gaming community in Atlas, a survival game made by the creators of Ark.
Yes, it is a terrible game; however, gaming multiplayer is not about the quality of the game, it is about the fun you have and the people you meet. That is what I did. I met people. People from all over America, Australia, New Zealand, China, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, England, Brazil, Mexico, Canada, Thailand, Vietnam, Spain and many other Asian/European countries. This was not my first experience with meeting an online crowd. I was a leader of a WoW guild for many years. I still talk to many of these players and even visit with some from time to time. They are also my family and always will be. That was a different experience. The COVID-19 pandemic was the first time that I intertwined with so many different cultures and primary languages on this scale – all with a world scaled pandemic beating on our doorsteps. My family grew.
We peaked at just over 500 members in the community. With all the chaos in politics, followed by a rampaging pandemic. we were able to figure out how to communicate with different languages in different time zones. Our team was able to coordinate and provide some of the most epic moments us gamers will never forget. This produced lots of memes, goofy moments, serious straight face moments and even great arguments. We met folks that were our “enemy” who were entertaining or interesting. It was an opportunity for us all to grow with cultural outlook and acceptance. The best part is, with 13 primary languages (where I only speak one), we were able to thrive in our gaming experience. It was fantastic.
During all of this, we as gamers were introduced to new people and new journeys. We saw new entertainers in the streaming world. We established new relationships that will incubate our gaming adventures over the next several years. We couldn’t leave and hit a bar, but we could pop a beer and play our favorite titles with our online family. Family that many of us gained the desire to want to meet face to face eventually. Family we cared about. Family we talked about the good times and bad.
Why do I call it family? Because that is what it is. It is family. I care about the people from my community and from my gaming experiences. They are, after all, real people. Good people. Excellent people. We spend countless hours with our online friends and, at times, reveal secrets or seek advice. These are things we may not be comfortable doing face to face or with a stranger. We game together. We watch movies together. We offer advice and career connections. We offer support in times of need. We worry when things are off, and we celebrate when things are great. When we need each other, we are there. Hell, some even fall in love. Some became my heroes, my mentors and even changed my life. If that isn’t a definition of a family, well – we can argue it some other time.
For me personally, it opened up many doors. From that build of trust and growth – we merged into another established community: DVS Gaming. Everything I just said? It grew. This is opening up doors for my family. I hope I am opening doors for others as well.