BBB's posts got me thinking about why I continue to keep with WoW. For me, WoW is my first and only MMO my previous gaming experience reaching the lofty heights of Solitaire, Bejeweled and Tetris ... high level gaming at its best. For me the answer was simply ... I enjoy the experience. I enjoy being able to pretend and explore; to just play. Despite the growth of gaming I sometimes feel like I'm a bit of a novelty by those outside the WoW community for no other reason than the fact that I choose to play for the enjoyment of play. It seems acceptable to play games as an adult to meet people, to get fit, and to maintain skills. Rarely do we see adults admitting that we play any game just because we really enjoy playing and that play is still important in our lives.
I Googled 'the importance of play'. Unsurprisingly the first posts were all about the role of play in child development. Play is apparently important in socialisation, understanding how people behave, how to amuse yourself, discovery, confidence, creativity, problem solving, ... here ... here is one of the links ... while the Child Development site cautioned parents against considering unstructured play as being not worthwhile or time wasting. Granted they are talking about children and not adults and play in the physical world not the game world (I don't like the distinction of the online gaming world as fictional and outside of that as real life as it suggests to me that I go into some state of non-sentient suspended animation when I log onto a computer) but I feel that their premise that play is important is relevant also to adults.
A further search focusing on adults confirmed this premise. Play is important for everyone. It is fundamental to who we are and I do not understand why people struggle to understand why as an adult I would choose to play anything and why there seems a need to justify time spent playing. I play for no other reason than the act of play makes me smile. I feel good and when playing put aside the rest of the day.
George Bernard Shaw said "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing".
(The rest of the quotes on that link are worth reading)