The mainstream stereotype of video games, especially MMORPG's, as antisocial diversions that rip up relationships is well known. That makes Wanda Kirk's recollection, of how playing World of Warcraft with her son helped her through her divorce, heartwarming indeed.
Kirk, a mother nearing 50, writes that she ordinarily would have refused her nine-year-old son's request to spend his allowance on a Warcraft installation disc and subscription. "Until my husband delivered the 10-minute fatwa: he wasn't happy, had never been and wanted (or already had) the younger girlfriend," she writes for Salon. "Without warning, I joined a great and storied company: the Unwanted."
Seeing the video game as means of therapy for her son, Kirk ended up exploring Azeroth with him, learning qualities of his personality that she wouldn't have seen otherwise, and discovering things about people and herself in the process. She ends the piece with 13 tips for playing World of Warcraft; many of them, of course, read like metaphors for getting through life.
In the end, what defeats the antisocial stereotype is the fact the game was played socially, and by that I don't mean unseriously. Kirk played with her son. "He sat with me and hugged me and helped me fire-blast Scarlet Hunters and retrieve crates stolen by Dustwind Harpies," Kirk writes. "Through these wild characters, all the gore and running, with the shrill shriek of Decayed Morlocks in my ears, I felt his love."
I very much encourage you to read this, and please share your own experiences in the comments.