I’m not the type to waste time with regrets, especially when my only regret is that I didn’t do more to regret. Robert Heinlein says in many of his later novels that “when the ship lifts, all bills are paid.” My particular ship lifted off from EA Mythic over a year ago, and I have but one regret. And it hits me hard this time of year.
In the chaos of departure, I left behind my Armed Forces file.
There are a lot of people in the military who play MMOs. Life in the service for most people consists of being on a base very far from home, but not far from industrialization. I know many people for whom a new post is just a new place to plug in a computer. All that changes is the time zone. I could always tell when that happened for someone, because out of nowhere I’d start getting complaints about the patch schedule from people with two or three years of play history. But for the most part, service is not incompatible with a massively multiplayer hobby.
There are exceptions. The letters didn’t come in high numbers, but they were regular. Someone was deploying to a place with a lot of sand, and wanted to know if their account would still be there when they came home.
The older ones with a tour or two under their belts wanted to know if their account would still be there if they came home.
I watched their accounts, to see when the raids began again, when the loot came in again, to see the emotes and saucy /tells and /ooc violations start again. I kept a list of these account names in my Armed Forces file, and I crossed off names with a yellow highlighter when Johnny and Jane came marching home or at least back to a place with air conditioning and internet access hurrah, hurrah.
Sometimes I used a black marker. Not often. But enough.
The rest of the names I left alone, and I thought of them with my fingers crossed.
I hope they all made it home.
Tomorrow is Memorial Day.