- Well, it has to be said that the reaction to the first couple of longer posts on the 'new' GSW have been excellent, with almost 40 comments between the 'Who Are The Sex Pistols Of Gaming?' post (including some incisive comparisons from N co-creator Raigan - Rockstar are Marilyn Manson?) and the GameSetQ referencing 'Oh My God' moments (which have a mass of Metroid comments, in particular).

But I think it's the World Of Warcraft-related moments which are the most resonant - and I'm picking three of them to highlight here in a standalone post, because they each show how the massive, massively addictive online world can affect you in different ways. The third anecdote, in particular, is a killer - somewhat literally:

Joy (Michael Zenke, MMOG Nation/Slashdot): "The very first time I hit max-level with a character in a Massive game was in World of Warcraft. I was hunting Yeti in Winterspring, and I realized I was *almost* there. I FRAPsed the 'final' golden glowie, and then danced around my apartment singing."

Geeky References (Dan Amrich, Official Xbox Magazine): "WoW is full of little in-jokes that have stopped me in my tracks. In Orgrimmar, there's a guy in the Cleft of Shadows in the rogue trainer area named Zando'zan. I sat there dumbfounded; how did a Last Starfighter reference ("Interstellar hit beast!" shrieks Centauri) make it in here? Was it put here just for me?

And just last week, I suddenly came across the Lost Vikings in Uldaman. If you didn't recognize Olaf, Baelog and Eric the Swift, it didn't interrupt the game at all...but since I got the reference, it made me stop and look and, at one point, nearly get killed by getting too close to a pack of level 40 elites. I was totally elated, and that kind of subtlety -- that respect for one segment of the audience while not excluding the rest of it -- just reinforces how human game experiences can be."

Raw Emotion (Matthew Bellows, ex-WGR, Floodgate Entertainment): "Was questing near Sun Rock Retreat in WoW one night with these two other toons. One, just from the way she wrote, was clearly a girl. About 15 minutes in, she /w: "Do you like me?"

Knowing that my wife was not looking, I wrote back: "Yes. Definitely."

She wrote back: "No, seriously, because this other guy is telling me that he thinks you are fighting the way you are to show off for me."

At that point, I opened up the discussion to all three of us. We retreated to one of those little mounds in the center of the zone and talked about love, difficulties and personal issues. At one point the guy said: "I had a terrible relationship with my mom. Sometimes I get so angry about it I just punch the walls in my house."

The next night, I was in Sun Rock, turning in quests and repairing, when I saw the girl from the night before. We were chatting about the scene the night before, how weird it was, how awesome WoW was that that could happen, etc. Suddenly, she cried out, her chest exploded in blood, and a lvl 60 alliance rogue appeared behind her, ganked her with one backstab.

It was the most shocking thing I've ever experienced in a game... This girl, who was starting to be a friend, killed in front of me, her blood splashed on my face. Then the rogue one-hit me. No single player game could ever match that experience."