Tank ‘n’ Tree was the mastermind behind this week’s shared topic from Blog Azeroth (even if he got his post up later than some ^^). Other contributions include The Lazy Sniper, Boss Pally, Raid Leader, WoW and Me, The Angry Alt, and Anea.
My husband and I have been playing MMORPG’s for years. We actually met on one — although that’s another story, and honestly, he likes telling about stumbling over my dead body on my very first day WAY more than I do. That said, sometimes its hard to remember that there is a real, honest to God person on the other end of that character — not a stereotype, not a drama mama or ass-tank — but a person who cares about their character, how they play, and how they interact with other people.
Part of the appeal of joining my current guild was the close bond everyone in the guild seemed to have. They’ve had PK parties outside of the game — they talk about their kids, their jobs, and their mortgages. Logging onto guild chat some nights seem more like going for an after work drink at the local bar, or stopping by the coffee shop with your girlfriend on Saturday — although it’s a game, and a game environment, the people behind the avatars are very, very real, and I find that extremely appealing.
This blog notwithstanding, I’m generally a pretty shy individual — opinionated as all get out, but easy to let relationships slide into general acquaintanceship instead of real, honest friend category. One of the things that has helped me get past that part of myself is online gaming. Now, when I make a quick and sure bond with someone I meet, I take the extra step — maybe we chat by IM or e-mail, some place not associated with the game, and let our friendship blossom if it will. Sometimes, these relationships come to nothing. Sometimes, I pack up the car and drive for 8 hours, or a couple of days to meet someone who has become a true and honest friend. A friend from my first MMO, who lives in Norway, flew over to attend my wedding, and took part in the ceremony — we laughed, cried, and rejoiced at finally meeting in person — I have plans to visit him after college (*crosses fingers*)
I have been hurt by relationships I’ve attempted to pursue that soured. I shared some personal, drastic health issues that were occurring within our family to one person I thought was willing to listen — it turned around and became a guild issue. Just like a budding friendship in real life, I was terribly wounded by his actions, but making friendships in game can be as difficult or easy as making friends in the normal world — the feelings can run just as deep.
Many times, people who have not experienced an online gaming experience cannot understand how us crazy gamers can form these types of relationships. Forums, chat rooms, and IM may mimic a part of the experience of an online gaming relationship, but honestly, nothing forges friendships like facing challenges, revelry in your favorite setting, or late night chats when you just can’t seem to get to sleep. Although I would encourage anyone to be careful of meeting persons they have only interacted with in an online game, meeting online compatriots in a safe setting can be truly fulfilling.
Relationships made within Azeroth can be just as honest, fun, and fulfilling as those made in the day to day world — people have the power to affect our lives whether we literally see them daily or if we see only their avatar; however, friendship in any form is always worth pursuing, even if you get the occasional bad apple.