One thing I’ve found in my few months of blogging is that people want to know more about you… which can seem creepy until you realize that people want to make a connection. They want to know you, because they care in some way about the person behind the avatar… or maybe they just love your avatar.
Awhile back I wrote a post for a shared topic about making connections in-game with other players, ultimately, with the possibility of getting beyond the pixels and meeting your friends (and yes in-game friends can still be friends) in the flesh. I admitted that I’d met my own spouse that way, but declined to tell the story, deeming it one of those irritating “omg, we were in so in love” type of things that would interest no one.
However, tonight I read a tweet from Aleanathem that all the women he’s met in WoW have been involved in a relationship–dating, committed, or married–so I thought perhaps it would be an appropriate time to share that dreary story and share one woman’s reality of meeting her future spouse in a gaming world.
It Was Jackass at First Sight
It was my very first MMORPG, the Realm. I rolled an elven warrior, Ramoth, and started my adventure to glory and fun. The area immediately outside of town was filled with giant rats that could be killed with a few whacks of my puny wooden sword, but it was slow going. I discovered, on mis-clicking a higher level mob, that if I defeated it, I could gain much better experience than a single, paltry level one rat! Being the insufferable perfectionist that I am, I deleted my L3 character, rerolled her, and determined to kill the biggest, meanest rat I could find in order to get levels faster. Was I a genius or what?
Reroll complete, I marched back into the forest, found my (un)lucky rat and preceded to attack. He killed me. Never fear! I couldn’t lose experience, AND, by working on the same rat, he would already be weakened and easy pickings ::evil giggles:: I followed the intrepid fellow and preceded my campaign. I died. Again. This time a wandering adventurer noted my dead body falling out of the cloud of dust. He gave me a rez, buffed me up, and after checking my buckler for damage I ran after my fated rat to finish the kill. Without a thank you. A smile, or a snotty remark. I hadn’t figured out how to type yet.
My saviour was a bit miffed by this behavior. Here he was, taking pity on an obviously brain-damaged idiot who thought she should be running after a rat double her size, and can’t even say thank you when someone takes pity on her! He quickly shot me some drivel about not being polite enough to say thank you, and the war began.
While battling my rat (and defeating him, tyvm) I was reading the manual to discover the secrets of the chat program, and eventually told the kind stranger that if he would give me a moment to figure out the whole typing thing, I would have thanked him. He then asked me what the hell I thought I was doing. There were perfectly kill-able level one rats scattered throughout the forest. I explained my wonderful plan to gain the max experience for my first kill since I could not lose experience at L1, and could beat one huge rat to death without incurring any penalty and WAY more experience than wasting my time on a slew of puny little rats.
The conversation somewhat deteriorated from there. He thought I was an idiot. I thought he was a pompous ass.
We Should Have Never Spoken Again
Somehow, I became this Valas fellows pet project. He sent me whispers from time to time checking on my progress. Occassionaly I’d find a piece of armor, or weapon on my lawn, a gift from this stranger. He was already in a guild, but I never attempted to join. I found my own guild and became involved in the storytelling and roleplaying that was a large part of that guild’s culture…. yet still we talked. We started to talk about our day, our families, our hopes and dreams. We exchanged ICQ addresses and talked even when we weren’t in game. Eventually we exchanged telephone numbers.
The first time he told me he loved me I was terrified. Yet I missed him when one of us couldn’t meet online. He was more than a friend. He mentioned his upcoming birthday. I made plans to visit.
The First Meeting
Both of our parents thought we were insane, a girl from Texas going to meet a man in Connecticut. I bought my ticket and told my parents. They went over the moon, and my mom decided to come with my as an escort. I had already made plans to stay with his parents. My mom stayed for the weekend, met his family, and flew home–I stayed the week. We continued our talks, I explored a new town, and definitely knew that I was in love. We made no plans, and talked only vaguely of a future–it seemed unreal.
After that, he flew down for a holiday weekend. With a combination of personal problems at home, and a burgeoning relationship he offered me a place to live and I accepted. I packed my truck, and drove to stay.
We’ve been together 10 years this year. We’ve been married 5 of those years. We’ve built a life together, bought a house, I’ve returned to college (and may even graduate this year, leg permitting). The road has not always been smooth, but a relationship that started over a dead adventurer’s body has flourished. While it may not be for everyone, love can appear in the most unlikely of places, even your favorite game.