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Saturday, August 04, 2007

A World of Warcraft Weeding

What happens when an Orc Hunter falls in love with an Undead Warlock?

No, this isn't an ugly baby joke. It's a true story about a young couple that met and fell in love through World of Warcarft. Lee-Ann* and T.B.* met in the World of Warcraft. A friendship formed right away that grew over time, eventually resulting in the couple meeting in person and forming a romantic relationship. Two years later, Lee-Ann and T.B. are engaged and setting a wedding date for next year. They have even started a family together.

Other Cases of WoW Relationships

This sweet story may inspire single gaming geeks out there but it's not a lone case. Many of us have also heard the story, Druid and Hunter to Man and Wife on the European World of Warcraft servers. This man and woman met through the power of an MMORPG and later became married in real life. Blizzard featured their story on the official WoW website for some time and it made some good publicity for World of Warcraft. When this story was publicized, many others came forward that they had also met someone through World of Warcarft or that they know of someone who had.

I personally have met people in game that met through the game and started dating and if you search World of Warcraft forums and message boards, you find many other cases as well. So while it may still seem a bit shocking to mainstream society, I don't think gamers are all that astonished. World of Warcraft is also not the first MMORPG to have this sort of history. Couples have met through other games such as EverQuest, for example.

What Critics Are Saying

When stories like these are publicized, there are those that criticize it and said how could two people possibly know enough about one another from a video game to actually get married? Others scoff and say it is a marketing ploy to gain attention for the game and still others mock the couple and others like them claiming that they must be "losers" or "geeks" to get married to someone they met in a game. But when you really look at it, is it that shocking and unusual?

Stories of internet gaming love have been around long before World of Warcraft. Couples have been meeting in cyberspace, in chat rooms and even on online dating service websites so why are we so surprised about people meeting in the virtual world of a game?

Some people may have a harder time understanding how and why people can meet in a virtual game and then form a romantic relationship but isn't this the same way people first felt about online dating? One reason for this is that people who have never played these types of game have a hard time understanding how highly social they actually are. MMOs are different than console games and single player PC games because in an MMO there is more interaction between the players. Compared to "Traditional" Meetings

Some skeptics have a hard time understanding how a couple can meet through a video game and know each other well enough to form a relationship or even a marriage. Others are convinced the marriages will only be short-lived and will fail. But are there any real means to support this? Are relationships formed in video games more likely to fail than those that meet through "traditional" methods?

We've all heard stories of arranged marriages, some even from other countries where the couple never met before their wedding day went on to live long and happy lives together. There are also stories of high-school sweethearts who've known each other for years that grow up to be married and then find they grow apart and their marriages end in divorce. I think virtual games are just another method of meeting people and the fact that you met in the game will not have any more of a negative affect on the relationship than anything else would. In fact, it could have positive effects. For one, the couple already knows they have at least one thing in common - their gaming.

Focus on the Personality- Not Looks

Another bonus of a video game relationship is that the couple took time to get to know each other before they had ever seen each other. Their only physical impression of the other person is a game avatar so there was no room for preconceived opinions or ideas. How many relationships have started over a blind date, an office romance, a friend's "hook-up", a chance meeting at the coffee shop on the corner, a dance in the club, a drink at the bar or even a marriage of convenience? Yet, we do not questions these methods of meeting like we do couples who meet in a game.

Platonic Game Relationships Happen As

WellRomantic relationships aren't the only type that we see develop in video games. Non-romantic relationships form as well, such as close friendships between two people with similar interests that might never have met one another otherwise. These friendships tend to last long after the game has grown cold and even after one or both players have stopped playing the original game which they met in.

Remember Basic Internet Safety Rules

One thing is for certain, if you are considering pursuing a relationship with someone you met in an online game or meeting anyone from an online game in person, whether for friendship or something more, you should follow the proper internet dating rules. Jennifer has some great online dating safety tips and so do Trudy Bowler and Larry Fowler. If you want to express your real love in the virtual game atmosphere, you can also do this with a virtual wedding**. World of Warcraft has many great options for you to plan and hold your own virtual weddings. Many couples, whether they were together before or after WoW, decide to have a role-playing wedding in the game. It can be fun and it allows you a chance to have a celebration with other friends in WoW.