192: The MMOG Connection

The MMOG Connection

Massively multiplayer online games don't just provide a space for people to play together - they provide a place to form friendships with people from all over the world. Joshua Loomis recounts how his experience in World of Warcraft helped him meet his current girlfriend.

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Canada is the place to be.

I completely agree with this post. It is not a substitute with real life, but it not meant to be. In my opinion, massively multiplayer games, particularly roleplaying games are excelent vessels to study psychological and sociological issues in controled groups, since it's easy to find different and sometimes clashing personalities within a group, party, guild or alliance.

Online games are not the best place to find true love, but it's not impossible. I would know that.

I'm Josh's mom. For a long time, I thought that his love of online role-playing games was a gigantic waste of his time and talent. But the people he has met through gaming have become real friends to him and have pulled him through some really tough times in his life, and so I am very grateful to them.

Well I was going to say I bet Ama is a dude. Damn you for meeting her in real life and preventing me from making generic MMO jokes!

But seriously, good read. I personally have never gotten close with MMO mates as its too much hassle when I have enough real friends already. I see them more as co-workers.

Though I know many have made friends across the globe and even found love via online gaming, for the most part what you encounter shortly after logging in are examples of the most vile human behavior. I'm sure for ever two people brought together via the internet and online gaming hundreds if not thousands are driven further apart. It's sad really. It seems there is a whole generation of people who are without social skills or civility. Maybe it's the fact that most online games are highly combative thus creating an atmosphere of hate and anger.

Momala:
I'm Josh's mom. For a long time, I thought that his love of online role-playing games was a gigantic waste of his time and talent. But the people he has met through gaming have become real friends to him and have pulled him through some really tough times in his life, and so I am very grateful to them.

Ha ha ha ha =P

But now. I have to agree a bit with MorkFromOrk. The online games are indeed damaging this generations social skills. Luckily, though. I don't think there is enough people playing these games for it to have a very huge impact. But there will be enough people very soon. And that thought is rather troubling to me.

Then again, these games are kind of a relief for those who doesn't have very impressive social skills to begin with. Now they are at least able to meet each other. And very likely meet those who do have these skills too. My thoughts are, though, that they will get along better with their similar minded.

Finally. Yes. It is possible to find love. Honestly I'd say the chances are bigger at a match-making service (And I really doubt the chances in a match-making service) than in a MMOG. And additionaly the chances of it lasting is even less for both.

I actually met my current girlfriend on a text based MMORPG called Dark Grimoire. We live together in New York currently.

The only problem I see with the relationship going on is the around 12 year age difference...unless she plans on attending graduate school in the US or something. Someone born in 1978 with someone who's just planning to go to college? Uh-oh.

Especially if you're going it alone, the chances of meeting a good group of people that you will befriend in life are near-astronomical, unless you're just a gregarious mofo or lucky. As said earlier, most players in-game lack social grace.

I don't see where the claim that games and computers etc are ruining social interactions comes from.
I mean i used to be socially inept and nearly incapable of holding extended conversations with others.
but through things like WoW and forums such as this one, i've learned confidence and earned friendships where i never expected them.
Now i'm happy to say i can socialise with most circles of people with little or no effort.

hmm.. very touching but been there man, was in a relationship for couple of years with a swedish girl, i live in ireland, we were really good used to be with eachother every few weeks and it was crazy and awesome and wonderful i even planned on moving over and was seeking a job over there.... but it doesnt last and when you actually come to your senses from the retardation of love you realize that you had been living in a virtual world for so long so i wouldnt go putting all your praises into WoW i still play but i thought i was happy when i played that much but when you snap out of it you realise just how little you acomplished and inevitably end up lost and heartbroken jus dont put your whole life into it. good luck man.

I am confused at how this story isn't the same as me leaving my wife at the house while I meet other women at a local club/bar?

There is the video game aspect which adds a layer of novelty - but at its core - both protagonists in this story pursued outside relationships at the detriment of their current relationships.

This piece wants to validate MMOGs as a social medium capable of creating positive relationships outside of the game. It succeeds but also reminds us that MMOGs have the capacity to affect relationships negatively.

Maybe an alt-title could be The MMOG (dis)Connection?

sylphmortem:
I completely agree with this post. It is not a substitute with real life, but it not meant to be.

I'll counter that. I hate drawing a distinction between "in game" and "real life". I watch TV in real life, I read books in real life, I go to movies in real life, heck, I even play D&D in real life...

The way I see it, MMOGs are part of my real life. My online friendships are real friends, and my online accomplishments are real accomplishments--no different than the accomplishment an athlete gets from reaching a goal, or an artist for completing a project. Why should I have to draw an arbitrary line between my hobby (not real life) and someone else's (real life)?

Solipsis:

sylphmortem:
I completely agree with this post. It is not a substitute with real life, but it not meant to be.

I'll counter that. I hate drawing a distinction between "in game" and "real life". I watch TV in real life, I read books in real life, I go to movies in real life, heck, I even play D&D in real life...

The way I see it, MMOGs are part of my real life. My online friendships are real friends, and my online accomplishments are real accomplishments--no different than the accomplishment an athlete gets from reaching a goal, or an artist for completing a project. Why should I have to draw an arbitrary line between my hobby (not real life) and someone else's (real life)?

Alright, to take it a step further: Would you consider killing a Red Dragon in a tabletop session of D&D a "real" accomplishment or a "in-game" accomplishment?

While I agree that MMOs are part of one's "real-life", and that the friendships made in these games can be lasting ones, I still think it is wise to draw that line in the sand between "real-life" and "in-game". Fail to do so, and the MMO can suck you in, and you forget that you have a life outside of the MMO.

But then, on the other hand, what is the difference between obsessing over an MMO and constantly playing that, vs those people who train for a triathalon and are obsessed with their training?

Nightfalke:

But then, on the other hand, what is the difference between obsessing over an MMO and constantly playing that, vs those people who train for a triathalon and are obsessed with their training?

Triathletes don't have Cheetos stains on their jerseys?

A rare success story.
Now how about the other 98% of the time that hot kind chick is really a dude?

I can't believe I made an account just to reply to this. This is Ama, by the way, if you didn't guess. I really thought I could avoid commenting, but no. The urge to respond is too strong...

Krakyn:
The only problem I see with the relationship going on is the around 12 year age difference...unless she plans on attending graduate school in the US or something. Someone born in 1978 with someone who's just planning to go to college? Uh-oh.

You're off by a bit. I mean, if the gap was 12 years it would have been far from legal (in the States) at first. There is quite a gap but not everyone who goes to college 18. At least in my social circle that "not everyone" would be "almost no one", but I doubt the people I hung out with in high school could be considered normal.

Traxitus... What?

lamewalletchain:
I am confused at how this story isn't the same as me leaving my wife at the house while I meet other women at a local club/bar?

I'm confused by this comment... When did anyone say they were married? I got out of a bad situation, he wasn't seeing anyone. The ex-wife thing was a long time ago, but the story wasn't about that so he didn't expand on it. No one set out with the intention of hooking up, if we had we'd have met on eHarmony or something. Perhaps I didn't act in what you'd consider the best way, and if that's what you were commenting on, well... Go ahead I suppose. *shrug* Just wanted to clear that up a bit.

Any comments I could give to Josh directly about the article I've already given, so I'll just leave it at that. I'm happy that just about everyone's got what he was trying to say: meeting people online isn't any different from in person, and sometimes better. Sometimes it isn't better, but you can't expect perfection from any relationship with anyone you meet anywhere, romantic or otherwise.

I would agree with Solipsis. It is a lot smarter to stop framing activities as being in 'real life' or 'not real life'. Perhaps it would be more meaningful to distinguish activies as being leisure or non-leisure.

This is helpful because gamers and non-gamers spend our leisure time doing stuff they enjoy. It can include casual TV watching, scrapbooking or training for a marathon. These leisure activities can be more or less social or physically involved but generally none of them are any worse than the other.

When we place these activities on a level playing field then it just becomes a question of time. Leisure activities are perfectly harmless unless you're doing them at the expense of the non-leisure activities which need to happen for you to live a functional life.

Obviously the definition of a "functional life" is subjective. And it is this subjectivity that makes the video game aspect entirely a non-issue. Gamers and non-gamers alike have ongoing negotiations with friends, spouses and employers about how we're going to use our non-leisure time.

Most useless thread EVER.I h8 MMOs.

Am:

lamewalletchain:
I am confused at how this story isn't the same as me leaving my wife at the house while I meet other women at a local club/bar?

I'm confused by this comment... When did anyone say they were married? I got out of a bad situation, he wasn't seeing anyone. The ex-wife thing was a long time ago, but the story wasn't about that so he didn't expand on it. No one set out with the intention of hooking up, if we had we'd have met on eHarmony or something. Perhaps I didn't act in what you'd consider the best way, and if that's what you were commenting on, well... Go ahead I suppose. *shrug* Just wanted to clear that up a bit.

Thanks for clarifying the timelines re: the ex-wife! Nevertheless is mentioning the ex-wife's attitude towards MMOGs lends some merit to my point in my second post above.

Also - I can't speak about anyone's "intention of hooking up". But it's always helpful to be aware of the social settings we put ourselves (consciously or unconsciously). I can tell myself (and my wife) all day long I wasn't intending to hook up with anyone at that club and that I was just there to dance! But a decent argument could be made that by being there I was making a choice to open myself up emotionally to a hookup. And ultimately, I chose to enter a charged social setting without her.

That being said - I'm extremely glad that you're out of a bad situation and into what seems to be a good situation! I wish you both the best of luck!

-lwc

Nothing more to say on it than that I think it's laughable that people still consider socialized healthcare an "advantage"...

tustin2121:
Nothing more to say on it than that I think it's laughable that people still consider socialized healthcare an "advantage"...

But how difficult is it to laugh when you're bleeding profusely due to a brain hemorrhage from one nostril and the HMO doctor is making large cash withdrawals from your wallet through the other? Considering many people keep their wallets next to their asses, I'm not sure which is more painful.

I enjoyed the article. My wife and I play WoW together and we're in the same guild. Our guildies have become our friends. I mean we live in NZ and our guildies come mainly from the US but also the UK. It's great to be able to say you literally have friends all over the world!

I personally am quite annoyed by the concept that is still lurking around, that no--one but saddos could possibly make friends or find love online.

Personally I'd choose someone I'd 'talked to' even thru typing for a while over someone I picked purely on how drunk I was and how short her skirt was in a club.

Sure, WOW and the like isn't the ideal place to pick up girls for sex, but if I happen to enjoy playing with someone, and get to know them, and then after a while we feel we're closer, and choose to meet, I won't have any shame in telling anyone my 'how we met' tale.

Having said that, I'm very single and it's probably at least partly due to WOW, heh.

I just think tho, that judging someone by getting to know them over a period of time is better for building a relationship than just staring at their butt in a club and going ' me wants'.

For fun baseless sex for the night, of course I thoroughly recommend nightclubs! Just remember to wear a condom folks!

I do

Nightfalke:

Solipsis:

sylphmortem:
I completely agree with this post. It is not a substitute with real life, but it not meant to be.

I'll counter that. I hate drawing a distinction between "in game" and "real life". I watch TV in real life, I read books in real life, I go to movies in real life, heck, I even play D&D in real life...

The way I see it, MMOGs are part of my real life. My online friendships are real friends, and my online accomplishments are real accomplishments--no different than the accomplishment an athlete gets from reaching a goal, or an artist for completing a project. Why should I have to draw an arbitrary line between my hobby (not real life) and someone else's (real life)?

Alright, to take it a step further: Would you consider killing a Red Dragon in a tabletop session of D&D a "real" accomplishment or a "in-game" accomplishment?

While I agree that MMOs are part of one's "real-life", and that the friendships made in these games can be lasting ones, I still think it is wise to draw that line in the sand between "real-life" and "in-game". Fail to do so, and the MMO can suck you in, and you forget that you have a life outside of the MMO.

But then, on the other hand, what is the difference between obsessing over an MMO and constantly playing that, vs those people who train for a triathalon and are obsessed with their training?

I do think that killing a red dragon in D&D (in a decently run game) would be a real accomplishment. I wouldn't list it on my resume next to my college degree and my work experience. It doesn't belong there, but it's still an accomplishment. Getting to that point in the game would take planning, commitment and investment of time. Killing the dragon is the reward for that effort, and intangible or experiential it's just as real.

My father is an avid bowler. If he bowled a 300 game, he'd be over the moon, and he'd be justified. He gets a lot of pleasure from bowling, but he puts in a lot of work. He'd be gossipping about his 300 game at the coffee machine at his office for months. And all his co-workers would congratulate him and (even if they were a little bored) they'd still consider it to be a worthy accomplishment for an aspiring bowler.

Why shouldn't I be just as happy about my dead dragon? Or my WoW avatar gaining levels? Neither accomplishment is of any *practial* value. The line between his being "real" and mine being somehow less is totally arbitrary.

Triple G:
Most useless thread EVER.I h8 MMOs.

That's it? That's all you're going to contribute?

I think you've completley missed the point of this post, and I think you're deluded. No one cares.

Unless you have something constructive to say, shut up.

And use proper English.

I realise I have nothing constructive to say, other than I enjoyed reading that artical. Sorry about your Ex. But well done on getting back on your feet.

BlueInkAlchemist:

tustin2121:
Nothing more to say on it than that I think it's laughable that people still consider socialized healthcare an "advantage"...

But how difficult is it to laugh when you're bleeding profusely due to a brain hemorrhage from one nostril and the HMO doctor is making large cash withdrawals from your wallet through the other? Considering many people keep their wallets next to their asses, I'm not sure which is more painful.

True, it is hard to laugh in a situation like that, but it's even harder to laugh when your DEAD because your brain hemorrhage proved fatal before you could wait the SIX MONTHS before you could get surgery to fix it OR because you DON'T have the option to take that experimental surgery that they've been working on years before the universal healthcare went into effect.

PS. You do know that several years ago, Open Heart Surgery was a risky experimental surgery that you filled out your will before doing because chances are you wouldn't come out of it alive? Now people do it all the time because they had the option to take it and gave Doctors the chance to practice that surgery. Socialized medicine takes that option away because it is too risky.

What's ironic is that your experience in world of warcraft let you meet your current girlfriend, but your experience in everquest was a factor in your previous divorce. You can create connections, but you can also lose them due to the nature of the MMO itself.

There's always the double-sided aspect to it, so it's hard to really trumpet it.

lamewalletchain:
Thanks for clarifying the timelines re: the ex-wife! Nevertheless is mentioning the ex-wife's attitude towards MMOGs lends some merit to my point in my second post above.

Also - I can't speak about anyone's "intention of hooking up". But it's always helpful to be aware of the social settings we put ourselves (consciously or unconsciously). I can tell myself (and my wife) all day long I wasn't intending to hook up with anyone at that club and that I was just there to dance! But a decent argument could be made that by being there I was making a choice to open myself up emotionally to a hookup. And ultimately, I chose to enter a charged social setting without her.

That being said - I'm extremely glad that you're out of a bad situation and into what seems to be a good situation! I wish you both the best of luck!

-lwc

No problem! And thank you for your encouragement.

Eh, generally speaking it's my experience that most people who go to the club alone are looking to hook up. This isn't always true, and making blanket statements is stupid, but it's true more often than people playing games online in order to hook up is. There are much better venues. I mean, there are no girls on the Internet, didn't you know?

Okay, if I may just say....

D'awwwwwwwww...... That is a really sweet story. I'm such a sucker for stories like this, and I'm really happy for you. Well written article, and it was an enjoyable read.

I've never actually owned an MMO before (though I did borrow a friend's Guild Wars account...), but I would like to own one someday. I just don't have the regular income to pay subscription fees, nor enough time to justify the monthly purchases.

Hmmmm...maybe I should ask for Guild Wars for Christmas...

Wow, this is weird.

When I played WoW I had a guildie who was married to a guy in Canada. She lived in Texas. I have to assume they eventually picked one place to move to, but after the honeymoon she returned to Tehas.

Weird coincidence. Cool article.

Daye.04:

Momala:
I'm Josh's mom. For a long time, I thought that his love of online role-playing games was a gigantic waste of his time and talent. But the people he has met through gaming have become real friends to him and have pulled him through some really tough times in his life, and so I am very grateful to them.

Ha ha ha ha =P

But now. I have to agree a bit with MorkFromOrk. The online games are indeed damaging this generations social skills. Luckily, though. I don't think there is enough people playing these games for it to have a very huge impact. But there will be enough people very soon. And that thought is rather troubling to me.

Then again, these games are kind of a relief for those who doesn't have very impressive social skills to begin with. Now they are at least able to meet each other. And very likely meet those who do have these skills too. My thoughts are, though, that they will get along better with their similar minded.

Finally. Yes. It is possible to find love. Honestly I'd say the chances are bigger at a match-making service (And I really doubt the chances in a match-making service) than in a MMOG. And additionaly the chances of it lasting is even less for both.

How exactly are online games damaging peoples social skills? That seems like a very little thought out statement to me.

I'd say it give people MORE social skills. To interact with someone without seeing their reactions is usually more difficult than seeing someone face to face. Especially if you are going to lead them (like in a guild/raid/event).

I'd say a bigger danger to peoples social skills are todays pop-culture. It seems to me the focus on sex, a perfect body, a perfect relationship a perfect family...etc are much more damaging to todays youth. I realize I might sound like an old fart when saying this, and I'm not an old-fashioned retiree. But I do see that todays youth grow up without any real problems in their lives. They expect everything to work out in their favor without them having to make an effort. They are in short, spoiled (at least in my country). This is a much bigger danger to their social lives than any game could ever be.

Any relationship is about giving and taking. If you're just used to take...your relationship will not last. This kind of self-image is not learned from games.

Now I'd like to share MY story, very similar to his.

About 4 years ago, I joined a certain social gaming site. It wasn't a MMORPG. It was more based around forums with certain virtual places and you could visit if you wanted. Most of its members enjoyed roleplaying, something that I loved to do at the time, so I joined.

For a while, I befriended different people. Most of them were just strangers who I mingled with because they loved to roleplay as much as I did. But I didn't really care much about them. To me, they were just another pixelated avatar doing the talkies. I always figured that having a friendship or a relationship with someone online was dumb; you clearly need to be in front of someone or at least know their name/face before starting some sort of relationship.

A while later I met a girl there. She was a couple of years younger than I was, but she wasn't like everyone else there. All of the people I knew there were your typical internet people: Rude, dumb and heartless, myself included. You know, trolls. But she wasn't. She also roleplayed, though she was a bit isolated because she wasn't 'one of us'. Still, she was our friend.

I have no idea why we became friends. We were much different, but for some reason, we started talking to each other on a daily basis. Eventually, I got the idea that she had some sort of crush on me. I was surprised because, like I said before, I didn't believe in that and she didn't even know my name or where I'm from or what I looked like (I'm not from the US). So I initially pushed her away, though I still wanted to be friends.

With time, I realized I started feeling differently towards her. The more we talked with each other, the more we got to know each other better. Little by little, we shed our online persona and started talking about personal stuff; about school, about work, about friends, and so on. At one point, I realized I wasn't talking to an avatar, I was talking to a real person. A person with a wonderful personality. And I fell for her too. I didn't even care what she looked like. I was in love with her.

We've gone through a lot over these past four years. We've fought, we've had differences, we changed. For example, I'm not a religious person, but she is. I love videogames and comic books, she dislikes them. I love alternative rock, she loves girly pop music, I love going to the movies, she prefers to watch a good, decent play. I can say I have become a better person thanks to her. I stopped drinking and cussing altogether thanks to her advice. And I still haven't met her, and maybe I never will. Our lives are just too different for one of us to drop everything and be with the other.

You see, I wasn't expecting to build a friendship online. I seriously thought that was impossible and dumb. And it's not like I've replaced my real-life friends with online ones. But every night, I look forward to sitting in front of my computer and talking to my friend until one of us is too tired to go on and has to go to sleep. I have never had a friend like that; someone who I can honestly say it's my best friend ever. She has changed my life just like I have changed hers. Whatever happens in the future doesn't matter. I can walk away today and say I'm taking something awesome with me.

I'm not saying MMOs and sites like that are the way to go and the answer to your problems. But opposite to what most people think, you're bound to find a decent human being in there. They're not places for weirdos to go hook up with strangers. Or for serial killers and rapists to find their next victim. And I seriously wish that stigma would die.
At any rate, I thought I should share this.

 

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