Thoughts on electronic relationships.
I’m a World of Warcraft player and belong to a progression guild that raids regularly. The group of people I play with have been together for over 2 years and in that time bonds develop through shared experiences and failure. We use a voice chat server so we’ve been exposed to each other’s personalities and manner for a long time through good and bad times. I’ve come to know the real names of most of my guildmates and we communicate outside of the game regularly through IM and email.
Over the last 2 days there has been some real-life drama that has made me reflect on relationships built on virtual ties. Our guild is full of couples that play together, adult children and parents play together, siblings play together as well and we’ve all combined into a virtual family that genuinely cares for each other inside and outside of the game.
Well, it turns out one of the married couples is on the rocks. Mainly because the wife has developed a relationship with another player in the guild. So, the marriage broke up and now she’s seeing the single guy in our guild. Firstly, I’ve got to believe that the marriage was on the rocks anyway because how could something like this actually transpire from a virtual relationship? Well, think about it…Talking on Ventrillo is probably more clear than being on a telephone and it’s free to them. So those late nights when the insomniacs are farming because they can’t sleep are ripe opportunity to talk about your problems and have another lonely sympathetic ear who’s willing to listen. I can see a bond being formed on that level, but could that be the very last straw on the marriage’s back? However unlikely it seems to be the case. Regardless, it’s fucked up.
Which makes me reflect on how much I’ve invested into these relationships. I certainly would like to meet some of these people I raid with regularly, in person. We’re a pretty exclusive guild and our style of being isn’t what I would consider the norm. We’re cautious as to who we let in so we don’t throw our group out of whack. Of course there are cliques but for the most part we’re all for one and one for all. If one of them called me up in the middle of the night and needed my help I’d probably go out of my way for them. I’m happy with that level of involvement because I feel they’ve earned it from me over the years we’ve known each other…virtually. The real test comes when I’ve got outside interests like Women or a work event. I do feel guilty about not being able to fill my commitment to these people. I know they’re counting on me and I like to be there. It’s interesting balancing that virtual responsibility with real life…but so far it’s been worth it.
- No Doubt – Sixteen
- No Doubt – New
- No Doubt – Suspension without Suspense
- Styx – Paradise Theater