With so many people spending so much time working toward common goals, it’s only natural that relationships would form. Casual, serious, and even sometimes deceptive, these relationships can be as powerful as those in Real Life. Some even blossom into something real and lasting, creating what’s come to be known as a “WoW Couple.”
It can start with casual questing every now and again; a common interest shared between friends. WoW allows you to be the best version of yourself, free from the normal social hang-ups of Real Life, and it’s easy to see how playful flirtations could grow into a loving bond.
And for some players that bond bridges the gap of time and space, existing and persisting outside of the game world. Maggie Carter is one such player, and this is her story of love among pixels:
I have nearly always been a gamer. From the mid-1980s when I first held an Atari 2600 joystick in my hand and navigated the dangers of “Pitfall,” gaming has held me in its grasp. I fell in love with Link and Zelda on the Nintendo NES system. Likewise, I spent countless hours maneuvering Jill through the zombie-invested mansion in Resident Evil on the Playstation console. Video games, like books, provide an escape for me from the pressures of the real world. Unlike books, however, they also give me a way to feel confident, powerful, and in-charge.
But that’s not what I want to tell you about. I’d rather talk about how World of Warcraft gave me a real life.
In 2006 I was a moderately successful accountant in her 30s. I had a teenage daughter, a pre-teen stepson, a newly built home in a nice subdivision in Oklahoma, and a serious gaming habit. Unfortunately, my marriage fell apart that year for unrelated reasons.
I had been playing a lot of the Elder Scrolls game, and members of the gaming message board where I liked to hang out recommended World of Warcraft. I created an Undead Mage and within just a few hours, I was lost. The next time I looked up at the clock, it was after 1 a.m. I had been hunched over my own laptop on the coffee table and didn’t even realize I could no longer stand up straight. I posted on the message board about my new love and provided a character name and realm, in case any of them should choose to join me.
During this period, one of my friends from that board — we’ll call him “Sam” — created a character on my realm and we quickly developed a solid friendship. Sam had recently split from his wife and spent most of his non-working hours in game, as well. We quested and dungeoned together nearly day, usually while chatting on Skype.
Meanwhile, my friendship with Sam had deepened considerably. The only bad part of this was that he lived a thousand miles away. In the interest of avoiding broken hearts, we resisted meeting. In early February, Sam finally changed his mind. He bought a plane ticket for the weekend of Valentine’s Day and flew a thousand miles to see me. I booked a nearby hotel room and picked him up from the airport on Friday afternoon.
From the moment I first saw him walking down the jet way, I realized I was already in love. Apparently, the feeling was mutual. If it hadn’t been for WoW, we never would have developed such a deep friendship and we would never have fallen in love. We spent the whole weekend together, breaking only once for a dinner out to meet my daughter. We didn’t log into WoW. On Sunday, Sam suddenly looked at me in panic. We couldn’t maintain a relationship of this distance — what on Earth were we going to do?
It didn’t take long for me to decide. My daughter graduated high school that spring and went off to college, and there was nothing holding me back. In July 2007, we spent next three days driving a moving truck back up to Michigan, where we recently bought a house of our own. Sam and I were married in April 2008, and we still play WoW off and on.
There have been many periods where only one of us is playing. When it’s Sam, he’ll play WoW on his laptop in the living room while I’m on the Xbox 360, reading, or crocheting. When it’s me playing, I’ll game during the day while he’s at work. Together, it gives us a mutual hobby where we can each play to our own strengths and where we can function as a healing and tanking team. We have made some amazing friends in the game and we can log in and just hang out with them, if we like. It’s now only one of our shared hobbies, along with pen and paper RPGs and SCA. We’re far happier in our continuing real-life adventure.
- Maggie Carter
So often we hear the stories of inevitable heartbreak: Real Life couples finding comfort in the virtual arms of a stranger; ending relationships that just need a little bit of work in favor of pursuing someone who may not be what they seem. But it’s important to realize that for every story of abused trust and manipulative friendships there’s a Maggie and Sam out there, finding love thanks to a wonderfully social game.
Thank you for sharing your story, Maggie! And if any of you reading this would like to share your own story of how WoW brought something precious into your life, feel free to leave a comment or send me an email!