Once upon a time I met a boy. Leveling my priest in Ashenvale me and their toon did a couple of quests together – this turned into a lot of quests in Ashenvale, I would heal him ( in my shadow Spec, and he would do his stuff and I would throw up dots and the like) and entirely over text in game chat – we played, and chatted, and quested – he taught me I was a bad priest for not dispelling, ( see my bugbear about priests not dispelling goes way back to my leveling days – I learned well!) I learnt about add ons, and eventually after leveling and getting my first pieces with gem slots – taught me about gems.
He invited me to stay with him one time I was on holidays from work. This freaked me out. I said no.
He offered his phone number – I never called
He gave me his email when he left the game, and we emailed a couple of times, but I didn’t give him an email account I checked regularly, and once we were no longer playing, there was less to talk about. then nothing.
It was ok to talk to him, level with him, spend time, get to know him – it was all rather platonic – no flirting – but never in my brain did I ever consider him as more than just an avatar. It’s going to sound cold, but I thought it was like playing with a friendly NPC – he was part of my game.
How things change.
Then I met another Boy – it was my first real pug – we did gruls, I had vent installed and used it only for our guild Kara runs, and I spoke – and was not prepared for the OH MY GOD A GIRL reaction. ( my Kara guild had women, so I wasn’t really a novelty) and then after the raid – I was basically recruited to his guild – “you have potential but you need to fix stuff.” This boy ripped apart my spec – my gear – adopted me as a pet project.
When he left the guild – he got upset I didn’t follow – I didn’t understand why he would get upset over a pixel girl, and I asked him ” I could have really liked you” he said. ” But you don’t know me.. ” I was confused how he could like someone with so little to go on. His suggestions I hop on a train and go see him were met with – polite – yeah not going to happen.
I was introduced to the idea of a WOW boyfriend when a Guild I was in had 2 players that played in separate countries – but where together. I didn’t understand this concept – in my understanding it wasn’t a real relationship. Could not see how an emotional connection could be made from so far away.
Then I went to my first guild meet up – walked into a hotel room with half a guild and had a drink shoved in my hands immediately. Met a shammy that tried to walk on water in real life ( yes he had wet jeans) and also met a Wow couple that lived in different states, but saw each other regularly, and this meet was another time for them to see each other.
Wow people became a little more real & fun. Relationships became possible, & sustainable, and then the stories of relationships developing from gaming got more prevalent, and common place.
And then my own story which I told with limited detail a while ago – about the confusion in where that line becomes crossed, when you look forward to their company, and want to spend time speaking with them alone, playing with them. .
I had come a long way in even seriously entertaining the idea of being connected to someone so far away – I asked someone else who had been down a similar path. How long did you wait to meet? and they said a month, and I thought about it, and realised I never really intended on going out of my way – flying across an ocean for him and so it had to end.
What I have learned even since then, is it is quite possible to connect possibly even emotionally with someone online,
A date is a where you RP with your avatars the saving of Gnomer wearing Superhero type gear ( big hat – big boots, limited or skintight clothing, a belt and a cap) or a Trip through the barrens killing flightmasters, or chain running every single quest in a region
But if they are far away then you don’t get to have that first snog to check out their dental hygiene – you can’t go to the movies, or coffee with them. Then you think about what needs to change / what efforts you – they have to make for it even to be considered a realistic possibility.
I think now I have come full circle. I understand this connection. It’s fun when it’s good, and horrid when it’s bad - complicated might be fun and exciting initially, but then it wears you down.