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Reader Comments (11)

Posted: May 27th 2010 8:12AM Arkanaloth said

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it's pretty uncommon for me to actually game with anyone but RL friends... so generally it's issue free, however even in RLF groups you still have drama potential, that's just the nature of the beast I suppose. At least the situations are generally more easily resolved and far less common than running with PUGS or people you've only met online, but it can still happen.

Posted: May 27th 2010 8:36AM Suplyndmnd said

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Arkanaloth, i agree that even Real Life friends have the drama attached and you make a lot of good points. I typically don't get too involved with people in my guild/linkshell but there are some that I do. I generally get first name basis with about 20 out of 100 in my guild/linkshell but out of that 20 there are maybe 2 or 3 that i get to know and talk to out of game. These are real world numbers for me as I quite FFXI some time back but a few people from the game (2 of which still play) i talk to on a very regular basis. One, i talk to daily and it's always about what is going on in our lives.

We are best friends though have never met. She is a great person, has put up with my crap for 5 years now as a friend and we get along REALLY well. We hung out in game so much that we would duo in FFXI what people couldn't get a PUG to accomplish because without even saying anything we could predict what the other was going to do before they even knew what they were going to do. Made the game a lot easier, it made spending time together more fun, and we would just have a great time playing. We both just recently went through huge life changing things and thanks to the other person it was a little bit easier (for me at least, I hope i made it easier for her too).

However, i know people who are on the other ends of the spectrum who befriend everyone, know about everyone's business outside of the game but then I know people who care to know absolutely nothing about the other people except what job they are bringing and their gear.
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Posted: May 27th 2010 8:14AM (Unverified) said

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I typically know a lot about the people I game with on a consistent basis that it is even on a first name basis. I feel that having that kind of knowledge helps the group in a way that if someone is having a bad day they can talk to the group and help get out of that slump so it doesn't hinder their game time/game play... Then again that might only be important in competitive online gaming like FPSes...

Posted: May 27th 2010 10:47AM (Unverified) said

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I always get to know my guild mates really well. I make it a point to drive out and meet up with most of them IRL to build better bonds. My next trip is taking me to St.Louis here in a week or so. I've recently built a 40 person organization that is growing more each day just from spreading the word of mouth in my area. We intend on playing SCII, D3, and SW:TOR together. We have caught the attention of people as far as California while we reside in Michigan. None of those games are released so we are going to preoccupy ourselves with BBQ's and good ol fashioned larping or alternate reality games like Humans v Zombies. Our group focuses on building bonds IRL then taking it to the games. I believe we are going to be very successful in our endeavors. Check us out @ www.metaclan.org if you are interested in joining ;)

Posted: May 27th 2010 10:32AM Pingles said

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The group I belong to has been together almost ten years. We have all gone our separate ways game-wise but still share a forum that is hit by 20-30 of us every day to chat about stuff in our lives.

They were there for me when my Dad died and, unfortunately, I have been able to reciprocate recently.

Several of us are new Fathers and we share lots of diaper-changing tips. :)

Posted: Jul 13th 2010 2:23PM (Unverified) said

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I've gotten to know a lot of my MMO friends in real life. We've even had a meetup in Chicago last August for Wizardcon, and we're planning to get together again in 2011 for the San Deigo Comic Con.

The thing with MMO friends, you already have something in common, the love of the game.

Posted: May 27th 2010 3:33PM (Unverified) said

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I tend to get to know my in-game friends a bit past their avatars.

Posted: May 27th 2010 3:24PM Evy said

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I know them VERY well. I've been with the same WoW guild for several years. In fact, my guildmaster, his wife, and several guildies were at my wedding. :-)

Posted: May 27th 2010 7:21PM (Unverified) said

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As someone who has been around on the internet making friends since the days when you paid for the internet by the hour, I find getting too close to your virtual buddies to be a mistake.

People can do cruel and uncaring things to others they know in real life, and its all the easier to do something selfish or unkind to a virtual person that is 2000 miles away.

My sister gets real close to her guild mates, she even made a trip to las vegas to meet many of them for drinks and fun. A couple of those she considered to be her best friends. Those best friends left her in the dust later when their guild had a slower raid progression, and they went to join a better progressed guild, without even saying a word to her until she confronted them later.

Have fun with people, but remember that their priority when you meet someone in a game, is to play the game. They may very well prioritize a shiny sword or jewel encrusted staff over your friendship.

Posted: May 28th 2010 9:09AM (Unverified) said

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Well earlier this month I popped over to Virginia (from Dublin, Ireland) to be a friends Groomsman in his wedding.
First time we'd ever met in person too, having played City of Heroes together for years.

Posted: May 28th 2010 2:14PM Valdamar said

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I used to mainly play MMOs with RL friends (there were around a dozen of us in EverQuest in 1999-2001 who all knew each other in RL), but most of them turned out to be terrible and unreliable online friends; they caused trouble for other players (for some of them the phrase "it's just a game" was their licence to say and do whatever they pleased, including xenophobic insults) and generally embarrassed me. So in time I stopped playing MMOs with RL friends (in some cases they got themselves banned and/or quit MMOs completely).

My best online friend now is someone I've never met - someone I don't particularly want/expect to meet, who lives 400 miles away from me in another country. I "speak" to him almost every day, though I've only heard his voice a couple of times (when we used voice chat in DDO) and I have no idea what he looks like. We usually chat online in either the MMO we play (CoH) or via Steam, or by SMS text message. He's the only person I've never met that has my cellphone number (heck, I rarely give out my personal email address to online friends) but only for texting. After 5 years of gaming and chatting almost every day I actually trust him more than any of my RL friends, for online purposes anyway. Gaming and other shared interests (movies etc) are the only reason we are friends, but it's as good a basis for friendship as anything. In fact it's quite liberating to have a friend who is just there for gaming and chat, but has no claim on any other part of my life.

Being pragmatic we both realise that in many MMOs it's incredibly useful to have a friend that you can trust implicitly - either to help in currency/gear transfers between characters or just to duo with or to guard your back. We've played together in multiple MMOs, so I'm confident we wouldn't betray each other in a single MMO for virtual profit. Having a trustworthy friend online is more valuable than any amount of virtual goods imho. He's transferred 10 billion inf (half a the maximum amount of "currency" a single character can hold in that game) between two of my characters in CoH on multiple occasions and I was never worried he'd just keep it - I'd trust him implicitly with any virtual "wealth" I have in any game.

By comparison I once asked a RL friend to do a currency transfer between two of my characters in EverQuest and, once he was holding the platinum, he insisted on keeping 50% of it (it was a sizable amount) because "I could afford it" - admittedly that same person often tried the same thing in RL at restaurants, using the excuse that I had a better paid job than him so I should pay his share. In the EQ situation he figured I'd forgive him for his online "theft" because "it was just a game", plus I knew what he was like so it was partly my fault for trusting him. He figured he could push our RL friendship for his own gain because we had a lot of history together and surely I wouldn't throw all that away over a game. He assumed I'd forgive him, but it did sour our friendship in RL, and when (not long after) he pushed again and insisted on keeping some novels and DVDs I'd loaned him (again because he said I could afford to replace them, but he couldn't afford to buy them) I "cut the cord", told him to get lost, and I haven't spoken to him since.

So yeah, on the whole I prefer playing MMOs with online-only friends - ultimately they're less hassle - low maintenance - and because the friendship is solely confined to online gaming and idle chatter it's much easier to dump friends like that (if they give you good reason to) without it affecting you adversely in real life. But I have little interest in converting online friends into "face to face" friends and little interest in going to conventions to meet guildmates or other "notables" from whatever MMO community I'm part of at the time.

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