You're not buying it, are you. I've always said that you're too wily for me.
Whether or not Valentine's Day is something you do, gaming couples do turn to their favorite hobby for a virtual dating hotspot from time to time. It only makes sense. These aren't just worlds where we are celebrated serial killers and butchers of entire races but places in which we live out pretend lives while taking it very, very seriously. So if you're ever in the position where you want to go on a date in-game, here are 10 romantic activities that this Casanova suggests.
"Wow, Justin," you say with an eyeroll. "You're not starting with small potatoes, are you?"
Nope. This man does not believe in diminutive starches. If I didn't start with in-game weddings, then you'd spend the entirety of this list waiting for it to pop up. No need to thank me; it's my job.
Whether it's a virtual form of renewing your real-life vows or a way to bind your characters together in holy matrimony, there's nothing stopping you from hitching the knot. Several games have their own wedding system, but even if yours doesn't, all it takes is an austere location, someone to run the shindig, and several friends to cheer you on.
2. Dinner and a show
What might be mundane in real life can be quite magical in an MMO. Take for example the ol' dinner-and-a-show outing. It's generally not what our characters do, so finding a tavern or restaurant to sit down, munch on a few consumables, and spend some time talking together while players frantically level all around you could be more romantic than you realize.
For a show, you could scout out places in the game that have scripted events or plays that amuse you via NPC tomfoolery, but I suggest finding out whether an enterprising player troupe is putting on a play or staging an event outside of the game's parameters.
3. Plan a scenic tour
We're often blitzing past gorgeous and interesting-looking locales on the way to quest hubs and raids without really seeing these wonderful vistas. Why not plan a scenic tour of some of your favorite places in the game and really take your time exploring them together and creating an album full of memories in the form of screenshots? You each could take turns with destinations as well, sharing why these places are important to you when you both arrive.
We all like getting (and giving) gifts to the people we love, but I'm not sure how common this is among gamer couples. I guess throwing a bagful of gold to my wife through the mail is practical, but it's hardly romantic.
That's why it could be plenty of fun to arrange to do a gift exchange at a certain time (perhaps placing a price limit if you're afraid of one party splurging too much). Explore what vendors have to offer, comb through the auction house, and maybe even craft a cool item or two.
If all else fails, find animals that drop hearts and collect bagfuls of them to prove your love in the most disgusting way possible.
5. Create a special space
I always value creativity in romantic gifts over the dollars spent because it shows me how much thought was put into an expression of love. So if you really want to be creative, why not turn a player housing area into a special space for your honey?
There's so much you could do with this idea, especially if you know a lot about the person and can theme the house to reflect his or her hobbies, interests, and personality. It might take some time, effort, and currency, but consider the payoff when you watch your significant other explore this space in delight.
6. Write a poem or letter
It's old-fashioned and perhaps even corny, but there's never anything wrong about expressing your feelings through the written word. Fun fact: Did you know that MMOs contain mail systems that deliver more than just items? 'Tis true! So grab that virtual quill and churn out an amorous ballad or a heartfelt letter, then send it to your sweetie and see if you get a favorable reply.
Sometimes the most romantic thing in the world is to get past your own wants and needs and consider those of your partner's. Sometimes all it takes is the simple question of, "What do you want to do tonight?"
So why not include that philosophy in a special game night where you let the other person know that it's all up to what they want to do. If they want to quest, PvP, do a dungeon, or even crochet armor from seashells, well by golly, that's what you're going to do too. Happily.
8. Escalating dares
For the adventure-seeking couple, MMOs have no shortage of ways to put yourself in hazardous situations for the sheer thrill of it. Knock off the "truth" part of truth-or-dare and go back-and-forth as you exchange escalating dares.
High dive off a cliff into a rocky sea. Streak through a dungeon to see if you can get to the boss without dying before the horde gets you. Go into general chat and talk about Ron Paul. Buy an epic piece of gear and then break it down for crafting components. Hunt innocent bunny rabbits in a head-to-head competition to see who is the most despicable human being. The possibilities are endless.
9. Roll new alts in a leveling pact
If you haven't already, forging a leveling pact can be like taking one date night idea and stretching it into dozens (in a good way). Roll up brand-new alts together that you both agree to only bring out when the other person is present. Enjoy the game as a permanent team until one or both of you crack from the constant strain of each other's presence and then secretly jump 10 levels in a single night out of spite. Or, y'know, don't!
10. Go pet shopping
Yup, we've gone from marriage to pet shopping. Still, it's an idea! Lots of people like fluffy critters, and for pre-baby couples, a pet can be a surrogate child that is smothered with love, affection, and sickening names. Find a vanity pet to make "yours," then dress it up in an uncomfortable sweater while you go on a walk around the park. Just the three of you. Two in love, and one in hell.
As nature intended.
Justin "Syp" Olivetti enjoys counting up to ten, a feat that he considers the apex of his career. If you'd like to learn how to count as well, check out The Perfect Ten. You can contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or through his gaming blog, Bio Break.