I’ve met tons of couples online who play WoW. In fact, it always is a little surprising when I encounter someone whose better half doesn’t play. Our guild is made up of a number of couples and our closest WoW friends are mostly married players. I know this is probably my experience, rather than the overall bent of the game. But for me WoW is a giant coffee-house for couples and singletons who like quoting Matt Groening shows and hanging out together after work.
So what is it about WoW that attracts twosomes?
For years, TV and movies have taught us that couples always like different things. (Also, if they’re married, the guy is overweight and the wife has looks that indicate she just retired from the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders squad.) The man loves beer and bowling, the woman loves daytime soaps and talking with her gaggle of super-supportive girlfriends. And never the twain shall meet, except to discuss the kids or have the oh-so-rare mating session.
In real life, I’ve found that marriage, for me, at least, is nothing like this. My pally and I share a lot of overlapping interests. We have our own little worlds too (I love to watch trashy TV and reading P.G. Wodehouse; he loves the History Channel and curling up with a good non-fiction about science or one of the world’s many wars.) But for the most part, our interests in TV, movies, games, and how we spend our downtime overlap pretty completely. And, as far as I can tell, this isn’t even atypical. Every couple I know shares a lot more than the TV and movie husband-and-wife team. This being true, lots of couples playing WoW shouldn’t seem strange, but since the world largely suffers under the delusion that women not only don’t enjoy video games but are bad at them, I guess it isn’t surprising that on some level I bought into that (even though I’m a woman who enjoys video games and is good at them…gah!) and was surprised and delighted to discover a whole bunch of women who are happily married or happily unmarried and love WoW. (Psst, world: Women also enjoy sex. Shhh. Don’t tell anyone.)
The truth is that there is something romantic about playing WoW with your partner. My pally and I discovered this straightaway, back even before we started our first lasting characters – a pally (of course) and a mage. Questing together, working on a common goal, protecting each other from the danger around you…I know it might sound silly, but it’s almost like you both are in an action-adventure movie – one where the hero and heroine are equal in abilities to Save The World (if such a thing exists.) Gallantry occurs on both sides, from the way you wait for each other, aid each other, present each other with little in-game gifts. Because the world is so complete in WoW and there is so much to discover, it’s almost like stepping into romance anew, the way it feels when you travel together to some place neither of you have ever visited before. (“Look, hon! A deer!” “Ooooo.” “Look! A giant, ravenous beast!” *Splat*)
Lately, there hasn’t been a lot of romance in our WoW. My pally and I have been either (a) stressed to the max or (b) entirely without time, and so we’ve logged on for our 10-man raids and a few Brewfest dailies and that’s it. When we log on with our mains, we’re instantly surrounded by guildies/friends who want to do stuff or go places, often with us. And while we love hanging out in our giant WoW coffee-house, sometimes we want to go off for a dinner-for-two where the cell phones-of-in-game-tells are completely turned off, and it’s just us again, helping each other through quests.
Last night, we rediscovered the way. We created two Secret Horde Alts, the reverse of our first lasting characters. (Now I’m the one with the big sword and he’s the one with the fireballs.) We giggled and argued our way through the first few quests. We stood side by side before logging, just like we used to do in days of yore. I don’t suppose it will necessarily last – we love playing in the coffee-house with all of our friends too much, as we should. But somedays, it’s nice to step away, to remind ourselves that even in a video game, we can find romance in our playing.