One reason why many people are uncomfortable with meeting people online is because, at first glance, it feels like finding a needle in a farmhouse of haystacks. The chances of finding someone you could get along with just feel very remote. They then project this attitude and conclude that the likelihood of other people finding compatible romantic partners is also very low. But the opposite might be true in MMORPGs. MMORPG players who are employed tend to work in the IT industry (36% of employed EQ players, N=1099), and most MMORPG players have previous experience with table-top RPGs (68% of EQ, DAOC, UO, AC, and AO combined, N=3415). IT workers are usually very analytical and rational people; RPG players are usually imaginative and idiosyncratic. Both tend to be non-conformist.
In other words, people who play MMORPGs are probably similar in more ways than not. When you think about, an MMORPG is a highly specific kind of entertainment. People who like first-person shooters are probably not the kind of people who like MMORPGs. By the same token, people who play MMORPGs and enjoy the slow level advancement, character development, and simulated battles while immersed within a fantastical medieval world probably share other attitudes and interests. The MMORPG effectively attracts people with similar interests and attitudes while at the same time filtering out the people who do not share these interests. What you end up with in an MMORPG is a pre-filtered group of people. This is why compatibility is more likely to occur.
We've discovered that we share many values and beliefs. These relationships are different from my RL relationships because it was much easier to open up to someone under the relative anonymity of online communication. [m, 26]
We have more in common then most my real life friends. [f, 33]
Meeting someone compatible in an MMORPG would only be a shot in the dark if you believed that MMORPG players are a representative sample of the general population, which is definitely not the case. Thus, another reason why good relationships are so common in MMORPGs is because players tend to be meeting people who are more compatible with them than a random person they meet in real life. Itís like meeting someone on a message board about the French culinary arts during the late Renaissance. The interest is so focused and specific that other shared attitudes are highly likely.
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