A Relationship in Reverse
One way to think about MMORPG relationships is that they happen almost in reverse of how a RL relationship would occur. All the things that typically take a long time to know about someone in a RL relationship usually happen very early and very quickly. For example, it takes a long time before two people in real life, whether they are dating or just friends, to share secrets with each other. We know that the opposite is true online. We know that many MMORPG players have shared secrets with their online friends that they havenít told their real life friends.
The MMORPGs also allow people to see how someone would react under a sudden high-stress situation, and how they treat you in a situation where you need their help or support. These situations are far rarer in real life. The environment also allows you to see how they interact with other people in a multitude of scenarios. A lot of times when we meet someone in real life or when we date them, we donít really get to see their other sides Ė especially how they treat other people.
In real life, we judge a person first by their physical appearance and then we get to know their character and values. In an MMORPG, the reverse is true. You get a sense of their values and character from the situations in the game. You hang out with them because you share a lot of common values or you like their personality. And then finally, you may meet them in real life where you judge their physical appearance. As this player describes, her relationship happened "inside-out":
We got to know each other from 'the inside out' Ö meaning I got to know him on a deep personal level first without letting anything like physical appearance, etc get in the way. [f, 29]
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