Are MMORPG Relationships Meaningless?
Of course, others in the same side of the discussion would also point out that at the other side of the communication is another person in flesh and blood, and that you are interacting with a real person after all regardless of the apparent facelessness:
To me, there is a real person at the other end of the screen. The fact that you interact with them online is incidental, they aren't any less real or any less of who they are just b/c the medium of communication is a computer. That said, there are those who just want to play the game w/o any social attachments or complications. They point out you can't really know if the person at the other end tells the truth. They have a legitimate point of view as well. Perhaps they just want to keep the focus on the real life people they live with. As long as they don't use their view on superficiality as an excuse to be hurtful, I generally have no problem w/ either point of view. [EQ, F, 37]
There is no question in my mind that some relationships formed in an online game can be every bit as meaningful as those in real life. When you find folks who share your goals and aspirations, and you can work together with them for the benefit of all involved, that can be the foundation for a strong relationship. It gets you off on the right foot. And no matter what any guilt-ridden griefer may say, there's always a living, breathing person on the other end of our in-game actions. If there weren't, nobody would play the game. The fact of physical separation is only a minor limitation and not a barrier to friendship; can a blind person not make friends? So why should it be that because we cannot physically see or touch the people in the game with us, we cannot interact in a meaningful way? A particularly significant example I can remember is talking a troubled young friend that I met in game out of ending her real life. I knew she needed a friend, and I knew she needed to talk, but it wasn't until the end of the discussion that she let on she had been thinking about making the big mistake, and I had given her hope. That qualifies as meaningful, and the entire conversations took place in game and over ICQ. [UO, M, 29]
Tags: boundary play (17) , boundary tensions (8) , play is social (27) , relationship formation (14)
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