Are MMORPG Relationships Meaningless?
Other respondents took this point one step further, arguing that a relationship is a relationship and that that is the core of the issue:
Relationships are relationships, regardless of the vehicle one uses to create them. It is just as possible to fall in love or make a wonderful, trusted friend online as in real life. Certainly, there is more risk involved, since if you see this person IRL after meeting online, there is the possibility that they've misled you about themselves, and that can create trust issues at the very least ... the slight but definite possibility of this person being an axe-murderer can, of course, not be ignored. However, the vast majority of people out there are just as normal as you and I (scary, isn't it?), and so you can safely assume that a large percentage of people you meet aren't out to kill you. That said ... I have to say that while it is just as possible, and maybe even easier for some people to FORM relationships online as in real life, some people have denounced the quality of these relationships. I have a friend I met online (not in game, but online just the same) and we just met for lunch a week ago. We talked for hours, and had a great time. We made a deal to get together again soon. Is this any less a real friendship because I met his intelligence and humour before I met his face? No. Similarly, I have online friends that I have met in game that I can talk to if I'm worried, and I am there for them when they are. Just the other day, my husband was very late coming home, and I was very worried. Two good friends, both of whom I met online, talked me through it, and helped to calm me till he came home. They are just as much my friends as the ones who I see with my eyes every day. Just because I've never seen them in real life doesn't mean we can't be friends. I talk to them when I'm worried or sad, or happy ... and I'm there for them at those times as well. A relationship between lovers or friends can span time, distance, religion, politics ... why shouldn't it be able to overcome the WWW? Those who say it can't are clearly missing out on the possibilities of meeting people from all over the world, befriending them, and learning about them and their homes. [EQ, F, 22]
I see no evidence that relationships formed in the Game Online cannot be just as meaningful, real and fulfilling as those in Real Life. I have 'friends' in the Game that I have never met in Real Life but we are concerned about each others welfare and interests and communicate those things the same as if we could walk next door and shake hands with our neighbor in Real life. [UO, M, 57]
Tags: boundary play (17) , boundary tensions (8) , play is social (27) , relationship formation (14)
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