The other category revolves around being helped by a stranger in a time of great need. Typically, a lot of time investment, risk or trust is needed during these events. In real life, many friendships are solidified through a series of favors or repaid debts because they signify a sharing of trust and understanding. The difference is that crises are far and few between in our everyday lives, so it takes months if not years for those kinds of relationships to solidify, whereas MMORPGs are designed to be dangerous worlds where crises occur frequently.
One day I was traveling in EQ and entered Runnyeye (a somewhat low level zone) and heard a message over the zone that somebody had lost their corpse. Being high level for the zone, I was able to locate their corpse and drag it up toward the zone line where it was safer. This required trust on their part since at the time I could loot all of their belongings, but I was honest. She and I parted ways without incident, but months later we met again by chance on different characters and became friends with one another. She once mentioned when we were passing near Runnyeye how she almost lost her corpse there once, and she told me the story when I pressed for it. By complete chance, we had found each other again on different characters and got along well. I just thought it was nice how a good deed came back to be fortunate for me. We're still friends today even though we both have since quit EQ. [EQ, M, 22]
It might not seem particularly major but I once lost my corpse in very difficult circumstances. Basically it was impossible for me to recover it without skills which I did not possess. This would have lost me quite a few months of developing my character. I told a 'friend' who I have never met but only spoken to in-game and she not only dropped what she was doing and came to help but also got her son-in-law to log in and come help as well. Between them they got my corpse. What got me was these people only know me through a game, will never meet me but were more than willing to help at some cost to themselves, even if only of time. [EQ, M, 53]
When I was very new to EverQuest, I had to make a trip from a newbie town (Surefall Glade) on one side of Antonica to a different newbie zone (Freeport) on the opposite end of the continent. This involved a very long and dangerous run which I had to do by myself at level 4. After a few false starts (getting mauled by a rabid bear right outside the newbie zone, and zoning into a werewolf that killed me before the zone even loaded), I finally got a good start, and made it through the first two zones (West Karana and North Karana), albeit with some difficulty and very slowly. In the next zone (East Karana), I was unlucky and had a named Cyclops spawn practically on top of me - I survived the first hit, and was prepared for a long walk back, when it suddenly keeled over and died. I scrolled back through the spam to see someone had nuked it to death. Turns out, it was a level 50-something Druid named Shider. He buffed me up, gave me SoW, and was actually nice enough to escort me all the way back to Freeport, which took a good half hour of his time. I thanked him profusely, and went on my way. I thought that was just about the coolest thing anyone's ever done for me in an MMO. I was a complete stranger and he took time out of his day to give me a hand. Quite strangely, about a month later, I was hunting near Surefall Glade with a different character, and ran into a higher-level character camping the Glowing Black Stone (a very rare drop that came from a rare spawn just outside Surefall Glade). We started talking, and I helped him out with buffs and heals in between fights. He was there for a few days (on and off, not end-to-end), and we ran into each other frequently. Eventually, he invited me into his guild, and lo and behold, the first person to welcome me to the guild was Shider (!!!). Turns out, Shider was a woman in real life. I still talk to her once in a while, and her boyfriend and I (who also played EQ at the time) have become really good friends over the years - thankfully they only live about a 4 hour drive from here, so we get together (IRL) every so often. [EQ, M, 23]
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