Highlights Existing Conflicts
But playing together means making decisions together and personality differences are magnified in MMO spaces because so much of the game play revolves around reacting to and acting upon something that happens. And playing with someone you know can become more of a struggle.
Gaming with my boyfriend in an MMO was a really enjoyable and enlightening experience. Knowing each other very well in real life made it easier in my opinion to play together. The two relationships were seperate (real and virtual). I noticed many of the ways we're different when playing together. I for example love to help others and be part of a team, he'd rather just get xp and levels and items and very much enjoyed player killing and was usually rude or mean to others in the game. It was a different side of him I had never seen, he's very different online. He has quit playing and I continued, it sometimes puts a strain on our relationship, but usually we're fine. He plays other games now, even though we're gaming a lot we're always in the same room and talk and laugh a lot, and still love each other very much. [EQ, F, 20]
I currently play with an ex-colleague. My colleague and I lost contact with each other after I left my job because our lives had taken different directions. I started up and account on EverQuest II and called my colleague and told him about it. That day he signed up and now we play together almost every night and even talk on the phone again. I'd say we're as close now as we were when we were working together. Since he always needs to be the best at everything, playing with him can be difficult at times. He plays often and is motivated by gaining experience and levels. His goal is always to be the highest level character in the game. I like to play multiple characters and find enjoyment in doing quests, helping others, chatting, role-playing, etc. His character (he concentrates on one at a time) will surpass mine in levels and we end up splitting up in the game. He doesn't care to slow down to wait for my character to catch up to his unless he needs my character to help his character with something. [EQ2, F, 28]
My boyfriend and I have played many MMORPGS together and, in my opinion, the experience is always a poor one. We each have different playing styles: I get frustrated by how he always wants to group with me (sometimes I like to play alone), and he gets annoyed when I recreate my character (which I tend to do frequently), causing him to lose an equal-leveled partner. [CoH, M, 22]
For others, the MMO space highlighted existing conflicts in a relationship in unexpected ways.
I play with my husband and many of my old high school friends often. My relationship with my husband has made it a lot easier to play together--we get along really well both in game and out of game. However, the game has brought out conflicts within my group of friends. The conflicts--mostly having to do with social class and monetary status--have continued into the game, amplified and reflected within the game. One member of our group of friends, for example, stumbled largely by luck into a high-end raiding guild that helped him get a lot of very nice loot. This became a real sore point for some of my friends, and it became clear that they had always seen this person as having unfair class advantages from his family all our lives. So I would say gaming didn't change our relationships at all (except make it possible to play together scattered all over the world), but it added a new, symbolic way for us to play out the psychological dramas always lurking in our real lives too. [EQ, F, 35]
Tags: boundary play (17) , play is social (27) , playing with friends/partner/family (6) , transfer offline (9)
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