What Do Your Virtual Actions Say About You?
Another kind of spillover that occurs doesn't derive from an existing personality difference that results in a conflict but sometimes players feel the game forces them to choose against people they know in real life. The problem is that your virtual decisions impact your real life.
"Witkin" is an IT director who works in the Nevada casino industry. He played EQ with a co-worker but decisions he made in EverQuest played out in the real world.
I was introduced to EverQuest by a co-worker. I was the Director of the department in which he worked, but we had become friends. I became very interested in EQ and took time outside of the game to research quests, skills, and the like. After a few months my own knowledge of EQ was greater than that of my friend, and my main character had surpassed his highest level toon.
The EQ world can be social or solitary depending on how you choose to play, and I had developed an in-game reputation for being knowledgeable of my class, and a reliable player all around. That reputation resulted in my being invited to join a well-respected guild. This created tension in the real life relationship with my co-worker. I couldn't invite him to the guild, and while I liked him as a RL friend, I wasn't fond of his play style. Eventually we stopped hanging out much in RL, and he started alternate characters to avoid interacting with me in-game. There was a definite, tangible effect on my real life friendship with that person based on how we choose to play a video game. [EQ, M, 33]
2 of my friends where basically really sucky at playing games and thus I had them removed from the guild. This obviously caused some friction IRL but luckily not so much as our friendship ended. I used the analogy of 'Michael Jordan doesn't have all of his RL friends playing on the same team as them' to justify this. I guess it boils down to whether or not you think that a RL friendship is enough of a reason to make your OL gaming experience less fun that it could be. [WoW, M, 30]
Tags: boundary play (17) , play is social (27) , playing with friends/partner/family (6) , transfer offline (9)
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