There is a another very interesting kind of relationship “formation” going on in MMORPGs. Many MMORPG gamers play with a romantic partner or a family member. About 16% of male players and 60% of female players play with a romantic partner, and about 25% of male players and 40% of female players play with a family member. Many of these players say that playing together has changed their real-life relationships in unexpected ways.

Romantic partners who play together often talk about how the environment highlighted their individual differences by accentuating personality differences.

Our styles are totally different. For instance, I will rather play in a group just for company, even if the exp gain is minimal, whereas my partner tends to literally AVOID other players. [f, 23]

For other players, the environment doesn’t only highlight individual differences, but it comes to shape the relationship itself through interplays of power, dependence, and gender roles.

Parents who play with their children often talk about how the online world becomes an important window in the identities and lives of their children which they seldom have access to in real life. More importantly, the MMORPG environment allows these players to redefine the boundaries of their real-life roles in ways that enhance the parent-child relationship. MMORPGs not only change how new relationships form, but they are also windows into existing relationships as well potent catalysts that can restructure those relationships in beneficial ways.


The Daedalus Gateway - The Psychology of MMORPGs

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