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"Well...he is a little hack'n'slash-happy..." [f, 21, dating]

"She likes big glowing swords a lot." [m, 20, dating]

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How long have you been playing together?
Was the game purchased to be played together?
How often are you grouped?
In Their Own Words


About 24.3% (N=1094) of EQ players play the game with a romantic partner. There is a significant gender difference. 69.5% of female players play the game with a romantic partner, while only 16.4% of male players do (p<.001). Of those EQ players who play the game with a romantic partner, about 43.8% (N=160) are dating. 38.1% are married, 14.4% are engaged, while 3.8% are lifetime partners.

How Long Have You Been Playing Together?

The majority of EQ players who game with a romantic partner have been playing together for 5-10 months (N=160).

Was The Game Purchased To Be Played Together?

Of those EQ players who game with a romantic partner, about one-third (33.8%, N=160) purchased the game specifically as something they could do together.

How often are you grouped?

Of those EQ players who game with a romantic partner, about a third (35%, N=160) say they almost always are grouped with their partner. Another 20% say that they are often grouped. Only 11.3% say that they are almost never grouped with their romantic partner.

In Their Own Words

Oftentimes, one of the pair grew interested in the game from watching the other play:

She became an Evercrack addict from watching me play [m, 29, engaged]

I had been playing EQ before, and I encouraged her to start. (She's since levelled past me, the Ingrate! hehe) We're separated geographically, so we can't play side by side. [m, 34, dating]

He brought home the game and played about a week while I made fun of it. He started telling me about the people he had met and it got me interested. I started playing soon there after.. [f, 25, engaged]

I bought EQ as a present for my fiance, he didn't install the game for weeks after I bought it for him, so one day I installed it and started playing. Next thing you know I'm going into the other room going "honey, help me......". Then we started playing a character together one doing mouse controls and the other the keyboard. Finally we had to buy a second copy so we both could play. [f, 27, engaged]

Sometimes, it was through some devious planning or back-fires:

I intially started playing because i was trying to prove a point how dreadful it was to sit and watch someone play a game for hours at a time .. then i was hooked and we decided together to both start playing together .. we started new characters in the same starting spots and played .. we do not play side by side [f, 24, dating]

My boyfriend got me addicted to it on purpose...he even upgraded my computer so that I could play with him. He figured I would like it, because of my previous RPG stuff as a teen. We currently have 4 duos, created specifically as partners. [f, 30, dating]

In fact, it can happen the other way around as well, with the relationship beginning in EQ instead of real-life:

Actually we met in EQ in January, she was a level 22 ranger and I was a level 19 ranger. She powerlevelled me on aviak guards in Lake Rathe. We weren't actually boyfriend/girlfriend until this summer, and met in real life in August ;) [m, 20, dating]

It happened quite as chance, we happened just to see each other near the POD lift in Gfay, and started talking.. eventually things became more involved... [m, 18, dating]

Some gamers claimed that playing together was so enjoyable that they would not play without their partner:

I wouldnt play without her. Having the bond she and I share and having it come from a video game somewhat ties us to the game itself, sort of like it is a substitute for "our song". [m, 20, dating]

I also found that I didn't really feel like playing unless she was there, it just wasn't the same. [m, 21, dating]

As much as I love the game I could not imagine playing without him now. [f, 35, dating]

Others suggested that playing together enhanced game-play:

EQ is a lot more fun with someone you can speak to in the room. I have fun messing with my grilfriend in the game. In a full group I sometimes give indications to what she's doing before she gets a chance to (i.e. I'll say, "inc" when she's pulling mobs. Its also nice to be able to look at another monitor and get another view of the world. [m, 26, dating]

it most definitely enhances the enjoyment. we are able to use our characters to be a bit more "open" to one another in the company of others and gain reactions that may otherwise be looked at as inappropraite in public places. this falls along the lines of a fantasy cyber-date where you can step out of one role and into another. [m, 29, dating]

Many gamers however, talked about the tensions playing together would create, and how playing together could actually make game-play difficult:

Sometimes it's great... he's protective over me and looks after me online. Often he'll sacrifice his character's life for mine so that I will be safe, not lose experience, etc. When we're having a good time, obviously, it's great. There are times though, that it's miserable. He can get VERY jealous over who my characters talk to and heaven forbid some compliment me. It's tidious sometimes and it makes me wish we didn't play together. [f, 20, engaged]

I can't stand to watch her play. I want her to do things my way and she does them her way and we just clash when we play together. [m, 25, engaged]

However, 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. I am often a pushy roleplayer, forcing others to RP or get out of my face. Thus I am unafraid of starting an argument, whether in /say, /tell or even /shout. This seems to make my partner very uncomfortable. For these reasons, if we are playing together we try very hard to compromise. However, I insist on having 'solo' characters that I only play on my own. I tend to find his gaming style restrictive. [f, 23, engaged]

My characters are flirtatious.. I am more outgoing and sexual online; it's just a function of not being face to face with people. He had to deal with jealousy problems from the attention I receive, and I had to learn that I can't act how I usually do. We hardly play at all anymore, and it's really helped our relationship. [f, 19, dating]

When asked whether they had learned anything about their partner because of playing together in EQ, most respondents thought that EQ highlighted the best and worst in their partners:

I learned that he really does nothing without a purpose, even in playing a game. He's extremely goal-oriented - likes to see that gold experience bar move, where I'm not quite as experience obsessed as he is. [f, 25, engaged]

Well....I see her best and worst traits in the game. She has a terrible temper that comes out in the game at times. [m, 30, dating]

I realized, in game and in RL, just how nice, fair minded, and honorable he is. [f, 30, dating]

Not really but everything comes out of the woodwork if you will. What I mean by this is, take the following instance as an example. My g/f is scared of trying new things and when she does it takes her a while to warm up to whatever she's doing. This REALLY shows itself in the game as her not wanting to attack anything she's not comfortable with. I'm not talking about a normal situation where the mob would con red/yellow/white to you but I'm talking about because that mob "LOOKS" bad (even if it's green or blue) she will not go near it. Frustrating but that's not the point ... the point is that the fear of things new comes out in the game and you can really see it more clearly in the game than in RL (I mean how many Orc Centurions do you know that are running around in RL?). [m, 24, dating]

No. We know each other well IRL. The only thing that EQ has done is affirmed my feelings about my wife's personality, intellect, basic kindness and rationality etc. [m, 54, married]

Sometimes, respondents reflected on how playing together highlighted their individual differences:

I was not aware how shy he is of speaking out 'in public' (in EQ, this translates into /shout or /ooc, of course). He will often scorn me for getting involved into a public channel discussion or try and stop me. [f, 23, engaged]

Yeah, he's a real risk-taker in the game, much more so than in actual life. I'm the opposite. Also, he starts conversations with others much more easily than in EQ than in RL. Again, I'm the opposite. [f, 37, dating]

Not really. It did further emphasize that she is a much more socialable person than am I, as she tends to make more friends in the game than I do, but I was pretty much aware of that beforehand. [m, 30, married]

I'm not sure. That's really a tough question. I would say rather than having learned something new about him, it was more like it emphasied differences between us that I already knew about. He is very patient, I am very impulsive, etc. And these differences are a lot more apparent in a game situation. [f, 27, dating]

Gamers sometimes commented indirectly on how differently men and women approach the game itself:

He is really turned on by the power and prestige aspects of the game, whereas I use it as an extended chatroom. So we had some conflict over me getting twinked out purely because I was a real woman. (His main is a female, which was also something new. I didn't appreciate not being able to be his girlfriend in game to, or that in order to be so I would have to become a lesbian. I also had to accept that his playing female characters was a roleplaying decision, and I still think that it is a little strange.) [f, 19, dating]

I didn't realize quite how obsessive he was. . .I try to moderate my EQ time, I don't like to play more than a few hours a day, and when I go on raids or spend 8+ hourse playing, I nearly never play the next day. My husband's played for 30+ hours straight. [f, 22, married]

However, 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, engaged]

Several female respondents commented on the over-protectiveness of their partners:

Oh yes, One of the main reasons i have begun to lose interest in him, was from the way he would always take kills from me, and shielding me so as to keep me safe... Well With him being a wizard and me a cleric, we all know i can whoop his butt :) So knowing this i observed when we hung out in real life next, and sure enough he is Way too overprotective and jealous. I never noticed it until the game tho. [f, 24, dating]

Respondents had very varied feelings as to whether EQ had enhanced or damaged their relationships. Some felt that EQ had taken over their relationship:

Damaged. We spend too much time back to back at our computers typing away and sharing time and experiences with our friends in Norrath. And because EQ is so demanding of time in order to keep up with those friends, each of us has dedicated literally MONTHS of time to a rediculous game that neither of us will stop playing right now but both wish we would. [f, 23, married]

Well, I think we sometimes play EQ instead of being close to one another physically (not necessarily intimate, but that too). I don't think that's good. [m, 30, married]

When you stick two people in a room who are complete addicts to this game...let's just say that neither of us has the will to function in RL anymore, and neither of us is strong enough to attempt to end the addiction for both of us. Our addiction feeds on us, we feed on it and we feed on each other's. [f, 24, dating]

Both. We have common ground, as mentioned above, but she likes the game too much. She plays it too much! We don't do anything else, it seems. When we go out, she gets bored and says how she would rather be playing EQ. Our social life has dropped significantly. [m, 30, dating]

On the other hand, other gamers talked about how EQ made it easier for them to resolve real-life communication issues, and enhanced the relationship:

I think it has enhanced the relationship. He and I both tend to hold in emotions and thoughts, but when we are in game we can comfortably let the other know thru emotes and such. [f, 28, engaged]

If anything it has enhanced the relationship. Before we had problems with communication. Through Everquest we have learned to communicate or suffer the consequences, which are quite "visible" where as not communicating with my partner caused unseen damages. [m, 17, dating]

It's meant we can explore changing roles (for example my being group leader, whereas in our day-to-day lives he is more often in charge of the people around us (his employees) than I am) and also given us something fun to do together. [f, 32, dating]

Our relationship has definately been enhanced. We're better now at working together towards goals. And we both really enjoy growing, learning and adventuring together. It's exciting to be involved in each other's triumphs. And it feels good to help each other (sometimes it seems like a race to see which one of us can save the other). [f, 29, married]