By Rick Charbs (Jammart), Onrpg writer
Article featured in Gaming Magazine Thirteen1 Anniversary Issue.
MMORPGS have been a popular form of entertainment for decades now. They all offer varied aspects of gameplay, customization, and an array of quests and monsters to conquer. What else have MMORPGS brought to the internet social scene: love! Why, there are in-game marriages for a reason—just kidding!
One of the very controversial topics of MMORPGS is internet relationships (otherwise known as e-lationships). Also found throughout the internet in form of dating websites, internet dating has been prominent throughout the years and the numbers of internet couples are increasing exponentially. With a great deal of internet dating given attention through MMORPGS, this phenomenon has been analyzed countless amount of times through the eyes of gamers.
There are two very opposing views on this MMORPG phenomenon. One perspective on internet dating through online games is a very positive one: that relationships can last without physical contact, but need to be maintained with an increased emotional attraction and attachment. This may include regularly speaking together on the phone, having webcam conversations, or other mildly personal gatherings. However, it is often discouraged to have relationships solely based on chat rooms and chat programs, due to the obvious fact that there is no real evidence whether someone is really who they claim to be. The positive response from MMORPG dating is also said to be even more structured than real life relationships, based on the sole fact that they do not rely on appearance at all, only personality and general character.
The opposition to this perspective lies in those who believe love to require a physical attraction to function properly. Balance is required in everything social, and thus, many believe MMORPG dating can only go so far. Some gamers maintain absolutely no contact or close relationship with anyone they play online games with; lacking the ability to feel, there is no importance attributed to others on the net. This is natural, as everyone has different needs, and dating through technology may seem unrealistic. Instead, these gamers choose to befriend others in the goal to have many acquaintances. Some simply believe that real relationships can exist in an MMORPG, though they lack any true meaning or dedication.
However, there is a gray area on this concept, in contrast with the black-and-white opposing points of view. Without shutting down the concept completely, some agree that it is a great way to meet someone before then taking it a step further by meeting in real life (something that can seem pretty risky in most cases). It is advised as an MMORPG gamer to maintain a social balance and stay away from superficial relationships. Whether if somebody can handle the distance or not, these types of decisions must be made wisely.
Broadly known as an inappropriate way to have a relationship (and often highly discouraged or prohibited by parents), it also should be known that even though there are negative results from online dating, there are happy endings as well.
These somewhat-awkward (such as getting married to somebody in an MMORPG and then marrying them in real life) yet positive results are overshadowed by rape victim stories, suicide related to the internet, and MMORPG addiction articles. The media, thriving on more negative stories, tends to give these warnings out to the community very often. As much as that may be a great contribution to society, it also limits some people’s minds and causes close-mindedness. Our society is growing hastily, and technology has taken quite the leap, forever rendering humanity dependant on it. This promises an even more intricate future for MMORPG relationships. Perhaps they will be even more personal in the near future, with developing concepts such as virtual reality.
Dating in an MMORPG requires a special personality to fulfill. If there is attraction without any need for physical attachment (at least for the time being), and the relationship is healthy, then nothing can hold you back from enjoying yourself and being very close to someone through the internet. The beauty of MMORPG dating is that you can find your soul mate regardless of where you live on the globe. And you can always try out an in-game wedding before taking the plunge in real life. You may now /kiss the bride!