Did you know: couples meet while playing World of Warcraft all the time?
It’s been said that love can blossom in the unlikeliest of places, in addition to when you’re not looking for it. Unlike sites like Match.com and eHarmony, where we’re actively putting ourselves out there and trying to find a guy, you might not assume that the online fantasy game, World of Warcraft, would be an excellent place to meet a man. Which just goes to show, you must keep an open mind when it comes to the quest for romance. Let Tamara Langman and John Bentley be a lesson to us all!
The New York Times’ Stephanie Rosenbloom profiled Tamara and John after discovered that they had met while playing WoW, a multiplayer fantasy game that’s reminiscent of Magic: the Gathering or Dungeons & Dragons, which happens to utilize the internet. Geek love bloomed when John, a.k.a. Weulfgar McDoal, was impressed when Tamara’s blonde, pig-tailed gnome, Arixi Fizzlebolt, helped to kill the demon Prince Malchezaar.
So instead of typing away to find their likes and dislikes, T & J found a quiet spot in warcraft world for their avatars to sit, and virtually discussed everything (literally and figuratively) under the sun. Although they were co-existing in the fictional world of Azeroth, Tamara and John were also on a real-life cyber date. This continued for two months until he hopped on a flight from Atlanta, Georgia (where he was living) to Santa Barbara, California, where she was living. His two-week vacation turned into two year. Today, this gamer couple is still going strong — and not just via the computer, either.
And, according to Rosenbloom, they’re not alone. Romance flourishes for real in fantasy land all the time. Getting married to a guy you met while playing a game isn’t abnormal, nor is that some couples even have their avatars marry (OK, come on. That’s a little abnormal. No? Anyone? Bueller?).
But it makes sense. While Match has 2 million subscribers, WoW has 12 million. Those are some good man-meeting odds, if role-playing is your thing (and sadly, I don’t mean in the non-kinky way, either).
So why is meeting someone online a weird yet refreshing way to meet a guy? Ramona Pringle, a professor of new media at the Ryerson School of Image Arts in Toronto and creator of the World of Warcraft personality guide, thinks the game is a metaphor for finding love in the real world. Your avatar can brave her world on her own, “but by going it alone, you won’t be able to master some of the game’s tougher challenges, you will likely take longer to reach the endgame, and you won’t have access to the game’s most powerful magical treasures,” she says, adding, “We have a society that’s really built upon self-sufficiency and independence and yet it’s not sustainable. You need someone with your complementary skills to get through it.”
Plus, creating an avatar that’s like you and meeting someone online takes the heat off of a potentially bad first date. It lets you get to know someone without pressure, if you’re the type that freaks out at the thought of meeting someone new. Personally, I like to get to know someone by seeing their facial inflections and gauging their reactions but, then, I haven’t ever actually tried to meet someone on a gamer site.
And if Tamara Langman is any indication, you might want to try it before you knock it. “There’s something magical about falling in love with someone just through writing and then waiting for a reply,” she says, explaining, “It’s evocative of ancient romances where pen-and-ink love letters were delivered on horseback. Just the kind of forgotten world that Warcraft seeks to recreate in digital space.”
She sounds like a woman who speaks from experience. After all, it isn’t every day your boyfriend raids a castle just to be with you.