Friendships in WoW

General Discussion
I have a question I am pondering, and I am hoping you will share your opinion. I don't have a right answer, so I won't argue with you . . .I just wonder what you think. Here goes:

This is an MMO and we play it more or less together. Sometimes people who play together a LOT become friends or sometimes more than friends, right? But mostly we are more like people sitting in a theater together: We experience the same stuff more or less but don't connect beyond that.

Fairly often I see people say that they miss a feeling of community in the game, or they are lonely IRL, or that sort of thing. References to loneliness show up fairly often around here.

So here is my question: Is it really even possible to be actual friends and actually care about each other and be committed to each other in a real sense IF we only know one-another via avatar . . .via our character? I wonder this because, when you don't have any real skin in the game (literally)it is easy to just drift off. Just "unfriend" or leave the place where you play a game together. But, on top of that, A real mantra around here is that who a person is IRL doesn't matter in the game. Race, gender, nationality, age, those things don't matter in WoW because we are supposed to just react to these avatars each of us has made. But can you have any kind of real relationship at all with a person if you don't want to know who they actually are? I mean, all those things are aspects of each of us . . .you can't pretend they aren't in a friendship. Some of that stuff is the stuff we partly base relationships on.

So does our mantra of "don't bring your reality into WoW" actually make us lonelier? And mess up community?

A very long post, I know, and many won't bother reading it but . . .I thought some of you might venture an opinion. :-)
04/22/2018 02:27 PMPosted by Spinster
Is it really even possible to be actual friends and actually care about each other and be committed to each other in a real sense IF we only know one-another via avatar . . .via our character?


Absolutely. I've made plenty of Wow friends over the years. Some I grew away from, some I still talk to. I only know one of them IRL, but I've never found those online only friends to be anything less because I only know them by their online presence.

Most of what I am, for better or worse, is here in Gigabear anyway. There wouldn't be much more for anyone to know of me worth knowing.
For Christmas Emily and Scott sent me fudge. We've been friends for going on twelve years now! They got Married IRL because of WoW. I was jittering with the sugar shakes for a week.

Being a good friend starts with you.
04/22/2018 02:27 PMPosted by Spinster

So does our mantra of "don't bring your reality into WoW" actually make us lonelier? And mess up community?


No because you are interacting with people as they are, not what they represent in the real world.

Technology has allowed interpersonal relationships to develop for a long time now. It's not at all a question as to whether people are real friends. If they are then they are. I don't have to touch someone regularly to be their friend.

Romantic relationships are on a whole other level of complication though. More power to them.
Oh heck yeah its possible

I got two friends from these very forums. They found my blog and we keep in touch.

Internet friends are still friends
04/22/2018 02:27 PMPosted by Spinster
Fairly often I see people say that they miss a feeling of community in the game, or they are lonely IRL, or that sort of thing. References to loneliness show up fairly often around here.

The folks that say this aren't generally putting the initiative to create and replicate the atmosphere they are requesting in my experience.

The LFG tool has expanded my friend list into a a friend list of folks I enjoy pugging with. It didn't grow this expansion, but that's because I didn't actually raid this time around.

RPing has always been built around the community.

Guilds? Haven't changed a bit in my experience. Still a social atmosphere of folks enjoying each others company and participating in the content Blizzard has provided.
04/22/2018 02:27 PMPosted by Spinster
So does our mantra of "don't bring your reality into WoW" actually make us lonelier? And mess up community?

Probably does for some folk, but I'd wager that the opposite happens as well for some folks. I'd also say that there seems to be a lot of super shy folks with anxiety issues. Don't think it messes up the community, it's more of a some are waiting for some to offer a hand of friendship because they're just shy.

Edit, to add. I married my best friend in WoW. My sister travels to Canada to visit her long time RP buddy as well. etc etc
You can be friendly to someone online. But I think to have a true friendship with someone you need to really know them in real life. You don't really know someone until you've actually meet them and spend time with them in the real world.
04/22/2018 02:27 PMPosted by Spinster
Is it really even possible to be actual friends and actually care about each other and be committed to each other in a real sense IF we only know one-another via avatar . . .via our character?


Yes. Some of the best friends I've ever had, people who I genuinely care about (which is incredibly rare for me), are people I've never met in person. You don't just make friends with someone's character though. You may start out just knowing each other from playing together, but you talk and learn more about each other. It's no different than any other friendship other than the lack of in-person interaction, but even offline friendships generally have a big component that isn't about in-person interaction either. It's not like your friend stops being your friend because they text you with a problem rather than meet you to discuss it in person.
I have wow friends that I haven't met IRL, but have been friends with for years. I exchange birthday/christmas presents with one, and I consider her a pretty close friend.

heck, I have a friend that I met almost 20 years ago on the old yahoo chat rooms. He and I have never met, but we've maintained the internet friendship for as long as both of us have been on the internet.

04/22/2018 02:35 PMPosted by Amaris
Internet friends are still friends
Back in 2007 an irl friend and I took a 2 1/2 hour road trip to meet some guildies. We hung out for the night and the next day the 5 of us drove another few hours to meet another guildie. That trip was great and made some great memories but don't know where those guys are at these days. One of them might still be active in game.
During BC I met a buddy. Never met irl but we're still friends are on social media to this day. The lack of community has hurt it for sure but I don't think it's impossible to make friends especially if you get into a guild you enjoy.
This is interesting to read, thanks.

I have genuine friends I met online, but we do know all about one-another’s real lives. Even if we have never met, we talk about our real lives.

Does anyone have friends that they know very little about IRL? Don’t know where they live, what they do, all that?
04/22/2018 02:27 PMPosted by Spinster
Is it really even possible to be actual friends and actually care about each other and be committed to each other in a real sense IF we only know one-another via avatar . . .via our character?
Very much so! My WoW friends have been doing summer vacations together every year. We met in game, we were friends for about five years and then started coordinating summer vacations. It's been awesome! And every year, we seem to add new WoW friends to the mix, too!
04/22/2018 02:46 PMPosted by Spinster
Does anyone have friends that they know very little about IRL? Don’t know where they live, what they do, all that?

I have a few that enjoy their privacy, so I respect it and don't dig for information.
That may be very true but no offense, I don't want to be your friend.

I did date a woman I met in WoW and lived with her for a time so yes it can work out.
04/22/2018 02:43 PMPosted by Annastasi
I have wow friends that I haven't met IRL, but have been friends with for years. I exchange birthday/christmas presents with one, and I consider her a pretty close friend.


Oh that is the best! Finding stuff for your buddies then getting all giddy waiting for them to get it
I've known the same friend since WOTLK, him and I are practically inseparable.

We too send gifts on b-day/Christmas and hang out in game. ne since we're on a RP server our characters are close too.

It's nice that this game can bring people together like this.
Absolutely! In fact, me and one friend are pretty much close to one another and have sent each other pictures of how we look in real life because we've bonded that well. Our meeting was quite interesting as well.

I met them during the beginning of Legion while adventuring in Azsuna. While running down a road near Illidari Stand, they did a /wave at me. I didn't see it until a few minutes later and whispered them when I did.

Said something along the lines of, "Oh, I didn't see you wave at me! Hi there! :)". It led to a conversation and one thing led to another and we became friends. We ended up bonding because of our common interests and similar enthusiasm with one another. :D
A coworker of mine told me a story about her sister meeting her husband through WoW. She apparently had some anxiety issues which made it hard for her to meet people and connect IRL. They became close in-game and he even moved countries to be with her and eventually marry.

Besides romantic stuff, I still think in-game friendships are worthwhile. I still remember my old guild mates fondly from years ago. Wish I didn't lose contact *queue in sad violin music*
04/23/2018 08:02 AMPosted by Noxx
A coworker of mine told me a story about her sister meeting her husband through WoW. She apparently had some anxiety issues which made it hard for her to meet people and connect IRL. They became close in-game and he even moved countries to be with her and eventually marry.

Besides romantic stuff, I still think in-game friendships are worthwhile. I still remember my old guild mates fondly from years ago. Wish I didn't lose contact *queue in sad violin music*


I'm thinking the 1970's Hulk end of show music, myself.
I've made friends online in both EQ and WoW and other ways that have become friends in real life. My hubby probably the most notable :) We first met in February 2001, if I have the years right, this year will be our 14th legal wedding anniversary. Or friends that yes I consider friends even though we've never met. One of them has just come back to WoW again <happy dance> even though each time he comes back it is shorter. We still hope to meet up IRL sometime soonish. He lives in the San Francisco area and we are in the Seattle area, so we should be able to meet up some time.

To put things in perspective, I am still friends with my best friend from High School. We haven't even lived in the same state since 1983. We see each other when we can, every few years, but we are still as close as the phone. Likewise, I have another friend/ex-roommate from that same time period that has also kept in touch. We speak maybe every couple of weeks. Again, see each other every couple of years.

Being a friend is not about being close physical proximity. I think the big thing is realizing that all those people around you are people... they are not NPCs. They are not to be used and then discarded for your benefit.

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