Hearthstone and Cynra have both recently written excellent pieces on online friendships and their validity. This is a a subject that really hits home to me. You see, my boyfriend and I met online and we know very well what it's like to have an "internet relationship" and the different reactions people can have to something like that.
"So, where did you guys meet? At school?"
"On an online video game forum."
But while it would be really easy for me to play the "Well my boyfriend and I met online and whaddaya know, here we are four years later, end of discussion" card, I'm going to relate this to World of Warcraft because this is, after all, a World of Warcraft blog.
A couple days ago, a group of us what I like to call "Old-School Entelechy" folks all got together in an AIM chat. We're the people who have been around the longest, who have been leveling and questing and instancing with each other since our pre-Outlands days. We're the people who eventually left our guild and, in many ways, have sort of drifted away from what we used to be: we are the people who forged an unbreakable bond and an unforgettable little personal legacy before floating away to focus on characters on different servers (I will not deny that I am at least partially guilty of this), or drifting away from the game entirely.
Anyways, five of us all got in a chat. By sheer coincidence our AIM group makeup was very instance-worthy: myself, two warlocks, our holy pally and our much-loved main tank from back-in-the-day-- the best prot warrior I have ever had the pleasure of DPSing for, and I'm not just saying that-- who has since largely left the game in the admirable name of higher education.
Well what happens when you get five of us old-schoolers in one place, for the first time in a while? We work ourselves into a little frenzy, that's what. We reminisced about crazy stories and tales from our WoW-playing past. We swapped screenshots. We commiserated with each other about how we never really did "finish" Karazhan, as our little group. So that springboarded into us talking about a possible Karazhan "dream-team", plucking together old friends and allies and brainstorming up our ideal raid composition for a one last huzzah before WotLK shows up and changes things.
So there we were just talking and talking about the game and stuff we could do together in the game if we were really serious about it, and who else but our tanky leader to break in and say "Guys. Forget about the game for a minute. I don't miss the game. I miss hanging out with you guys. I miss hanging out with my friends."
And then there was a moment of silence as what he had said sunk in, and we all knew that he was right.
That dream Karazhan run? There is talk of us actually pulling it together. If we did, it would be absolutely incredible. It would consist of people we have worked with and done amazing things with for over a year. People whose strengths and weaknesses we know very intimately which makes for an extremely satisfying experience.
But ya know what? If the dream Karazhan run doesn't come together, that's okay. If more of my friends quit playing or play alts on other servers, it's okay. Because we're still friends. We still have crazy AIM chats. We still have Ventrilo. We still have my boyfriend's forum. We still have a million things that we can talk about that aren't WoW.
And if it does come together, and we finalize a date, I'm going to make sure to take time off of work for it-- chuckle at me if you will, but for me, it's not unusual. For me, it's not "taking a weekend off for a video game". Rather, it is "taking a weekend off for a family reunion".
And that is really what it is about. It's not about the purples. It's about the people that you meet in game who become your comrades and then become your friends.
Don't forget that.