“Honey, your dinner is getting cold”…………. “Honey, we’re ready to raid, you coming”. I often times ask myself which one I would prefer. The truth is I don’t know. I like many people have been what you would describe as a closet gamer for years. When my friends, over the years, would catch me in a raid they would simply laugh and be like really. I’m not what you would call your typical gamer, if there is such a stereotype. I have a masters in finance and work for one of the biggest companies in the world as an acquisitions analyst. I spend 60 hours a week on computer at work, so the transition to my desktop when I get home is an easy one, well at least for me.
My wife, whom I will be celebrating my 1 year anniversary this weekend with, doesnt take quite so nicely to it. I played FFXI for 6-7 years. Much of which spanned most of college and a bit into the beginning of our relationship when I got out into the real world. She used to laugh at me and find it humorous that I played video games but that quickly turned to spite. Oh how she did not know I ran one of the top linkshells in the world and that sometimes I accidentally would introduce myself in real life as Maven, honestly sometimes I wish it was my real name.
Anyway, I found that MM0′s were one of the few things that really let me escape from the daily stresses at work and where I could really relax and be myself. After a few years of my addiction taking priority over my relationship I was pretty much given an ultimatum…..either her or Maven. I of course choose her, if you saw her loot you’d roll on it too . I’ve quit a few things in my life, smoking, unhealthy eating, riding my motorcycle, but few things took such a toll on me as saying good by to what I considered to be my family of 6-7 years. They couldn’t understand why if she couldn’t beat em, join em.
I began to wonder what it would be like if she did play, even casually. Would she be my “cleric”, probably not ,she’d probably want to just blow things to pieces. I’ve seen stories of people meeting online, playing together, having a relationship, even being married. However, often times the story did not have a happy ending. I think every relationship, especially ones that have a MMO to compete with, need at least one person to be grounded and keep the other person from disappearing through their ISP.
I’m not saying it can’t work because I know it can but for those lucky few it takes a lot of work to remain attached to their real lives when nothing is pulling them from the realm the constantly disappear off to. After years of being away from the online world my wife realized that a small piece of me was missing and that maybe absence made the heart grow stronger for us. For anyone who has been in a serious relationship or even married you begin to realize how you take for granted the feeling of missing someone. This is one of the things that I think keeps my relationship clicking day in and day out. I find myself enjoying the time I spend with my wife more and more. Being that we are not constantly in each other’s faces. It seems to just work for us as long as my playing in not in excess, sorta a paradox, but who’s judging.
I’ve interviewed a few friends of mine that have been in online relationships and most of the time its a simple in game experience for them and that’s where it stops, and maybe it’s for the best. They say that its just easier to talk to them initially, and of course this would make sense. I think one of the major reasons people gravitate towards games to fill that part of their life is the informality that a game presents. Their is no pressure, you are not being judged by others around you and are much less vulnerable, and rightfully so. It allows you to get to know the person and not that image of them in your head.
More over, I think rift does a good job of aiding its customers with a means to not totally engulf their lives into their world, something I think Square Enix failed to do with FF series. With instance runs and timers on many aspects of end game content I find myself not longing to play when I am away, something I could not say for FFXI. I always felt I would miss the next pop window or would lose claim or knew my Saturday was going to be spent waiting and camping a mob for as much as 10 hours.
I know my wife approves of this environment much more and I think has probably personally secretly written Trion to thank them and ask they keep things the way the are as far as that is concerned.
In closing, I know I wish sometimes my significant other was a gamer , but I think the fact the she is not is better for me. It keeps me grounded and anchored to reality and with getting older and having to be responsible for a family I know its for the best. I think for all of those that this article hits home to, take a few minutes, even if its just 20 and say thank you to your husband, wife, friend for being understanding and let them know they too are worth the grind.
-Quote the Maven , Nevermore