Nerve convened a panel of World of Warcraft players to participate in their "Sex Advice From..." series. Players Mike, Janelle, and Brooke held forth on maintaining long distance relationships and in-game macking - but can you trust their advice?
I took the liberty of adding in my own two cents, as well as those of my friend Lauren - a chronic gamer dater who, for some reason, has resisted everyone's attempts to get her to play.
Nerve asked:What's the best reason to date a World of Warcraft player?
Mike said: Their incredible attention to detail. Since a World of Warcraft player has to do dozens of quests, has to know the roles of ten to twenty-five other players in battle, and be completely prepared for every raid, it's rare that a World of Warcraft player will forget a birthday, anniversary, first date, hair appointment, etc.
Latoya and Lauren say: But that also makes them annoying, since they are overly sensitive to things like how you close their car doors and if you part your hair to the left. This is a double edged sword. Also, there is a difference between someone committed to WoW and someone devoted to WoW - to a devotee, your birthday pales in comparison to a guild anniversary.
Nerve asked: What has World of Warcraft taught you about dating?
Mike said: The value of compromise, in game and out. In game you learn that sometimes you need to put the priorities of others above yourself, like if you're raiding and another healer needs a new piece of equipment that would only be a small upgrade for you. Out of game, you need to work with your significant other so that you have time to raid and also to spend time with them.
Janelle said:I've found that the true nature of people tends to come out when they think they can hide behind an avatar. For example: your boyfriend gets ridiculously jealous that you have better gear, or your girlfriend uses her gender to manipulate people. There's no faster way to find out what a jerk your potential partner is than seeing what happens when loot you both need drops.
Latoya and Lauren say: Warcrafters are an easy lay. All you have to do is open with "So, when do you raid?" or "What server are you on?" and the boxers come down.
Nerve Asked: If you belong to the Alliance, and you date a member of the Horde, how do you keep the conflict contained to the game?
Brooke said: This kind of relationship is ill-advised. One will invariably attempt to convert the other, and while the two may try playing on one side, over time resentment can build to explosive pressure. They just do not mix.
Janelle said:Why keep the conflict contained to the game? I think this makes for some very interesting real-life sexual role-play scenarios!
We say: Lauren - I've only dated members of the Alliance. Dating the Horde is a slippery slope. Latoya - I don't play WoW. Is there a digital Switzerland I can claim allegiance to?
Nerve Asks: What's the best way to ask a fellow player out in real life without coming off weird?
Janelle says: Definitely don't do it over in-game chat. You should at least start by speaking over voice chat to each other, make sure the person really is the gender/age they say they are. Then move on to telephone conversations, and try to schedule a visit. Isn't hook-up opportunities what BlizzCon is REALLY for?
Latoya and Lauren say: Hell yeah, cons are like hedonism for the geeky set.
Nerve asks:My girlfriend can't afford her apartment anymore and has to move back in with her parents. The distance could seriously harm our relationship. Asking her to move in makes sense financially, but I'm afraid it's too early. What do I do?
Janelle says: If you think it's too early, then maybe it is. Perhaps the wisest choice is to let her move back and save some money; meanwhile, get her a subscription to World of Warcraft and play with her on it. When my fiance had to move back to Australia for a few months, we used World of Warcraft as a stand-in for seeing each other. You know what they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder. Maybe after a few months it won't be "too soon" anymore.
Latoya and Lauren say: Warcraft is an acquired taste, particularly for someone who has never played games/never dated a Warcraft gamer. Unless someone is used to being in virtual worlds (and fighting/healing), Warcraft may actually put a rift in your relationship. Buy an established gamer/game curious person a WoW subscription; laypeople may be better off in Second Life. Failing that, there's always Skype.