Introduction:

Hello all my fellow wizards and witches! It’s been busy for me this past month, but after some logo designing, character creating and event planning, I’m back into the blogging swing! And I thought I would start to pick things up again with the second episode of MMO IMPACT, since the first episode got such a positive response.

I counted the votes, and a discussion about making friends in real life versus making friends in online video games won the battle. Be sure to read all the way to the end of the article to learn about this episode’s prize for sharing your thoughts.

So without further ado, I’ll get the ball rolling with a personal story of mine that to this day, still is one I continue to both write and tell…all thanks to the IMPACT MMOs have had on my life.

 

TOPIC OF THE MONTH: Friends in RL VS Friends In-Game

Anyone can tell you that making friends is hard. Think back to your days in high school…what “click” you were a part of, said a lot about you from social standpoint.

To getting straight A’s, being adept at art or technology, or strong at sports or track all of us found a niche school where we most felt comfortable excelling with. Whether that brought you into the popular kids, computer geeks, sporty jocks, or free spirited artists group, we can all admit that gave us a certain “social standing” with other’s like us…and for most of us if felt good.

While I was no exception to this rule, liking some of the above such as art and computers, I didn’t belong to any of those groups in high school. I belonged to a minority of people that had to struggle for their social success.

In my first installment of MMO IMPACT, I mentioned that due to my disability it made making friends difficult, but one of the other main reasons as to why it was so difficult, at least in high school, was because I belonged to a certain kind of class of students…this was the Special Education group, or “Sped Ed” for short.

 

Now for the record, I am in no way trying to state that the above mentioned group is a “bad” or an “unwanted” category to belong to, in fact it did have its strong points. It was within those classes that I learned basic living skills that were applied specifically to my physical circumstance, for which I’m very grateful. But with the strong points also came the hardships…and unfortunately, both academics and socialism were at the forefront.

Despite looking normal in regards to my facial appearance and being able to speak with near perfect diction, because I was physically disabled, my high school thought I must be intellectually disabled as well. This assumption made them automatically place me into the special education class once I entered the 7th grade. I was “special” yes, but I was that rare case that was in the middle. I needed help, but not too much of it.

Grant it, my grades weren’t the best, and yes I did have some memorization issues, but my limitations certainly didn’t include being unable to comprehend most subjects, be they simple or not. All I really had trouble with was remembering things for an extended period of time…but the school didn’t see that.

So unfortunately, I spent four years in Sped Ed doing classwork that was for me, very simple and easy…Such as learning my times tables, or the basics of hygiene (health), over and over again each year. These were good things to learn yes, but I felt as though I was above it for the most part, at least after the first year…I thought I was more capable then they initially branded me.

But because of being in that classroom for four years straight, it slowly ate away at my confidence as a person, especially socially.

Because I was considered “special” by the school district and had been placed in a certain kind of classroom, most of the students from regular classes treated me well but with an underlining sense of sympathy or obligation.

Whether that was indeed true or not for everyone I came across, I can’t say for sure, but none-the-less it got in my head and led me to never feeling like I fully got the equality and kind of friendship from others that I deserved, which made  it hard to connect with people.

So after each school day was done, I would go home, hop on my computer and turn to one of my only two loves in the world at that time -online video-games, the one area of life where in all honesty, at least in the past, I felt like I was just like everyone else.

However it was one person in particular that I met in the second MMO I ever played, that for me, changed at how I viewed my life, and put the light back into my seemingly shadowy and depressive existence…

Back in December of 2012, a free-to-play MMO game called Forsaken World released to the masses, and as a fantasy-themed fanatic coming off of the high of WoW, I jumped at the chance to download the game and try it out.

I had already graduated from college a year earlier, and (as most of you know from my last episode), I wasn’t able to get out enough to meet new people, so it didn’t take me long to get completely engrossed in the game and start putting myself out there, socializing with anyone and everyone I came across. 

Soon, I came by someone who was playing as a female vampire (Yes, ESO isn’t the only one with vamps).

For confidential reasons, and for the sake of this article, I’ll refer to them as “Ms. Y”.

As usual was my tactic, I introduced myself politely (manners goes a long way online), and asked how they got into the game.  We must have only conversed for about a half hour or so before they had to log off. Afterwards, I thought nothing super special of it until the next day, when I logged in and met someone who we’ll call “Ms. B”.  Again my tactic was the same…

ME: “Good afternoon ma’am/sir, I hope you don’t mind but I like your (insert icebreaker here)”

MS. B: “We met already, but hi =)”

Fast forward through some of the details, and it turned out that Ms. Y and Ms. B were the same person.

Out of what must have been THOUSANDS of players in this game, I ended up meeting the same person TWICE in two days.  I was beside myself, I couldn’t believe it…and before I knew it, we were MMO partners, going on quests together and playing until 3 o’clock in the morning.

It was the kind of connection/socialization I desired so deeply through my educational years…and though I had a best friend, I saw this person every day and they were never too busy to hang out with me…they didn’t feel obligated, they actually wanted to.

Over time, we ended up playing various games together as a 2-man group. From Lord of the Ring online, Allods Online, Perfect World International and more, there was no game we didn’t try to conquer together. One of the most enjoyable games we played though was also one of my favorite MMOs of all time, called Runes of Magic.

We created many characters in that game together and paired them off as partners, strategizing our gameplay and going as far as we could in the game. If there was one thing in negative light I had to say though, it was that we both liked playing ranged classes, but somehow we made it work and it was a lot of fun…fun that lasted two years.

During those years we eventually became best friends and more. While these days, it’s not unheard of for relationships to blossom online, we did struggle with our parents coming to terms with the idea…but never-the-less we persisted and eventually, they realized this wasn’t something that we took lightly.

Then in 2014, I “proposed” to Ms. B that we move in together, as I was going through a rough patch in my life and desperately needed someone to not only be there to support me, but help me keep my independent lifestyle from a physical standpoint. To my absolute amazement, she agreed and soon after, she moved in and I had a best friend at my side to help me through life.

As things often due though, with time we found ourselves playing games together less and less…and though we no longer play MMOs together now, we’re still standing strong and spend every day with each other. While I still game to fill the social void (outside of her), I’ll be the first to admit it feels odd gaming without her…but despite that, one thing is for sure…

I’m grateful for her entrance into my life. For without her, I wouldn’t be the strong, capable, and awkwardly hilarious person I am today.

And to that end my fellow wizards and witches, brings us to the conclusion of my personal story about making friends in RL vs in MMORPGS…

This brings us to this episode’s question, for you the reader: Who was a gaming friend from your past or present that made an impact in your life? You may keep their name confidential, but tell me your story and you might win this month’s prize…

A Smiley Squad Badge and an in-game currency reward mailed to you to share with your friend (if they still play) and help continue your adventures in any of the following games:

To submit your answer, just follow the link below to the forum section. The person who gives the most entertaining answer will be contacted via email through RPHQ. Also don’t forget to vote on what topic we should discuss next by clicking the “submit vote” button.

The poll for this segment of "MMO IMPACT" Has closed. Be sure to stay tuned for the next one in the upcoming months!

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