These days, it is not wholly uncommon to come across a large gathering of smartly dressed player characters come to witness the exchange of vows between a couple within an MMORPG. For the longest time, players had to get creative for lack of a proper system using look-a-like armour sets, Priest classes to lead the ceremonies, the exchange of rings via item trading, they used their imagination and roleplay was generally involved.
The practice of two players getting married in an MMO world became common enough that some MMO game developers have kindly thought to add in proper systems in their games for marriage between players. So while Stormwind Cathedral and the power of imagination is lovely and all, here are a few last minute worlds you might wish to check out if you happen to be feeling particularly romantic for some reason this weekend.
Age of Wushu
The martial arts MMORPG, Age of Wushu, brought in a marriage system with its Ultimate Scrolls expansion and they’ve given players the opportunity to experience a traditional Chinese-style ceremony, complete with mental preparation stage. I’m serious. Players can sign up in a marriage registry with self-recommendation in the hope of attracting a potential partner. From there, male player characters can propose to the lady of their choice with a Betrothal Gift of ingame currency as a dowry. And yes, only male characters can propose. If the female player character accepts, they become betrothed, if not, the money is returned.
From there, the happy couple must decide on a date and the male player must purchase a wedding package ranging from riding in on an ox, right up to the whole hog with a big wedding palanquin. So far so frighteningly archaic. But if you’re into an authentic experience, the service itself is a traditional ‘BaiTang’, in which the couple must perform three bows. Then a parade leads them into the heart of the city where they have a huge banquet which non-invitees can crash! Once that’s all done with, the couple must dance for everybody, and then the groom carries his bride to the bridal chamber... And yes, this is a necessary part of the proceedings. There are benefits to Age of Wushu’s marriage system, however, as the wedded couple receive special rings which can instantly teleport them to their partner, which I know I’d have liked when playing World of Warcraft with my other half!
Elder Scrolls Online
Purchasers of the Imperial Edition of The Elder Scrolls Online will already have access to their game’s particular marriage system, whether aware of it or not. The Rings of Mara present a very simple system. If two players decide to marry themselves to one another, all they need to do is find a Shrine of Mara - which can be found in any starting zone or secondary major hub - and use the ring item that came with the Imperial Edition of the game. Only one of the pair needs to have the rings and once used, they create a soulbound ring item which increases the experience gained for both players while grouped up together by 10%. It’s simple, but it does the job intended.
Meanwhile, in RIFT, two players (of either gender) can head to a Marriage Conductor located in their capital city where they can purchase a Marriage Contract for 1 platinum, and optionally, a Wedding Planner for 10 gold which contains details of ingame matrimony. On top of this, it’s also possible to purchase the wedding ceremony instance for 5 platinum, though with the Marriage Contract, players can choose to get married wherever they choose, including their own player housing or guild housing, giving the player’s an opportunity for creativity. There are decorations available to invoke the matrimonial atmosphere, and of course dimensioneers can get creative here.
There are also wardrobe items available for players to dress for the occasion. Attendees, including the bride and groom, receive an achievement for being a part of the ceremony, and an artifact towards a wedding collection. The happy couple both receive Gold Wedding Bands, though these pose no discernible benefits. Still, it is a great opportunity for a little fun as Trion proved in 2012 when they broke the Guinness World Record for the most ingame marriages in a 24 hour period with 21,879 weddings recorded ingame in the allocated time period. Whew! And hey, if in future a couple decides that they aren’t meant to be after all, you can also purchase divorce papers for 20 gold.
Final Fantasy XIV
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is one of the more recent examples of an MMORPG marriage system, and perhaps one of my personal favorites with its Eternal Bond Ceremony as there are no limits on who you can marry or “bond to.” That is so long as they are a player character, so no marrying Thancred *disappointed sigh*. There are three tiers to the Eternal Bond. You can choose the free Standard Plan which gives a few nice things, including Wedding Rings which, as in Age of Wushu, allow you to teleport to your partner in the open world, there’s also a wedding hairstyle and an embrace emote.
Alternatively, you can spend $10 per person for the Gold tier which unlocks a bunch of extra options and a Ceremony Chocobo, plus a minion for guests, or $20 per person for the Plantinum tier which unlocks even more options for personalization of the ceremony. Whatever players choose, they get to partake in a ceremony within the Ivory Chapel in The Sanctum of the Twelve. All guests, including the couple, must have their Blank Invitation with them in order to attend the ceremony. Upon entrance of the chapel, the couple go to their separate dressing rooms to get themselves dressed up and finalize things and then the ceremony begins. So not only is FFXIV’s marriage system inclusive, it gives players plenty of benefits to enjoy both during and after the ceremony which might make even the Scroogiest of players want to join together in a Ceremony of Eternal Bonding.
These are, of course, just a few examples of marriages in MMOs. You can also find systems for ingame marriage in place in the likes of MapleStory, Star Wars the Old Republic - though this is marriage to an NPC, not another player, ArcheAge - which also has a vacation system in place for a honeymoon, Ragnarok Online - which even lets you adopt another player to be your child! The options range from lovely to the downright silly and right over into ‘what’s the point?’ I’m sure you’ll be spoiled for choice this Valentine’s Day.
Have you ever attended an ingame wedding ceremony or held one of your own? Or perhaps you’ve crashed one or two in your time? What are your thoughts on them? Let us know in the comments!