A note from the Editor:
This week our News Editor Hannah Richardson became Hannah Richardson-Lewis. She married her WoW sweetheart Dan, who you can hear on the weekly gaming podcast, the VGR Show. For these two World of Warcraft is more than just a game, it has changed their lives in ways they could have never imagined. To mark this very special occasion, we asked Hannah and Dan to share their story. Congratulations once again Hannah and Dan!
How Did You Meet?
Do you remember the first thing you said to your partner? Because I do. Sadly for the romantics, it wasn’t about the color of her eyes (which are stunning) or her wonderful smile (which always makes me smile) or anything else that I could fondly remind her of later. No. My first words to her were that she was an idiot for dying. Welcome to World of Warcraft. Upon later reflection this was an over-reaction. In reality she fell off the bridge at the start of the Escape From Durnholde instance which—having never done the damn thing before AND trying to remember how to heal—anyone could have done. But I was being forced to tank a level 66 5-man dungeon to gear up the new recruits rather than the heroic Sethekk Halls I needed for my tanking shoulders. We needed Shadow Priests more than Paladin tanks so off to save Thrall I went.
Hannah, the news editor on this wonderful site and the then Blood Elf Shadow Priest ‘Seithir’, was (luckily for me) not offended and found my idiocy funny (still does), which caused me to warm to her quickly. She was funny and could take a joke as good as give one out, and she kept up with my crazy: “Pull all the things!” tanking style and kept guard-wandering-based fatalities to a minimum. We hit it off immediately and became fast friends.
I met my wife playing World of Warcraft. I met my wife because our healers needed mana. I met my wife because our Warrior tank was a tool and wanted the shoulders I needed.
I can only remember a vague sense of panic at this Escape From Durnholde run. I was excited to be re-rolling from the Warlock I hated and had found a guild before even reaching max-level and they seemed a fun lot. The fact that this random stranger seemed willing to run me through the dungeon I needed so that I could get into Black Morass at a later time made me really happy as my then-boyfriend had gone off to university and I was playing alone, so the act of making friends in game was a great one for me. So yeah, the group ran off without looking where I was in relation to them and in my usual way, I got confused, couldn’t see where they’d gone, so followed their dots on the mini-map and fell smack-bang into the middle of a pack of angry Humans and Wolves. Oops. I kept up for the rest of the run but afterwards we regularly ran dungeons together and really got talking after my then-boyfriend broke up with me. This was 7 and a half years ago.
How Do People React When You Tell Them You Met in WoW?
Frankly for years I was slightly ashamed of that. If ever I was asked I said simply “we met online,” never adding WHERE online. There is a well known episode of the TV show How I Met Your Mother wherein two of the characters admit they met in Azeroth and the rest of the cast’s reaction is one of mocking surprise and insult. This is not far from the way people reacted to us, at first anyway. These days, on the other hand, it’s completely normal. Games are just a thing. WoW is big enough to get a film and the idea of meeting someone in the virtual space, thanks in part to the dating site phenomena, is so commonplace as to being almost boring. Gone are the “Oh…Really? Ha ha and she wasn’t a murderer?” and in its place is “Oh cool yeah my sister plays that, I met mine on Plenty of OkGrindr” or some other generic dating site. It’s just not a surprise any more, and that is a good thing.
No. The biggest surprise, at least to me anyway, was how easy starting a relationship with someone in WoW (or any other MMO) can be. At its core, Warcraft is at its best when it’s focusing on the second letter in ‘MMO’, the game itself is at its best not when in thrown together groups by some digital overlord but when played with a team made up of carefully cultivated friends and acquaintances. The game itself is as much about, to over simplify something, grinding rep with PEOPLE, more so than others. By the time I had started to get romantic feelings for Hannah, I knew her better than any school yard crush or random woman at a bar. She was my friend. When desperately getting groups together to farm my Headless Horseman mount, she was the first (and only) person help me. When elites were slowing down her leveling I was usually the first to run out and throw shields at it. When we needed help the other was usually there, just like we were for our other friends.
We bonded over our shared love of playing with friends, not just for our own personal gain, but because we enjoyed good company and laughing together. When it came down to it, we enjoyed making each other happy.
I’m going to break something to people now. A secret that people need to know. The Friend-Zone is a load of crap—friends make the best partners and WoW, at its best, forces you to make friends. REAL friends. It is a game that strengthens friendships as well as creating them. We have played WoW together longer than we have been in love. Since we started going out, some of our best stories and funny moments have come from Azeroth and Draenor. The time we tried to 2v2 only to go 0-6, the time we tried to two person 5-man heroics and managed to clear most of the instance on our own, the times we’ve just stayed up all night talking rubbish while fishing or mining. Giving our mounts names and personalities for reasons lost to time and good sense. Shouting “HONK!” when ever we see Cloud Serpents because that’s just the noise we assume they make. Through WoW and its silly little things, we built up a relationship that meant when the time came to get a home together and act like adults, we already had a pillar at the center that was impossible to break.
And this Monday, we got married. We skipped doing so in WoW, of course. Not only is she not currently playing the game but the famed ‘Serenity now’ fiasco of the Classic WoW era has confirmed that doing organized things such as weddings in an online space without a moderator handy can quickly lead to a mass of trolling and chaos. I mean like internet trolls, not Darkspear… look forget it, you can’t get married in WoW outside of a Garrison.
But in the end, 8 years ago I met a healer in Warcraft that I called an idiot. She was helpful and kind and I fell in love with her. I was an idiot and she fell in love with me. We met in Warcraft. The game I loved playing to waste time changed my life forever. It changed my life for the better.Related: Marriage, Real Life, World of Warcraft, WoW Wednesday