Valentine’s Day Is A Few Days Away: Love Stories In WoW

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Tinder has taken over. You’re hot or you’re not, and with that, your romantic fate has been sealed.

Algorithms are playing an ever active role in sorting, matching, and maybe even filtering out your future love.

Technology has taken away the mystery of romance, the anticipation of getting to know the object of your affection, clue by clue, moment by moment.

Or has it?

In an era where everything — and with that, seemingly everyone — is an open book, is there a place where we can connect and be vulnerable without the fear of being judged? Where we can meet, without duck-face selfies, or fronted fabricated personas?

With Valentine’s Day approaching, I can’t help but think back to some of the love stories that first lured me to the world of online games and in particular to World of Warcraft.

I initially came across World of Warcraft as a documentary journalist.

Throughout my conversations with the people who played WoW, one of the most resonant messages they shared was:

* You can be your real self without the fear of being judged…

Followed closely by:

* When you play a game like WoW, you learn if someone will watch out for you. You learn who will have your back, and who is just in it for the gold, for the glory.

Sure it seems like an unlikely place to find romance… but sometimes we find what we need in the most unlikely places… especially love.

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It’s advice for the ages that you find love when you’re not looking for it.

And, how better to distract yourself than by fighting monsters and demons in a quest to make yourself stronger — as you level up in your own personal journey.

Move over dating sites! Maybe MMORPGs and interactive games are the place to find love.

For one couple I know, the fast paced adrenaline rush of the game actually helped them take their time getting to know each other.

“We got to know each other in a very Victorian fashion, writing letters… taking it slow.”

And because of all of their (virtual) shared experiences, by the time they met, they felt they knew each other better than they’d ever known anyone.

While Tinder feeds our desire for instant gratification, and promises a quick path to love, could it be that real intimacy and strong relationships are to be found elsewhere?

As another player recounted of her online-to-real world love: “He bought a ticket, and came to visit for two weeks… and he just stayed… He walked out of the game and into my life.”