More Than a Game (on MMOs)

Winds of Change

After a very long month and a half, I’ve found myself in a brand new guild with some familiar faces, and a lot of changes having taken place. I refuse to go into detail, but there were some interpersonal conflicts between people that led me to get stuck in the middle of things. This was difficult.

…but it’s ‘just a game’…

I found myself on a path of being forced to choose between guilds, and it ate me up. I lost sleep; I didn’t feel like eating much (or ate way too much sugar!); I cried.

…but it’s ‘just a game’…

I’ve ended up in a situation where some people don’t talk to me now because I wanted to talk to some people still because hey, I choose who I’m friends with and I choose how I play my game. Still, now there are people I may never play with again (due to their own choice). These are people that I may not even get to say hi to anymore.

…but it’s ‘just a game’…

If you don’t get where I’m coming from on this, it’s that as much as I’ve tried to convince myself that Guild Wars 2 is just a game to me, it’s so much more than that. There are people I have on Facebook, on Steam, and some I even have on Skype. There are people that I’ve shared some pretty deep challenges with. Heck, last night I had someone share her life challenges with me on how they’ve just been given a really crappy hand in life the past year and a half, and IΒ had the amazing opportunity to be a listening ear. Yes, Guild Wars 2 is a game, but what it facilitates is so much more.

Real tears were shed over people who were hurt.
Real pain was felt when I watched friendships be torn apart.
Real decisions were made when I had to figure out who was showing the most integrity, especially since I was told I would eventually be forced to make a choice.


This is not a game. The game creates the opportunity for real people, with real lives, real insecurities, and real hopes and dreams, all to come together to know each other and build into each other’s lives for the better.

So in spite of the pain and frustration I had felt, I’m happy with where things are moving when I’m online in Guild Wars 2. Is it perfect? No… but I’m thankful for the beautiful thing that ArenaNet has created for me–a medium to share greater love and greater care with more and more people throughout the world.

This is more than a game… this is an opportunity…

What have been your experiences of MMOs being more than a game? Share them in the comments below. I’d love to hear them!


41 thoughts on “More Than a Game (on MMOs)

  1. My first MMO was A Tale in the Desert. My main guild became quite a family, and we shared real-life joys, fears, loves, hates, and pains. I still miss Aewl and Dragynne, and I hope they are doing well wherever they are. I found and stalked and eventually joined Zubon at Kill Ten Rats so that was pretty cool.

    Still, I have to kind of roughly paraphrase The Mittani as of late… the MMO is just a game. All the interactions with people are real regardless if it stems from the MMO.

    • I love it!! It’s amazing how people you’ve never met, seen, or possibly even heard, can become so close and trusted. I say games are an astounding medium for real relationships. Many won’t understand it, but those relationships are most defintiely real.

      Thanks for sharing, Ravious!

  2. I haven’t played many MMOs, but I still keep in touch with people I have played with on each of them. I’ve always said that while a good game draws people in, it’s the community that keeps you in. Forsaken World was a pretty lousy RPG (and probably still is) but I had the fortune of being on the coolest guild, and to this day I get excited when we happen to cross paths in another game.

    It was thanks to these communities that I didn’t sink further into depression at several points in my life too. Little things like loging in and just chatting about anything and helping guildies helped

    • It’s so true. Were my old community still in LOTRO, I’d still be showing up to hang out.

      I getcha on them keeping you out of depression. I struggle with depression and anxiety, and my guilds have really been a huge support to me. πŸ™‚

  3. I’ve made some wonderful friendships in various online games over the years. They are no less important to me than friends I have physically met in person. In fact, I believe the virtual “protection” of an avatar helps some people to be who they really want to be, away from the judging eyes of society. I am blessed to have the company of so many great folks in GW2 and elsewhere!

    • That’s exactly what happens. The amount of times I’ve been able to help people has been astounding. I’ve even done some preliminary marital counselling because of the game. It’s astounding!!

  4. I met my boyfriend playing GW2 – two years and four months ago! MMOs can be “just games” for some (i.e. those who don’t seek out much contact with other players) but for a lot of us it’s far more personal and I thank GW2 for giving me the opportunity to meet such an awesome guy. Why it feels like only yesterday he was looking for a guild in Lion’s Arch and I recruited him into mine and we started doing dungeon runs together and talking over teamspeak. Now we’ve visited each others cities (it’s long distance) 4 times each with plans to move in with each other.

    The MMO itself may just be a game but the other people playing it are not. They’re real and you can form bonds with them beyond the game and people who say differently don’t knwo what they’re talking about.

    • My wife and I, although we met in person, will actually roleplay together online, making stories as we go. We have computers next to us, and it’s a serious part of our relationship. We love story, so we create!

      There’s an artistic and personal connection that can take place with this medium, and I’m so happy you found someone through that!

  5. You guys are very lucky to have friends close by that play GW 2 .In my case there aren’t many ppl that play it so the ppl I meet are just online friends I have and its great . Are there facebook pages where ppl meet or go to chat ?

    • Often times, people will use a guild site if they’re part of a guild. There’s the Guild Wars 2 Facebook Page as well, and sometimes guilds even create that. As for an entire server or game-wide location, I’m not quite sure there. Maybe someone else could chime in?

  6. GW2 is the second MMO I ever played. The first is a really old one called Clan Lord. I still play that one too and the communtiy there is about 20 years old. I know people who started playing when they were around 12 who are out of college now. Others who started when they were middle aged, have grown old while playing the game. I think GW2 could go the same way because I see the same kinds of community and attachments forming.

    I think mmos are just as really as a reading group, a sewing circle, people who all play sports together, garden together or pursue any other pastime together, and is just as “real,” and just as important.

  7. My first legitimate MMO I played was Shin Megami Tensei IMAGINE. My first clan I was a part of quickly became a “graveyard guild” so I didn’t have time to really get to know anyone. However, my second clan I joined was very welcoming and everyone was really friendly. I quickly became friends with some of my clan mates and 4+ years later I still talk to a few of them- one even helped me when I was moving across 4 states. We are all in the same Guild in Guild Wars 2 also.

    That drama you mentioned early in your article? I had the same thing happen. I didn’t know what to do at first either but now that everything’s done, I have to say that I’m glad I got to keep the friends I did.

    It’s amazing how you can grow up with some people and consider them really close friends despite only meeting over virtual media. While I didn’t meet my husband online, we still enjoy playing games together (Minecraft, Warframe, Guild Wars 2) as a date night sometimes instead of spending money at a resturaunt. πŸ™‚

    • Thank you SO MUCH for sharing!!! That’s an astounding story, and was extremely encouraging to me.

      My wife and I often take ‘date nights’ of having the kids at their grandparents’ place and we play Guild Wars 2 together, or some other game. πŸ˜‰ The couple that plays together, stays together, right? πŸ˜‰

  8. Guild Wars 1 was my first COORPG, I really enjoyed spending time in the world of Tyria, I felt like a was living in the world, being a hero. I made sometimes RP, was fun. I finally quit this kind of world to make PvP, and I realized that when I came across people I’ve never met before I was so excited to see them how the played. Without a surprise, I reached a good level with my guild, and after 5 years of faithful services in this guild, Guild Wars 2 was released. Then, my former mates became real brothers to me, I still play with them nowadays and still enjoy the fights, and as we all say : “Make them feel the law of blood”, indeed, we still are in the fantastic world Arenanet created.
    That’s why I’m still playing right there and enjoying each moment past in the game … in this opportunity as you said before.

  9. I feel this way with LOTRO, it was the first MMO I played and I keep going back to it. I have others that I like to play, GW2 is one of them, but I haven’t been able to find a community like I have found on LOTRO. I have made friends that I would never have met otherwise and their friendship is so valuable to me. I can also completely be myself and not worry about being judged. Sometimes I just log on so I can chat with my Kin and sometimes I log in just to play and know that I have others playing with me that I can be myself with. I have a lot of people in RL who don’t understand why I game. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this subject. You have just gotten a new follower! πŸ˜€

    • Wow. Excited to have you on board, Fuzzy! I remember LOTRO being a huge place of community for me. Riders of Rohan was my guild on Arkenstone, and they were like family for the longest time. Most have gone on to different games, but I still warmly remember all of those amazing people.

      • There are a lot of amazing people in the LOTRO community it seems, though a lot of our Kin has gone on to different games there are a core group that have been there since the start. We are working on building up our ranks again slowly but surely. I love playing other games and wonder if you have a recommendation for finding a good group to play with? I am an introvert and have trouble making friends outright, even though it might not seem that way! Once I get to know you thought I will talk your ear off! haha. Any pointers would be greatly appreciated! πŸ˜€

      • Definitely been putting some thought into this. Finding a good group can be hard. Honestly, sometimes it’s just a matter of talking to people and finding what’s right for you. I wrote a post about what to look for in a guild right here:

        Although I’m not in [ANGL] anymore, I find that the things I raise in there are very helpful.

        Sometimes it’s a matter of looking through map chat. Other times it’s playing with random people, or asking them questions about their guild. It takes some searching. So whatever you’re looking for, hopefully you find it!

        The biggest thing is finding your ‘safe people’ and chatting fairly regularly with them. At least, staying in contact.

        That’s about the most I can think of at the moment (I’m rather sick right now and extremely tired from my two sick boys not sleeping!).

  10. It’s nice to see other people feel this way, too. I personally suffer from an array of social-related issues that really make it hard for me to meet and interact with people (let alone make friends with them!), so GW2 is more than just a game for me. It’s an avenue for me to do things I normally never would be able to, to meet people I could never before, and to help me break out of my shell. I don’t personally have a guild (hard to find one that I can handle and that can handle me – social issues still translate to the digital world), but the few people who have taken the time to talk to me and get to know me have turned into true friends.

    • I’ve met many people like this, who have found great liberation from their social challenges, ranging from social anxiety to autism, and beyond! Good for you for have been able to connect online and get to know them! Like anything, social connection can be very complicated. Personally, I tend to share too much and be way too comfortable with people, and that drives a lot of people way. I’m overly honest.

      Still, those that stick by are generally true friends, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

      • I tend to think that you and I would get along famously for those very reason. I find that I gravitate toward chatty/over-sharing people because it gives me something to work off of as far as interaction goes, and those people are generally more inclined to deal with me a bit longer than the rest, haha. Brutal honesty is the way to go for me. Means I don’t have to try to guess what is the other person really thinks! Once again, I appreciate the post here. You’ve got yourself a new follower! Good stuff.

  11. My husband and I have been playing mmorpgs for a long time. I can really relate to what you wrote. We’ve experienced guild drama, which can be very sad. We are older players 40’s & 50’s and I’m not saying who is, so it is more of a challenge to find other mature players. This is our entertainment, our place to take a break from the stresses in our lives, yet I really never get connected because I feel the age difference freaks people out. I’m a mom who has a child with Asperger’s, this game is my outlet,where I can kick some butt, or view beautiful scenery, or have fun with fashion or take on world bosses with a group of other players. I wish I could find older adults who play, who find the beauty, fun and enjoyment from running maps, exploring, world bosses doing things together as a group. There is not much talking in the guild we are in now, its just sad. I will keep looking for a guild that actually is what they say they are, friendly and helpful…not just to get you in there and then no one talks…….We love Guild Wars2 and are excited about H.O.T This game is the most balanced game I have played. I like the choice of pvp not something you are forced into doing. WvW is fun from time to time in a group. =)
    Thanks for sharing what you have……behind every player there is a person. *waves*

    • Oh wow Brenda. I can totally relate there (well, not the 40’s and 50’s. I’m only 30 this year), but to the wanting to escape and just chat with people. I’m a very chatty guy, and sometimes guild chat goes dead in many guilds I’ve been in.

      I’ve been in many a guild where you get in and they barely seem to connect with you. I’m hoping the guild that I’m an officer of (and my wife is one of the leaders) won’t be that. We’re not crazy active during the day and many use Mumble, but we’re working to expand the atmosphere and keep people more connected. It’s not an easy thing to do, that’s for sure!

    • I understand that it is hard to find a guild that doesn’t have drama, or one that knows real life comes first. It took me a long time to find one like that. I stopped playing GW2 for a while because of some real life problems I was going through. When I came back I was guildless for being gone to long, so I started looking for a new guild with kind mature people. I think I have finally found one that I can call home for a very long time πŸ™‚ . They welcomed me with open arms and I have been with them for 5 months now and and I have not seen one bit of drama. They also don’t get mad If I have to randomly leave in the middle of a dungeon because real life is calling me or if I might be gone for a few weeks. Most of them are also older players with kids or couples that play together.
      If you are still looking for a guild that you can call home you can always see if we fit the requirements that you are looking for you can read about us on our guild site

      • Yuki,
        Thank you very much for reaching out to us. It is very much appreciated. ❀ When we originally started playing GW2, our son got us into the game, but the group he had found while playing Aion happend to be from the UK. So we have been on the UK server all this time. I am happy to say that a nice lady reached out to us and helped me figure out how to get to the NA server side (same time zone is much nicer). So we have successfully relocated and are in PFFT on Henge of Denravi.
        Its good to know that there are Guilds out there for older players that have life moments and that others are understanding of that. Your website is awesome. =) Thank you again, for sharing your experiences and reaching out to help others who face the same challenges in finding a place to call home. Happy Gaming ~ ❀
        Brenda Brees ~

  12. @Brenda Brees-why don’t you give me a whisper in game or mail me! I am the Guild leader of PFFT, a Guild I like to call the “Cheers Bar Guild- where everyone knows your name” ;O) I’m in the same age bracket as you guys and my Guild is pretty laid back-we value relationships more than adding numbers to the roster. I actively discourage voice chat as I feel its a Guild splitter and results in a Guild chat that no one tends to use. My personal feeling is that if you’re active in Guild chat then no one feels isolated or left out which tends to make everyone feel included and welcomed. Who knows? We might be just what the Doc ordered lol You won’t have seen us advertising on mapchat because we don’t advertise, we’re more focused on getting the “right” type of people-those who want to build relationships with their Guildies. Come run with us and see if we’re a good fit ;O)

  13. ^ ^ Thank you so much for the response and understanding where I’m coming from. Its brave to open the door to real conversations for bless your heart. ❀
    @ Ziantra ~ I will absolutely try to get in touch with you in-game. I appreciate that so much. I like the name…I say that all the time…=PPP It would be great for us to find like minded players. ❀

  14. Gw2 is my life. I work for a living and have very very few friends. My guild is always there for me and I have come to know alot of people I can call friends. It’s become attached to my daily routine, I play with others, against others, I’ve made friends and lost them. The gw2 community is what I live for and drives me on my daily routine. Gw2 is more than a game, for some is a way of living.

  15. I have had the opportunity to meet some pretty amazing people from around the world in my decade of online gaming. Over the years it’s been difficult to keep up with many of them, but I still like to say “hi” when I see them online from time to time. One such meeting in GW1 though, will always be a special (and heart breaking) memory for me.

    For a full 2 years, I dedicated myself to helping people, specially new players. I had a weekly tutorial on youtube and spent most of my time in the cities that new players would first spawn in so I could help out anyone who had questions about the game. There was this one girl who was having difficulty finding the NPCs she needed to talk to for quests and had taken on way too many secondary quests to keep track of, specially for a new player.
    I invited her to my party and took her outside into the instanced zones to help her find what she needed to kill, explained attribute points, basic skill usage, and what a lot of her profession’s skills did. I strode around with her for a few hours before having to log off for the night and she thanked me profusely before I left.
    Over the next few weeks, anytime she was online, we would party up and I’d help her out and even donated some money and materials for new armor if she came up short. Eventually we had completed the campaign’s storyline and she was so excited to have completed the game. We got and friends together and did PvP a couple times, farmed hard mode a couple of times, and did the storyline for other campaigns. We became very good friends, but one day she just stopped logging in.
    Almost an entire year went by before I saw her online again, and after I said “hi” there was a very long pause before she responded. She told me about how she had moved out and went to college and how her campus had most MMOs blocked, which is why she hadn’t come online in such a long time. She also told me personal details about herself (and our relationship) that I never knew before. She told me about her older brother who had passed away. He loved playing online games, specially GW. She picked up the game to play with him, but he died in an accident before she ever had the chance. When she finally started playing months later, she was so confused and had no idea what to do. But I had volunteered to help her. She told me about how sometimes when we played together, she would cry at her desk because I was being so nice to her. She told me that I had the same sense of humor and the same drive to help people her brother had had. She looked up to me like a brother. She told me about how she no longer had much time or interest for video games, but wanted to at least let me know what my friendship meant to her and how it helped her through a very difficult time in her life.
    I will never forget the long conversation we had about it all. Every now and then I think about it and get a little choked up.

    • That… has to be yet another of the most touching things I’ve ever heard. Trey, thank you. Thank you for being so honest and vulnerable. I don’t even know what to say to that, other than ‘I’m glad that I wrote this post, because it’s opened my eyes to even more awareness to the impact that online games can have on the lives of people.”

      That’s astounding. Thank you, Trey! THANK YOU. Keep being you. It’s people like you that change the world for the better.

  16. in WoW i was in a strong knit guild, as interest in the game waned we went our respective ways, keeping in touch through social media. when GW2 came out most of the guild came over and play as often as Life allows. The nice thing about the guild was the No Drama policy, Rule 1 “Don’t be a D#$K, Rule 2 Help out the guild and your fellow guildies when you can, Rule 3 see rule 1.

  17. My first MMO community became my family. Even though none of us plays that game we all met in before, we keep in touch with one another and talk almost daily. To me it is amazing how people you share this maybe silly thing with become friends so close to you, sometimes closer than friends you ve known in person.
    Me and my bf play gw2 now. We do long distance, and it is something that makes us feel closer πŸ™‚

  18. I have played MMO’s since as far as I can remember PC gaming; my first MMO was Ultima Online… I was naive then to what games had to offer, but now, as an adult, I can see how important they really are.

    Guild Wars 1 – I met my husband on this game after my abusive ex bought me the game to play with him.. My husband was a noob in Ascalon City – Pre-Searing… shouting around for help. I helped him in the Catacombs, invited him to my boyfriend of the time’s guild and we got chatting.. I split up with my abusive boyfriend, met my (now) husband face-to-face and we have been together ever since. I walked down the aisle to the Eye of the North Overture and my niece had our Charr plushie as our ring bear; as well as the GW2 Collector’s edition as my wedding gift. We have been married almost 3 years, and been together almost 9 (anniversary is coming up May 19th). The game really changed my life. If I hadn’t gotten GW1, I would probably have stayed in that abusive relationship longer and never been able to connect with my loving, wonderful husband.

    In WoW and Guild Wars 2 – I have made lasting friendships. I’ve been friends with my MMO buddies for well over 9 years some of them.. My husband and I have travelled from the UK to Denmark, Sweden and Norway to visit friends and are never disappointed by the sheer amount of love we feel from each and every one of them. My ex raid leaders from WoW even let me come live with them for a few months when I got a job near their home.

    We are truly blessed to have such awesome friends but also great platforms like WoW and Guild Wars to bring like-minded individuals together. In fact, we are now moving to the USA and already are finding friends in potential places we will live simply because of their interest in games. We’ve already spoken to a couple who are a similar age who are happy to meet up and have a BBQ. How awesome is that? This world we live in.. it’s truly magnificent. For those of us who may struggle to make connections so easily face-to-face, I’m just glad we have outlets like these to talk with and meet awesome people. I would much rather spend my time at home meeting new people through co-operative play (PVP, raiding, etc) than out in a bar or club, blotto’d out my mind.

    Our only concern now is our age at times… it becomes difficult to find mature players who share the same values of friendship that we do simply because the gap between our age and the age of gamers we meet are widening. While we enjoy helping young ones on their way in a new game, it can become exhausting. It’s incredible to be a role model, but when you are the sole model in a person’s life… it can be very depressing. We see so many angry young people venting their anger or frustrations through games instead of getting the help and attention they so desperately need at their age.

  19. I have been playing Guild wars since the launch of Prophecies. i was just a kid then, but there was something i loved about the land of Tyria. as i got older i slowly started to realize how different i was for a lot of people. I loved exploring the world of Tyria becuase it was my one chance to be the hero. to be someone that i wish i could always be. I have sever depression and a lot of other emotional disabilities. i have never felt like i truly belong anywhere. but the minute that i was on Guild wars i was always happy. there was always something new for me to explore or a new place to go see. When Guild Wars 2 launched i couldnt have been happier. it was a whole new experience. I remember, it launched on the same day as Madden so i went the Madden midnight to pick up Collectors Edition. I was waiting around in my own corner because i didnt relate to most of the people there, they were only talking football and i cant follow that at all. then i started noticing other people that were standing alone and asked what they were picking up. Guild Wars 2. we all grouped together and talked about previous journeys we had experienced and about the new ones ahead. what race we would play as and what class we thought was gunna kick the most butt. i slowly saw that the game wasnt just a place for me to escape into. it was its own world, with real people i connect to truely on the other end. i have never played with a nicer community of gamers. Arena net, dont stop.

    • So it’s taken me a long time to respond to this one because of how amazing it is.

      First of all, thank you so much for commenting Kyle!! It’s touching, and I must have read your comment about 5 times now and can’t find any words that would fit for how astounding it is.

      So thank you Kyle. That’s even beyond the heart of what I was trying to convey. THANK YOU. πŸ™‚

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