I must admit, this post was kind of off-the-cuff for me; the idea popped into my head and I happened to be working on some other site-related stuff at the time.
I met the best friend that I will ever have about 12 years ago, back in first grade. He and I have stuck it out through thick and thin, and have pretty much always been there for each other for advice, support, anything really. For all the years we lived in the same city, we pretty much did stuff together all the time, worked at the same location for a good while, hung out very often, just in general were together a lot of the time – and even now that we’re in totally different states, we’re keeping in touch through phone calls, texts, pretty much everything – and already planning stuff for when we’re both back in our hometown this winter. We never get in any major disagreements despite being almost character foils for one another, and we’ve experienced a lot of major stuff in our lives together. I honestly think we’ll always keep in touch right up to our deathbeds; we’re literally that good of friends.
To contrast, I’ve met a lot of really cool people through WoW. My friends list has to be cycled through 3 different characters because I’ve met so many people that I genuinely like. A few of them, I was fortunate enough to meet up with at BlizzCon. Many people that I know, I talk to regularly via whispers, Ventrilo, even Facebook in some cases, many different media really. We do stuff together – raids, instances, or sometimes just chatting or leveling alts – and we have a lot of fun doing it. Even just yesterday, a bunch of us did some Outland instances on alts, just going through them and tearing it up. Good times. A lot of these people I’ve known for only about a year, some maybe as far back as a year and a half or two years (gaah, can’t even remember anymore – I’ll have to check blog archives sometime) – and we’re genuinely friends. It’s amazing, really.
Think about the two examples above. Even though I haven’t met a lot of my WoW friends face-to-face, we still do stuff together on a semi-daily basis, and even though people move on or stop playing, we still keep in touch. I’m still good friends with a lot of people from my old guild as well as with some people who used to be in Cloudy Day that have quit or moved on to another game. Now, I’m not saying that I’m ever going to be as good friends with the people that I’ve met over WoW as I am with my best friend (don’t think anyone will ever come close to that), but it’s possible to draw some serious lines of similarity here. Even when WoW dies, I hope to be able to keep in touch with a lot of the people I’ve met – and to that end, I’ll probably maintain the current guild Ventrilo for quite some time after WoW finishes up, or even past the next MMO, if we decide to move to another one. Maybe it’s just that I’m much more of an extrovert over the Internet, but I’ve formed genuine bonds with these people, and I’d hate to see them broken.
It’s a bit late for me here, so I’m going to cut this post a bit short – hopefully I’m not tired to the point where this entire post made no sense. :D I really didn’t intend for it to prove anything, more just as food for thought. I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s still easy to form real friendships over WoW, maybe not to the extent/depth of those you can find in real life, but enough to a point where they’re easily recognized as true friendships.