I’ve been thinking about friendship in online gaming.
I have never met most of my online friends in person… and we hardly ever talk about our private lives… yet, I still feel a strong sense of loyalty towards them.
You need me to keep you company while you farm stuff until 3am? Ok.
You need me to do this dungeon for the millionth time so you can get some magic pants? Ok.
I think this loyalty is born out of common struggles and it builds quietly the more you play with people. Since we are on the same game, we face the same challenges. We help each other. We know the time and effort it takes to do certain stuff… So we all know what’s on the line and how much a victory can mean. This, by default, gives us an automatic understanding of each other that would take maybe months to match when meeting someone in real life.
And it’s a very unique kind of loyalty that I haven’t felt elsewhere. Not to say that it’s more or less meaningful than real life loyalty, which is also important to have… but, it’s still a true loyalty nonetheless. I cringe when trying to explain this to non-gamer friends… because saying this out loud, I feel self-conscious knowing it’s one of those things you just have to experience to understand.
I’m glad I know the feeling.