Trigger Warning: Abusive Relationships
I started playing World of Warcraft in 2006 because my husband at the time told me that he thought I’d like it. At the time, being allowed to play WoW was the only interaction I was allowed to have with people outside our home. My ex-husband didn’t allow me to leave the house or socialize with people whom he didn’t know, but for some reason, he thought that online gaming was acceptable.
Within the first week, I made my first WoW friend. His name was Eli, and we met while hanging out in Trade channel responding to the various forms of chicanery that invariably happen there. We realized we had similar humour and began a dialogue. We both had daughters; we were both ex-military, and I think he realized that I needed a friend. I was invited to his guild and they took me under their wing.
As time progressed in the game, I became more comfortable with the people I had met. There were three or four with whom I would share my life and what went on at home. It was with these people that I began to understand what an abusive relationship I was in. It was a very slow process, but in 2007, I told Eli privately that I felt like I needed to leave. Having met my husband online, he informed me that he had already figured that out but was waiting for me to arrive at the same conclusion. He offered his moral support and offered to be a sounding board for my fears and concerns.
I took my daughter and left within 3 months. I also took my character.
I moved in with my parents in Phoenix, enrolled in college and started a new life. Eli, along with many other members of my guild continued to be my support structure. I made a couple of bad choices in relationships, but they were always able to talk sense into me before I got myself into another abusive situation.
Then, in 2010, the guys started exploring new servers. I stayed on Korgath and listened to them on Ventrilo talk about what they said. They told me that they wanted to transfer characters to Kul Tiras because it was less crowded. They already had a guild and several friends on the server, so we would have a place to be. I transferred my main character and joined their new guild. I made fast friends with several of the people on that realm.
We also raided with some members of another guild who were mutual friends. One of those players was named Chris. He was a guild leader who came and tanked raids when one of our tanks couldn’t make it. When the guild we were in dissolved, my friends and I moved into Chris’s guild, Covenant Knights.
Chris and I were the people who would often be online at night when no one else was around. We were both homebodies and I had no friends in Phoenix at the time. He and I would talk late at night while playing. Even when I was writing papers for my university courses, I would be in Ventrilo talking to Chris and one or two others.
After a few months, I realized that we weren’t just friends. Chris liked the same books as I did. He would talk to me about my biology and chemistry classes and would discuss the different theories I found in scientific journals. One night while we were alone online, he told me that he could see a relationship forming between the two of us and wanted to pursue it.
There was a problem. Chris lived in Canada, and I lived in Phoenix, AZ. It wasn’t what one would call ideal.
I talked to Eli the next day. I asked his opinion about the relationship and he told me that I would be stupid to not at least see how it went. After hearing about my several bad relationships over the years, Eli confirmed that Chris would be the best person for me.
We took it slow. We would chat on Skype instead of Vent when we weren’t in game. We talked practically every night, and it became evident that we were a good match. He came and visited that November for Thanksgiving. My parents were a little surprised that I had a boyfriend in another country, but after meeting him, they thought he was great. He also treated my daughter better than I knew a man ever could (her father is still not in her life). We spent the week together and on the last night, he said, “You know I love you, right?”
I still had 3 semesters left on my degree at the time, so we determined we would figure out our future slowly. We continued our nightly chats, more and more on Skype, and he came to visit the next Christmas as well.
I went to visit him in Victoria for my 2013 Spring Break. His family was warm and welcoming, and I loved his home town. It was then that we decided that I would move to Victoria after my graduation in May.
I moved to Victoria in late August and we were married in October. We even had our World of Warcraft Characters on our wedding cake.
We also had our pictures taken at Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters
Once, I tried to figure out what the actual possibility of us meeting was. I’m not great with statistics, but here are the variables I came up with:
- In 2006, there were about 6.5 million people playing World of Warcraft.
- In 2010, there were approximately 12 million people playing.
- Neither Chris nor I started out on Kul Tiras. We both transferred in from PvP servers.
First, what are the chances that, when I created my character, I would choose the same realm as Eli and that we would both be joking around in Trade at the same time and that we would notice the other person.
Second, what are the further chances that, when we switched servers, we would make friends with the exact people who would introduce me to my future husband?
They’re pretty low; they might even be extraordinary, but it totally happened.
So there it is, World of Warcraft saved me from an abusive relationship, gave me by best friend (Eli and I still text each other every day), got me through my bachelor’s degree, helped me meet my husband, and brought me to another country. World of Warcraft has not only changed my life, I’m pretty sure it saved it.