This story is very near and dear to my heart because it is my story.
Near the end of the “World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria” expansion in 2014, I decided — after years of not playing — to resubscribe and create a new character.
The first choice before me was which server cluster to pick. Because of friends and acquaintances I had made from my years at Humboldt State University, I picked Boulderfist — a PvP (player vs. player) server that is now grouped with Dunemaul, Stonemaul, Bloodscalp and Maiev due to their low populations.
The next choice was what to play. I opted for a female red pandaren beast master hunter on Horde. I named her Elysìa after my cat whom I adopted from Miranda’s Rescue in Fortuna the same year.
Leveling up Elysìa was the usual slow grind, but it was peppered with exciting bouts in the game’s PvP Battlegrounds, where my ruthlessness toward the Alliance faction could shine.
Like many new characters, Elysìa was sent an auto-invite to a semi-active guild — one that had fewer than five members active at any given time and chatter was kept to a dull minimum. It didn’t help that at the time my peak hours of play were from the late evening to early morning.
I was eventually recruited to a guild that fit my needs: emphasis on PvP, nocturnal play times.
One of the officers of that guild was Bl?ss, a female blood elf monk played by a male human person.
Through a series of conversations in between Battlegrounds queues, we found out that not only were Bl?ss and I living in California, we were both in Humboldt County and — at the time — both residents of Arcata.
The topic was amusing for a couple of days, but ultimately not discussed much. Life went on and the “Warlords of Draenor” expansion was released, meaning new content, new quests and — most importantly for the guild — both a new PvP warmane gold season and raid.
Bl?ss became one of the guild’s two tanks and Elysìa proudly became one of the top damage dealers (which to be perfectly honest isn’t difficult as a hunter).
And then one day, Humboldt County’s winter weather toppled a tree just outside of Blondie’s, knocking out the power to mostly my street. Neither of us made it to raid that day.
Our proximity came up again, and one rainy morning, we very cautiously decided to meet face to face in real life.
As it turns out, Bl?ss is a military veteran who moved to Arcata to attend HSU on the GI Bill. He also likes sushi and can play the guitar. And I got to reveal that my main character was named after my cat.
A few meals later, we found ourselves playing together more frequently. New work schedules and changing raid times also meant less time playing with the guild proper. With no raids and a new zone expansion, the player behind Bl?ss decided he’d rather play his undead assassination rogue by the name of Marvin.
Next thing we knew, Elysìa and Marvin were taking on the forces of the Tanaan Jungle and the Alliance side-by-side — both in game and in real life.
“You open on him. Once he’s focused on you, I’ll start hitting him too.”
That went on for months. (I like to think Elysìa and Marvin were some form of power couple that would strike from the shadows, but we were more likely just a pair of thorns in many people’s sides.)
Eventually we expanded beyond “World of Warcraft” to other co-op games like “Portal 2,” “LEGO Harry Potter” and the “Borderlands” series — where the biggest argument is who gets to wield the sniper rifle. Then he and I (and Elysìa the cat) moved in together.
We’ve learned that while I’m more calculated, I’m also more hot headed. We’ve learned that while he is more skilled, he is also more foolhardy.
Every once in a while, I still think about how we met. We’re not the first who met in a video game and certainly won’t be the last. Our “World of Warcraft” server cluster currently boasts more than 420,000 individual characters and hundreds of guilds. I’ve often wondered what the odds were that among hundreds of thousands of players, the one I clicked with happened to live less than a five-minute walk away.
A year into our relationship, we adopted another cat from the Humboldt County Animal Shelter. We named him Marvin. Also can be see in our playerhot online game center now!