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Couples and WoW: Suprise Part 5 – Feedback Followup

February 17, 2012

Dear Reader,

I got so much excellent feedback from the Couples and WoW series, that I just couldn’t resist making it more noticeable, particularly since so many of the comments expanded on or corrected some of my own ideas.

(1) To start, several commentators noted that many couples don’t fall into just one of these categories, that many are a mix of many and even shift between the archetypes based on other things going on outside of the game.  I totally agree; I think, in fact, to borrow from Bartle, that most couples are all  of the paradigms in a varying scale.  I’d probably put myself at 40% penguin, 25% angelfish (we can do separate things, but we both prefer doing things together), 20% crocs and plovers (which works in both directions; her healing is great, but I’m better at boss mechanics), 10% cats and dogs, 5% grizzlies, and 0% wolves.  As I have no test, dear reader (though making one might be fun), to measure the accuracy of this, we’ll each just have to break our own gaming-couple-selves down and trust.

(2) I also noted that virtually everyone wanted to be penguins.  The commentators who admitted to being angelfish and grizzlies (no one admitted to the other three) were in the vast minority.  I want to point out that while my writing may have made penguins look the best, there’s a cold distance at times to being a penguin, and the warm comfort of being an angelfish or a grizzly outweighs the loss of independence.  Penguins aren’t the best, just the easiest for GLs or RLs to deal with.

(3) Another commentator wisely pointed out that mistaken expectations due either to the couple putting no a false front or simply being in a different paradigm can lead to the most embarrassing situations.  In Sarah’s words,

In my experience, a couple’s (more than individuals) online personality can really be effected by what’s going on in private. Nothing like walking blindly into the middle a cat and dog fight between your penguin couple.

(4) Another commentator chimed in on how dangerous some of these archetypes can be and the relative helplessness of a GL or RL in the face of what could be serious real life issues.  He said,

Wow. it seems you assume the grizzly is going to answer for the spouse. If that’s the problem you have a bigger problem than archetypes just cut the cord and run… Generally in a healthy relationship you have less problems with spouses because there is another person to pull them back down out of game when they overreact.

The sad fact is that’s often the only option you really have for dealing with unhealthy gaming couples.  You can make attempts to calm things down between cats and dogs and come to an understanding with Grizzlies or Angelfish, but the reality of the situation is that you’re totally helpless in the face of the ravages of love, for good or bad.

(5) I feel obligated to point out a comment I got to the first post, from Me:

I always love when someone posts something similar to #5. It always seems to be the assumption that the man has to tell the woman in the relationship how to properly execute. You guys really need to learn to use the word “them” (or variation thereof) instead of she/her. I know it is not usually the norm, but I believe it is becoming more the case that many men are being dragged into an MMO because of their wives/girlfriends interest. I know my hubby wouldn’t have tried Rift at all if it weren’t for that fact that I was.

If I was inadvertently sexist in some of my language (I tried doubly hard not to be after this comment), I certainly didn’t mean to be; I speak from my own experiences which follow the older paradigm of gaming guy getting a girlfriend (now wife) to start gaming, and I fully acknowledge that such a scenario is not always the case, and is less and less so as time goes on.

(6) Another comment I got a couple of related to the definition of relationship.  Rightly so, it was pointed out to me that these “couples” don’t have to be romantically inclined; each of these patterns is just as valid when discussing brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, and friends.  None of the patterns is romance exclusive, which only broadens the opportunity to see these couples in action.  Go forth and seek!

(7) The last of the additions relates to a couple’s approach to finding a guild.  Askevar explained that

We’ve been up front with our guilds about what we’re looking for and what they can expect from us as placing a tank couple can be more than a little difficult. We’ve also been known to very occasionally fill in [one or the other of us] to make a raid happen so we don’t do absolutely everything together…

Frankly, I think this is the best option when couples are guild shopping.  Let them know in no uncertain terms what you’re looking for before you join so that you can avoid situations like this, from later in Askevar’s comment:

We had one GM who used one of those times that we helped out to make a raid happen as an excuse to attempt to force a “you will raid separately and like it” decree. Not surprisingly, we’re no longer there.

Ah, the follies of guild leadership, of the feelings of grandeur that only an Internet game can provide, and the crushing reality of the situation when you over extend yourself.

Thanks to all the commentators who added to the discussion.  Whether we agreed or disagreed, I appreciate every comment I get that adds to the broader debate.

For further reading, here are some links to excellent posts also on the topic:

Raiding as  Couple from My Perspective, by Askevar

The Other Side of the Couples Coin, by Fulguralis

Edit: Added another great post, On WoW Couples, by Karegina


Stubborn (and happily Coupled)

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Alan permalink
    February 17, 2012 11:36 am

    I enjoyed the series, and have seen those archetypes in the various guilds that I have been in over the years. My wife is also a gamer, but her interests do not include MMOs. I guess that would make us penguins of sorts, albeit of differing species.

    • February 17, 2012 1:25 pm

      Well, if we get to choose, you might as well be EMPEROR PENGUINS. Sounds good, anyway. I’m glad you enjoyed the series, and of all the ones I’ve done, it’s probably my second favorite (my favorite being “The Nature of Guild Disagreements”). Thanks for the comment!

  2. February 17, 2012 12:26 pm

    Thanks! I’ve really enjoyed this series as well. Couples in WoW are fascinating to observe! I’m even considering doing a follow up on the Angelfish type – being one and having dealt with a number of couples who could probably most identify with that archetype.

    • February 17, 2012 1:26 pm

      I hope you do; as much as I put my wife and myself as penguins, we’re often Angelfish in more unfamiliar environments. I’d love to see your take on it, and hope you do find the time to do a follow up. Thanks for all the comments and support throughout this series!

  3. February 17, 2012 4:50 pm

    I loved this series and wrote my own post about it on my blog. It was great to think about!!

  4. Beshaba permalink
    February 20, 2012 12:29 pm

    Just started reading your blog, and this series has definately been an enjoyable read. Very well written, and from what I’ve seen in my gaming experience, very accurate. When my husband and I game, we definately fall into the Angelfish category. We are up front about it whenever we have had to apply to guilds, and have had very little issues pop up from it (he tanks, I heal, we both hold our own pretty well). We had one Grizzly episode, but that came when the guild leadership refused to address a harassment issue, so my husband felt he had to step in.

    • February 20, 2012 1:39 pm

      I’d be willing to bet most couples have grizzly tendencies given the right situation. I’m sure that if I felt my wife was under an unfair attack of some kind and needed (and wanted) my help, I’d dive in head first, too. I luckily haven’t had a situation where my wife was being harassed (and I’m sorry to hear that you have had that experience), but I assume if she was that I might feel the need to step in, too, even without her express permission (which it sounds like your husband didn’t have, either, based on your word choice at the end).

      The closest we came to such a scenario I cataloged in an earlier post, mostly about the extremely vulgar discourse in one of our guilds. My wife was very offended, and I was, too, but not to such an extent (since it was mostly college boys and thus it didn’t jar me as much). We knew had been warned it would be rough, though, so it was as much our fault for not taking the warning too seriously than it was the guilds. We simply left.

      Thanks for the comment, and welcome!

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