If you've been anywhere on the WoW forums this weekend, you've probably heard the tale of Demeter and Gilgamesh from Onyxia. Demeter, the guild leader of Dirty Sons of Liches, posted on his realm forums that he had discovered Gilgamesh, his wife, was being "too friendly" with members of his guild in Vent. In return, he offered GMship of his guild to anyone who could provide him with more information and details about the Vent infidelities.
The drama exploded, featuring screenshots, videos, supposed confessions from cyberers -- all without the involvement of Gilgamesh, who is suppposedly away for the weekend. Demeter attempted to backtrack and claim the whole thing was a hoax, but he eventually printed the character name of one of the accused -- and the real name and phone number of another. I assume that post is going to be deleted quickly, so I'm not going to link it. Whether it's real adultery, or merely the best troll ever, remains to be decided.
Yes, it's just another tale of sordid e-drama, but it's a good example of something I've seen happen more than once in WoW. A couple plays WoW together, they join a guild, maybe they even rise to guild leadership -- and then one of the two hooks up with another player they met online, destroying the relationship/marriage/guild.
A friend of mine, "Skwisgaar", had this unfortunate series of events happen to him some time ago, and he's agreed to talk to me about what went down, and how other WoW players can avoid getting e-cuckolded.
Skwisgaar and his fiancee had been together for a year when he began playing in the WoW beta. His fiancee got interested in the game while watching the beta, and he bought her a copy of WoW for Christmas. They had been playing as a couple for about a year when his fiancee began receiving phone calls from guildmates.
According to Skwisgaar, his fiancee was getting suspicious phone calls from one of her rogue guildmates. A while later, she told him she "needed a break" and was going to visit her brother at college. When she returned from the visit, she wanted to get back together. But Skwisgaar had an inkling that the visit hadn't been to her brother's, and confronted her one night after he caught her talking suggestively on the phone in bed while she thought he was asleep. She admitted that she had actually gone to a different city and slept with her guildmate, and the wedding (and relationship) was off.
WoW Insider: So what happened in-game after that?
Skwisgaar: What's awesome about it is that after I dumped her, guys on the server started coming out of the woodwork with information about cyber/phone/webcam stuffshe had done with them. She even was trying to hook up with one guy while visiting some of her friends, but I ended up coming along for that trip and she had to call it off at the last second or something.
Did what happened affect your view of the game?
Not particularly. I've always been pretty good at drawing a distinction between bad people and the medium through which i communicate with them. I still really enjoy playing. It definitely helps that right around the time I dumped her I started with my first "hardcore" raiding guild so I could at least have e-peen contests in general chat with her new BF.
What do you think about the Onyxia drama?
I think it's hilarious. It kind of makes me wish I had been more public about the stuff that went down with my fiancee. I think the humor value would have eased the pain a lot.
There's been a lot of this stuff going around various servers. Why do you think WoW-related infidelity seems to be so common?
I don't think it's any more common than any other kind of infidelity. It's just one more social context. It just seems funnier to us because MMOs are a relatively new and unfamiliar medium for it.
So what advice would you give couples who play WoW?
See above. People's darkest personality traits come out in full effect on the Internet. I'd say that if you are the least bit uneasy about your SO going out to a bar with maybe two or three hundred other people around, that it wouldn't be the wisest choice to turn them loose with nine million people online. I firmly believe that if my ex hadn't done what she did with someone from the game, she would have with someone else that she met in another way. She's the one who screwed up; all WoW did was provide the opportunity.
Are there any warning signs people should look out for?
If they seem like they're hiding something, they probably are. Don't buy into any "invading my privacy" defense unless unaffected third parties also tell you that you're being paranoid. If it is truly serious, you should have nothing to hide from one another. If one partner is hiding something and claims it is on principle, I will stake money on there being substance to the other's suspicions. Every time. The reasoning is that if they truly weren't doing anything they didn't want you to know about, putting your fears to rest would be more important to them.