But when players fall in love from opposite sides of an ocean, in-game weddings take on a whole new importance, standing in for the real thing until the couple can span the distance between them. That's not to say that players who are geographically closer together don't hold ceremonies in Azeroth, too. But still, for players separated by border, miles and oceans, the Azerothian equivalent among long-time gaming companions carries precious implications.
Help us celebrate the stories of three couples who tied the knot both in Azeroth and out -- two who fell in love across oceans and one for whom Azeroth has nurtured bonds since before she even played the game herself. How sweet love is!
The Couple-to-Be: One month and counting
While Tatimitzi and Dotson of Feathermoon (US) married in Azeroth about two years ago, it won't be until July 21 that they can make things official in real life. In fact, it took the couple an entire year just to get their in-game wedding attired lined up.
"I farmed AQ-20 for the hot pink robes for a year," writes Tatimitzi. "The day they finally dropped, I was able to start planning. LOL We RPed a lot about how Dot was wondering if Tati was stalling or changed her mind."
A February wedding at the elven tower off the coast of Eastern Kingdoms featured copious amounts of rose petals and bright lights -- and one rather memorable blessing from a friendly death knight. "He compared the couple to a corehound," writes Tati. "He thought it showed our passion and dedication for each other, with it having two heads and being on fire. He also pointed out that we could survive lava and anything else the world threw at us and endure. It was sweet in its very strange way."
Highlights of the ceremony, which excited one of the guests so much that he had to be sapped, included a blessing of the space by a paladin (Consecrating with the Light), an earthmother (blessing the area with War Stomp, a mage (bringing in an Arcane Blast) and a warlock (bringing down the shadows with a Soulstone).
And yes, Tatimitzi and Dotson will be making things official in just a few more weeks. "I am immigrating from Canada to go live with him in the States," writes Tati with a smilie. "The RL wedding is on July 21." Congratulations to both!
Sweetness, light, and a rotting corpse at the altar
Although Aphaeas met her beau outside Azeroth as a non-player back in 2005, it wasn't long before she was spending time watching him raid while toiling over her university assignments. "Eventually, after two years of listening to raids," she recalls, "I decided that if you can't beat them, join them."
It wasn't until they got engaged in 2010 that the couple realized just how many friends they had in World of Warcraft. "When I agreed to marry him, I instantly got on the phone to my parents, friends and family, as most people do -- however, he logged straight onto Warcraft and Vent to announce it to all of our friends in the online community (many of whom were in on it)," she writes. "Within days, we were contacted by PC Gamer UK (who owns PCG guild) asking us if we wanted to have an in-game wedding. At first we were reluctant but soon realized that most of the good friends we had made wouldn't be able to come to the actual wedding, so an in-game wedding would mean that they could join in the celebration as well!"
It's somehow fitting that paladins Trantor and his future wife were brought together by the Light. "She first approached me asking for help healing as a paladin, as I was one of the main paladin healers within the group," he writes. "We started to talk a lot about healing. I helped her get her pally epic mount, which hadn't been nerfed yet and was very hard to get."
Their growing offline friendship was complicated, however, by distance. "She was living in Roanoke, Virginia; I was living in Melbourne, Australia -- over 9,932 miles apart and 15 time zones," he writes. "But that didn't stop the friendship and we became very close."
As their personal lives changed and things deepened to romance, the couple found themselves Skping some 14 to 16 hours per day on weekends. They met on one of Trantor's annual trips to the United States, and it became obvioius that the relationship was meant to be. "I asked her to marry me over Skype -- not very romantic, but living so far apart, it was the best we could do," he remembers. "I decided to move to the United States, as I didn't want her to go through the heartache of moving away from her family and friends, so we started the paper work for a fiancé visa."
Congratulations to all the happy couples!
"I never thought of playing WoW like that!" -- and neither did we, until we talked with Game of Thrones' Hodor (Kristian Nairn) ... a blind ex-serviceman and the guildmates who keep him raiding as a regular ... and a 70-year-old grandma who tops her raid's DPS charts as its legendary-wielding GM. Send your nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org.