Since World of Warcraft is a Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game, we know from the beginning that behind every character name on the screen is another player. However, since all we see of other players is that character, it's often hard to remember that there are real people on the other side. But sometimes, that reality sinks in fast.
In my first guild as a brand-new player, I looked up to my guild master as if he were a decorated general and I was a recruit shaking in her boots. In raids, I was amazed at the respect he earned from other players. When I browsed the forums, I found threads in which the opposite faction called him out, requesting duels so they could try their skills against his. He was larger than life.
Then late one night in guild chat, it was mentioned that one of our warlocks was named Matt in real life. The guild master happened to be online, and he chipped in, "Oh cool. My name is Matt too." He linked his Myspace and offered to add us.
It was as if Toto had pulled aside the Wizard's curtain in Oz. Suddenly, my guild master wasn't just an epic-geared raid leader with a huge reputation and enough skill to back it up ... He was a dude named Matt, slightly balding, with two kids. This scenario repeated itself over and over, as the orcs, trolls, undead, and tauren turned out to be college students, office workers, military personnel, and stay-at-home parents. They were real.
Have you ever had a moment when another player "became real" to you? What was it like?