29 Nov 2011

The Gaming Couple & Star Wars

Earlier this week we finally preordered Star Wars: The Old Republic. The decision wasn’t based on the recent beta weekend – we’d decided months ago that this was the next game we were going to play. Instead it was purely dependant on what we’re doing during the holiday season and if we’d have a chance to take advantage of early access.

By ‘we’ I mean myself and the lady who I started playing Warcraft with some six or seven years ago and who married me last year. I completely agree with Ravven: the best thing a gamer can do is fall in love with another gamer.

Going into SWTOR represents hitting the reset button for both of us. Back at the launch of World of Warcraft we played together, leveled up characters together and raided together. Since then three expansions have passed and our interests in the game have diverged. I’m only logging in to raid these days, while my wife has moved on to other games.

It’s not going to be easy – I know I have an urge to regress to a teenager. Just log in and play the game solidly, ignoring mealtimes and living on caffeine. Emerging after two or three days, almost blinded by the cruel Day Star, once I’ve rushed my way to the next end-point. There’s still a part of me that wants to treat MMOs as single player games with fancy social features.

There’s also the nervousness of guilds. Of meeting new people and avoiding the competition of levelling, of trying to keep pace just so you have a team of people to run dungeons or flashpoints with. Of getting over the attitude that someone’s girlfriend or wife means that they’re only playing the game out of some kind of social compulsion instead of being a skilled gamer in their own right.

There’s another thing about the whole gamers in relationships thing that’s puzzled me – why do men feel that falling in love or getting married has to mean giving up gaming? I didn’t have to hang up the D-pad. Instead I gained a Player 2 to share my games with. Well, that and Street Fighter IV. She may play a better Chun Li to my Ryo, but in Soulcalibur IV my Kilik is unstoppable.

Getting back to SWTOR, signs are promising. We managed to play together this weekend for a fair amount of time and the magic and fun is still there, even if she’s wading in with dual Lightsabers while I’m at the back throwing in Force Lightning. It’s 2005 all over again and I’m loving it.

There’s also some real in-game benefits to doing it. The number of Heroic quests (group quests in SWTOR) mean that having someone levelling with you is a real bonus, while standard quests don’t seem to incur a grouping XP penalty. The first instance when you leave your starter world is also designed for 2 players. Finally there’s a Social reputation system that can only be accumulated through questing while grouped. Teaming up by the time you reach the spaceport is definitely worth it.

I’ll update you with how we’re getting on in early January. In the meantime, I’m definitely dreaming of a Sith Christmas.

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14 Responses to The Gaming Couple & Star Wars

  1. Apple Cider says:

    I suspect a lot of men feel they have to hang up gaming when they get married because their wife doesn’t enjoy gaming or they’ve never given it a try. That marriage is serious and gaming is not-serious and all that. Personally, I cannot imagine spending my life next to someone who doesn’t respect my hobbies, but that’s me (the unmarried fool!)

    If you enjoy gaming healthily, I don’t see why you’d commit yourself to someone who either disallows you (which is very unhealthy in a relationship) or makes you feel like you have to give it up in order to make things work.

    No one does that with things like crocheting or kayaking, model train building, why gaming?
    Apple Cider recently posted..Patch 4.3 Is Here – The Hour of TwilightMy Profile

  2. Ravven says:

    I can’t imagine being with someone who wasn’t into gaming. Playing MMOs eats up an enormous amount of free time, as we all know, and it would be natural for a non-gamer to resent that. Plus, I absolutely love playing with my husband in game. This weekend in SWTOR, since we were both playing Inquisitors, we ran around just knocking mobs and players off ledges and walkways, making “PEW! PEW!” noises and laughing like idiots. We went sightseeing together in Coruscant. Would I have rather done sightseeing in RL in Paris? Yeah, definitely. But we still had an enormous amount of fun, we did it all together, and we have something that we’re both excited about to talk about. When you’ve been married for years, you can run out of things to talk about if you don’t share interests – gaming and experiencing new things together really helps.

  3. Ahtchu says:

    Pictures being worth a thousand words… that’s a really nice screenshot. I’m not in the beta, but I feel for some reason that it captures the essence.

    Props on the S.O. selection. I’d echo that choices for marriage shouldn’t be taken lightly or in pursuit of an arbitrary concept of romance. Too many rotten marriages ensue because of said concepts. Marriage isn’t a prison (or shouldn’t be), it’s freedom*! It’s great to read that you’ve gained a Player 2- very cute!

    * Freedom isn’t free. It comes with bickering and nagging and blasted honey-do lists… but at the end of the day, without a doubt, value out >> energy in.
    Ahtchu recently posted..Striding, With Toes PointedMy Profile

    • Gazimoff says:

      Glad you like the screenshot – I’ve been taking a ton lately! For every image that makes it into the gallery here, there’s another ten that don’t make the cut and end up deleted.

      The beta has been a lot of fun, especially if you like story driven gaming. There’s so much that’s made us both smile. Plus it’s refreshing to be out of a high-fantasy setting.

  4. Shintar says:

    I’m very pleased to hear that SWTOR seems to support “the couple experience”. :) I met my man in WoW and we’ve been living together for two years now, but his interest in the game also began to wane months ago and while I still have plenty of friends to play with, I missed having him around.

    We’ll also “reboot” our shared gaming with SWTOR and I’m really, really looking forward to it.
    Shintar recently posted..How’s the guild finder working out for you?My Profile

    • Gazimoff says:

      I think that there’s a fair few couples looking to dig into SWTOR and get that fresh feeling back. It’s going to be interesting to see how we all get on, but I’m really glad that there’s mechanics in place to encourage it.

  5. Genda says:

    If you guys are looking for a guild home that is mostly (because none of them are ever completely) drama-free and is stable adults, including some couples I’d encourage you to check out our guild. You can find us at http:..casualtiesguild.com, and we’re listed as an Empire guild on the SWTOR.com site under “Casualties”. We currently have about 70 pre-launch members representing all kinds of play styles, and most of us have played together before (it’s a multi-game guild.)

    Holla!
    Genda recently posted..SWTOR Impressions from the Beta WeekendMy Profile

  6. Genda says:

    Apologies, I just noticed you are in the UK. Our play times will probably, um, not mesh. :D

    You are still more than welcome, you will probably just find a subset of us on during your prime time.
    Genda recently posted..SWTOR Impressions from the Beta WeekendMy Profile

  7. Syl says:

    Well, my better half and me cannot seem to actually play well ‘together’ lol, but we sure are happy to share the same interest (side by side works too! ;). I have a hard time imagining a partnership where one person is a gamer and the other one’s completely contra; would distress me personally (imagine living with a sports fanatic instead, eeew!).
    Did you and your partner ever take a gamer profile test? ours was rather revealing, hehe.
    Syl recently posted..Skyrim cloth and cosmetic armorMy Profile

  8. I suppose that given a huge chunk of this is about me I’d best stick my nose in.

    I won’t lie, even as a gamer couple who share interests there’s a stupid amount of work that goes into the things behind minor stuff like the screenshot above. Just because we can get geeky about the same things doesn’t mean it’s happy ever after.

    We’ve not been playing well together for months. I grew sick of the drama surrounding various raid groups and while my focus has always been on Role-play first, the loss of enjoyment in PvE killed my desire to play Warcraft. I still love the game and the RP but I struggle to motivate myself to log on. In the same time Gaz has become more goal driven with Firelands progression and his Dragonwrath. I’m fine with it but I can’t say that I’ve enjoyed the degree of separation our differing tastes have imposed over the last 6 months and the rather fraught discussions it’s caused.

    All that aside, the screen shot above represents a huge compromise and a step forward. Gaz has been in the beta for months, I was lucky to get a weekend invite for the last stress test. He was already into the 20s with his (4th, I think. Lost count of server resets) Inquisitor and had no desire to re-roll, so I did something I doubt anyone other than me sees as a reasonable compromise.

    I played for 16 hours straight to catch him up.

    The result was a few amazing hours of play that reminded me what I’d been missing. Competing to win conversation rolls, agreeing to kill people that annoyed us and plotting to lose conversation rolls just so I could laugh at Euan Morton being so deliciously evil. It was a kind of stupid fun that I’ve not had in a very long time and it proved that we can still play together without pissing each other off.

    As for my Street Fighter 2 prowess, I spent far too many hours playing it as a child, pure muscle memory. I even had to rebind my Xbox controller because they have kicks and punches reversed from the Old 6 button Mega Drive D-pads.

  9. Cool post Gaz! Look forward to hearing more :)

    – Jamin
    Jamin (@JaminToTheTop) recently posted..Thanksgiving for the Gnome Clone?My Profile

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