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How WoW Changed My Life: A Sappy Tale Of Hurt, Recovery, And Love

June 25, 2012

This past weekend was very special to me, as my husband and I celebrated our third anniversary. On Saturday we put the baby in the car, loaded up with blankets, snacks and drinks, then drove down to the local drive-in theater for our first night out on the town together in months. We ate hotdogs and drank strawberry shakes, watched Disney Pixar’s Brave and The Avengers our of the back of the SUV, and as we basked in the warmth of a beautiful June summer night we also reminisced about our last three years as a married couple. Just three short years, but then oh so much has happened since.

This was also the weekend I finally caught up to all my blog posts in my reader. In doing so, I had the pleasure of discovering an awesome blog as well as stumbling upon a mini-phenomenon called “All the ways World of Warcraft changed me.” It was interesting to say the least, reading all the earnest responses from bloggers who have revealed how their lives as gamers have changed since coming in contact with WoW.

It’s because WoW has changed me too, all right. Would you believe it has changed my entire life?

It’s funny, because my husband and I still talk about this very subject sometimes. As some of my readers know, the two of us met in WoW, so the game has remained important to me not only because it has changed the way I think about and look at MMOs, but it also has had an unquestionable impact on my personal life. I would like to share our story here.

It was November of 2007. My studies in occupational therapy and work in the Alzheimer’s ward and palliative care at the local hospital had led me to enter a period of deep depression and anxiety. At the time I was also living with a guy with whom I was involved in an emotionally bankrupt relationship, and I knew it. Add to that the dispiriting dark days of a blustery Canadian winter, and you could say I was in a very bad place.

Back then, one of the few joys I had to look forward to the end of each day was playing WoW. It was the perfect escape, a way I could relax each night. In Azeroth, I could almost forget all my worries and doubts.

I played a feral druid, main tanking and co-leading raids with the best mage in our guild, who also happened to be a very nice man. Amidst the many hours discussing boss fight strategies, figuring out our DKP loot system and wrangling guildies to fill our raid rosters, somewhere along the way we had become good friends. On our nights off, we quested together, doing those dreaded dailies which I hated even then as much as I do now. Still, the mage’s good humor and cheerful company always made them more tolerable.

A couple months later, the life I was living became increasingly more dreary, and I think something in me finally just snapped. One horrible day after a bad experience at the hospital, I suffered a severe nervous breakdown. As a result, I had to quit my work and studies and ended up staying overseas with my parents for a month, in order to recover.

It was not the restful vacation I had in mind, and things only got worse. My mom and dad treated my visit as an intervention; out of love, they tried to help without truly understanding, and in their misguided attempts heaped an unbearable amount of pressure upon me. One day, that dead-end relationship I was in also finally imploded, spectacularly. My ex threw a savage fit, took his destructive anger out on our place that we shared, and wrote me a letter threatening to hurt himself. My parents, concerned for my safety, told me I wasn’t to return to my apartment, not if he was going to be there. And so that’s how I also became jobless, boyfriendless, and homeless, all in the span of a few short weeks.

Meanwhile, I was still halfway around the world, away from familiar comforts, feeling all alone, depressed, and helpless to do anything about it. There were days where I wanted nothing more than to go to sleep and never wake up.

At that point, I’m afraid not even WoW could lift my spirits. But my good friend the mage did. We would log onto WoW but would not play. His character idled on the top of Shattrath with mine while he did nothing but listen to me on Vent as I ranted, whined, and cried, basically unloading all the stresses that had been plaguing me for the last few months. Because of the time difference, sometimes these conversations would last long into the night, but he would always stay up to make sure I was going to be all right.

I think it shocked me afterwards, that despite knowing each other so well after hundreds of hours spent in-game together he was still all but a stranger I’d never met, and yet he was so patient and kind just as a good friend should be. When I got better, I realized that throughout that whole ordeal he was there for me, and supported me emotionally at a time when that was all I ever really wanted and needed.

I don’t exactly remember when I first fell in love with him, but I do know that that was the moment I finally admitted to myself how I felt. It took another while to finally muster up the courage to admit it to him. It was one of the hardest things I ever had to do, knowing that if I screwed things up I could stand to lose not only our friendship, but also the enjoyment of a game in which I have had so many fond memories and fun times. After all that had happened, playing WoW with him remained a diversion I could count on when everything else had come apart, so what if that was gone too?

Well, not to draw out the suspense, but obviously you know how things turned out. My husband told me later that he himself had felt the same way about me for a long time, but played the gentleman and said nothing, knowing I had just gotten out of a bad relationship and was in a fragile state. Also, a part of him could scarcely dare to hope that his feelings would be requited. If he ever suspected I felt the same way for him, he never let on, wanting to let me be the one to act upon my feelings in my own time, on my own terms. In response, I told him if he could’ve given me just even the tiniest hint of how he felt, he could have saved me a ton of sleepless nights.

The two of us met for the first time in Toronto in February 2008. A year after that, we were engaged. Another year after that, we were married and finalizing my immigration papers to join him in the United States. Yet another year after that, I had packed up everything I owned and moved across the border to settle into the house we bought together. And finally, earlier this year, almost exactly four years to the day since I first met my friend the mage face-to-face, our beautiful daughter was born.

All this, because of a very special MMO. To some it may be just a game, but personally I know things would have been very different for me right now if it weren’t for WoW. I would not have my family. I would probably have gone back to healthcare and had a different job. I would have never left my home country. I probably would not be so happy. I look back now and can’t help but think that the day I opened my WoW account and created my druid and joined that guild must have been a true watershed moment. My life was changed forever and it would never be the same again.

Today, the two of us don’t play WoW anymore, but the game and our characters still hold a special place in our hearts. A mage and druid, now husband and wife. We remain avid gamers, continuing to play MMOs as a couple, all the while honoring our (*sigh*) spousal leveling contract.

Partners in-game, partners in life. When I was at my lowest, he helped me get better, and continues to heal me still — and yes, pun absolutely intended.

Gaming is happiness.

Here’s to many more years of both, babe.

57 comments

  1. That’s beautiful; thank you for sharing your story like that. It’s hard to get personal sometimes; you can’t be sure how people are going to react. WoW definitely changed your life, and it sounds like you guys are doing very well together. :-D

    Interestingly enough, my husband and I were also a mage/druid combo before he “retired” from WoW!


    • Thanks, this was a post I’ve wanted to write for a long time and an opportunity presented itself this weekend. The hard times I had are behind me now, it’s almost like a different life so it’s easier to talk about it :)


  2. What a great post and such a great ending too. Thx for sharing and many happy years for you all :) I meat my partner through WoW as well but we’ve only met once in RL.


    • Always a pleasure to meet others who have met their partner in WoW :)


  3. What an amazing post! Makes me jealous that I don’t have a great meet-up story for me and my wife, her being mail order and all. But man, she was so beautiful when i uncrated her. Only took two minutes to resuscitate her!

    They should really put holes in those boxes.


    • LOL, that made me laugh :P See, Fassflexo’s got nothing on you!


  4. Great story. I had a similar but very different story, that ended the same way though. It’s pretty amazing when I hear other people’s stories. My husband and I don’t play WoW anymore either, but we do play SWTOR and I love playing with him. WoW holds a very special place in our hearts, and our wedding presents to each other were framed posters of our WoW characters which sit on our walls to remind us how it all started. Thanks for sharing!


    • Nice! I gifted my husband a drawing of our two characters not long after we met, it’s actually the one featured in my about/contact page. And for my birthday one year, he had it colored and made into a poster for me. It definitely serves as a great reminder of how things started for us too.

      We’re playing SWTOR together now as well. I know I complain about the leveling contract a lot, but when I do get the chance to play by myself these days it actually feels weird without him!


  5. Great story that always makes me happy to hear!


  6. As man, you made me all misty while I’m at work. Embarrassing!

    Thanks for sharing, though.


    • Just say it’s some dust in your eye :) Thanks for reading!


  7. Absolutely wonderful. I knew some of the story, but not so many details. Thank you for sharing.


  8. Wow, what a beautiful story. There’s a bit of a pun there, but I’ll leave it be. ;) Thank you for sharing!

    While my husband and I were already married when we started playing MMOs, the number of amazing people we’ve met and friends we’ve made through this hobby (and WoW of course has been a huge part of that) never ceases to amaze us.


    • I agree, it is amazing how many wonderful people I have met playing MMOs. I know game communities get a lot of flak, but I believe the majority of folks are good people. I’ve had the pleasure of making friends with many of them :)


  9. What a lovely story! Thank you so much for sharing. I also met my partner through gaming (Lotro). My story is a tiny bit similar to yours, yet not as tough sounding (in a relationship I knew I shouldn’t be in, going through a period of depression, yet having a game to escape to so I could forget some of my worries.. and having a friend there to have fun with and that eventually turning into a real life relationship in which I’ve moved to another country in order to be with him) so it was heartwarming to read. :)


    • Awesome! I know a few other people who met their significant others in LOTRO. I think that’s pretty special, it’s such a beautiful game :)

      Those were definitely tough times, and even after we got married we had to spend a year apart waiting for my immigration paperwork to go through. But it was all worth it.


  10. I’m shedding tears of happiness. :) This is a great post!


    • Glad you enjoyed, thank you for reading :)


  11. Tldr version: Mr. MMOGC stole you from Canada!!

    Lol, jk. Wow, what a crazy story. I am very glad you ended up in safer waters!


    • Haha! Though I have to say, as happy as I am now, I still miss Canada every single day. Toronto was my home for many years, I miss the city life and always being able to go anywhere on foot and to get good Chinese food at 2am in the morning :)


  12. That was quite moving. Thanks so much for sharing :-)

    I have met a lot of really interesting people over the years playing MMOs. I’ve also experience more than a few emotional roller coasters due to them. It’s the social aspect of these games that makes them so sticky to me.


    • Yes, for me MMOs are all about the social aspect, and why they are my genre of choice when I can be spending all my time playing my Xbox 360 or single player games instead. I just get to enjoy online games on a whole different level, and it’s something I can’t get anywhere else.


  13. What a great story! Thanks for sharing all those personal bits. Nice to hear about a happily ever after ending. We don’t get enough of those anymore.


    • It certainly was quite the journey, including when everyone freaked out at me because I met someone from an online game, and also the whole year of living apart…but it did all work out in the end. Thanks for reading and commenting :)


  14. wow; thanks for sharing; great story :)


  15. What a nice post, GC. Thanks for sharing your ‘WoW Story’ with us. I thought about doing one, still mulling it over. Your story is very similar to mine, with my husband, except we were playing EQ back then :) He was my knight in shining armor.

    Glad to see you blogging again, hope the little one is doing well. *Hugs*


    • If you do, I’d love to read it. Always love hearing MMO love stories that have happy endings :)


  16. That was a beautiful story, thank you for sharing…


  17. Wow what a great post. I’m always telling the stripper night elves that mages make great hubbies. ;)


  18. Never liked WOW but you can’t argue with good results. :) I am way too pregnant and hormonal to be reading this though…lol your post had me crying so hard. But at least in a good way. :D


    • LOL I remember how that is…I couldn’t go a day without getting teary eyed over the tiniest things. Congrats, btw :)


  19. I’ve read quite a few WoW lovestories over the years, and each time it’s amazing to me what kind of beautiful reallife stories and consequences this game has initiated. Thanks for sharing your tale, it’s always wonderful to read about how life can turn around so completely for the better, no matter how dark the situation someone might have been in.

    And the blogosphere remains an endless maze to me – it’s funny how after all this time one can keep discovering one’s longtime neighbours! :) /wave


    • I also met my wife playing an MMO, EQ !! We shared many many hours playing, talking, meditating, raiding. We moved in together after 9 months and moved on to wow 5 years later, she still plays WOW (six years now), I have moved on..to other MMOs but our desks are 2 feet apart and always have been, in the three houses we have owned.

      The falling in love part really does sneak up on you…I never made a consious descission to fall in love with someone I had never met or seen. All I knew was this pretty young Enchanter namad Charyl and my mage named Aladdwenous…lol. The rest history…

      We are celebrating ten years together in Sept, still gaming together, still in love and looking for that next MMO…

      Loved your story MMOGC…brought back many of my own memories, thankyou.


      • That’s such a great story! I always love to hear about others who have met their significant others in MMOs. I understand the whole “falling in love with someone and you don’t even know what they look like.” I’ll tell you, it did seem a little weird at first to be feeling like that, but now I know it happens more than I originally thought.

        My husband and I also play side by side with our computers next to each other. In fact, his elbow is constantly banging into mine and sometimes I get all annoyed about that LOL.


      • Our elbows never hit but our high back chairs do..ALOT. We (I)also have issues with volumes if we are playing different games or on Vent. We even have had disagreements on lighting in the room. Then there is the 100lbs german shepard lying between us…Bliss.


      • Oh and FWIW we live two hours from TORONTO GC…I am in the Cdn Airforce so we move often.


      • Cool! I used to live in Richmond Hill, then started living downtown (like, literally heart of downtown at yonge and bloor) for college and then also moved out to Hamilton for a while.


      • You went to UT (or Ryerson) for university? :P I’ve been to those campuses before! But I went to school at SFU :) And I still have friends who are working on those campuses with a Christian non-profit student org.


      • Yeah, UofT :D

        I was accepted to UBC though, almost went out west :)


    • Yep, seriously, my network of bloggers grow every day and it’s just amazing all the great writers and people out there :)


  20. My story has a LOT of similarities to yours. Different places and times, but we met through Wow and have been married now for 4 years. No kids yet due to health issues, but happy with 3 dogs that act like children. My life would be entirely different had I not played WoW and I don’t think it would be different in a good way.


    • That’s awesome, I always joke to friends that WoW has probably made more successful matches than the bigger dating sites :D


      • I find it funny how you say “than the bigger dating sites”, which implies that WoW is also a dating site (just not as big as eHarmony, etc.) :P


      • LOL well you know what I mean :P


  21. The Human story always remain the most touching, interesting and enduring of stories. And so this was one of the best and captivating of stories and real MMO stories I’ve read or heard from someone sharing. There is a real personality and person behind the words you write and no matter what you write about it’s still a Human Story, and this was one of the most touching and personal to share.

    We are all a bit more Human because you shared that story and grateful for you for sharing it.

    I kept thinking as I was reading way in the back of my mind…. that this sounds like something you would read in a published real life book story with a touch of inspiration throughout it. Kept trying to think of a title: How I found Love & Family and overcame bad relationship & depression through a MMO. I’m sure you can think of something better and shorter but I was thinking something like that as a published book. Maybe you should try and write one, maybe one day you will who knows. But it would make a touching and inspirating story.

    But a very touching personal story!


    • Haha, well, if they ever do a Chicken Soup for the Gamer’s Soul or something like that, I’ll think about submitting ;)

      Thanks for reading :)


  22. Great story, GC, thanks for sharing it. It’s a bit corny but I’ve always believed that eventually things work out for the best, sometimes it just takes a while.


    • I’ve never been into the whole fate thing, but sometimes I do ponder if some things do happen for a reason.


  23. Beautiful story, thank you for sharing, I too met some one special in my days of WoW, but sadly that relationship ended on a sad note. But as many people have already said, WoW will always hold a dear place in our hearts. I have lots of fond memories and for that I will always smile and look back on those days.


    • I hear ya. I hold a lot of my WoW moments in fond memory, the great ones as well as the not-so-great ones.


  24. Aawwww, that is hands down, the sappiest, sweetest, most jealousy inducing stories i’ve ever heard :(:(:(:(:(:(:(: i even cried a little.

    Star Wars Galaxies / World of warcraft was really my watershed moment. I was a fat unpopular, nerdy kid in high school when i first started playing SWG. I had really poor social skills even by the standard of someone who was on the internet 24/7 nearly.

    It changed my life because i wandered aimlessly in the game for 3 days until i met my mentor and good friend in ANY mmo Shomori. He took my wookiee, clothed him, fed him, armed him to the teeth with anything i could ask for. When there was a guild function, he always made sure i was there and introduced me to people. I became a raving, social, lunatic.

    My real personality and imagination started to come through, and in life i actually became extremely detail oriented. For when my guild transferred from SWG to WoW in 2005, i had to scrap to make it to 60 since all of my guildies were already raiding molten core and blackwing lair every night. But they were always nice and encouraging and kept me grounded in working hard for what i wanted and achieving those goals i had in game.

    Eventually when i started working, actually INTERACTING with people in real life wasn’t as scary as i had imagined, and people actually liked me more than i had anticipated….and also WoW became a full-time side gig actually.

    Between raiding and min-maxing, striving for GRand Marshal and being a team leader on the job….WoW burned me out by the 3rd week of the FIRST Naxx. Infact, when the infighting within my guild *i mean back then 40 spots STILL wasn’t enough, and they were cutting to 25 in Burning Crusade…* and the split happened, WoW pretty much ended for me right then and there.

    Burning Crusade was an amazing time, but it was the days of Vanilla WoW that made me the person i am today. Intelligent, Crafty, Dry Forboding Sense of Humour, but i’ve found a personal happiness in life that can’t be filled by any MMO anymore.


    • It is truly fascinating how the friendships we forge in MMOs and how the interactions in those games and within the social circles of our fellow players can change the way we are. I recently read a blog post from another lady, who also said playing WoW helped her gain her confidence in every day life.

      Thanks for sharing your comment! These stories are amazing to me.



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