Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A MMO Valentine Wedding

I was vaguely aware of Trion's plans to hype their in-game marriage system for Valentine's Day, but I wasn't expecting a world event prompt.  There happened to be someone in the guild getting married, so I stuck around to "liveblog" it.

The ceremony took place outside the Hammerknell raid instance.  I assume no raid mobs are going to come charging out the gates to kill everyone, but you can never tell with an MMO.  The happy couple happens to be a male and female character, but the NPC officiant refers to them as the spouse of the Sun and Moon to get around dealing with the marriage gender issue.  Apparently it was a Dwarven ceremony, as the priest proceeded to bless a mug of ale and then instruct the couple to "forge a hammer" in the ritual of the Heart Forge.  The thing is also fully voiced, complete with harp-like wedding elevator music. 

Anyway, I received an achievement for witnessing this shindig.  Also included are booze, cake, and a wedding souvenir collection item.  No wedding guests were killed during the festivities.

Trion asks that you hold your divorce proceedings for 24 hours so they can get a count for their PR stunt.
That said, I wonder if this level of MMO-Valentine's festivities is more than your average player wants to see.  People who are actually spending the time with loved ones aren't in game.  People who are in game - especially anyone observing Involuntary Singleness Awareness Day (I-SAD) - may be there precisely because they would rather have a break from this over-commercialized holiday.  What do you all think?  There's a poll up on the sidebar of the blog if you don't feel like doing more than clicking on this question.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I will disagree with one thing you said.

"People who are actually spending the time with loved ones aren't in game."

My spouse and I played WoW together for over 5 years. In that time we met a fair few other couples who also played.

Most people spending time with loved ones (especially wider family on appropriate holidays such as Christmas or Thanksgiving) won't be in game, but on a day that's just dedicated to the two of you, then we gamed happily.

Best wishes!

Stabs said...

One thing which I find very interesting is the psychological aspect of these weddings. In textbook psychology there is a phenomenon called Commitment, where people feel motivated to do something just because they said they would. This is reinforced by making a public commitment. Thus weddings, saying you will love a person forever in a very public framework have a powerful effect in helping make relationships last. Of course it's imperfect but the effect is real and significant.

So what does commitment to a virtual character imply? I guess if a real life couple make a virtual pledge it reinforces their real life relationship. But strangers? Does it create a bond?

I hope some academic picks this up and does research on it, would be fascinating.

Nazaniel said...

Who says that people can't spend time with their loved ones in game? It was raid night for us - so we cooked dinner together and settled in for the raid night. Another couple we know spent the night on LoL together.

Gaming for us is an activity that we enjoy doing together. I think it's pretty short-sighted of you to suggest that because you're gaming, you're not spending time with the person you love.

Brian 'Psychochild' Green said...

Hooray sanctity of (virtual)) marriage! Anyway....


I'll echo what others have said: I play MMOs with my better half as well as spending time with her offline. Having a better half who is an active gamer is awesome, and makes being a developer (and the long hours that usually entails) much easier.

Bhagpuss said...

Mrs Bhagpuss and I were both logged into EQ2 for much of Valentine's Day. We did some real-life Valentine's stuff then did some more in-game for Erollisi Day, including exchanging cards which we'd written using EQ2's excellent player-made book option.

Our small guild on EQ2 consists, entirely by chance, almost entirely of couples who play together. That's just who we happened to meet while playing EQ2X. It might be an EQ2 thing.

I don't much like in-game marriages though. I went to plenty in EQ1 and some of them ended acrimoniously, with considerable in-game fallout. I thought Rift's sudden focus on marriage was an odd choice but then a lot of Trion's decisions leave me scratching my head these days.

Vatec said...

I think Trion is trying very hard to rotate through all its "special interest groups," adding a little something for each of them on a regular basis. This time around it was solo/duo play (a Chronicle), semi-casual PvP (PvP changes that benefit entry- and mid-level players), and roleplayers (weddings).

Trying to keep multiple groups happy simultaneously is tough, but Trion pumps out updates about three times faster than the next fastest developer, so they may be able to pull it off. From a marketing perspective, it's a little rough. They're now effectively the #3 subscription-based MMO. Trying to keep up with #1 and #2 is generally not the best strategy for #3 in an industry, unless they have a good chance of unseating #2. The generic advice is for #3 (and every player below them in market share) to find a niche/specialty and become experts at addressing that niche's needs.