It's been almost four and a half years since I wrote this post - I have to say while many perspectives about gaming have changed for me, my perspective of online "friends" hasn't. Please read and take note, if you haven't noticed already.
I have a compelling need to share a quick story with you folks, particularly those who emphatically insist that one's online friends are as real and as good as real life friends.
In my almost three years of play, I met and befriended many people in the realm of Norrath. Many of these folks I played with regularly for long periods of time. Others I would be good friends with and then would only see them once in a while. I played my halfling druid with the best roleplaying skills I could muster. I spent countless hours creating quests for young players, helping people with all kinds of tasks and I spent many, many hours counseling people both in and out of game who had real life issues to deal with.
When I decided to leave Norrath for good, I left with the intention of keeping in touch with at least a half-dozen of my "closest" friends in Norrath via email and such. I figured the rapport built up between us could keep our friendships going even though we didn't share the realm of Norrath anymore. I was wrong.
Now, three and a half months after leaving EQ, these people have all vanished. I had tried to keep correspondence going via email which they replied to with a short message, without much detail as to how they were doing. After a couple weeks, I never heard from them again. I know they still play Everquest because I see their many daily postings on various Everquest message boards. They spend alot of time /hugging, discussing quests and loot and raids and such, but it seems they have no time for anything that doesn't involve Everquest. I know from first hand experience that that is because many of them don't have anything else in their lives BUT Everquest. Now it seems, my "good" friends don't have any time for me.
I'm not saying this to garner any pity. But I do want you to realize that those people who you consider to be such good friends will all but scatter once you leave the realm of Norrath. There is something about that place that keeps people together who play regularly. But it's not until you leave the fold that you REALLY understand how shallow and empty the great majority of online friendships are.
I speak from experience.
Ron Jaffe AKA Diggo McDiggity
Discussion Board Moderator
Addicted to Everquest from July, 1999 to May, 2002
Over 4,900 Hours Played
Co-Founder of OLGA and member since 2002