Playing WoW with your significant other has a lot of advantages. You can spend a lot of time together having fun while leveling, raiding, farming or just screwing around on those amusing new alts you just made. You always have someone to attend those crazy-fun BRK events with. You’ll never be one of those couples who goes out to dinner and simply stares at one another across the table with nothing to say, because there’s always some theorycraft to hash over or some amusing anecdote one of you missed in guildchat. You might get stares from people at the table next to you who think your discussions of shot rotation and mage talent builds is mind-bogglingly weird, but at least you’re enjoying your time together!
However, playing together has its downside, too. There are the nights when you want to work on those alts because, by god, you can taste 70, but your significant other wants to farm heroic badges. Or the evenings when one of you feels like raiding, but the other doesn’t, so one of you just goes along to make peace and not to be left lounging around watching TV alone for three hours while listening to one-sided Vent chat. It’s like anything else you do together; there’s compromise and sometimes not everyone is going to be happy.
Sometimes, though, it slips from being just casual “Oh darn, I didn’t want to do that tonight” stuff into actual disagreements. We’ve had actual arguments about who caused a facepull or my pulling aggro off of him when he’s tanking. Occasionally we’ll get miffed at something someone is doing in group and, because we don’t feel comfortable yelling at someone for their aggro management over Vent, we’ll lecture one another about what we’re doing wrong. Generally it’s mild, like two small yappy dogs going at it for a few minutes and then settling down again.
Then there are those other times, when the pressures of guild dynamics and politics actually start to weigh you down. People who don’t play, or who have never played a game with social interaction, simply have no concept of how “a game” can get to you. At least your significant other understands when you’re peeved over something someone in guildchat said or did, rather than asking why you’re angry over pixels. But when the politics and circumstances in the guild are getting to both of you, when it’s actually stressful and distracting, it begins to taint the fun and camaraderie you had built within this game you’re trying to play together and it starts to become “srs bzns”. Especially if one, or both, of you feels personally caught up in the complex guild implosion taking place around you. It’s hard to be happy-go-lucky when your over-dinner game hashing becomes less about how to write a sheeping macro and more about who said what to whom, possible Machiavellian motives and other dramatic complexities.
At one time, when we first started playing together, if you had asked me if we would eventually be embroiled in guild drama, I would have definitely said no. We don’t take this game that seriously! But I honestly should have known better, having been involved in social games in the past and knowing the way people work. However, there’s a point when, regardless of the people on the other side, you have to make yourself step back and say “It’s just a game”. You have to remember that you started playing the game to enjoy it and enjoy the company of the person you’re playing with, not to play an Azerothian version of Knot’s Landing (Whoa, I’m dating myself).
So do you quit? No, you don’t quit. Too much time and effort is invested! (Not to mention money, baby, with that $15 bucks a month each.) Do you leap headfirst into the maelstrom? No, not that, because you’re sick of that mess. Do you try to keep a cool and judicious head and keep trying to help things along? Yeah, ’cause that’s been working really well so far. Do you jump ship and strike out for calmer waters? Not promising, as this problem seems universal. Or do you just pull back, put on the brakes, and let things settle where they’re going to settle while concentrating on enjoying the game together, much in the way you originally did?
Yep. I’m going with that last one.