My first World of Warcraft wife and I had an unlikely meeting.
Not far away, players smothered each other in blankets of ice and fire, or filled each other with arrows and bullets, or hit one another with axes and daggers and all sorts of Very Dangerous Things. We were supposed to be killing each other.
I saw her dancing, this human female priest named ‘Bepbep,’ and could not resist the urge to abject goofiness. My grisly undead character was a decomposing wreck, missing a jaw, along with most the graying flesh around his elbows. His name was ‘Hawtgrrlirl.’ I’d been playing him, now and then, when my healer wasn’t needed by the Eternity Dragoons, my very serious raid guild.
Since Hawtgrrlirl was a rogue, he could sneak past the other humans and dwarves and elves that liked to attack things. It was doable. Getting closer, I noticed that Bepbep’s guild – which appeared as text under her name – read . This advertised a certain willingness to be silly. To cast the spell ‘mind control’ (MC) purely so that she could improve (Buff) the fortitude of enemy combatants (me and my rotting brethren)! She lived up to that name, and cast mind control the moment I left the safety and total invisibility which rogues can find in midday shadows. So it was that before I could make another move, I was under her power. She buffed me, and resumed the dance.
The killers killed.
In these early days, humans couldn’t speak to the undead. The words literally got garbled. The game, and especially this cutthroat server, encouraged either attack or escape. Dance gave odder players a classy sort of way to give a firm middle finger to Warcraft's restrictions. To find common ground.
A few more odd bits of game humor with Bepbep – weird gestures, messing with the killers who came to kill me – and suddenly I was getting messages from another Horde character named “Space.” Space – I’d later find – was Bep's real-world boyfriend… Sitting at the computer next to her in California. Being Horde (like me!) he could pass along Bepbep's non-garbled messages. The banter (presumably unedited by the faithful boyfriend) was stellar. Somebody floated the idea of in-game marriage. Space provided me with her terms:
“She’ll be needing The Rock,” he typed.
To which I replied, “Done and done.”
The Rock (A Warcraft item with the description: “It’s huge!”) was one of those odd novelties you come across in the vastness of the hundreds of hours it took to reach level 60. It cost 100 gold. The most expensive wedding ring in the game, at that point. 100 gold bought a lot. Bought things that might give a more serious-minded raiding character an edge. That’s nice, but –
You can’t put a price on awesome.