BlizzCon is for lovers. You'll spy plenty of couples strolling hand-in-hand through the darkened convention halls, seemingly as intent on gazing into each other's eyes as they are gazing into play-testing monitors for the upcoming Pandaren experience. Among them: newlyweds Tommy and Diane Wallace, freshly arrived in Anaheim from their Wednesday wedding in sunny Las Vegas.
While the couple didn't meet playing World of Warcraft, it didn't take them long to get there together. Tommy, a hardcore raider and player since the days of classic WoW, introduced Diane to the game not long after the two became romantically involved. She took to it like a duck to water, and it wasn't long before the two were raiding side by side. It looked like wedding bells would be inevitable before the year was out.
Those plans were rudely interrupted by serious health problems in Diane's family. Unable to balance hardcore raiding with the ongoing turmoil, they dropped out of their guilds and rolled fresh Horde characters from scratch.
"Making Horde characters was a healing process," relates Diane. "Taking time out for life and each other was exactly what we needed." Agrees Tommy: "When we're playing as a team, we can be completely at ease and focus on what we like and what we feel like doing."
The online partnership wasn't without its own new challenges. Now that they were playing as a duo, the couple discovered they (good-naturedly) skirmished over tiny details of quests. "We fought constantly!" remembers Diane. "But we fought about stupid things like picking up all the turds in Nagrand. He'd grab them all up before I could even get there and then say, 'You gotta be faster.'" She bristles in mock indignation and becomes even more animated. "Now me, I'm all about manners. Even if you're with friends, you need to be polite and take turn ..."
The couple laughs indulgently at the old, familiar scenario.
Striking a balance
Tommy and Diane overcame their questing quarrels to delve all the way into 25-man hard-mode raiding during Wrath of the Lich King. In Cataclysm, Diane dropped back to 10-man raiding with another guild; Tommy plays with her on an alt, and the two make a concerted effort to share what's going on in each other's in-game lives.
"We always communicate with each other," Diane says, "especially in game when we're in different guilds. We always ask each other what's going on."
And after four and a half years of rolling with the punches dealt by both real life and WoW, Tommy and Diane finally tied the knot earlier this week in Las Vegas. The newlyweds will enjoy a BlizzCon weekend before wrapping things up and heading back home.
Still, we have no doubt the romance will persist, both offline and in game. "He gave me a red rose when I first started playing," Diane remembers, giving Tommy a look of appreciation. "I still have it in my bags."
Love and war in Azeroth
On a final, bittersweet note (especially given the lead of this article, "BlizzCon is for lovers"), true love isn't in the cards for every romantic couple in Anaheim this weekend. Original plans for this feature article included an interview with an in-game couple meeting in person for the first time here at BlizzCon. Unfortunately, the con hadn't even officially begun before we notified that circumstances had changed and the couple was now no longer a couple.
And so goes the saga of love and war in Azeroth, BlizzCon and beyond.
The news is out -- we'll be playing Mists of Pandaria! Find out what's in store with an all-new talent system, peek over our shoulder at our Pandaren hands-on, and get ready to battle your companion pets against others. It's all here right at WoW Insider!