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Getting married in a virtual realm

Mike Schramm

WorldofWar points us to this forum thread by Fabraz, in which he shows off a video of his WoW wedding. The video is all in German, but you can tell what's happening as two Night Elf druids stand together in Darnassus as onlookers kneel. They finish their vows, and then a party goes down, and gifts are even given.

It's not the first time this sort of thing has been done, of course (that's another German vid, though-- are Germans more likely to do a virtual wedding?), but it is a strange little collision of our social gestures in the real world with the virtual one. Does it mean any less or more (in terms of social meaning-- of course it doesn't mean anything legally) when two people commit to each other in virtual space rather than physical space? We've seen funerals held for players before, and of course there's the famous Serenity Now incident, with my favorite music cues of any WoW video ever. It's interesting that it's these two rituals, perhaps our most important and symbolic, that have made it into Azeroth. I've never seen a virtual graduation, perhaps congratulating the recent class of 70s, but maybe that's the next big ritual to make the jump.

As a player, it's not really my thing (I find social interactions like weddings and funerals much more meaningful in the real world, and would rather leave the virtual world for things like fighting dragons and melting faces), but there is obviously a draw for this kind of thing-- in almost every MMORPG, it pops up at one point or another. Do meaningful social rituals like this belong in the World of Warcraft, or are they just a waste of time?

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