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I met my wife in EverQuest almost 20 years ago. I still have a lot of friends who I met from Ultima Online and a few from World of Warcraft (I stopped MMOs around that time) - also one of my friends is someone I met on a local BBS in about 1994.

I knew them exclusively online, a few I've met in person a few times, others we've only ever interacted online for the better part of 20 years.

As the world gets smaller, I think this kind of thing will become more common. I think the borders were smaller 20-30 years ago online, and now there is a bit of nationalism/tribalism separating folks, in part because so much of online interaction is now a "service" and not just a newsgroup, special or general interest forum, or IRC.

I think if some of the decentralized systems become more usable/popular we might start to see these adhoc communities form and disappear more organically online, but probably not.

My wife and I will have been married 10 years in a week, and we met in EverQuest. Unfortunately, I don't keep in contact with anyone else we hung out with back then.

I've tried to go back, to EQ or other MMOs, and they're much harder to get a group of friends from now. You used to see the same people in your server, sometimes meeting them multiple times as you leveled through the game. They became known to you and even friends. The changes to make the game more open to solo players and with more instancing you just don't run into the same people more than once anymore.

Depends. WoW Classic brought a fair bit of that feeling back. The server I play on has a lower population and that helps I'm sure.

Mention of UO brings back memories! Sadly, I lost touch with everyone from the ~10 years I spent playing that game. Definitely remember people meeting/marrying through that game.

The COVID lockdown definitely made me think more about the sense of community and belonging we developed with those games/guilds. Somehow in-person interaction seemed harder when you are a teenager. The limited sensory experience of typing and using mouse inputs versus even speaking seems to have made it less threatening or inhibiting. Maybe that’s why I don’t actually feel as trapped as many people have reported feeling.

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