Virtual love is always in the air in our favourite MUDs and free to play MMORPGs! Break out the make-up, find that bead of musky, pulse pounding perfume or cologne, and put on the stockings or that nice tie. But before you jump into text matrimony and that blissfully private bed, we have a few things for you to consider. So, cool off, Romeo and Juliet, and take your hands off your prospective text significant other long enough to consider the following advice.
- Communication is key. Make sure that you and your text partner have the same expectations out of character, so you don’t end up in a messy situation where one of you believes that you’re in an out of game relationship, while the other thinks it’s only roleplay. It may be advisable to speak OOCly on this matter so that your text partner doesn’t show up on your real-life doorstep with a riding crop and a suitcase, or start stalking you if your textlationship breaks up. This doesn’t mean that you need to plan out your whole text future, as spontaneity and fun are essential, but some discussion goes a long way to ensuring a smooth, pothole free path between you and the player of your character’s partner.
- Establish boundaries and limitations. If you’re not comfortable with certain types of roleplay, let the other party know! Remember, not everything has to be emoted out -- assumptions can be made if you just don’t want to write out the intimate details. Additionally, ask your partner before jumping into controversial forms of roleplay such as pregnancy, which many people may find distasteful.
- Keep in-character feelings in-character. Remember, it’s perfectly possible to have a falling out in-game while retaining respect and like on an out of character level between you and your text partner’s player. If you’re not involved OOCly, don’t take those hurt feelings OOC! Remember that separation between your character’s feelings and your own is essential to good roleplay. It’s also totally possible for you to have an OOC relationship with the person who happens to play your text partner, and if so, great! But for the sake of the game, and your personal lives, keep your lives and your characters lives separate. Breaking up with in-game doesn’t mean breaking up OOCly. In fact, it’s completely possible to actually enjoy roleplaying conflict in the relationship.
Remember, this article is not a guide to smooth in-character relationships, but more a way to ensure that your roleplayed virtual relationship is enjoyable for you, as a player. Remain safe and comfortable and remember that the top MUDs are for your enjoyment!