Last night, I hung out with a group of my friends. They came from all over the United States, including several states I’ve never even passed through on a layover. We’re all wildly different people – one of us is morally opposed to swearing, another swears like a sailor because he is literally a sailor. But we were all united in one common goal: sending Golgoroth, the giant Ogre that lives underneath the throne room of a God, back to hell. We’d already killed the God three days before.
We call ourselves the Rush B Scrubs.
Quick background: I’m talking about a game called Destiny. We’ve covered it on here a few times before. Tomorrow, they launch their newest expansion, The Rise of Iron, which means that faithful players only had a few days to finish up their Year Two Moments of Triumph. You see, every year Destiny offers a special reward to players who have completed all the major tasks of the previous year, and at least three of us in the clan needed to kill ol’ Golgoroth to get our final Moment. We succeeded after several hours of attempts, and there was much partying to be had.
But it got me thinking – I often bemoan, loudly, how the world of gaming has shifted to entirely to online multiplayer. I still think that’s true. The fact that we’ve lost the couch co-op and competitive multiplayer that used to make long weekends at your friends’ houses awesome is a real shame. Other than Nintendo, nobody’s doing it anymore, even when it would make a lot of sense. Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, for example, should absolutely have been a couch co-op game (there’s two characters!), and the fact that Halo 5 got rid of their splitscreen campaign is just a damned shame.
But on the other hand…if I could play Destiny with my friends on my couch, I would never have met the Scrubs. Out of the entire clan, there’s only one person I know in real life. Everyone else I met through happenstance, or through the machinations of our Clan Dad, AoG Staff Writer Joe Hadsall. In my day to day life, I would never have met anyone from Missouri, or someone who was in the Navy, much less become friends with them. But I’ve developed lasting friendships with all of my Scrubs.
In getting my Moments of Triumph done this week, I spent more time with my online friends than I did with my real ones. And yet, those voices over the microphone and pictures in Facebook messenger never felt like anything other than real friends. We have each other’s backs, whether we’re battling giant space bugs or struggling with job and health issues. We’re a family, even though we were brought together by a video game.
Every day, I hear someone bellyaching about how technology has separated us, and destroyed our chances of real relationships. But every day, my cell phone, my laptop, and my game consoles connect me to a world of people I might never have had the chance to know. And they’re beautiful people. So the next time someone tells you that your friends on social media or in gaming or on forums aren’t “real,” you tell them they’re full of crap.
And I know. My friends and I killed a God.