Today is the final installment of my week-long series on the human refuse that enjoys online gaming (like me, but not like me … really!). I only had about 39,422 more assclowns I could have chosen for today’s story, but I settled on a real life married couple, that I met in EverQuest a few years back, whose tale of misery and woe even took a worldly gaming hag like me by surprise.
The Mr. and the Mrs. both played paladins. At the time, paladins were the whipping boys of EQ, underpowered and dangerously susceptible to being driven by roleplayers. Paladins have since come into their own, but back then … hot damn, they sucked!
Mr. Paladin was a more ambitious sort, however — he was a max level 50 and the guild leader of a respectable raiding guild (mine, at the time). Not an uber guild, by any means, but capable of farming the top-end zones if nothing (and I do mean NOTHING) went wrong. Mrs. Paladin, not as ambitious, was happily roleplaying her way through level 35+ and occasionally would join our guild for zone raids where she could be of any use. (read: not very often)
One week, we started noticing a regular guest at our raids: a dark elf female shadow knight. She wasn’t remarkable in any way; quiet, behaved herself play-wise and not being a skank-wise. But we did notice that she was invited along often and that Mr. Paladin was friendly with her and enjoyed her company … not overly so, however.
Being the shits we are, we would tease Mr. Paladin in guildchat all the time … saying he had a girlfriend, where was his mistress today?, and other asshattery. Even Mrs. Paladin would, good naturedly, laugh along with us and get her digs in also. Mr. Paladin would take only so much then tell us shitheads to knock it off, and the raids (or corpse runs, as the case may be) would go on.
My fellow shitheads and I left the guild at some point, mostly due to stagnating membership and boredom, and joined another guild that was doing tougher zones in Kunark (which had been released about that time). We remained friendly with the people still in Guild Paladin and expressed regret when Mr. Paladin left the game, apparently for greener pastures … or something.
As we found out later from Mrs. Paladin, we shitheads had hit closer to the mark than even we ourselves realized. Turns out, Mr. Paladin was stepping out to see his dark elf chum, in real life, while Mrs. Paladin was at work, also in real life. Mrs. Paladin came home early one day (o god, don’t ever go home early from work without calling first!) and found the Mr. and the dark elf making the beast with two backs. Ya, without any armor even!
They eventually divorced and Mr. Paladin moved out to be with his dark elf mistress 24/7, while Mrs. Paladin bravely continued managing their EQ guild and slowly leveling up her character in her spare time, of which she had a lot more.
As I said earlier, this whole episode took me by surprise: somewhat because I was still naive then, but also because Mr. and Mrs. not only seemed like normal, decent people, they were normal, decent people. Maybe their marriage was in trouble already and when opportunity knocked, it was inevitable that one of them would open the door. Or, maybe online society magnified and exploited some character flaw in the Mr. to their mutual disaster.
It couldn’t have happened to two nicer people. And that’s a shame.