Guild real life meet-up etiquette
It's one month till our big guild meetup and we have quite a few new guildies coming, who haven't participated in a guild party/meet-up before.
Having had quite a few guild meet ups over the years, we feel a bit more comfortable meeting up with people you have only ever chatted to online. So what are some of the concerns people have when meeting up with guildies?
1. What do you call people?
For me, I prefer to call people by their online name. This is because I can't remember what their real name is anyway. I think if in guild you call each other by your real names then obviously that would carry on into real life. Some people find it uncomfortable and think well, now this is real and face to face, shouldn't we drop the pretend names and use your real ones? I have to admit, that if I am with a bunch of guildies, I feel much more comfortable and actually respond more readily when they say my online name. It is a bit like your child calling you by your first name or by title Mrs So-and-so. It just sounds funny coming out of their mouth, and you feel like they should call you "mummy" instead.
That also goes for introductions. How do you introduce yourself? If I said "Hi, I'm Vanessa*" people would probably look at me strangely, and try to match the voice to the character, and I would have to say "It's Navimie." So it's much easier to introduce myself as Navi to guildies.
2. That person does NOT look like how I imagined them to look....
Now it's never polite to ask someone's age, but it's also not polite to look at someone and blurt out "Wow, you are about 50kg heavier than what I imagined you to be!" I often have the perception that people look like their online character - and this is very rarely the case. Though it can be surprising how closely some people do resemble characters... Ghistal (who no longer plays) looks just like a dwarf, red beard and stout figure and all. A dwarf character that is, not a midget.
3. People may have different personalities online to what they are like in real life
WoW gives you the opportunity to be something you are not. You can be powerful, well built, amazingly dressed, sexy. Someone who is amazingly outgoing in game may be very shy and retiring in real life. The converse though, is rarely true. Also, a lot of computer gamers are very shy people generally and may have difficulty knowing what to say in social situations. I remember one time I was meeting up with Enna and Gley, and I said, "What happens if we all sit around and we're too shy to say anything?" Enna said something hilarious in reply, "That's ok, we can all get on our computers and then talk to each other that way."
So don't go bowling over your guildies in your enthusiasm to greet them. And don't be offended if they are a bit reticient to start. When I met Roshii in real life, he frowned for the whole day. I teased him about it and he said he was nervous! But I am used to meeting guildies so I wasn't offended or upset by it, but it was funny, considering how good friends we are in game.
4. OMG everyone is talking about WoW, can we talk about something else?
It's like getting a bunch of soccer players together, and they're gonna talk about soccer. Especially if they don't know anything else about you, they're going to stick to what they know you know - World of Warcraft. So unless you want to be the conversation starter and talk about yourself for a bit to give people something to latch onto, it's a pretty safe bet to stick to talking about WoW related things. It may seem a bit nerdy, but hey, we're all gamers! But if you REALLY want to steer the topic to something else, think about what everyone else is interested in and start asking about that and hopefully people will join in.
5. I'm so nervous what do I say?Relax! Everyone likes you online, or you wouldn't be here right? So just hang around, listen to some conversations, and join in when you can. Talking about WoW (see above) is always a safe bet. You can always come up to someone you know well in game and talk to them about something you know they like - you can go and ask Fue about his Ebay business, or talk to Navi about her kids and family, or Epidemais about his cooking adventures. Even if you're shy just sitting around listening means someone will probably come up to you and try talking to you anyway - well in our guild, that's how it is anyhow!
Well, I'm looking forward to the party on the 11th of March. I hope the weather is good! Previous guild meetups have always been fun, and you get to see the faces behind the toons. And we can tell our parents and partners who don't understand how online friends can become real friends - see, I met them in real life, they do exist!