Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Do You Have A Dynamic Duo?

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Bloggers love email.  Still, many of us don't seem to get a whole lot.  Perhaps it's because our emails are conveniently hidden in the scary and un-entertaining "about" page (up over there on the right side, if you're curious).  In any case, the few emails I do get usually contain very good questions.  Often, they inspire a blog post of their own.  Such is the case today.

It was several weeks ago that I got an email from Deidra.  Here's how it reads:

I have been in a few relationships where I have played WoW with my partner in crime at the time and I have had medium success playing with them and their different classes. However, my hubby now and I have a dynamic that is out of this world! I am an affliction 'lock and he is a fury warrior, do you suppose that the combo works because we work so well together IRL or just that the warrior/warlock combo just works? What has been your experience partying up as a warlock/pally team?

I tried to shoot her a response right away, but I wanted to expand on what I sent today as well as open the topic for other opinions/experiences in the comments.  Here's what I wrote back:

I think Warlock with any sort of tanking class is going to be stellar.  Fuu and I are now playing Aion (another MMO) together as well.  We're both pure DPS classes there and it just doesn't seem to have the same synergy.  Our classes don't map directly to roles.  Even if you aren't specced into it, a tanking class with a 'lock will lend itself well to duo'ing roles.

Warlocks have a unique abilty to basically heal themselves through damage while also having a pet and doing great damage.  Thus, I can pretty much take care of myself, which frees up my partner in crime to do her own thing.  As a pally tank this means she could just basically heal herself when needed and keep threat.  I'd bet it's similar with a warrior in that he can focus more heavily on the defensive side of things and let you pew pew. In fact, probably any plate wearer would work for questing.  In Aion she's a leather wearer and I'm cloth, so that probably makes things a bit more difficult as neither of us can take much of a beating.

Apart from class roles, communication is the key to any good relationship and gaming together is a great exercise in communicating.  While the classes themselves may contain certain innate synergies, it is the communication that will take you to that next level.  Even with classes with non-synergistic relationships in Aion, Fuu and I can talk through an encounter and end up doing some really cool and crazy things to snatch a victory.

I would guess if you feel that you're having a lot of success with your current duo, it's both because of having complimentary roles and also being able to communicate well.  I've known plenty of couples that aren't necessarily the greatest communicators and yet still have a good relationship, however I think the strongest couples are the ones that can talk it out, whether that be facing down an elite monster or the laundry boss

Thanks for the email and don't be surprised if this pops up on the blog in the next few days.  I think it's a great topic that a lot of couples can relate to.  Also, don't feel disheartened if gaming together leads to some fights too.  I know Fuu and I spend a lot of time arguing over strategies and approaches.  Not all discussions are going to be sunshine and rainbows, especially not with at warlock!  The good part is that you can speak the same "language".

Pleasant 'Locking,

Coupled gaming is really one of my favorite topics.  We're lucky to know a few couples in-game and have compared notes, finding similar experiences.  The common baselines tend to be complimentary roles and good gaming communication.  The roles may not be tank/dps; it could be tank/heals or dps/heals.  The point is that each member of the couple takes on a responsibility and you work as a team.  The game is built around the concept of teamwork, so that this leads to success shouldn't come as a surprise. 

Also, communication may not mean that you guys talk well IRL, but it usually means that even without vent, you're probably hollering across the room at each other or communicating in some other way (Maybe not always pleasantly either.  Learning how to fight is a big step for any relationship).  A lot of times this is as simple as knowing the other person.  You don't even have to be a couple to be a good duo, as plenty of close friends can probably attest to.  It all comes back to complimenting each other and communicating, but isn't that the foundation of any good relationship?

I'm always excited when one of my gaming friends finds him/herself dating another gamer.  I mean you always want to try to share some interests with your significant other, but gaming can be one of the sticking points in a relationship when it's not shared.  It goes back to what I was saying the other day about the similarities with Sports and Gaming.   Sports is mostly understood, though we still hear all the time about wives complaining about a husband's laziness when the big game is on or what have you.  Gaming isn't much different, except it's less understood.  Whenever you're spending significant time apart, with something else, the natural question is going to be "why".  When it's something that's not understood, it'll probably lead to friction.  Thus, when you find someone that shares your passion, or at least understands it, things usually turn out better.  (You don't have to force your spouse into playing, but you will need to help him/her understand what you're doing and why you enjoy it if you want to avoid friction, IMO.) 

And when date night can also consist of raiding ICC, listening to TNB, and popping open a case of Coronas (while sporting your #iblamesyrana t-shirts, of course)...  well, then you know you have a "keeper".


  1. My boyfriend and I have been duoing together through most of our WoW experiences. Our most logical pair was paladin healer/warrior tank, but we've also done priest/warlock, priest/shaman, and druid/shaman through various levels and tiers.

    Any two characters using their ablities to help each other can have a lot of fun together.

    I think you hit the nail on the head, WoW (or any hobby that demands full attention for hours at a time) is a point of contention when it is not shared. For us, instead of time spent apart, we're doing it all together. We succeed together, we fail together, we laugh at our mistakes, and we learn to work together. Each time either of us gets an upgrade, our team gets stronger, so it's like we both get upgrades all the time!

  2. Awesome post! Ok so my fiancee plays WoW, but we totally are not WoW buddies. We have very different play styles, and I am sort of controlling, so ya, we don't play together unless in a raid, where I try not to yell extra at him. He is just so casual. But since my fiancee and I are not the WoW couple I would want, I couple with Gil. Ya you know him, but he is my little wow hubby or w/e you wanna call it. The one person I can level toons with and not go crazy.

  3. Fulguralis,
    Love this post! For the record, my wife and I started off playing WoW together this past September as a Mage/Warrior Tank combo. As two n00bs to the game, we stumbled and bumbled our way through the game together, sharing tips and tricks we would pick up along the way. As we progressed through the leveling grind, we became better with our play and now enjoy the fruits of this growth raiding with our guild.

    When we started out, she played from our desktop pc in the family room and I from my laptop at the kitchen table, often, as you described, calling out to each other from our little command centers. But, with that said, I am happy to announce that we have made a small investment in our shared hobby and have added second desk to the family room, which often has us playing next to each other, with a roaring fire in the fireplace between us.

    As the parents of three kids, we would often find ourselves talking about them when would find time to sneak away on a date night. Now that all three have grown and are not home as much as before (our youngest is 17) we end up talking about WoW related things when out on date night. We’ve both started alts, mine an Affliction ‘lock, and find that when playing them, we don’t tend to play with each other as much as we did before, which always seems to lead to more stories about our separate adventures, leading us back to middle ground again.

    Sure, we’re WoW geeks, but we are so together.


  4. Thanks for the responses guys. Sorry about the awful black text color... I can't view my own stuff from work :-(. Fixed!

    Also, re: investing in two desks... Fuu and I are house hunting right now and you'd better believe we're looking at any and all computer areas with a critical eye and our gaming needs in mind :-).

  5. Wow, really great post Ful! It's nice to see other WoW couples sharing their experiences. I am glad that I'm not the only one that feels this particular dynamic.
    Now I just have to convince him to help me level my Priest with his Druid.. *grumbles*

  6. My wife and I are WoW nerds. In fact both of our mothers roll their eyes at us. Not only do we play together but we met in WoW. I was living in Texas and she in Iowa. Now we are both in Tx playing WoW. We Started off as a hunter/hunter group, but our shaman/warrior team was our first to 80, followed by dk/hunter. Next will be our druid/warlock.
    Warlocks are great healers ;)