Co-Op Couples - I'll Show Him! or: Healthy Spousal Competition
When my husband and I met, long ago in Norrath (no, really!), we quickly figured out that if we wanted a successful in-game partnership, there would have to be some Rules. (I suspect more to save his sanity than anything else.) He was much better at game mechanics than I was, he read the forums and boards, and he could run raids. I was much better at socializing and taking pictures of fellow-guild members for the website.
Despite the disparity in our play styles, I yearned for uber status. After several faulty attempts, I was able to stay focused more or less on my Dark Elf Shadow Knight and actually got her to 50. I actually cried the night I hit 50 – I felt SO accomplished! Of course by then, most of my fellow guildmates were 65. Oh well.
Then it was on to World of Warcraft, which is a whole lot less complicated than EverQuest. I was actually able to create characters and run around by myself! Without dying (too much)! I was in a couple of guilds but never really went on raids (that’s a whole different story). I still did a lot more socializing than my husband - which is probably why he had all the good lewt 'n stuff - but I could do okay with hunters, once I figured out that it was okay to send my pet in first…
The only character to go in before their pet.
Thus, we developed two basic sets of characters: the ones we played together and the ones we played solo. Sounds like a pretty good plan, doesn't it? At least on paper…
Sometimes grouping actually worked pretty well. We killed things and leveled super-quickly which is always nice. He shared the good items with me, made stuff for me (he's always been way better at crafting because he has the patience; I'm the harvester.) But sometimes he wanted to group with the Big Guys on raids. I always tried to be understanding (read: not jealous). He reminded me gently that perhaps if I, um, focused a bit more and chatted a bit less I'd be at a higher level.
And sometimes I would get restless and take my "couples" character out there to sneak in a few levels on him. (Mind you, this is really only effective at lower levels, as I found out with my adorable Dwarf Hunter who was pretty much clawing her eyes out over the unrelenting boredom of being in the low 60s in Hellfire Peninsula. OMG. Soooo boring.) Anyhow, my excuse was that I wanted to impress him with how well I could focus. Oh, who am I kidding?? I wanted to beat him at SOMETHING in the game!!
Now we're playing Rift. We love this game. So much so that we have stopped playing World of Warcraft. We made the usual agreement—some characters for grouping and some for solo and some for raiding with the guild. (We found a great guild.) One of the many cool things about Rift is the character development system which enables us to have two Rogue class Defiants who aren't at all alike but can be highly complementary. I have stuck to our usual agreement pretty well.
Except for my new Warrior whose name my husband doesn't know and who isn't in the Guild. I want to prove that I can actually play a Warrior for once. And… um… I want a super-powerful Bahmi Beastmaster/Riftblade/Reaver dps machine who is better than any of his characters! I'm only Level 15 so far, but working hard and chatting less.
Victory will be mine!