Meeting random “strangers”
One of my hobbies (and one that takes up quite a large part of my spare time) is
raiding the dungeons and lairs of evil monsters with a party of 25 brave men and women, to attempt to rid the world of evil
playing World of Warcraft. I am an officer in the somewhat oddly-named Deeprun Pest Control guild (being an officer means that I have various responsibilities related to the running of the guild and helping to organise the guild raids).
Now, organising 25-man dungeon raids to defeat scripted AI bosses may seem like a pretty trivial task, but it actually requires some significant coordination between everyone involved. Usually this is done with voice chat software - in our case we use our own Ventrilo server to discuss and coordinate our strategies. And we must be doing something right because we recently defeated the final (for now) boss in the game - Illidan Stormrage.
I've been playing this game now for over 3 years - and many of the people I was playing with 3 years ago are still there; so I've come to know some of these people really quite well and have become friends with several. Because of this, I really enjoy meeting up in real life with these people that I've known for so long only by their voice - which is what I did last weekend!
I traveled to Stockholm for the weekend to meet up with Lana and Immy (aka. Linda and Tom), and I had a wonderful time ☺. I was shown around the sights of Stockholm city centre where we also met up with Razyen (aka. Fred), then later went out for a meal and some drinks at a nearby pub. I also got to play Tom at Guitar Hero, which was good fun (nice to play with someone close to my skill level for a change). But the most awesome part was simply getting to meet up with these people and chat with them face-to-face.
It's not the first time I've met up with people from our guild though; last year I went to Birmingham for a guild meet-up - we went out for meals together, and had fun at Alton Towers.
So, to draw some kind of conclusion to my ramblings: meeting people you've become friends with thanks to the Internet is great fun, highly recommendable, and I'm definitely going to do it again!