To state the obvious, dating during a global pandemic has been challenging. However I’m hearing from many of my gaming friends that being a gamer has put them in a unique position to explore virtual dating. Many gamers already rely on technology to organize their gaming sessions and communicate with friends and guildmates, so it’s been a natural and logical leap to start dating using the same technology.
All you need to start is a headset with a microphone and a way to talk to each other. You don’t even need a webcam, because you’ll have the game up on your screen so you wouldn’t be able to see each other anyway! The software that gamers use to talk is diverse and there are plenty of options. You’ve probably already got some of them installed on your computer! For just one to one chats Skype can be good, or you could use Zoom but they cut your call off after 40 minutes if you only have the free plan.
However, I like to use Discord; as do many gamers all over the world. It’s incredibly easy to make a private server for yourself and your date and use the standard voice channels that are automatically set up. Once you have your own private server with a voice channel it’s easy to either dip in and out whenever you feel like it, or you can schedule times to see each other online. Another advantage of Discord is that you can keep all your chatting here. You never have to give out a personal phone number, email address, or social media profile. It’s a great way to keep yourself safe online while you’re dating, since it’s easy to just cut contact with your date if things start to get a little too weird.
But where do you meet other gamers who are looking to date? Well, you could take a look at gamers-date.com/ which is a dating site for gamers. It has been set up specifically to help gamers meet other gamers that are looking for relationships. If you’re a gamer, it can be quite hard trying to explain to a potential partner that you’re not available three nights a week because you’re raiding with your guild… so dating a gamer totally helps out that conversation in my experience!
Which games should you play?
Gaming is obviously a highly individual choice. Not everyone enjoys the same kinds of games, but it should be easy to find a common ground when you’re dating one of those gamers. I’ve been on a few virtual dates where I played World of Warcraft Shadowlands with my date. I made sure to keep myself safe by playing on a character other than my main to prevent any problems if we fell out but you can also block players in game if things turn sour.
But you might be wondering what we did. Well, we did all kinds of things together! We toured around Azeroth visiting some of our favorite places, we did some quests together in the Shadowlands, and we even did LFR together! Although since I was on an alt character, my performace was pretty bad, so you might want to leave that one for a second or third date…
But you don’t have to play games like Warcraft on online dates. It would be just as easy to play something a little easier to dip in and out of. I’m currently planning a date with an old friend next week and we’re going to make use of the multiplayer mode in Stardew Valley to play together. If it goes well then we’ll work together to grow and progress our farm. You could also take a similar cooperative approach to Minecraft. I have my own server hosted at home, but you could easily either play on a large established server owned by someone else, or pay a small subscription fee for a few months.
The key is that you have fun and enjoy yourself together. Make it into a bit of an occasion, just as you would have done pre-pandemic. This is, in many ways, no different to going to an art gallery together or meeting up for a few hours for lunch. The point is that you make an excuse to spent time together so that you can chat and get to know each other. So relax and enjoy each other’s company. And hopefully when we’re back to meeting up in person, you’ll already know loads about each other and be ready to take your relationship to the next stage!