While there are occasionally sweet stories of nerds falling in love in Azeroth and making it work IRL, more often than not, these stories start out as romances and end as scams. Catfishing in video games is, unfortunately, all too common, and while some people are perhaps a little too gullible for their own good, the victims are certainly not to blame.
Unsurprisingly, there are a lot of bad people out there, and they're all too willing to take advantage of others. What is surprising, however, is how often people seem to do it just for sport. Of course, there are many who do, indeed, catfish for personal gain, and they're arguably even more monstrous.
Here are stories of people who were catfished through video games, and a even couple individuals who proudly share their stories of being gaming catfishers themselves.
What began as a sweet love story of two nerds marrying their avatars on EverQuest, ended with a 400-pound pedophile getting dragged out of his basement by the FBI. Naturally. Redditor broffensivecomment recalls the story:
"I officiated the in-game wedding on Everquest of a good friend (virtual)... So over like two years he's really involved with this one cleric chick. A high elf. They exchanged photos, had phone calls, etc.
Around year 3 we had this big roleplay event, the GM's even sent me a couple of items to dress in and read wedding vows. We were pretty well known on the server, having won Best of the Best tournaments and such. Over 200 people crammed into west commons to attend the wedding.
A few weeks later it turns out she (he) was arrested for child pornography. He was a 400+ lbs basement dweller in Georgia. The FBI got in touch with my buddy after finding correspondence in the guy's home."
On-Line Gamers Anonymous user Backtobasics details the void that grew between her husband and her as he spent more and more time gaming, and less time with his actual family, until he finally revealed that he was having an emotional affair:
"I was so shocked that he would leave our long standing relationship and teenagers for someone he spoke to online or phone for 3 months. Now the witch is dead but the supposed sister started calling him. What the heck. Meanwhile our family and friends are trying to convince him it was a scam. I am worried he is still connected to the online relationship and has left us and is not dealing with his real life.
I have sought out my own counseling for support and to work on the things I need to change but I don't feel I can help him if he is so bent on removing himself from the real world. Any words or suggestions would help. What really makes me sad is that my family's life has been turned upside down. I told him I could not have him connected to this and still live under the same roof. So he left and chose his fantasy world over us. Just doesn't make sense."
Redditor heybrudder was big into Neopets as a 14-year-old. She had a "clique" of online Neopets friends: Adam and Selby (who were dating), and Adam's sister Kelsey. When the couple broke up, Adam and heybrudder started "dating." Then, things got weird:
"At one point he sent me a YouTube video of him and his friends, there wasn't much talking and it was all pretty muffled...and it sounded like they were all speaking German.
Adam and I broke up, and it was after that the big reveal came- there was no Adam, Kelsey had made him up and been posing as him all along. I asked Shelby about it, and apparently she had found out when they had broken up too but Kelsey had made her promise not to tell. Gee, thanks."
Catfishing isn't always nefarious. Redditor JakeRidesAgain earnestly believes that his was a legitimate relationship with a small caveat... and it's hard to disagree. He met his lady love Rashni on something "called MUXes (think a roleplay-centric, all text MMO)." They started chatting and regularly speaking on the phone, but suddenly, it ended.
"I think there probably was some feelings on her end. My theory is that she was a lot younger than she was claiming, and I was talking a lot of nonsense about her moving to my state so we could be together. I think she got scared, or her parents found out she was talking to an older man, and she cut contact."
Ultimately, though, JakeRidesAgain has a pretty good outlook on things as he signed off, "And whenever I think about our imaginary son, Spaghetti Bucket, I smile and wish you well."