Ask Allie: I Need Queer-Friendly Gaming Spaces!

Dear Allie,

I am looking for guidance, or maybe reassurance, that I am not blowing things out of proportion as I’ve been told. I play an MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing games) and do organized raids with a guild. Since the beginning I’ve noticed hurtful comments about queer people said in joking ways and in slurs against others. It hasn’t been frequent and the guild is pretty laid back and is otherwise super friendly but I’m really starting to see how the negative comments are affecting both my desire to play and my mood. I know I can whisper a guild leader or raid leader if I feel bullied or harassed, as it is not tolerated, but I would rather just find a queer welcoming space and start over. My guild buddies tell me I am being unreasonable. They have told me that it’s only a few people compared to the whole guild. They have even asked me why I need a special queer space when they don’t have a special straight place. They have said that an MMORPG is a place to exist outside of who you are in real life so I shouldn’t care about how my preferences are spoken about. Those comments leave me feeling hurt and a bit lost. Is it wrong of me to want to locate a LGBTQ+ Guild? And how would I even find one?

Disillusioned Guildie

Dear DG,

I’m happy you reached out! Nice to meet you! It’s certainly okay and valid to want more opinions before you make a big decision. I have some guidance and also some reassurance for you. I play a MMORPG myself and ran up against a similar situation. I chose to stay a little longer to see what happened after the moderator got involved, and then the guild disbanded itself for other reasons and I was forced to find another guild. So I kind of side-stepped making my own big choice. I am fully confident I would have left, and I will discuss those reasons below.

First, let me give some background for our readers who may not be familiar with what we are discussing. A massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) is a video game that combines aspects of a role-playing video game and a massively multiplayer online game. How massive is massive? Well, for the one I play, which has been around since 2004, Active Player lists the stat as about 6 million players a month. In an MMORPG there is a community that is both in general game chat and also broken up into guilds, clans or factions depending on the game you play. Being in a guild provides an opportunity to level up your toon (character you play) faster and to experience challenges you can’t do solo within the game. When you spend hours gearing up your toon and making them ready for raids, boss battles and the like you tend to bond with the people across the keyboard or the headset. It’s a whole community culture with inside jokes and supporting each other through big losses and big wins. Many people have met and fallen in love while game-chatting. My husband has friends from all over the world, and some have even come to stay with us and visit. At its best, a guild is a great place to be yourself, meet new friends, adventure and explore new worlds. These relationships can be hard to leave.

DG, I think a LGBTQ+ specific guild is a wonderful idea! You deserve a place to feel safe, a place to feel relaxed and able to be yourself without having to defend or ignore or try to educate people on how not to be hateful. Guild members who throw around words like ‘life choices’ and ‘preferences’ aren’t showing any indication of being interested in being a safe space and respecting your boundaries. Especially if they find your wishes or requests to be weird since they don’t have a ‘straight guild’. Deciding whether or not to stay is the same as deciding if a relationship is meeting your needs and is healthy—sure you can keep working on one that isn’t, but at some point all the work and heart ache isn’t worth it anymore.

If you are wanting to find another guild I have a few tips that may help you. There are so many amazing MMORPGs out there that I couldn’t begin to cover them all, but you can start here.

First, I suggest you make a list of what you want in a guild experience—what you are willing to compromise on and what you are not willing to compromise on, essentially establishing your boundaries as a gamer.

Next, look into your particular game’s groups and guild finders, both official and those outside of the game. Facebook and Reddit may be good places to start. Search for your particular keywords within the group and also ask for recommendations. Think of it as a fun guild shopping list. There are sure to be others out there looking for what you are!

Then try out one at a time and see how it goes. There is no limit to how many you try. It may be possible in your game for each of your toons to belong to a different guild so you can trial several at a time. Take some time in each to chat, do a few low key quests with some of the members, maybe show up for a fun run if they host them. Keep an eye out for how people speak to each other and to you so that you can recognize any red flags of boundary crossing right away. Know that this process will take time and also know that you are so worth it! I’m fully confident that eventually there will be one that feels right!

You’ve already taken some great steps forward by recognizing what you are missing and what you need and what you are uncomfortable with. I’m very proud of you! That’s not easy work. Finding where we each feel balanced and healthy is challenging both in game and real world. I hope I’ve given you some more ideas to consider as you make your choice and I wish you many years to come of safe, healthy, happy MMORPG adventures!

Your friend,

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