It was a match made in cyberworld that ended up for real.
Kisthony Leaño and Francesca Carretero, who played two virtual characters in Flyff, a popular massive multi online role playing game (MMORPG), got married in 2010, four years after meeting and dating in the online game.
The marriage ceremony, according to Thony, was also inspired by the online game. “Everything was so memorable,” says Thony of the happy moment when he took her hand and made a vow to love cherish the woman he met in the cyberworld.
Back in March 2007, Thony and Cesca, who were both college students from different schools, met online inside a virtual address in Flyff’s world after a Ninja set event, an event where virtual characters meet up. He was the character “Psychiper,” while she was the “Ringmaster” and he invited her to join the Rekta Guild, a famous guild in the bubble server.
The two finally met each other physically at an Alay-lakad event, which was a Flyff guild sponsored event. After that meeting, the two never separated whenever they were inside Flyff’s virtual world, until finally Thony had the guts to see Cesca at her house and expressed his real feelings for the girl. And the rest, as they say, was history.
Online dating inside an MMORPG as described by the couple was quite “cheap” as they never used real money to pay for stuff and services inside the game. But the two remember having the most memorable moments, dating for hours in magnificent make-believe worlds totally different from malls and other real dating places.
“I remember when Thony took me to a place. It was on top of a mountain, where we could see the setting sun, the moon, and the stars. We could also see Saint Morning Town from there. It was somewhere in the Hill of Shade. The sweetest thing he did was wrote my name using star candies,” remembers Cesca.
The landscape of online dating, which used to be dominated by dating sites such as Match.com, Lavalife, eHarmony, is changing as multi-player online games have entered the scene.
These games, which are originally meant to excite, thrill, and encourage adventure in the virtual land of possibilities through adrenaline-packed activities like swordplay or slaying monsters, are becoming places where people meet and talk.
What makes them appealing is the fact that they allow people to lead “second lives” in the virtual world. Aside from the goal of seeking adventures in different lands or making the character powerful through every level accomplished, these games allow people to get involved in groups, thus letting each one work and play with another person represented by another character.
You can have a social life in the virtual world of the online game—you can travel with a friend or date a loved one to some of the exotic places only the imagination can dream of. Some of the things that are impossible in the real world are very possible in the virtual world.
The youth who often get seriously into these role-playing online games, get a sense of accomplishment, recognition, and acceptance. With Thony and Cesca’s case, a real love affair blossomed.
“After a few years of dating, Thony and I talked. ‘Magpakasal na kaya tayo?’ (“Why don’t we get married?”) We never imagined us getting to that situation till we both agreed. We got married on December 30, 2010. I gave birth to a healthy baby girl on December 10, 2011. We named her after our character in Flyff, which is ‘Tiffany Kyriel’.”
Thony now works as a junior architect in a private firm, while Cesca quit her job to be a hands-on mom to their daughter.
Now starting a family, Thony and Cesca are still into online games, playing on a daily basis but now sharing one character. The two have been an “online gamer” for a decade now and have played different MMORPGs—from Ragnarok to Gundbound, Flyff to Cabal, then RF. The list goes on.
“Believe it or not, we still play online games. I don’t know why, but I think it’s really addicting, like, we can no longer live without computer + internet + online games to play. Even if we know that we must wake up early in the morning because we need to go to work, we never missed a chance to get online first and check the game before we leave home,” says Cesca.
Currently, Thony and Cesca are playing the game “asus” Flyff, which is owned by a couple, who are friends of Thony and Cesca. Getting into online gaming has also expanded Thony’s and Cesca’s circle of friends.
“One reason why we love to stay inside the game is because our friends are there. They’re not just our friends in the game but in the real world as well. We are actually leading a guild. Thony and I are planning to host a meet and greet party, where our members will have the chance to talk in real life and gain new friends,” says Cesca.
What’s married life like now to these two gamers?
“Marriage doesn’t revolve around a white picket fence or inside virtual games, where everything is possible. In reality marriage comes with hard times and struggles along with the good times,” says Thony.