So I have to ask, what defines a friend for people? Is it time spent? Is it an on going thing? I know someone that I haven't spoken to in years but still consider a dear friend, yet I also know people I have talked to recently and often, yet consider them little more than aquaintances.
In a wired world where popularity is less how well received you are by your peers and more by how large your Myspace count is, how does one work out who is there for a chat and who is there to, as the joke goes, help you hide the bodies?
I've played City of Heroes for almost four years now. I have met in the course of that mmo probably hundreds of people. Possibly thousands. I've found a niche in a coalition and through global channels and teaming, I seem to be rather well known and liked. I have friends I have made there, some I have even invited to my wedding. However, like in the Book of Grudges, how many of these friendships, built upon playing a game will survive if or when one of us moves to another game, or CoX closes?
People are social creatures, that is how MMOs get any play at all. The idea of playing with real people in a game that you both enjoy. Perhaps that is all the seed that friendship needs, but for any mmo players, look at your good buddies and guildmates you met in the time you've played whatever game you are in. Have a look at your lists and have a moment to think about them.
I, myself, have started cleaning my lists for my various online means of communication, networking and conversation. It isn't that I don't like some of these people anymore, it is more I need to be honest about the relationship. I need to know myself who I am going to make an effort for and who I am not.
In the end it comes down to a simple fact. No matter if they are Facebooked, met on a raid, randomly im'ed or someone from Meatspace with a computer that you know from work.
Will they help you hide the bodies? Or are they just one more number on a list.