October 22, 2020
Lots of couples find themselves on opposite sides of a battle at times, but few start out that way. For Nate Winter and his wife Ashley, though, conflict was what brought them together.
The couple met in 2011 while playing Lord of the Rings Online – in the Player vs Player section of the game. Even though they were enemies when they played, they soon became friends and chatted in the game’s forums.
The online talks eventually led to a phone call. That phone call led to a visit. That visit led to a relocation. And the relocation led to a marriage (and one child).
Nate lived in Minnesota when the couple began playing. Ashley was from Utah. She was a healer. He was a tank, so when they began playing on the same team, it necessitated in-game chat. Those chats and forum talks went on for two years before Nate asked for her number.
“It was just a question I blurted out one night,” he says. “We’d been playing for two years. I was in a relationship at the time that had just ended and I asked if she was seeing anybody. She said no and I asked if it would be ok if I got her number.”
They met in person a few months later when Nate flew out to Utah and the couple took a road trip, traveling through Yellowstone, going white water rafting, hiking and horseback riding. (“If you’re going to go somewhere, you may as well make it an adventure,” says Nate.)
In 2014, Ashley moved to Minnesota. And on Sept. 25, 2016, the couple tied the knot.
“She is super funny and just an all-around great person to hang out with,” says Nate. “We have a lot of the same interests. She felt like the one. And we both took risks – me flying out there, her moving out here with no guarantee. That helped things out. We realized we helped each other out.”
Nate says they’re both aware they beat the odds. You might be more likely to meet someone in your immediate circle of friends, but the common interest of video games brought he and Ashley together. And, he notes, he’s formed many other friendships with people he met in games as well.
“There’s a group of 10 or 12 of us that have played together for the past 10 years and we still talk every day in Discord (a voice and chat favorited by gamers),” he says.
As for Nate and Ashley, even though their two-year old has cut in on their gaming time lately, they still play together. The couple has their computers set up next to each other in their basement where, when they have a respite from parenthood and other real-world responsibilities, they can enjoy the hobby that introduced them. The current game of choice is Borderlands 3.