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07 Jul

Finding Virtual Love MMORPGs cater to the needs of a diverse range of users -- "I don't like to call them players," Utherverse co-founder Brian Shuster said.

Avatars can attend and participate in educational classes, political town halls, live comedy shows, DJ performances and entrepreneurial endeavors. A study released this month by the Visa-owned research group Play Span found that almost one third of the general gaming population uses real money in virtual games as game dollars can be bought with real dollars (230 Lindens in Second Life translates to 1 USD plus a 30 cent fee; one Ray in Utherverse roughty translates to 7 cents, although the actual cost shifts based on the world's market prices).

Their avatar wedding occurred eight months earlier, however.

While sitting together on the couch in their physical living room, they recited their vows in front of hundreds of cyberfriends in an extravagant Utherverse ceremony complete with a long dress, hired DJ and elaborate decorations.

Of the 912 MMORPG players from 45 different countries who were polled, 42 percent of female and 26 percent of male players admitted that they were attracted to other players they met as avatars.

Providing the best #whyimsingle situation we've ever encountered, the poster explained that they're "playing as a female dragonborn, and I'm interested in finding a husband at some point.

Pushed together by mutual friends, the two instantly hit it off and a few dances (plus a couple rounds of body shots) later, they went home together.

Even though Meta had intended to keep things casual -- she was in the midst of ending a 16-year marriage -- it soon became clear that this was not your average one-night stand.

"We are each other's missing puzzle piece," said Sean, who is currently pursuing an associate's degree in IT information systems in real life but is a DJ in Utherverse.

The twice-divorced single father proposed on Christmas Eve, and the couple married after Meta, who now works at a local junior high school's lunchroom and coaches the cheer squad while maintaining her job as a wedding planner in Utherverse, had finalized her own divorce.