Leigh Alexander has a interesting/terrifying history of Final Fantasy VII roleplayers up over at The Escapist. She describes it as "the story of a tragic love affair a group of enormously devoted fans had with a game they couldn't let go of (sob) .... It's a story of open-source gaming in practice, and how the kind of fanatics who love a story enough to make it their own are also the kind who will probably completely ruin it for everyone else". In a gaming landscape that pushes user-driven and created content more and more, Alexander points out that this sort of stuff is nothing new: there's a whole legion of people who "didn't need Advent Children to tell them what happened after the end of the game; they were light years ahead already". And maybe a little behind on normal life skills:
When the son of Sephiroth broke up with his redheaded barmaid girlfriend, the real-life girl tracked down the other player's telephone number and phoned him at night, weeping. They ended up moving in together - in the real world. A young man who played the indisputable leader of a prominent ShinRa faction was arrested for some disciplinary trouble in school, and in his one quintessential jailhouse phone call, he telephoned not his parents, but his roleplaying lieutenant. "What will happen to the ShinRa?" he cried in a panic. FFRPers loved their own characters even more than the canonical creations that beckoned them to this world.
I've always found this sort of devotion to games (or books or movies) a little odd (and endlessly fascinating), but using your one phone call to discuss what's going to happen to your online faction? Wow.