Friday, September 30, 2011

Broken Social Scene

 No not this although that would break pretty much anyone's social scene, I should think...

Stargrace was talking about how socializing has changed in MMOs. It's a topic that comes up often nowadays, usually around the campfire in the rosy glow of nostalgia.

Are you sure that's nostalgia ?
I get less and less social in MMOs as time goes on. I started off mostly soloing, back in Everquest nearly a dozen years ago. After a while I began grouping and developed a friends list but it was only when I moved to DAoC when it launched that I started joining guilds. From then, going back to EQ, then to EQ2 my MMO experience was mostly social, in guilds, groups, chat channels and so on.

By the time I went to Vanguard the social side had already started to decline and for the last four years or so my interest has been mainly in soloing and duoing with Mrs Bhagpuss. We keep saying we're going to join guilds, get to know people and do more group stuff but we never really do.

EQ2 housing, now with added PvP.

Most of the things we like doing , like decorating houses, crafting, harvesting and questing are better done alone anyway. While talking in chat channels, in my case. I really do talk a lot in chat.

That said, we now have a very nice, very small guild in EQ2. Mrs Bhagpuss and I created it for ourselves when EQ2X started but we soon had a couple of people join and though they didn't stick with EQ2X for long it was quite jolly while it lasted. Pretty soon Mrs Bhagpuss met a couple more people through her interests in housing and it wasn't too long before they joined our guild.

A little later they brought some people along with them and everyone who's joined has been a real pleasure to chat to and play alongside. They looked after the guild while Mrs Bhagpuss and I went to Rift and now our guild is Level 30.

Yeah, yeah...just show me the bank space.

It's fun to log in and see what other people are doing and occasionally get together and do something without anyone feeling there's any kind of agenda or plan.

The way MMOs are developing I think socializing will be an option not a requirement. Public quests, open grouping, open raiding, solo dungeons, mercenaries, henchmen, companions, no-one will need any kind of formal arrangement or conversation with another human being just to get stuff done in an MMO. And that's fine. 

There must be someone here who likes model railways and Rammstein.  

None of that is going to replace actually talking to people because you have things you want to say to each other, though. Nor doing stuff in game together because you like each others' company. Nothing's going to change that.

Is it?


  1. I believe I've seen a gradual change in my gameplay as well. I started MMOs in WoW (2007) and went full on for grouping as much as possible in the guild I was in. I also eventually started LoTRO again joining a guild though by then the LoTRO guild was suffering in the pre-F2P relaunch era.

    Thesedays I tend to play lots of games casually/solo, I've grouped a few times in Rift either with WoW friends when they trialed it or randomly to do some of the lower dungeons. Of course I do lots of public open grouping stuff in Rift (invasions and rifts themselves) but I don't count that as social grouping in the vein of your post.

    I think the problem is time commitment, like so many gamers I'm older now with more time pressures than when I started. Grouping, or being active in a guild requires time commitment which I often feel unable to give. Group content tends to impose strict group sizes which is rather inconvenient if you have a small guild of casual players all of whom who have different time pressures.

    Maybe Guild Wars 2 will be the game to fix that with the public events, Rift sadly didn't grab most of my long-standing gamer friends partially because the fixed-group dungeon/raid grind was the endgame.

  2. I have high hopes for GW2 too. I really hope they don't follow Trion down the heroic dungeon/raid gear-grind endgame route. I don't think they will.


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