I’ve really enjoyed the static group we have been running in City of Heroes. Heck even a static group of two is good fun. Doing this has caused me to ponder my gaming habits lately.
I really enjoy gaming with other people. I have fooled myself into thinking I prefer to solo by using many justifications. Bad pickup groups, odd schedules, having a wife and kids that need me to drop everything sometimes, etc.
I started playing Asheron’s Call. That was my first MMORPG. My brother came over one day and installed the game on my computer and forced me to make a character. Once in-game, Inhibit wandered over and helped me get started. Shortly after that, my brother and Inhibit spent many a night taking care of my low level guy, teaching him the ways of the world. It was great fun. Not only did we adventure together, but sometimes we just gathered on the top of a building and talked for hours. We role-played on the spur of the moment, someone would just break into it and everyone else would follow the lead.
Eventually we moved on to Anarchy Online. Still had lots of fun. My brother played a lot more than I so he gained levels much faster than I. Then it was just Inhibit and I that could play together, but soon after he was too high level for me as well. The fact that I like to make a character of almost every class doesn’t help, it really slows me down.
We moved to Asheron’s Call 2, Final Fantasy XI, City of Heroes and then to World of Warcraft. I always tried to get the static group thing to work, but it never did. For some reason, it has worked pretty well this 2nd time into City of Heroes.
So naturally I wonder if we could do the same in World of Warcraft. That is still my favorite game but the server instability pissed me off one too many times. I’m pretty sure Inhibit won’t go back there any time soon, and that is ok because we are still having fun in CoH. But someday down the road, maybe we’ll go back to WoW and give it a try.
Not having my static team around last night, I logged into WoW for a little bit. I do miss the game, that is for sure. However, it feels like level 22 is at least a year away from 60. Some level 50 Alliance players attacked a town I was in and a few level 50 Horde fought back. I joined in the fight but was not of much help. It was fun, and made me wish I was near 60 so I could have actually done something. For the most part it was just miss, miss, miss. I just can’t bear the thought of leveling from 22 to 60. Certainly not solo anyway.
I feel like I cannot tolerate gaming solo any more. I just sit there in game and hope someone comes online, or I logout and go read a book. I think I am anti-social in-game because I never seek people out or ask them to group up. Sometimes I get random invites to join a party and instantly I think of all sorts of reasons not to join them. I might have to log out soon! How dare they invite me without sending me a tell first? One of my friends may log on in 5 minutes and then I’ll want to leave! They probably don’t know how to play!
What is wrong with me? What is my fear of grouping with people I don’t know? Isn’t that the point of an MMORPG? I used to think I like to solo and that the games should cater to my wishes, but now I wonder if that is bringing about the downfall of what is *really* fun about an MMORPG. I mean people *do* send blind invites all the time now. When I have been in a group, nobody talks. It’s like a bunch of people soloing in the same spot or something. People in a group often only think of themselves, not the team. That is part of what makes our static team so good, we compliment each other’s abilities so well.
Where is the line? If a game is going to require grouping to encourage the social side of things, does it make sense to use lengthy quests to force grouping? Is it worth it to make classes unable to solo in order to force grouping? I certainly demand to have the option of doing something fun and worth my time while solo. I simply would not play a game that had no solo option. The game should have the option to solo, but make it a lot more fun to be in a group. Make it easy to join and to leave a group. Do not make any class that is a “must have” in a group, but don’t make any class worthless to a group. Is this even possible? Is it completely wrong? I don’t know, it’s just what my experience is telling me at this particular time in my gaming evolution. Don’t force grouping, encourage grouping by making it a lot more fun than playing solo. Fun.