Anti-Social Multiplayer

I feel that I am pretty anti-social when it comes to playing MMOs, which does tend to complicate the issue sometimes. In general, I solo because I am more comfortable with it. I enjoy having a few friends online to chat with, but usually we are all doing our own thing.

I’m the same way in real life situations. It takes a good while to get to know me, but once I’m comfortable around you a whole different person starts to show up. I don’t know why, but it often causes problems in big groups. Big groups of strangers? You’ll find me hiding in a corner looking for an exit.

Anyway, I felt like pushing myself into being more social so I rolled up an undead priest in World of Warcraft over the weekend. I’ve gotten to level 12 now. All solo, naturally. I had a few opportunites to group up, including a situation where I signed a guild charter for someone after which they announced we could all go play together, running through quests. Sounded great, so I promptly /gquit.

When faced with a social situation, my natural reaction is to flee. Every time I get in a guild or alliance, any reason to leave I get – I take it. I don’t mean to, I just get all antsy and uncomfortable. I guess I really am a loner.

When I do interact with other people, it often leaves me confused. Take for example the other day. I’m running along all peaceful and such when I get a whisper from a level 12 druid. He asks me if I have “Touch of Weakness” yet. I don’t know what it is so I tell him “No, what is that?” and I get no response. So I had to go look it up and I find it is a spell from a quest for level 10 priests. It appears to affect the caster only, so why did the druid want to know if I had it yet? Is there some quest that is real easy if you have a priest with the spell? It left me confused, still am.

But there are good things too. I was off trying to complete a quest when I came across a warlock struggling to finish his quest, killing some named creature. I said “I’ll keep you healed, go get him.” He bowed, rushed in and thanked me afterwards. It was a small social situation, but I felt good about it.

I’m hoping that as I get up higher in levels, I’ll start taking advantage of the fact that people like to have priests around. One thing is for sure, people seem very friendly towards the class in general. Several high level people have stopped to give me stuff and that has never happened in the past.

If you feel like bugging my anti-social priest, look for “Ethic” the undead priest on Hellscream. Don’t be suprised if I don’t respond. Heh.

– Ethic

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I own this little MMO gaming blog but I hardly ever write on it any more. I'm more of a bloglord or something. Thankfully I have several minions to keep things rolling along.

11 thoughts on “Anti-Social Multiplayer”

  1. I play the same way and I definitely think its people like us that are in the great “silent” majority…chatting with others while each doing our own thing. Obviously I have no Nick Yee-ish type data, just my gut telling me this and the fact that I see a lot of MMO’s going after our kind of play style: WoW fits it pretty well (until lvl60), CoH fits it, EQ2 is orders of magnitude more solo/casual than when it was released.

  2. Good write up man. Its amazing how some people assume since a game that is multiplayer over the internet that you will just become a completely different person than you really are. You won’t and its part of what makes these games special. You are going to meet people in game just like you do in real life… through common goals.

    Just like in real life… I’m not going to walk up to random strangers without some sort of reason. If I am visiting a new town in real life and see someone who seems to be a local… I am apt to ask them questions. If I am in a new zone in game and see someone running around I am apt to ask them where something is. If I was in my home town… chances are I wouldn’t stop to ask anyone anything and its not in my nature to go out looking for those seeking help. In game if I am cruising around Orgrimmar I am not going to help someone who looks lost.

    People that act like themselves enjoy these games more than those that don’t (roleplayers discarded… well… because they play to role play).

  3. Why do you think rogues are so popular? There is no class which makes so many quests easily solo-able over the rogue. With that being said, WoW does a good job of kind of ‘nudging’ the player into instances where they must group up in order to complete quests, which in turn introduces you to people you may not have otherwise spoken a word to.

  4. Yes grouping is an aspect and WoW tackled it in the right way. Instead of forcing groups… which does not mean socialization… WoW encourages them by putting players in the same area with the same goals which are achieved easier with a group, but not group required.

    Forced grouping does nothing to help socialization… it just makes it so groups are anti social to each other. If you are not XX class we don’t want you here. Yes this worked in Everquest… well because players were new. Now they are coming in with established guilds and already have their social circles built. Forced grouping doesn’t work like it used to.

  5. Unfortunatly, as someone pointed out above, in WoW you are pretty much forced to group once you hit level 60. They have added some more high level solo content recently due to demand. However, they have placed the most desirable items in raid instances and battlegrounds so the incentive to do the solo content isn’t as great. While I enjoy the occasional grouping, I tend to hate all the drama that comes with guilds.

  6. I dont work well in large groups, i quit the allience in EVE because i got in constant arguements with players, whole corps even, went back to my old corp, now im leaving there too soon, i was in a guild on my old server in WoW, quit in 3 days, For different reasons then you i think, I tend not to get along with with 90% of the players ive interacted with, and even more of them dont get along with me, i get guild invites, group invites, (sometimes blind, sometimes ive been asked) and i usually ignore them, because with my experience with some people, i prefer to do things myself, may be harder? sure, its supposed to be a challenge. Unless someone is on my contact list/friends list, chances are i wont say a word to them.

  7. “they have placed the most desirable items in raid instances and battlegrounds so the incentive to do the solo content isn’t as great.”

    That isn’t forced… your mind forces you to group because you think you need that loot. The problem with WoW’s 60 content is not that it forces grouping… it is that it is hardcore or go home. Casual groups stand no chance at it. That is a big difference from forced grouping and is the reason Blizzard is trying to create mid-level, step up content that introduces players to raids in the hopes it brings up the casual crowd a bit more.

    Blizzard offers plenty of content for solo gamers… they just need to fill in the gap at 60 between the hardcore and solo content so there is a naturaul progression for the solo player. Instead of hitting 60 and being done… the casual gamer should be hitting 60 and advancing towards the true end game raids. That *filler* content does not exist atm.

  8. I should start playing WoW again on a non-pvp server. That server you play on is non-pvp right Ethic? I’ve always played the loner also, didn’t work too well in UO because of group gankings by red PK swarms, or EQ since you can only solo up to maybe 20 as a tank type (i love playing tanks). I’ve been in very big guilds and yep always the drama and politics which I hate.

    I don’t agree that you can’t be a totally different person in an online RPG so long as there is really the environment available to RP in, but in most games this environment doesn’t exist. I’ve played serious RP games in the past and actually it’s quite easy and a lot of fun to pretend you really are that mean little evil-souled gnome warlock, or that big aggressive tauren warrior. All it takes is an idea of who you want your character to be, then make decisions and act as you think that type of race/class combo would act under your “RP template”. It’s hard to do that, as Ethic saw, even on the RP servers in today’s games.

    I’m actually starting to get sick of BF2 and might fire up my WoW account again (for the 2nd time) and just start anew. Having played 2 horde characters to 60 and numerous others from 10-35 I could show you a lot of quests in the undead area that you can do 4 and 5 at the same time per trip. I’ll look ya up, probably as Noodulz my alter-ego.

  9. Yeah, Hellscream is non-pvp. I’ll be playing tonight and some this weekend. Give me a shout. I’ll keep an eye out for ya in case you show up.

  10. I have a question about soloing for you all…keep in mind that I play CoH with people I know in real life, otherwise I mostly solo.

    What is the appeal for everyone of a mmorpg over a single player only rpg? Or conversely, do you prefer single player only games?

  11. For me, I almost always solo play MMORPGs. I do it for several reasons. I like to be able to chat with my friends while I play, as well as the potential to group up now and then. I would enjoy grouping up if I could, but it is too hard schedule wise. I would be a big fan of a scheduled play time for 3 or 4 people to play, providing it was agreed upon. Single player games are missing interaction with other people, even if it is just an auction house or a random buff. There is a certain level of entertainment added by having other people around. Even if it is to laugh at them.

    My life is busy, with wife and kids. It’s hard for me to dedicate a lot of time to a game, so an MMO is not really well suited for me, but it is what I prefer to play.

    Games like CoH have an added bonus of sidekicking, although I have never used it so I cannot speculate as to it’s usefulness.

    If I could play with a group, I would prefer it honestly. But I avoid pick up groups at all costs, perhaps it is a quirk with me. I really enjoy grouping with people I know and that does not happen often enough due to schedules.

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