Quote of the Day

At Bio Break:

A lament I’ve often heard over the past few years from MMO vets of the early generation of titles is that people don’t talk to each other in game any more.  They say that with a sorrowful tone, recounting days when MMOs had such slow, gradual gameplay that they were often a colorful overlay for a chat window.  People talked more back then.  They bonded more.  Communities meant more.  Now?  Now it’s just a bunch of helter-skelter madmen running amok with no interest in any social connections.

Pardon me, but that’s a load of horse apples.

When I talked to a stranger in the open world in a conventional MMO, that was breaking the ice. When I talk to a stranger in Guild Wars 2, we have already communicated plenty through interacting gameplay. Further verbal communication just reinforces our prior non-verbal communication. A subtle difference that changes things in drastic ways.


19 thoughts on “Quote of the Day”

  1. That sentiment would ring a lot more true if you were pointing at a “like that time I grouped up with…” sort of story, where the social play actually became a bond of some sort.

    1. Very true, although these experiences are so consistent and frequent that it can be hard to parse them out.

      For example, I was doing a jumping puzzle in one of the Charr zones where near the end there was a powerful foe. I could manage the fairly long puzzle, but at the end I was defeated the two times I tried. I tweaked my weapons and skills, but what really made the difference was another Charr player coming around the corner. This player didn’t know the jumps and was having trouble finding their way up. I began showing them the jumps and even though I knew how to run past the enemies, I stayed to fight with the other player since they were fairly challenging battles. We went slower than I went solo, but I showed them each jump, we waited for each other when we fell, etc. When we finally got to the powerful enemy at the end, it was glorious – our synergy and ‘routine’ we built up from all of the lesser enemies made the battle go smoothly. We triumphed and exchanged our first text words in our entire journey:

      “I couldn’t have figured out this jumping puzzle without you – thanks!”

      “Thank YOU! I couldn’t have defeated the final enemy without your help!”

      We grabbed the loot and took on another few enemies afterwards before parting ways. The non-verbal communication is great – different positioning, skill usage, responses to taking damage, etc are all ways players can communicate to overcome common challenges.

  2. Plenty of opportunities to communicate with other players, it’s even required in WvW to keep the morale of the team up despite getting hammered and there’s always a continual relay of information there. I’ve pugged AC story mode a few times and it’s been more fun when people actually talk to each other, but still they’ve been a few impatient players that do nothing but criticise and then ragequit. It’s worth taking the effort to be helpful and patient, which is what I try to do but there is a real problem with players rushing from one event to the next before I’ve even time to type ‘hey you know the NPCs are still talking and it sounds like there is more to this chain’, probably should shorten it to ‘Wait! There’s more’.

    1. I’ve been curious if you can bind a text message to a certain key. It would be valuable to be able to, say, hit F8 and have your character say a message “Hang on, I’m coming to revive you!” or as you said, “Don’t leave yet, there’s more to this Dynamic Event chain!”.

      Wishlist, I suppose.

      1. For the revive part, I wonder if pinging the mini-map would let people know you are coming to revive, but that only works if everyone knew that as a signal.

  3. I can’t help to think some particularly negative players are just not ready to put much in to GW2 right now; I don’t know why. it feels like they’re leaning back with crossed arms, saying “now, show me!” – as if interaction and cooperation didn’t actually include THEM. their effort, their time. each of us makes a community.

    communication and cooperation are not a one-way street, either. if you talk to nobody, and everybody talks to nobody, then nobody talks full stop. now, I’ve always been a proactive person in MMOs, I founded guilds and lead raid teams, so maybe I’m not a ‘good example’ – but I’ve already made several fresh friends in GW2 I chat with regularly, who’ve made it on my friendlist and with some of whom I ran a very successful dungeon run. I have received 3 guild invites due to social interaction. often, not always, when I get rezzed, rez myself or join group events, there’s friendly chatter and even without the chatter, there’s coordination. zone chats in higher zones (with big events / bosses) are particularly awesome in how everybody is banding together in zone chat, telling people where to meet up or what WPs to take best. I haven’t experienced this sort of collective effort (by strangers) in a long time.

    so whatever game you’re playing (if you are actually playing it…) when you say GW2 is worse on social aspects, you cannot be playing the same games as me. :)
    granted, I had a lot of positive expectations going into GW2 already, but it had every chance to let me down since. I’ve been let down by MMOs before and when it happens, I’m quick to share my disappointment. still waiting on that in GW2.

  4. I’m seeing people saying “thanks” for a revive or emoting a \bow, even in the middle of hectic events or WvW fights. For that matter, as Syp points out the simple act of working on a joint task feels sociable even if there’s no or little actual conversation. It may not be much, but it’s still a sight more sociable than the experience with my fellow commuters every day on the train into work.

    At the other end of the spectrum I found myself in a crowd waiting for Tequatl The Sunless to spawn in accordance with an apparently well-known schedule. While we waited for the undead loot pinata dragon to put in an appearance people were chatting away, comparing weapon/armour skins, talking about their experiences in this game and GW1 or just dancing – in all cases it seemed a lot more good-natured than I would have expected in certain other MMOs. ArenaNet seem to have put some effort in their game design, community moderation and (sometimes public) banning policy to encourasge civility amongst players, and at least to some extent it appears to be working.

    1. “At the other end of the spectrum I found myself in a crowd waiting for Tequatl The Sunless to spawn in accordance with an apparently well-known schedule. While we waited for the undead loot pinata dragon to put in an appearance people were chatting away”

      So GW2 has one example of EQ1 spawn camping, and the social result is similar?

      And why again is ‘old school’ design not applicable today?

      Also loot :)

      1. loot has been a part force in almost all social and non-social MMO dynamics that there ever were ;)

        it doesn’t really matter ‘how’ cooperation is created, if it gets created. GW2 is more flexible, grouping happens more fluently and cooperation is more positively incentivized. all that means is there’s more and easier opportunities at establishing first contact. whether you take the social contact further or not is STILL up to yourself, the player.

        GW2 doesn’t DO the cooperation for you. no MMO does…

        1. I think you missed my point about loot.

          In GW2 getting to the point of loot not mattering (pretty dress aside) is faster than most sRPGs. Once the masses hit that point (now? In a month?), all of these wonderful stories about jumping puzzles and loot dragon social parties will die.

          That’s why the people who argue against progression while sharing stories that are always based around loot (directly or not) are somewhat laughable. They are literally arguing against their own motivation.

          1. I think you still miss the point about other player profiles. progressive players that need to replace one tier after the next in order to beat progressive encounters or marvel at their ladder status, are not as significant a mass as you believe. but I said that already.

            you define how ‘loot matters’ in a purely progressive way. :) you could actually collect all sorts of stuff in GW2 that equals ‘loot satisfaction’ – there isn’t just gear that serves that function.
            and the loot from the event chests is laughable anyway, if they even appear – how would that be a loot motivation? people like to see the huge badass dragon land and the rush of raiding it with many others.

            but sure, that will get old sometime. I don’t see where ANet said their game must work forever without ever adding content patches or expansions though. it still doesn’t ‘require’ progressive content. ;)

            1. So you believe the popularity of a dragon called a loot pinata has nothing to do with the loot. Those players gather every 3 hours for the social fun time and the amazing experience of taking down an epic mob.


  5. I’m reading this while listening to my wife in her 300+ person guild that she manages using Mumble, and which spans both SWTOR and GW2, with endless RP-focused antics. I’m as asocial an MMOer as they go and I still engage with people both in chat and through play all the time in my own preferred games (Rift and DDO). I tend to avoid gaming with my wife, though…her level of tolerance for socialization in these games is through the roof. Me…not so much.

    I will say though that the best social events and chat I had in an MMO was in 2005 in WoW. Nothing I’ve ever experienced since has rivalled that earnest level of common interest and discourse while playing.

  6. I find it surpassingly strange to see some people complain about how GW2 doesn’t encourage socialisation and co-operation between players. It seems this subset of people think that requiring people to form groups is the only way to get them to work together, and that making groups rarely necessary encourages players to play all alone and ignore others.

    This certainly isn’t true in my experience. Sure, formal groups are far from necessary, but I that hasn’t created a solitary experience for me. HAVING to rely on other players is a pain, but coming together with them just because you choose to (and no one has to agree to form a party) is great. If the only reason you would ever want to co-operate with other players is when the game forces you to, you might be playing the wrong kind of game here.

    And SynCaine, you might have to ask me again when I’m level 80 (a loooong time from now), but I don’t do jumping puzzles for the loot right now. Loot is occasionally useful, but I play content if I like the content. Not loot will lure me to something I don’t enjoy, either.

  7. Extremely social people who enjoy conversation may find GW2 a little startling. I credited the game with removing the need to chat with other players at all. While I find that funny and it suits my play style, others might miss the need for chat diarrhea but I’m not among them.

    The game does an excellent job at providing visual queues that reduced the need for lots of gadgets on the screen to help you as a player understand your current state well those same elements also make it easy for me to understand the state of players around me.

    Objectives and obstacles are very clear and since there are no hard and fast roles to work out up front, group play is more fluid and organic, hence the reduced need to “chat” about what to do.

    I’ve added plenty of players to my contacts list not because we talked much where ever it was we encountered each other in the world. It more that we just clicked – helped each other out in a prolonged fashion or they exhibited common sense and were courteous.

    The other night I was questing in Maelstrom (70 to 80 zone) and ran into a veteran mob tucked away guarding a ore node I went to harvest. Another player come up behind. We both stood there for a minute deciding what to do. He said, “wanna try?”. I said, “let me change up my weapons and utility skills.” He saw me jump down when I was ready and off we went.

    I tried to take aggro, remove conditions and heal when he looked low and he did the same. Another player came along and we all did our thing and down the mob. When it was over we said, “cool… neat….thanks!” and everyone went about their business. I find cooperative play and helping each other out far more social than chatting. GW2 has the most organic game-play experiences I’ve had in any MMO.

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