So there I was hopping around various MMO boards, inserting my 2 coppers here, my 2 credits there, and suddenly I realized that it's happened. The fluff bunnies are gone. You know the ones, the carebear comforting ones - the ones that know your RL name cause they /hugged you at that crucial moment ingame when you really needed a buddeeeeee. The ones that remember birthdays, always let you finish your train of thought in tells even if it means endless, endless tells, and make sure to gather up support for you on the board if you lose a loved one/ragequit because you lost the frikken roll again to a class that CAN'T USE THE GEAR/can't play for a month cause your interwebs iz disconnected.
I tried to trace it back - I even ran to LOTRO and the Landroval server boards to make sure (phew!) that the daily coffee thread/ride ride chinchillas was still in place (the last Keepers of the Kind eventually make their way to Landroval it seems) but other than the coffee thread and a few hearty "Gear for Noobs!" announcements on general chat in EQII, it seems the Good and Pure of Heart have mostly abandoned the common MMO's.
But where have they gone? I checked everywhere - I even looked in on Star Trek Online. Yeah! I went there! All I saw was the raiders, the pvp'ers, the rp'ers, the altaholics, the levelmongers and the hangoutanddanceonthemailboxers. Oh, and the trolls.
And yes. We want them back. We want good people playing, people with instincts other than auto-loot and spamduelrequest. We want folks that will do runs for others even if they don't need the run - we need the folks that play squishy classes not just cause their kin is short a caster but cause they actually LIKE healing. We need that balance, that fill in the gapness that the Calm and Considerate bring to the gaming table.
So how do we do this - this get them back thing. I vote for re-investing in player housing. That's right. I said it - player housing. Think about the releases of the last few years - AoC - no housing, Aion - no housing, Warhammer- no housing. And I'm not even going to talk about the 4 beta's I've slogged through in the last year - NO housing in any of them. No wonder the Gentler Ones have left- there's no place for them to call home.
We need player housing back! Good housing - not that LOTRO poor excuse for a hobbit hole with oddly spaced limited placement of items that spend more time in storage than in your house. But housing in an active game - don't get me wrong, I love my SWG house. But the game is dead (RIP Tempest) and it's no fun decorating a house that you can never ever have hot tub parties in unless you invite the NPC's. And housing that is important to the dev's as well as the squishycore players. Housing that is updated regularly and allows players to spend endless pointless hours creating a home they can never live in. This is what our carebears need!
And yes, yes, EQII has some great housing moments. But the game overall is dated (ducks the hurled fruit) and while it's fun to play truthfully the squishy classes are pretty boring in groups (gets asbestos suit on just in time to avoid incineration). We need a new game with new content that has well created housing to lure those usually playing a squishy unless they roll a tank just in case it helps out carebears.
I bet there is some game somewhere with amazing SWG meets EQII housing with the build the whole dang thing from the ground up from Istaria thrown in. And all our carebears are running around leaping with glee and thinking rarely but fondly of the rest of us as we can't get groups, mope when no one remembers our birthday, and give up on ever getting that hidden title from getting hugs.