I recently rerolled my barbarian paladin into a dwarven guardian. It concerned personas. Without delving too far into my sometimes creative thinking, let me say that Kven is a character that exists in other places. In those other places, he's an armored dwarf with a shield. I enjoy the challenge of transplanting characters into MMOs. EQ2, with its appearence system is especially good for it. And I discovered that I enjoy playing a guardian.
So, with my paladin becoming a guardian, I needed a new paladin. I am not a HUGE fan of the class, but they are fun to play. And I had another persona that I wanted to roll up and try to realize. I had just spent all that time in New Tunaria so I saw a place for a Tolkien-esque elf. I won't bore into his backstory here.
But suffice to say that he has one.
He comes to life in the Faydark Newbie-area and zips through the quests. I am ashamed to admit that trying to decide what he should wear slowed him down the most. By level ten I sent him to Erollisi because they have tons of quests for toons in their teens and I wanted the Alternate-Advancement points. AAs are cool because they give lowbies MORE buttons to push and they can individualize the avatars a bit.
So I am grinding my paladin away, earning levels and AAs, and zipping through the quest content. And somebody asks me if I want to team up.
Huh. Why am I hesitant? Because he spoke in "Common Tongue" (one of the most idiotic and immature gaming conventions ever invented) but was still trying to RP? Well, far be it for me to come across as an RP snob. My high elf switched to common tongue and grouped for a couple of hours. I had a lot of fun. I enjoyed my partner's style of roleplaying.
But I have to admit that I was peeved too. I am no longer zipping through all the quests and levels and advancement points. I have to take the time to chat, to communicate and to take the time to do it in character.
My fondest memories of playing MMOs center on these activities. And now I am bothered by them.
I couldn't help but think as we rolled through mobs, slaughtering everything, a half-dozen at a time, that there was no advantage for us to be grouped. There was no challenging content. In fact, duoing paladins made the content quite boring. Body pull a handful of mobs, kill them, heal as needed, rinse, repeat.
It seems that MMOs have developed their solo-friendly mechanics to the point where grouping is a liability and a nuisance. And my in-game social-skills have degenerated to an embarrassment. And that's the really tragic part of all this.
As a cure I am going to group because grouping is fun. I am going to be social because being social is fun. More importantly, I am going to be friendly, because being friendly is not only fun, but good for the enviroment.