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News & Features Discussion  » [Column] General: Where's the Social?

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86 posts found
  shalissar

Apprentice Member

Joined: 3/04/10
Posts: 155

3/30/13 4:23:55 AM#41
Originally posted by Vorthanion
I'm sorry, but this is just ridiculous.  Create your own communities and stop depending on game mechanics to do it for you.  Every game has Guild features that make it incredibly easy to surround yourself with like minded players.  If that's not enough, then maybe the issue is with you and not everyone else.

Agreed. I know exactly what to do if I want to socialize in a game. I roll on a rp server if I can and/or join a guild. I take the initiative and if people don't respond, then they don't respond. And nobody owes it to anyone to be social either. If I don't want to talk to you or be your friend, no amount of downtime or other assorted game mechanics is going to make me. Sorry, but that's just how it is.

 
  Hedeon

Apprentice Member

Joined: 1/27/05
Posts: 907

3/30/13 4:40:12 AM#42
Originally posted by shalissar
Originally posted by Vorthanion
I'm sorry, but this is just ridiculous.  Create your own communities and stop depending on game mechanics to do it for you.  Every game has Guild features that make it incredibly easy to surround yourself with like minded players.  If that's not enough, then maybe the issue is with you and not everyone else.

Agreed. I know exactly what to do if I want to socialize in a game. I roll on a rp server if I can and/or join a guild. I take the initiative and if people don't respond, then they don't respond. And nobody owes it to anyone to be social either. If I don't want to talk to you or be your friend, no amount of downtime or other assorted game mechanics is going to make me. Sorry, but that's just how it is.

 

downtime doesnt force anyone to be social, but how I experience grouping now, without it, is that if you try to talk to people through the chat box, in combat situations, you will be told to stop slacking, or might be pointed out as the reason the group died, depending on the reaction speed needed by the game and how terrible slow someone may be at typing...so no downtime during battles means it will just be like an action/beat em up game - not that Id want to see huge downtimes, but am sure my 2 minuteish in combat situations, downtime is too long for the more impatient, and am sure alot find me impatient saying about 2 minutes is alot.

mind you that this only happend to me in tera - being told to shut up, but it is very ordinary, in my experience to see other people to be told to stop slacking/chatting.

 

 

  Scot

Elite Member

Joined: 10/10/03
Posts: 5208

3/30/13 4:54:27 AM#43

“because let's remember, the reason why you became fast friends with somebody was similar to how war veterans make buddies. The scars aren't physical: but they're very real.”

Very true.

 

“I still remain tight lipped in-game, refusing to reach out. And am I the only one?”

Find a new guild of like minded players, there are tons out there.

  irek131

Novice Member

Joined: 3/17/13
Posts: 2

3/30/13 5:33:23 AM#44
Yup... there's just no reason now to make groups in MMOs. I remember playing Lineage 2 on C3-C4 where u HAD to make a group to progress. Leveling alone on higher lvls was worthless. All that fun of raiding and making group was just priceless to me. Clans had to be really active to get attention of players to grow in numbers. Eh.. what have they done to my precious game ;_;
  znaiika

Novice Member

Joined: 1/31/12
Posts: 202

3/30/13 5:49:29 AM#45
Originally posted by BigHatLogan
I really enjoyed this article as it touches on some important issues with MMORPGs.  I disagree with some of the author's conclusions.  I am asking MMORPGs to take a step back.  It would be really nice to see some games with harsh death penalties and difficult content.  MMORPGs nowadays measure play time, not skill.  Anyone can solo their way to the cap without issue.  If the mobs were, smarter, tougher, and capable of inflicting harsh death penalties people might actually communicate and group up to play the game.  The danger of loss of that sacred "progression" or whatever people call it will make all combat meaningful.  People will fondly remember close calls, and lament disastrous losses.  The successes will be legendary.  They will feel emotion, and tell stories of the game long after the developers pull the plug.  No one cares about stories from modern mmorpgs.  No one cares that a player got killed by a mob and lost a grand total of 2 minutes of their life running back to their corpse.    MMORPG developers need to take a page of Dark Souls, or DayZ, or EVE.  Those games have great stories, and great communities, because playing these games means a lot more than simply putting the time in. 

I bet 100%, that lots of individuals will never play such games, no one want any forcing.

The main cause for people not to communicate in an online games, "is" no one has respect for "other", it's easier to just avoid conversations.

  falconhand

Novice Member

Joined: 5/01/08
Posts: 25

3/30/13 5:59:10 AM#46
Played daoc wow eq2 aoc etc myself also. I think it is not only the no need can do it solo feeling for most mmo's these days. For myself I noticed an other thing. When a new mmo release lots of multi mmo guilds are allready formed before it even starts. And like someone else mentioned sitting I front of a pc screen is not your standard social kind of person, so where at daoc you allmost where forced to trust strangers -esp when entering the pvp area to do certain quests- to complete things, these days you stay at your comfortzone and trust your friends you have made in earlier mmo's. Like znaiika mentioned it is easier to avoid the stranger.
  dgarbini

Novice Member

Joined: 4/27/05
Posts: 186

3/30/13 6:41:15 AM#47

I would agree with this article quite a bit.  Back in the 90's when I played these game much of the friendships developed were associated with shared danger, concuring obsticals and of course the extensive time it took to do things.  MMO's today franky are just to plain short to really get invested in anything (this goes for all games in general though).  One charicter on GW2 took me only 60 hrs to max level, I have had longer single player games.  In fact I orginally picked up MMO's because I was looking for something to last me longer then the typical rpg game.

 

But it feels to me like one of those things that can never be taken back.  Grinding, harsh penalties for death or stupidity or not working together will never be accepted by the masses today.  Niche gaming is a possibility.

 

I also feel its a generational shift, where people socialize differently.  I wont say its right or wrong because who am I to judge, but if you look at gaming community, internet, or chatrooms from the 90's and compare them to today, I feel it is quite different.  So I cannot blame the developers alone.  Today instead of writting your friend a well thought email, you twitter them ten words of junk.  Today instead of making friends with someone who took the time to help or save you in a game, you dont even get a thank you half the time.  People just dont interact with eachother the same anymore.

 

All that being said, I do still tend to see this in the PVP communities.  As much as I typically think PVP communities are toxic, they do seem to form much better bonds.

  ksternal

Novice Member

Joined: 11/14/12
Posts: 75

3/30/13 6:50:39 AM#48
Problem is the devs these days aren't making true MMORPG's they are making MMO with the almost all of the content single player content with the option of multi-player for the extremely very few Flashpoints/ Dungeons/ Strike Forces. Doesn't help either when you do team with people and you complete ones of these or if you decide to run a regular mission with another person the rewards for completing these are based on a single player even if 5+ players are envolved and on top of that the peice of gear might not even be able to be used by your toon. Hell I know for a fact I won't want to play a game like that.
  Madimorga

Advanced Member

Joined: 5/26/10
Posts: 1997

3/30/13 7:04:19 AM#49

For me it wasn't a lack of tools that makes me antisocial, it was a build up of negative experiences with other players over the years making it so any game that tries to force me to be social loses my interest. 

 

Actually, my first MMO was Anarchy Online and mostly I soloed that, too, but when I did group I enjoyed it, until I hit level 200 and realized I couldn't do much of anything anymore unless I grouped with others.  That pissed me off even before I'd had enough of other players.

 

A dungeon finder is actually likely to make me more social because I can hop into a group and if people are friendly I will chit chat with them.  But I won't stand around spamming 'LFG' just because devs have some vain hope that this will force more socializing.  I don't like wasting my precious time and that isn't really socializing anyway.  Nor will I deal with guild drama.

 

I wondered why Guild Wars 2, a polished, new, mostly well thought out game didn't have a dungeon finder.  But now I figure it's because the devs had delusions that people would stick around longer if they joined dungeon treadmill guilds and 'made friends' with other players.

 

Yeah, how is that working out I wonder?

 

 

I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals.

~Albert Einstein

  Theodwulf

Advanced Member

Joined: 2/01/12
Posts: 206

3/30/13 7:10:44 AM#50

   I don't think alot of you guys "get it". put up with your 'issues"? I do Not wish to socialize with you. I do NOT care if your mom and dad are "hassling" you!  The people who want heavy socaily requirments (amongst everything else) are a fringe audience (albeit the first audeince tapped by this genre). There is a reason that the genre has evolved past such things, because the people with money and a will to spend it were not interested.

  Games are meant to be fun, and MMORPGs are not supposed to be jobs we pay for!

  Rusque

Elite Member

Joined: 6/08/10
Posts: 1671

3/30/13 7:26:14 AM#51
Originally posted by ksternal
Problem is the devs these days aren't making true MMORPG's they are making MMO with the almost all of the content single player content with the option of multi-player for the extremely very few Flashpoints/ Dungeons/ Strike Forces. Doesn't help either when you do team with people and you complete ones of these or if you decide to run a regular mission with another person the rewards for completing these are based on a single player even if 5+ players are envolved and on top of that the peice of gear might not even be able to be used by your toon. Hell I know for a fact I won't want to play a game like that.

 

No they're making the same thing they've always made. The difference is the amount of information available and the number of players who know about it.

Why aren't players more social in games these days? The real question should be "What is there to talk about in games these days?"

Players have ruined it for themselves with heavy forum participation, 3rd party fan sites that contain all the info about everything in the game! Back in the day you would sit in chat and talk about various in game things, be they mechanics, locations, mobs, gear, abilities, so on. But now, it's all available either before lauch or very shortly after.

Let's be honest, joining a freshly launched MMO (headstart is even better) is usually the best chance you have to experience the most raw state that mmo will ever be in. Players will generally be the most talkative at that point and usually people will be friendly. But that goes away realyl quickly doesn't it? As soon as those 3rd party sites are up and running the community turns rabid and eveyone expects you to know what you're doing.

Information and knowledge demystify games. And large games that involve exploration (read: MMOs) get cut off at the knees because the players want to know, but rather than running around the world to find out, they just alt tab open a browser window and read about it. How many people acutally do raid content totally blind anymore? If you don't know what a boss does during each phase and how to react to it, you'll get called out in the best case and booted and banned in the worst case.

It's not just MMO's do this: Wait for the next MTG block to rotate into standard, do not check the internet at all! Make a deck you are happy with, again, do not read anything about MTG on the web during this time. Go to a tournament. Even if you're a great deck builder, you're going to have a line of people waiting to make fun of you because you aren't playing one of three tier one decks or you managed to build one similar and they're making fun of you for your sub-optimal choices. Are you going to blame CCG designers for this? No, it's the internet effect.

Back to MMO's, another reason you can blame the players, remember the days before quest finders? You had to read the text and in some cases ask in chat? Do you remember why quest finders were added as a standard feature in games? Because of players, not because of evil devs.

Devs looked at their data and it told them -" hey idiots, 95% of your players have downloaded a third party add-on that directs them to quest objectives." So in the interest of keeping as much of the game secure and updated, devs built quest finders to the game. So now no one talks about quests anymore.

Same thing happened with gear when players created dps meter add-ons and speadsheets for literally ALL THE GEAR IN THE GAME! You don't even have to play the game to find BIS pieces and know what your ultimate character would be like. So no one talks about gear anymore.

You don't even have people talking about abilities because you can just hop onto forums and find a 10 page post supported by math showing you why you should be pressing 11315  instead of 12345.

Players and their endless thirst for knowledge and improvement are the ones who have killed social interaction by systematically removing any given reason someone might have something to talk about. And so chat devolves into "huehue go back to WoW/LoL/D3" or "anal [double strike]" or stupid political nonsense.

We're all complicit in this. If you've ever used a 3rd party add-on to make your gaming experience more efficient, or studied your class mechanics on a forum, you are part of it. It's not about downtime,it's not about the structure of the game. It's about available topics of discussion. What is left, that we the players, haven't alreayd covered in some detailed online compendium?

 

  sacredfool

Advanced Member

Joined: 5/04/07
Posts: 704

3/30/13 7:58:04 AM#52

It's all about the change of pace. If a game has a slow pace then you have time to make friends. If it's all about "run here, run there", without any thinking involved - bah, not even giving you the TIME to think, then obviously no one will even mutter a word. 

All dungeon finders, teleports and other gimmicks in games just cut down on time "downtime" between the rush of combat, making socialising hard. 

I am not saying combat should be slow paced. I am saying it has to be either complex enough to force people to talk even if all they talk about is maximising DPS - alternatively it needs to give players a break and a chance to say "Hi!" and talk - for example by making them run together to another area.


Originally posted by nethaniah

Seriously Farmville? Yeah I think it's great. In a World where half our population is dying of hunger the more fortunate half is spending their time harvesting food that doesn't exist.


  Loktofeit

Elite Member

Joined: 1/13/10
Posts: 12092

Currently playing EVE, SMITE, Wildstar, and Combat Arms

3/30/13 8:54:08 AM#53
Originally posted by rodingo    Other than Eve though, is there really now or have been in the past a game that wasn't designed around that as its core?

 I listed several in my previous posts, as well as answers to the other questions you present in this post, so it's possible we have a miscommunication thing going on here. If your profile is correct and you're here in GA, let me know if you're ever headed to an IGDA/GGDA meet or in the Stone Mountain area. We can get a group together and talk Community in MMOs.

 

"And wikipedia is as accurate as Britannica. Wikipedia is very reliable. You would be hard pressed to find a more reliable source for these kinds of things." -fovoroth

  daltanious

Elite Member

Joined: 4/19/08
Posts: 1738

3/30/13 9:07:12 AM#54

"I used to be really good at making friends on the Internet."

Khm, wondering if OP knows what word friend mean. Games can be good for socializing, but not making friends.

  MikeMoss

Novice Member

Joined: 5/12/10
Posts: 47

3/30/13 9:19:22 AM#55

The review pretty much mirrors my experience today.

 

I started with Ultima Online and I remember when we would sit around in each others house and talk.

 

I would comunicate with the same people over a period of a year or more, and we would adventure together, trade stuff, and generally act like we were friends in a real world.

 

Now I don't do that anymore, but I do have a couple of real friends who play.

 

With one friend in particular I've played many Online Games, from WOW to The Secret World, (our current game) and we talk on Skype while we play so we can talk without typing or looking at the chat window.

 

It's a lot more fun, but it totally removes us from what other people are doing.

 

I'm sure that many other people do this as well.

 

I make the chat window as small and invisible as possible, only looking to see how much XP I got for something but never to see what other people are chating about anymore.

 

Mike

 
 

If you shoot a mime, do you have to use a silencer?

  thecapitaine

Advanced Member

Joined: 3/06/11
Posts: 390

3/30/13 9:22:49 AM#56

I've always wondered why only a fraction of a game's playerbase ever bother with the official forums.  There are probably lots of reasons but I think one of the biggest is that people are content just to play the game and aren't interested in the metagame, balancing, min/maxing, etc that goes on.  If that's true then I think it applies to socializing in game as well.  A large portion of today's MMO gamers just want to log in and play.  They're not concerned about making friends (maybe they play with their own crew), their investment in the game only extends for as long as the game remains fun and interesting to them. 

 

What for MMORPG.com might be consistently controversial-- LFG and autogrouping and instancing-- actually came about to improve the experience of people who simply login to blow off steam for an hour without worrying about making new friends, researching the best build, or getting a world's first kill.  I don't think that's a bad thing.  With so many vastly superior socialization tools than a fast-scrolling chatbox and blocky avatars, people can communicate and spend time with people they're far more likely to get along with than that cleric you need for a particular MMO dungeon. 

 

I respect that people are longing for a return to more in-depth social experiences in these games of ours but saying it's just poor design without looking at how much players, tools, and the world has also changed doesn't adequately address the subject.

  Tithenon

Novice Member

Joined: 1/31/11
Posts: 106

3/30/13 10:15:46 AM#57

Poignant article, and I agree with you, Adam.  My only MMORPG, right now, is one not a lot of people really care all that much about, anymore, likely because of the mistakes made by the producers and continuing developers, Lord of the Rings Online.  I talked two of my cousins, and both of my sons into playin LotRO because I knew I wouldn't be able to make many new friends, and I was right.

 

I am not an extremely social person in the first place and, quite frankly, I would play a tabletop RPG with a group of friends over playing an MMO, any day of the week and twice on Sunday, if I could find a group.  But, I guess, a lot of us are finding cause to be anti-social together.

 

I think one of the problems I have is, like you, I will go through an instance, or team up with someone to solve twenty or thirty tasks, and then we'll go our own way.  Oh, by then I will have added you as a friend, but we will not have said much to one another over the two hours or so and, at the end, you and I consider one-another someone we can call on, acquaintances, but not friends.  I will have said hello in the beginning, and we might converse about what to do next, and I will say fair journey when we part, but there is no substance in-between.  No talking about March Madness, or the insanity of North Korea's leader, or Mahmoud Imanutjob, or the price of gas, or how our families are doing.  I don't think it has anything to do with the games, the new structures, mechanics, and goals within the game; rather, I can't see your face, I don't have the first fraggin' clue who you are, and I'm not willing to give you infomation until you give me some.

 

This is all as a result of having been socialized due to our present socio-political-economic environment; I'm poor and can't seem to get my math score in my continuing college very high, for whatever reason, and I'm depressed because I'm a Bosnia vet, and our government has us living in a climate of fear, scared of terrorists and a 2nd American Revolution, and NONE of our news is positive, and we don't have GREAT music artists and actors like we used to, to inspire us to find more and better in ourselves.

 

This translates into the game.

 

I had made friends, a couple of brothers from Macedonia, in LotRO, a couple of great guys, but one was having to kill himself solely for work so he could support himself, his college-bound younger brother -who was also working overtime while attending university- and their mother, as they all continued to live in the same house.  Unfortunately, when their three-week version of Spring Break ended, about three weeks ago, that was it for them.  I haven't seen them, since.  Of course, they went from 0 to 60 in that three-week span, and I'm still working on 52 after nearly three years of playing the game, so that might be contributing to the lack of communication, as well.

 

People are depressed and, in general, uncertain about the next moves in the world, they're weary of playing through more of the same that we've had for the past decade or so, weary of gaining new friends in a game where no one ever sees one-another and the climate of trust we used to have is eroded to dust, and there's one more factor that's fairly important, here...

 

There are so many raids, large-group areas and dungeons, Small and large Fellowship tasks, that completing the game without being forced to join others is wearing pretty damn thin.  Now, I've joined several groups of folks, whether I had a task to complete, or not, simply to help them, not because I was forced to, but because I was given a choice to.  I, for one, am desperately sick and tired of being REQUIRED to join or group, or die in the execution of the game.  This group-or-die mentality strangles the choice players SHOULD have as to whether or not they will join a group and complete a task, or the several that might automatically feed onto your character when you enter an instance, and it needs to be removed!  How...?

 

How tough can it be to write an algorithm that takes into account the varied stats the dungeon might call for, total or average those out, by level and power, and then build the opposition within a dungeon to match, or slightly exceed, that number, so players, whether solo, grouped, or in a raid, can take on that dungeon and have a challenge and a good time, getting through it, without wiping a thousand times (I'm looking at you, WoW) or running into creatures several levels below you, when you're completely spec'd out based on research you shouldn't HAVE to do to play the game, and a spec you don't want for YOUR character, and have your butt handed to you, anyway (LotRO, this one's for you)!

 

For my tabletop game, I built an Excel file which does this.  I put in the party member's names, their important statistics, and I have three ratings that glean from these statistics to determine their survivability: Offensive, Defensive, and Arcane.  I then decided which monster type, or monsters, I wanted to put into the game -some of them include bosses and champions, but many of them do not- and I build up the number of these until the comparison ratio I also have built into the file reads one-to-one, or perhaps a little tougher for the party to have a real challenge.  I do this for every single encounter my players fight in.  The functional rows number 7, only four of which hold formula's, and then each character and each creature gets their own row.  The functional columns number 18, where their stats come in.  So, what's the problem with having a party when, on entering the instance the statistics that are important to that instance are calculated, totaled, averaged, and then opposition equal to or somewhat in excess of their power level is slammed against them, PER ENCOUNTER, so there is a challenge to be had?

 

Oh, and as for the Looking-for-Group finder, for raids or instances, I would be willing to bet you that less than 10% of folks ever use the thing.  I've tried to use it, as an experiment, over a dozen times in LotRO to find a group, and everyone's too busy using the LFG channel to look into using the finder.  I don't think non-communication is the problem, there.

 

Adam, I don't believe this is a problem with the game so much as it is the people, and developers, I believe, need to work around this to make it happen where solo players are rewarded appropriately for their play and are not left out of small and large groups, and raids, simply because the player isn't keen to join those and, thus, can't level properly, and then several other incentives need to be given to allow players to make the choice whether or not they will group, rather than group-or-die.

 

Finally, MMORPGs are supposed to be for role-playing, but we have quest hubs, and we have merchants, but there's no real place, as there is in role-playing, for players to sit their characters down with one-another, share a virtual drink and a meal, and just talk... can we have that, please?

 
  Xanitra

Novice Member

Joined: 8/10/04
Posts: 27

3/30/13 10:39:22 AM#58
Agree 100% as well. I miss the good old mmo experience where the game forced you to be social. Very good article, enjoyed it very much, and explains on a whole why I have given up the mmo genre.  Thank you .
  rodingo

Elite Member

Joined: 1/18/07
Posts: 1688

3/30/13 11:17:16 AM#59
Originally posted by Loktofeit
Originally posted by rodingo    Other than Eve though, is there really now or have been in the past a game that wasn't designed around that as its core?

 I listed several in my previous posts, as well as answers to the other questions you present in this post, so it's possible we have a miscommunication thing going on here. If your profile is correct and you're here in GA, let me know if you're ever headed to an IGDA/GGDA meet or in the Stone Mountain area. We can get a group together and talk Community in MMOs.

 

I didn't know about IGDA or GGDA until I just now googled it.  The only game studios I knew about in the Atlanta area were Hi-Rez and CCP.  I do know that Atlanta is trying to bring more of that type of business into the state much like what Austin has been doing over the last several years.  But yeh, that sounds like fun. The last time I was in Atlanta was about 6 months ago to take my son to the aquarium there.  I'll take any excuse to get out of Augusta.  The only things to do here are golf and going out to eat.

"If I offended you, you needed it" -Corey Taylor

  MyronAvery

Novice Member

Joined: 7/20/10
Posts: 1

The more complex the mind, the greater the need for the simplicity of play

3/30/13 11:24:40 AM#60

Wow, what an outstanding article. I also agree 100%. As an old gammer, I'm talking all the way back to the days of pen and paper D&D and then early days of Ever Quest. I must say that I do miss in game friendships with other PCs ( Player Character, thats old school for toon). One thing I hate in the games today is how people will not take the time to be friendly, but they sure will to be rude.

Once again, Outstanding article.

The Old School Gamer

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