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Why You're Stupid

You know you want to know.

Author: firesnake77

Community: Best When Forced!

Posted by firesnake77 Saturday July 18 2009 at 10:14AM
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I've seen a flood of shrill, repetitive arguments slopping themselves all over the Internet of late which propose that MMORPG games, the genre, and the "community" of such games has fallen into decline, or even been ruined, due to an increasing emphasis on solo content and solo-centric players.  Apparently, in the "good old days", when this mythic "community" was alive and vibrant, everyone got along great, grouping constantly and fostering some kind of cooperative gaming and social mecca for MMORPG players.  And now these dirty soloers and the sell-out game developers who shamelessly pander to them have come along and WRECKED EVERYTHING!

What a crock.

These old games, and the entire defunct game design paradigm which informed them, were based heavily on forcing players to group together in order to progress, or have a chance at tackling the game content.  This is seen by many (or seemingly many . . . perhaps it's a gratingly vocal minority) as being wonderful and conducive to all sorts of social cohesion and the "true" point of massively multiplayer games.


I've decided, after some consideration, to join the ranks of these old-school, hardcore, "soloers must die" grognards.  And so, without further ado, here is my contribution to the angry, wailing anthem:


In the good old days, these games forced us to group!  Now anyone can log in and play by themselves, however they like, so they're no longer bludgeoned into partying up with ME . . . so now I have to play alone!  Oh noes!  MMOs are ruined!

I, for one, am incensed!  How dare these greedy, clone-churning hacks allow players to enjoy their games on their own terms, and, even worse, to be selective in who they spend time online playing with?  It's a slap in the face, I tell you.  Now that random strangers aren't shoehorned into playing with me by the hard limits of the game system itself, how do you expect me to interface with other players and find people to share my fun with?

Surely they don't expect us to . . . make friends?  That's madness!  That's tyranny!  The nerve!  Wait, you mean modern games expect us to group with people we LIKE, and who LIKE US?  I have to have a personality and endear myself to people in order to have ready companions to group with?  What kind of sick joke is this?

This aggression on the part of selfish, child-eating soloers and their game studio patsies will not stand!  I, for one, demand to once again be forced into grouping with any random, illiterate, misanthropic tool who happens to shuffle along, just to be able to play the game.  I reject this elitist idea of "friendship" and the abomination which dares to call itself "grouping with people because you like them".  I insist that I once again have no choice but to party up with people I can't stand and who play the game in a totally different style than I do (indeed, who have utterly dissimilar reasons for even playing these games than I do), or else be helpless to progress or tackle more than the most trivial of beginner's challenges in the game.

More importantly, and this is really the crux of the whole matter . . . I insist, I DEMAND, that everyone else have no choice but to group with ME, whether they like me or not.

Oh but wait, don't misunderstand me.  This isn't about ME, at all.  No no, this is about the MMO "community"!  Yeah!  Because community which isn't forced isn't any community at all!  Eh Comrade, eh?  Eh?



News flash:  The dreaded, community-crushing soloers don't hate grouping.  They just don't want to group with YOU.  Stop waiting for a game to come along and force them to.  The days of MMORPG socialism are over.  No one NEEDS to group with you anymore.  I know that enrages you, baffles you, makes you pull your hair out and throw your toys around the room, but take heart!  There is a solution!

Make friends. 

Even in the most solo-friendly game out there, even in games or situations where there's no incentive at all to group, or even a disincentive to do so, if people like YOU, they'll want to play with you.  I know that this flies in the face of all traditional Internet and gamer logic, I know it's scary.  But it's time.  Mommy's not here to bring you playmates on a platter any longer.

Crying about how soloability is eroding community is nothing more than a big ol' red herring.  The deeper issue is the fact that people can't just log in out of the blue, say, "Hi, I'm a troglodyte.  Someone group with me, NOW!" and have their whims catered to immediately and automatically, just because the exacting, group-required nature of the game design requires players to choke down their distaste and play with you.

A "community" which is built on shoving people together at gunpoint and barking, "Cooperate or die!" at them isn't worth much, in my book.  I want to spend my online leisure time with people I like, people whose playstyle is congruent with mine, people who make the game more fun for me, not less.  Soloability in MMORPGs allows for this.  Forced grouping does the opposite. 

The free companionship dole is all dried up.  You want community?  It's still here.  You just have to earn it now.