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Here is where I say stuff!

Author: pamkhat

Anti-social Gaming

Posted by pamkhat Wednesday March 11 2009 at 2:09AM
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MMOs are huge gathering places and big places make me nervous.

Raiding is a commitment. I don’t really like it and I’m not particularly gear hungry. Guilds are a great function in an MMO. I’ve been in large and small guilds, but I prefer super small guilds consisting of the normal size of groups. Dungeons and instances are great, especially for lore and content. I love doing instances, but I’m not big on the PUG. Luckily, instances usually take a group and I can sometimes muster up enough people for that.

So why am I still playing MMOs? I love crafting and I love the economy of games. Trading is about the only time I interact with people I don’t know and I honestly enjoy it. I love mastering the auction house and learning prices. I like the act of crafting and it makes me feel immersed to buy things from another person to make my goods. That’s never a bother. Also, I love the little stuff like fishing and collecting. Maybe my priorities are wonky.

Since I started playing MMOs I’ve played with one or two people that I know in real life. This small group can usually get the job done. Either we’re the right mix of archetypes to successfully complete something at the normal level, or we can level (but not out-level) a quest or instance to complete later. This group understands my habits and is totally okay when I beeline to a stream or pond. If there’s fishing to be had, I will have it.

I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything by doing these things. In fact, I really appreciate when games cater to smaller groups. AoC’s villas were a great break from even playing with those two dudes I know. The destiny quests were fun and entertaining as well. CoH/V’s missions scaled to level and number of heroes or villains in the team. Not to mention, the mentoring and leveling pact functions were perfect for someone like me. Recently, I started playing LotRO which was pretty small group friendly until around level 20. The fellowship quests and epic quests are demanding more in the fellowship at that level. That’s fine and I understand that. But it’s good to know that LotRO has 3-mans and will introduce those crafting instances. Those features will probably keep me paying and playing for a few more months, at least.

Clearly, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a small group or near solo experience in MMOs. But do others players get annoyed with these types? I know there’s a lot of people that think we miss out on things and sometimes we’re stereotyped as lazy, a gaggle of losers, or just plain bitchy. Personally, I don’t dislike people and I love that all those avatars are contributing to an economy. Is it wrong that I don’t want to socialize in a game?

Or maybe I should just man up and PUG. Thoughts?

happytklz writes:

I think that players like you are what make the world breathe.  If everyone is a badass fighting monsters all the time, then no one is really a badass, if you see what I mean.  I like the crafting, though I find I have not quite enough patience to really master the auction house angle.  I tend to focus on exploration and more or less do what seems not boring at the time, then work on crafting when I'm tired of the other stuff.  But I like that there are people who really commit to the economy part, otherwisw the game is pretty dead.

Wed Mar 11 2009 6:09AM Report
Fa+e writes:

Hehe, this was a "cute" post.  I personally feel like everyone has a right to do what it is that they enjoy doing in the game, so long as it doesn't impede on other's enjoyment of it.  Your solo/small grouping habits certainly do not. 

The only time when I have gotten annoyed with anti-socialists is when they complained about a game not having enough solo content.  As if in a MMO, you were supposed to be able to solo the entire game.  If someone can take what they find in the game and enjoy themselves, then I think that's great.

I do think that with certain games you would be missing out on things, not socializing, but not all of them.  For instance, I am playing AoC and LotRo right now.  Just trying them both, and I have pretty much soloed my entire way through AoC (though granted I'm still in Tortage), and though LotRo has a lot of group quests, it still is a minimum.  I've heard that "raids" are like 11 people.  That's not a raid to me, lol.  So if a raid is 11 people, everything else has to be smaller.  And I don't know about you, but I think crafting in LotRo is FUN!

Another game you may want to look at some time (because you kinda seem like a wanderer) is Vanguard.  Granted, there are a lot of full group content, but that only consists of 5 people.  Your group of 3 could essentially solo through the entire game if you weren't concerned with having the best possible sets for your levels.  But the reason why I think that may be the game for you is...the CRAFTING.

It's a full-time job.  There are many that make characters to do nothing but craft.  So you could have lots of fun, crafting, and trying to control the market, while chatting with other crafters beside you, and decorating your house, or sailing on your ship.

...Man talking to you has me thinking it's time for me to go back home to Vanguard...anyhow, this reply has gotten almost as long as your blog.  I'm sorry, hope you have fun =)

Wed Mar 11 2009 7:48AM Report
Raston writes:

As a firm believer in no PUGs, I can relate.  That being said, I've also been a raid leader as well, so I've kinda been on both sides of the equation.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to solo in a MMO, IMO.  It is when they start weakening other content to satisify that and make it the only and/or best way to level/enjoy the game that I have the issues.  I feel you have to have the ability to solo in a game, this isn't a real world sim and there will be times you are on for 30 minutes or an hour and don't have the time to put a group together to do group oriented stuff.

The issues I had with EQ2 (prior to station cash) is they went too solo friendly, there was no reason to get a group together and do any dungeon crawls until you were at the top end of the game and grinding for gear in either EoF, RoK or what ever the new one was called.  That gets boring to me as it doesn't give you a choice as to what to do, you will solo (or two man) as it is the only way you can get where you want to go...

I find that LotRO has a nice balance there, plenty of group quests, but they aren't required and grouping is possible at any teir and can be as fast to advance as soloing.  To me, that is a great balance.

Wed Mar 11 2009 9:47AM Report
OddjobXL writes:

I think I'd get bored without roleplaying and roleplaying requires at least a few people (but the more the merrier).   Sooner or later, no matter how involved or original, gameplay can get repetitious. 

One way of breaking that up is PvP but I kinda need to be in the mood for that and Eve Online is the only game I've played that does it properly.  

The other way is roleplaying but that can be a chore too.  Finding people you get along with and are inspired by can be harder than it sounds.  Roleplayers also tend to be a bit more mature and better spoken than the average bear which, as an older gamer, I tend to appreciate.

It all really boils down to a matter of taste and personality.  If you just don't like being around or dependant on other folks for your good time neither PvP or RP is going to help. 

Smart designs sometimes plan for this and develop character classes (in addition to crafters and the like) which can solo fairly well.  Brilliant designs actually figure out what niche in the economy these soloists will fill.  SWG in the early days had the Scout and Ranger skill sets.  With those you could just wander off into the wild and do your thing until you were ready to sell off your hides, meat and bones for a good profit.   Crafters themselves were often too busy with surveying for harvestable resources in the terrain or creating templates for factories.  Other combatants generally liked fighting for loot or credits and didn't really have great skills for navigating the wild in the first place.

This gave ranger soloists a real place to shine.  Pets also were, and are, a huge part of SWG.  There must be over a hundred different kinds with assorted abilities.  Back in the old days many rangers were often beastmasters as well.

These days the economy and game design doesn't work like that so much and the wilderness is braindamaged now and far less interesting.

Wed Mar 11 2009 9:50AM Report
Jupsto writes:

Fair enough I abhored the villas and tryed to avoid them as much as possible doing all my leveling out there with the other players. making new friends/enemies, fighting over mobs,getting ganked by higher levels etc. etc.

I also hate pugs though, I tend to only do group instances with a fun group on vent having a laugh.

I don't like raiding much either everyone takes it too seriously and people start getting too obessed with loot and arguements/fallouts start.


Wed Mar 11 2009 1:35PM Report
Clea writes:

Wow, this was a little creapy it was kinda like reading a post that was written from my brain.  I don't mean to be that person who just compares everything to themselfs, but this is how I feel.  I have always wonder what people thing of how I play MMO's.  I admitidy haven't played as many as you have, but I still enough my small selection of games, played with either a small selection of friends and family, or played solo.  I mean my motives to play solo (ish) are a bit different, seeing as the little monster make me a frequent AFKer, and that's not fair to a group/raid of people who might be counting on me.  I think you are a great part of the MMO struture, and am glad to know there are more anti social MMOers out there.

Wed Mar 11 2009 2:02PM Report writes:
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