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The staff of gets together to bring you some behind the scenes insights on stories, the industry and the site itself.

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Contributors: BillMurphy,MikeB,garrett,SBFord,Grakulen,

Community Spotlight: Why Do You Play MMOGs?

Posted by MikeB Thursday February 25 2010 at 4:56PM
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This week’s Community Spotlight focuses on the thread “Why do you play MMORPGs?” by user Snakes. Snakes offers a simple, but important question:

“Why do you play MMORPGS or simply MMOs in general?
Let me explain - this is very open ended and its bound to have a large amount of responses to it. I'm not choosing a specific game here, its just in general - why do you choose to play the MMOs that you play? What brings you back to them and what keeps your attention?

Like I said, there's hundreds of answers based on this - choose any game or just speak in general.

Here's a couple of examples. Some people play mmorpgs for the community, others for the pvp, others for other things. Personally a lot of the time I would go back to an MMORPG because I met a number of awesome people, and being an Role-player at heart, I loved anything based around Role-playing. To be something else for example but that wouldn't base everything on my gaming experience, of course content was very important to me to but it was the community that brought me back.”

User metalhead980 kicks things off with his response:

“…today I play Eve because in my mind it feels like the only game that truely is a Sci-fi life simulation.
Communities are what MMOs are about to me, not instances and queues. If a community doesn't play a role in my MMO it isnt one.

In short, Communities that effect the game world is the reason I started and try to continue playing MMOs.”

Azareal offers an enumerated list of all the reasons he plays MMOGs:

“I play mmorpg's because :

1. I'm simply too lazy to keep going out once a month to pick up another stand-alone game;

2. The community and my friends from all parts of the world; It's kinda hard to meet up for drinks and catch up once a week if you live in Australia and they live in Kansas, or somewhere like that. Unless of course you all have way too much money and too much time, much like a certain lady who's named after a french city.

3. Content; It's always incredibly fun for me to see what some creative people are able to do with a few lines of code and turn something in a book or comic, or their imagination into virtual life.

4. Alternative; Like a previous poster, yeah, I'm a little sick and tired of the crap we get on tv these days. E.g. like I 'Really' need to know how jon and kate are doing in rl. Or some really dumb idiots go "yeah, like, uhmm..yeah", "really, like about tonight...", "like uh huh, ", "and then, they like, y'know.."; There's no need for waterboarding, just force the criminals to watch some of these "movies/series" and I swear they will tell you everything within 5 minutes.

5. Escapism; After a hard day/week at work, I will do just about anything to avoid thinking about work and mmorpg's are the most cost effective way to go.”

Sanguinelust outlines the joys of grouping, as well as the pitfalls of grouping:

“For me the attraction to MMO's I have is because I find they have a lot of meat and potatoes to them. Theres more than just some linear map to explore for 10 minutes or so then on the the next one, there's a whole world to explore and in the case of SWG worlds. Then theres the whole thing of building your character up. Choose a class and go master it. All the teamwork was awesome. You could kill something and find something you, or your buddies could use on the corpse, which led to go kill another to see what it has. Which led to go kill another wait, what was that, I leveled?!?! Awesome!!! Now go kill hundreds more to level again and again.

Somewhere along the line playing in groups kinda fell by the wayside though. Especially when you have to work and when you got home your leveling buddies didn't wait for you and went ahead and did the tough missions while you weren't there and now are on to the next tough ones while you struggle to find someone else who has to do that mission to try to complete it with. So now I look for MMO's that are solo friendly but also have enough group content that you need to have friends to be able to play with. I love being in a guild, even if I don't use them to their potential I know there's someone there to chat with, ask for help from or I can help out. “

I’m not sure if acidworm is serious or not, but we couldn’t have a spotlight like this without one of the following posts:

“The inevitable emo drama. It beats any soap or reality show by a landslide.
Also, I like pwning noobz. It makes me feel better about myself.”

Abyss610 offers a slightly more economical take on why he plays MMOGs:

“honestly its the cheapest form of entertainment around by far. i deffinitly don't have the fun playing mmos like i use to, but still an enjoyable way to pass the time when i'm bored. got into mmos years ago when i played PSO noticed i got ALOT more for my money from them. prior to that i would buy a new game have it beat within a week tops, trade it in and buy a new one. was getting expensive buying a new game every week only getting like maybe $14 back from the trade-ins. so even if i buy one of these new mmos that turn out to suck they do usually last long enough to be cheaper than me buying new console game every week.”

And pauldriver, well, pauldriver plays MMOGs for the chicks:
“I play it for the chicks.”
Good luck, Paul!

I have to play favorites here and highlight one of our moderators (before she was a moderator here with us) who, like Paul, plays MMOGs for the chicks. I kid, I kid! Here is why our very own Chirugai plays MMOGs:

“I'm kidding. I play MMOs because it's live. Things change, update, etc. I get to somewhat customise my avatar instead of playing a pre-made one. I get to play with other human beings who aren't as predictable as AI is. It's the over all experience of live interaction.”

Finally, the always insightful Teala shares her views on why she plays MMOGs, and what she’s hoping to see come from the genre going forward:

“Well what drove me to this was the stories and the ability to create my own stories as my character went on adventures in these virtual worlds. Sorta like reading a book and following the character. In an MMORPG my character is the main character and she allows me to play out a book in virtual form. Nowadays thoughm the stories are all pre-written and you must follow them in order to get any where. I mean it is cool and all, but it has lost something. In the older games I would just travel and adventure and make up my story as I went along. Sure their were quest I could do now and then if I so desired, but it wasn't required. Just exploring and looking for treasure was good enough. I now it was kinda archaic and there is so much more that can be done with these games now, it is just so said that their all going the way of theme parks.

It is sad that even a lot of the indie games are just not cutting it. They are half-arsed done and are sold on promises that they cannot deliver and you end up getting a game that has 1/4 of the features that they promised and then a lot that the game has is broken and does not work. ::cough:: MO - DF ::cough::
Some day a group of people will come together with like minds and make a good MMORPG again...the way the old Turbine crew created Asheron's Call. That was truly a good MMORPG for it's time. We need that kind of team to come together and make a new game for this day that was as innovative and massive as that game was during it's time.”

Snake's thread offered a pretty simple question to the community, whose responses have turned out to be quite revealing. I have come to observe that the reason we play MMORPGs appear to really vary from person to person, which is definitely in contrast to the reasons most people play traditional games. If you asked a bunch of people why they played Pac-Man or Tetris, you probably wouldn’t get too many different responses, but gamers seem to get all sorts of different things from, and in turn, look for different things, in their MMOGs.

However, the recurring theme in Snakes’ thread seemed to be community. While this isn’t important to everyone, it seems to be an important reason for many of our users, and I must admit, important to myself as well. I know. What a surprise! The Community Manager is interested in community! D’uh.

Communities do exist surrounding other games, but there is nothing is like a tight-knit MMOG community. There have been tons of good (and bad) examples over the years of what can come out of MMOG communities, but suffice it to say, people can make connections and friendships that last the test of time and span many games through these little things called MMORPGs and I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t one of the most, if not the most important reasons I play these games.

Why do you play MMOGs? Let us know in the comments below!

Ludipe writes:

I enjoy playing with humans instead of just machines, and also the fact that you build your own story , for me, MMORPGs tend to be deeper than common role games.

Thu Feb 25 2010 5:08PM Report
elocke writes:

 For me, it encompasses alot of what has been said already.  But it mainly comes down to this:

When I was a kid, I played with action figures.  A lot. The coolest part of having those figures was finding interesting places to make their environment for the day.  I.E. sandboxes.  Not just sandboxes though(in which you can make your own roads, buildings etc. with judicially placed water and buckets) but also areas under stairs, decks, bunk beds, you name it.  Each of these every day places became vast worlds for my characters to explore and battle within.

Today's MMORPGS, the good ones, capture this feeling from my youth.  That's why I play them and why I am so picky about what each game out there offers.

Thu Feb 25 2010 5:31PM Report
UnsungToo writes:

I like exploring. I come back to them because they are convenient, and they rarely keep my attention.

I think it's about exploring my own mind.

Thu Feb 25 2010 6:29PM Report
opusaug writes:

I've thought about this a lot recently, because of the discussions where people have been having making distinctions between what's "a true MMO" and (said disparagingly)  "Internet cooperative multiplayer".

Unlike what I hear a lot of people say, I don't particularly like "the community".  As I play MMOs, I'm logging in to play cooperatively with my RL friends.  All you other people hanging around in the game at the same time as me just add the flavor of big-city bustle. At best, you're atmosphere. Most of time when I'm forced to interact with non-NPCs, I feel like I'm dealing with adults who never learned any manners.  In actuality, I'll bet I'm dealing with real-live 12-year olds.

If someone could design an algorithm to walk bots around town, buy my crafts, and sell me stuff randomly, that even remotely approximated human behavior - but without the "being a jerk" parts, I'd actually be happier with that. When y'all disparage "cooperative internet multiplayer", I laugh, because I'd buy that game in a hearbeat.

Thu Feb 25 2010 6:56PM Report
mikenet707 writes:

MMOs are cheap entertainment overall ($.50 cents a day). I know if I go out to the movies 4 times a month that can cost $200 dollars for movies and food( 2people). I love large worlds with decent graphics. Brings the imagination as close to reality as possible. I wish that someone would make a Universe MMO where you can go to the places that you can only look at in telescopes. I know we have EVE but I hate PVP.  I am not super social in MMOs but if you are part of a good friendly community it can be extra fun indeed. With the questing,crafting,brokerage,monthly quests etc...MMO's are definitely more fulfilling then most single player games. God bless. Peace.

Thu Feb 25 2010 10:12PM Report
Ayin writes:

I like to play a select few MMORPGs because they normally have good lore and actual story to dig into through story-quests (not task-quests).  The closer to a single player game, the better.

I like the freedom to create a unique character, though I don't generally role-play that character since graphic games don't allow the style of text role-play I find most fitting. Most offline games that I've looked into don't allow you to customize your character very much in comparison.

I like that the games are online so I can experience ever-growing worlds with new stories to explore, occasionally with friends (and never with random people who need to accomplish some goal that forces them together), but mostly on my own, when my schedule permits, (not when a group of 5 to 60 can work their schedules around to meet for more than 2 hours at a time.)

I like that some MMORPGs are free to download and play, instead of having to pay $50+ each game that I can finish in a week only to wait a year or more to continue the story by paying another $50+. (I've never paid a cent to their cash shops, and enjoy them just fine, since my drive to play online games isn't PvP competition where every edge counts. PvE isn't so demanding in the games I like.)

The persistent world gives a little meaning to every bit of advancement made (compared to offline games where it doesn't matter once you "beat" the game.)  Such advances can help me accomplish new things, and help my friends at times.


Thu Feb 25 2010 10:34PM Report
brenth writes:

I play mmorpg to be able to do things i would never get the chance to do, and meet people I would never get to meet, and to discover and learn which most mmos fail at)

I want to visit living breathing places  and be part of that world maby even leave my  mark upon that world in some way.

Fri Feb 26 2010 12:31AM Report
MerchantKill writes:

I play MMOG's as a cost effective, entertaining way of enjoying time and a hobby with my wife. We started gaming together on consoles, then single player pc rpg games - looking over the other's shoulder - before realizing we needed something we could play cooperatively, and which also offered hundreds of hours of gameplay and vast, non-linear worlds to explore. Single player games were just too short and limited in scope for the amount of time we enjoy spending together gaming.

We both enjoy MMORPG lore and roleplaying, she likes observing the silly emo dramas of the community around us, and I like exploring new virtual worlds and creating the "perfect" builds. We both enjoy PvP (against and with each other), as well as buying/selling items in the virtual economy. We also love the challenge of building duo-centric toons for farming dungeons/instances designed for larger groups.

Occasionally, we'll indulge in guild participation or interacting with others in the community - but mostly we just enjoy spending time together playing the same game. Usually with our own 2-person guild or party chats running - completely removed from the rest of the community. We enjoy f2p mmo's most, as neither of us is too concerned about 1337ness and are completely willing to put in the grind/timesink/playtime required to bypass any "necessities" of cash shop models.

Mostly, we just find MMOG's a great way to spend time together with little to no cost overhead, sharing adventures and experiences of our choosing, and overcoming obstacles together. So much more engaging than staring slackjawed at another inane tv sitcom night after night, never exploring each other's creative passions and experiencing shared adventures. We're an irl mmo couple, and proud of it.

Fri Feb 26 2010 12:36AM Report
brenth writes:

the industry is prety sad these days... static,,shallow,, hack and slash,, dumbed down to monkey level.  just look at STO  I fully expected sto to be earth shattering as in good enough to displace eve and give all use eve refugees a fun place to play. but STO was a huge dissapointment it could have been a deep rich universe ripe for IMBEDED LEARNING but they didnt even bother to put all the planets in our solar system. I went from "must buy" to "waste of money" and I count myself as a star trek fan. if I was Mr. Roddenbery I would be ashamed.

Fri Feb 26 2010 12:43AM Report
brenth writes:

mikenet707 said  "I know we have EVE but I hate PVP"

I completely agree eve is  a pvp only club  and non-pvpers are treated like 2nd class players.  their PVP is all or nothing  so unless your hard core PVPer your just a glowing spot in space,, and if thats not bad enough  several of the non-pvp mining corps I have belonged to have been destroyed by "war decking" this is declaring war on a corperation making any ship vulnerable anywhere in the galaxy for a week at a time and players choices are limited

1. become a pvper and stop doing what you enjoy doing

2. shelter in a staton doing nothing for the week or log out,,praying that they wont wardec the next week

3. leave the player corp and rejoin the NPC default corp which leaves you quite alone

4. cancel your subscription and try to find a better game (when it comes to scifi  none exist right now)

also when it comes to groups  and exploration and content   EVE may look prety but its all procedural and beren.

Fri Feb 26 2010 1:08AM Report
silenos writes:

I play MMOs because they are fun and relaxing. They help me get away from real life's problems. Thanks to my MMO characters, I can be someone else in the world of MMO's... even if it's not permanent, it's good to be a smart elf or a human heroine... something I'll never be in real life.

Fri Feb 26 2010 2:19AM Report
Jaedor writes:

I play MMOs for company. Sometimes that's in a community of other players, like a guild. Other times it's to be alone in a world I share with strangers, which is somehow comforting.

Fri Feb 26 2010 1:11PM Report
Gikku writes:

I began playing because of real life friends that played and bought my hubby the game for his BD. I am the one however, that began playing it then he started. We had only one computer so I played during the day and when he got home it was his time. Weekends were tough. In time we go a second computer and that made life better. Diablo was the first. Since it was EQ for five years then on to WoW which is our current game.

For me it is a place to go meet people that have things in common with to battle monsters and sometimes other players.  I  have never been big on pvp so any of the pvp games I have tried have not lasted for me.  I love lore and quests as well as exploring the world. Sometimes I like to do this alone, sometimes not. So I look for a game that I can do either and not be limited to grouping only.

I like challenges so I am not looking for the easy game but at the same time I don't want it to be so hard that I can't have fun.


Fri Feb 26 2010 3:14PM Report
wootin writes:

I'll have to offer a response from the other side of the mirror:

I DON'T (currently) play MMOs because tthe games are either too cheap and mindlessly easy, ridiculously overcomplicated with towering stacks of abilities, or just mindless gankfests which are not easy, but still cheap in gameplay.

This is very sad to me. I think MMOs are excellent platforms for letting me fulfill my exploration and socializing needs (despite years of Planetside and FPS games, I'm actually an ESAK Bartle profile) and I'd like to be playing one now instead of being here commenting on why I don't :(

Fri Feb 26 2010 11:20PM Report
Morv writes:

What would be interesting is a game that is focused on means-based gaming, in that, every aspect of the game has a direct and important meaning or purpose. Without a purpose for the gameplay there will be no meaning.

Also, with purpose emergent behavior would surface creating more and more new ways to look at a game with meaning.

Fri Mar 19 2010 6:00AM Report writes:
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