The title of The List today seems like a bit of an oxymoron doesn’t it? Or maybe I’m just a moron? Be that as it may, there is no question that millions of people play MMOs but play them as individuals who only occasionally enter into the “multiplayer” part of the game. To dedicated soloists, massive multiplayer simply means that they share a space with a lot of other people but that those people, other than convenient for end-game content, really don’t impact their game play experience.
The List today covers what makes soloing so attractive to some players of MMORPGs:
5) Play on your own time table
One of the more gratifying aspects to being a soloist is the fact that you can play your favorite MMORPG at any time that suits you. Two in the morning after feeding Junior? No problem! Eleven at night after a Friday happy hour drinking orgy? Heck yeah! You can play when you want for as long as you want.
Maybe it’s just banging out one or two quests. Or maybe you’re in for the long haul with survival stores on hand including a portable toilet. You’re on your time table, baby, and no one can ditch you over wasting time or berate you for leaving early.
4) Play at your own speed
I suspect that some of you out there are the type to read every word of every quest and think that hitting the level cap in an MMORPG should take six months at the minimum. Or conversely, maybe you’re the type to skip the chatter and scroll to the bottom line. Your goal is to hit the level cap as fast as humanly possible. Remember those folks in Diablo 2 who hit level 99 within hours of a ladder reset? Whichever type of gamer you are, you’re in luck if you play solo. You get to set the pace. You’re in charge of how fast or how slow you choose to play.
3) No need for small talk
A lot of players choose to go it alone due to the simple fact that grouping requires small talk. Most guilds either require or strongly encourage their players to use some sort of voice chat. Many MMOs already have that feature built in. Often, however, voice chat is silly or covers topics that would cause most sailors and dock workers to blush like a virgin maiden. Even guild or group text channels do not remain above such things and are often spammed with inane talk. The soloist doesn’t have to put up with that and can spend time happily chatting with him or herself in the privacy of their own home. No more hearing about what everyone’s having for dinner or feeling obligated to enter into political discussions. Ah blessed silence!
2) No witnesses to embarrassing deaths
There is nothing worse than traipsing along a hillside only to find your character spinning through space due to a wrong footfall. I think the worst I ever experienced was the fall down the well from the Chamber of Crossroads in Lord of the Rings Online. Oh sure, it’s neat to get the snarkily titled “Well-traveled” achievement, but it’s still humiliating if you didn’t actually mean to fall into the well and were doing your character’s signature dance on the well’s rim.
And of course, you all know about those embarrassing AFK deaths. You know the ones I mean. You think you’re leaving your character in a safe place and go off to get something to eat in the kitchen. You vaguely hear the death rattle and come back to find your character dead with a “ferocious vorpal kitten” standing guard over your corpse. You do not want to have that witnessed.
1) No need to share the loot
While a lot of MMOs have worked out the grab and run problem by assigning loot to individuals based on their participation in killing monsters or running in raid groups, it still grates on the soloist’s nerves to have to share anything with other players. By taking on the game world alone, there is no one with whom gold coins or items have to be shared. No roll of the dice. No “need, greed or pass”. It’s all mine….MINE I TELL YOU!