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The social soloer

December 6, 2009 8 comments

In the eternal solo vs team debate around MMOs there are sometimes arguments that playing solo is somehow not social and that teaming up is the way to be social.

I find that teaming in MMOs inheritely have very little to do with social activities. I am social with people I choose to be social with. Being part of a team in an MMO is an organised way for a few people to reach a somewhat common goal, but so is taking the Metro to work.

In fact, there are plenty of occasions where teaming forces me to be less social than I was solo. Playing solo I have much better control of how my time is spent and I can choose when and how and who to interact with. In a team there may be less chance to do so, especially in PUGs where people are somewhat unknown entities. You may have to put more focus on the game mechanics and what other people are doing – if you do not know them well that will take extra effort.

I do like to team up though, either with friends or when there is some more interesting content to be experienced in a team formation. In the latter case the team could be real people, or NPC allies. Real people matter when the AI is not good enough.

The point here is that teaming is something that has very little to do with actual social interaction in games. It may happen, but it is not because people happen to be in a team. There is certainly enjoyment from team play also, but that is a different kind of enjoyment.

Categories: MMO Games

No-one wants to be a hero…

December 6, 2009 Comments off

..but everyone wants to be treated like a hero.

From time to time there are comments saying that “Everyone wants to be a hero” and that MMOs fails to deliver on that compared to single-player games. I think that is male cattle poop. If everyone really wanted to be a hero, we would see a lot more chivalry, good deeds and amazing communities.

But in the end what everyone wants is the hero’s reward, the bystanders’ reaction and celebration as if there had been a heroic deed – be it other players or NPCs. How to get there does not matter and consequences can be ignored.

And that is ok – sometimes. MMOs have the versatility as game type to allow many different gameplay which may or may not include other people in various ways. That is their strength and what they can allow to be rewarded in many different ways. Heroes may happen, but does not have to be there.

Categories: MMO Games