April 4, 2009

The Lonliness of MMOs

Part 1: The Group

What's the point of massively multiplayer online games or what we geeks affectionately call MMOs? No, I'm serious. Why would I choose World of Warcraft over a single player game such as Fallout or Oblivion? Rationally the answer must include, "to interact with other people."

For the sake of argument, we can loosely define "interact" to mean a myriad of things. I'm sure that somebody out there might say that in all their years of playing MMOs they have not engaged in one single in-game conversation with another player. Well that's quite a feat, and somewhat sad. However, let's broaden the scope to say observing and/or playing in the same space as other people partaking in MMO activies - good, bad, ugly - is a form of social "interaction." One could not sit on a park bench and simply say because they do not talk to passerby's that they are not part of that reality.

So let's all make the leap and say we play MMOs because we want to be part of some community. But what happens when you find a community you really like such as a guild, a team, or a small group of friends and then that community disbands? Well, it kinda sucks.

As you may have noticed this little ol' blog is a collaborative effort by those I consider my "community." These are the closest friends I have made in online gaming. These are the folks that I can honestly say in the most glowing way possible...they don't bug me. Let me introduce them to you:

First we have, Tivara A.K.A "The Boss of Us." You think I'm kidding. That's your first mistake. Her /pimphand is strong. We have learned long ago that nobody puts Tivy in a corner! But that's okay because she's a solid gamer with an infectious laugh, and when we were doing serious group runs in Burning Crusade, she didn't wipe us THAT often.

Azrakiel is Tivy's RL hubby and the resident theorycrafting nerd. Shhh, don't tell him, but when he goes off on how spell A isn't as good as Spell B because stats X and Y don't stack and blah, blah, blah...well, I kinda tune out on him. I just want to kill shit. You know what I mean? But the thing about Azzy is that he'll give you the gold in his pack if you ask him. A serious stand-up type of guy. Although, he does have a deep fascination for the dark side and half-naked demon chicks. Let's not dwell on that.

My gaming soul-mate is, Pikkle. Although, he'd probably cringe at that statement. We're the misanthropes of the group, and have difficulty finding people who don't irritate us. He's a crotchety twenty-something dude who'd probably yell at you if you stepped on his virtual lawn. He's also perpetually impatient with just about everything except for his kitty, Storm. I dunno. I'm not even sure if he likes me.

The antithesis of Pikkle and I, is Runex. He is probably the most social of the group; people <3 this fella. Rune and I co-managed a guild together (we all did) but Rune is the GM proper and I, at one point, was his co-GM. I honestly believe that Rune was one of the reasons the guild ballooned to over 200 individuals. If it were just me running the guild, there'd be like 5 of us. Seriously.

So where are we at right now? Let's discuss that in Part 2, which is yet to come.


  1. For me, the MMO isn't necessarily about playing with OTHERS as much as playing AROUND others. In single player games, every other character is driven by an AI, and regardless of how well the AI is set up, it can never be as good as an unpredictable human. Seriously. If an AI was given the choice between $100,000 or bacon, I'm sure the AI would always be programmed to choose the $100,000 (and if it didn't, it would be a 'crazy' AI). But I'm sure plenty of (sand!) humans would pick the bacon. And I like that.

  2. Well, I like playing with people, more or less; until and unless they tick me off. Then there will be a period of crabbing about people ticking me off before I explode. The explosion is inevitable, although I try to fight it.

    But you're right, Smelty. It DOES suck when the disbanding happens. One of the philosophies I've had to use in life is that if people like you and want to be your friend, distance, time and space do not matter. They will overcome it all in order to interact with you. The best part is that it won't even feel like work. But if they don't like you deep down, they won't put forth the effort. Egos and feelings get hurt a bit but if the friendship fails, typically the friendship was a little lopsided one way or the other anyway.

    For now, at least, you haven’t annoyed me enough to boss you to go play Yahtzee with your grandmother. I freaking married Azzy. Runey got me a firefly so we are bonded for life and Pikkle... (deep love-struck sigh) Our strange mid-western bond is strong. Who can resist being told they’re weak and silly? Not me, my friend. Not me.

  3. Good point about the AI. I'm sure the person who chooses bacon over $100k would be...interesting. Me? I just don't think bacon is that tasty.

  4. Bacon is the shit, but I'll take the cash and buy my ass a ton of bacon and share it with my pals, that's using your noodle!

  5. Rune! When are you going to post your next game review?

  6. Yeah Runey! (Plus, very wise way to out-wit Pikky's bacon postulation.)