I have been playing MMORPGS and online RPGs for a long long time there is something about them that just hooks me in, like many of their players there has been days where I have spent hours upon hours stationed at my PC forgetting what time it is while I roam these virtual worlds. Recently I have been asking myself what is it about these games that attract me to them so much. After much thinking and deliberation I knew exactly what it was.. it is the community around and in these huge games.
There is no better feeling than marching through the lands with your friends, ploughing down monsters with your clan and destroying that dungeon boss with your guildees. Although you may not know these people in real life it doesn’t make the memories you shared together any less real. That is the hook for some of us, sharing memories with friends. These people aren’t NPCs with repetitive dialogue, this is ‘Susan’ or ‘Paul’ who has just spent the day at work and have come online to spend time in this world with you and others.
When I look into an online game that I want to play the first thing I do is look at the community that plays the game, I need to know the type of people I will be spending so much time with and trust me it will be a hell of a lot of time. When I visualise myself playing a new MMO I see myself in a new guild with new friends, I see off line chat with private jokes and I see meet ups in the closest pubs. I am in no way a lonely person, I have loving family, a caring fiancé and some fantastic friends around me but there is something special about your online friends too.
The interaction in these games is so strong and necessary, there is nothing worse than feeling alone in these vast areas with no friends or allies to help you out when in need. Recently I started playing World of Warcraft again, there has been so much hype around the latest expansion I found it hard to refrain myself from settling back in and starting a new character. The community in WoW has always been rather great, I made sure to join a guild of people around the same age with similar interests these guys were helpful, mature and social but something was missing. It wasn’t until I looked back at my time with Guild Wars 2 when I realised that they have the most fantastic community. The PVE is dynamic with so many people grouping together to take down the world bosses. The PVP is fun and competitive with very little immaturity when a team was losing. The dungeons were fascinating it wasn’t filled with players leaving comrades behind to fend for themselves. The forums are informative with not to many people pointing out”stupid” or “noob questions”. This is what you look for in a community. You look for friends!
I wrote this piece a few months ago but fast forward to today and I can confirm that I did stop playing WoW. It was lonely you may remember I had the exact same problem with Elder Scrolls Online. No matter how huge a game is no matter how many players are running around none of this makes a difference to an MMO until players are playing together. These games are meant to be multiplayer, yet again I have returned to Guild Wars 2 this is the first game I have played that has the community aspect perfected.
So the next time you log into an MMO help out the newbies, pair up with players and raid with strangers. Lets make new friends and new memories.
If you would like to share a story about an MMO you have played let us know in the comments!
(Image 1: http://associationsnow.com/2014/08/online-communities-just-regular-people-behind-pixels/)