Are MMORPGs Getting More Antisocial?
I recently convinced my brother to give World of Warcraft a shot. Obviously he knows I’m a big MMORPG geek but he’s never felt the calling before himself. However, he was looking for something to play on his new Mac Mini and WoW seemed to fit the bill perfectly (y’know, considering it’s probably the only thing that will run on his Mac Mini).
I sent him a free trial invite and two days later I received this email from him:
“WoW is the most antisocial game ever! I get more chat in a death-match game of Call of Duty.
The players are also so…I’m not talking to you, you’re only level 5, and I’m a level 80 wank with a big mount.
Sorry, but I felt that my evenings playing was boring – run here, kill this, run back, and then make my character pretty.
Where’s all this amazing banter and camaraderie that you speak off?!”
An interesting perspective.
On one had, I think his reaction is extreme and I can’t help but wonder what he was expecting. Perhaps he assumed he would create a level 1 Night Elf Warrior, log in and then immediately be surrounded by new bosom buddies who take him dragon hunting whilst occasionally stopping along the way to sign the odd verse of “coombiyah m’lord”. Not going to happen, bro. Just like in real life it takes time to get to know people and make friends. These things will come but you need to put in a bit of effort first. Plus you’re only level 5 for God’s sake.
On the other hand though, I can see where he’s coming from. MMORPGs can be incredibly daunting to new players and there’s certainly a lot to take in and soak up. Plus, after hearing me reminisce about all of my amazing experiences with guild mates, he must have had high expectations. Logging in and discovering your just another noob to everyone else must have been quite a shock to the system.
It does all make me wonder though. Maybe it’s my drunken nostalgia talking but I remember the days in MMORPGs when random players would run up and help out newbies, giving them a bit of gold or taking the time to show them around a city. People seemed to have more time for beginners in those days and recognised the challenges they faced. Not everyone was a saint but at least there was conversation to be had and some camaraderie to be experienced. Anyone remember Orc Hill from Everquest? That’s exactly the sort of stuff I’m talking about.
Nostalgia plays tricks on the mind though and we probably shouldn’t trust it but, still, I can’t help but wonder if my poor ol’ bro is right and that MMOs today are more antisocial than ever.
Tell me what you think, I’m off to solo quests.
P.S. Apart from belonging to the Brotherhood of the Mac and dressing like a geriatric, my brother is a good guy and would make an excellent addition to any guild dumb enough to take him. If you fancy being bombarded by questions every 5 seconds, give Havenf a shout on the Khadgar server (EU), Alliance side. And no, he can’t join my guild.