The Silent Affair

Rift Silent Grouping

Silence is golden

Her name was Renneque. She was probably a man. We met in the dark, gloomy woods of Gloamwood. Aptly named, I thought. She was fighting the undead; so was I. I clicked a button and we formed a group, becoming one without ever saying a word, a single, cohesive fighting force of man/woman death.

Like a mind reader, she read my mind, following me from kill to kill. Like a mind reader, I checked my quest journal and found the quests she needed to complete. We made beautiful, virtual, synthetic strokes of slaughter through the hordes of undead that opposed us. Quest after quest after quest fell before us. We were mighty indeed, a dynamic duo of silent avengers, hell bent on pumping up our exp bars.

We didn’t need to speak. Speaking was for fools and QQ kids and players of MMOs from the first decade of the 21st century. We had surpassed speaking like the homosapien had surpassed the neanderthal. We were a new breed of gamer, distant yet close, apart yet together. It’s 2011 and this was grouping.

We came to our final quest together. I looked at our enemy and pointed with my big sword. She said nothing. I charged forward and engaged our target in mortal combat. She joined the carnage. In a blink of an eye it was all over. I spoke my first words, “Nice work”. “Yep”, she replied. In was enough. We disbanded and parted ways. I never saw her again.

So this is for you, Renneque, my silent partner, to remember our beautiful moment together. If we ever meet again, please don’t say hello.

-Gordon

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46 Comments

  1. Klepsacovic says:

    This may be the most depressing post I have ever read.

  2. I thought it was heartwarming! You turned a typical everyday non-communicative encounter that usually frustrates people into an RP story that’s beautiful and even a little romantic. But yeah, she was probably a man :P

  3. Pathak says:

    It’s an awesome post, and captures the reality of public grouping. It almost bought a tear to my eye.

    But, you know, the Defiants probably got her. Installed a voice inhibitor in her throat. Made it a cruel joke.

    “I hear some of you Guardians like to pray out loud. If you could say one thing to your god, what would it be?”. The Defiant backed away from the bound Renneque. “Think carefully on those words, they may be your last”.

    “You motherf… aggh!”. Renneques throat spasmed, and throbbed. That bastard has done something to me, she thought. Installed one of their forsaken machines in my throat.

    The Defiant chuckled softly. “What was that? I couldn’t quite make it out, what with all the energy sparking within you.” He melded into the shadows. “You get a word or two a day.”, his voice trailed off into the night, “Don’t spend them all at once.”

  4. pkudude99 says:

    Champion / Warlord / Riftblade for your souls? Interesting combo.

    And I thought it a hilarious story. I’ve had some awesome chatty groups from the “join up” feature, but yeah, most are usually “join, finish a quest or 3, say ‘thx’ and drop.”

    • Gordon says:

      “Champion / Warlord / Riftblade for your souls? Interesting combo.”

      Works pretty well although I’ve spent most of my points in Champ so far.

      • pkudude99 says:

        Given your love of big swords post, I’m not surprised. I have a champ/beasmaster/paragon role, for when I’m feeling 2H-ish, but I’m currently using a halberd. And I hate the cat, so even though I think this build does more damage than my Riftblade/Paladin/Paragon I still tend to use the latter build more often. I suppose I could just drop the beastmaster part out and figure something else for the 2nd soul slot. . . .

  5. Coreus says:

    This post made me smile.

  6. JeffM says:

    Gordon….

    I think this deserves a punch from your wife…on second thought I’m quite certain of it.

  7. Syl says:

    I second the Kleps. I wrote something uncannily similar in tone today and now I’m definitely depressed. At least I’m not alone.

  8. anon says:

    what does it say about me, that i actually liked this description?
    is it some kind of ’silent heroic male’ thing? this simple type of camaraderie.

  9. SmakenDahed says:

    But did you score?

    What pkudude99 said.

    Good stuff, would have been better if you scored though. ;)

  10. Ferrel says:

    I thought it was a beautiful love story! Although I see that you mentioned guys like me (No, not the female toon playing guys)! “players of MMOs from the first decade of the 21st century.”

    We are a dying breed! Great post =D

  11. Nils says:

    Finally credible NPCs! An old dream has become true! Now we just make them speak and they could almost be other people. Woah! Think of it! Playing with other people in a massive universe. I can’t wait.

  12. Epiny says:

    It’s great writing but it does highlight the loniless of current MMOs. As Edward Norton said they are all just single serving friends. No long term relationships ever develop in MMOs now.

    • SmakenDahed says:

      (stream of thought) Might be that people are unwilling to commit to a group or guild? There are so many around, might as well just jump to the one that suits your needs of the moment – no?

      Or maybe people stick to their circles a little more?

      I’ve made a number of friends through guilds, but I have to admit, outside of the guild I’m on, I haven’t had much contact. Definitely my own fault for not going out of my way to be social… but then I don’t really need to be social in WoW. I can solo, use the Dungeon Finder and raid with my guild at set times.

      Thinking about those activities, the one I enjoy the most is the raiding. If I had to say why, I’d have to go with, “It’s social… sort of like hanging out and playing a game with your friends. That’s fun.”

      Go figure.

      • Gordon says:

        I think people just prefer to stick to social conventions in MMOs now more than ever. For instance it’s socially acceptable to join a guild with a bunch of complete strangers and then chat with them but the idea of grouping with non-guildies and chatting with them is almost a taboo. It’s a very interesting topic actually and deserves it’s own blog post :)

  13. Bhagpuss says:

    I think it indicates stronger roleplaying than most of the badly-spelled “I talk about myself in the third person. In emotes!” variety that I overhear so much of these days.

    As for whether it’s depressing, did you find it depressing as a kid when you went to the park and there was a bunch of kids playing football and you watched for a bit and then the ball came your way and you kicked it back and then you were playing with them for an hour and then the kid who owned the ball had to leave and you all said “bye” and split up, and you never really learned any of their names but you knew you’d come back another day and see if there was still a game going on?

    ‘Cos I loved that then and this is just like it.

  14. Bristal says:

    @Baghpuss
    I don’t know who you played with as a kid (mutes?), but getting in on a ball game with a bunch of new kids and not learning anyone’s name or finding out when they might be back or where they live or talking about stuff while waiting for your “ups”?

    Impossible in real life. Or just painfully, pathalogically shy?

    Gordon’s post is absolutely depressing. That type of “social play” does nothing but degrade any possibility of community growth. People are treated as objects. Communication is a waste of time. Getting to know someone is impossible, respecting others is pointless. The Golden Rule becomes obsolete.

    The new Golden Rule? Do unto others and move on.

  15. Jomu says:

    nice entry; Rift is very much like that

  16. Longasc says:

    You are such a romantic! :)
    My favorite partner in WoW was a female human Paladin. Unfortunately she was a guy. That reduced the romance factor to zero. :>

  17. vortal says:

    This is what Grouping has reduced to nowadays. Man I feel old, with my polyhedral dice, pen, paper, and Warhammer miniatures. I miss the good old days where people went to have entire conversations about random stuff in our lives while grouping together. Good old days……..Times have surely passed.

    By the way, I think this was my least favorite posts, That is saying a lot from me since I enjoy all posts you have.

  18. Rivs says:

    Totally a dude. A girl would be talking your arm and leg off. :P

  19. Wolfshead says:

    Brilliant article! Short and to the point.Sometimes a vignette is worth a thousand words.

    I agree with Vortal. Even worse, this illustrates the shallowness of human interaction among players in most MMOs these days.

    Grouping and any form of cooperation has just about as much intimacy as someone paying a prostitute for sex. MMOs have been reduced to mere transactions where group members are nothing more than props.

    Contrast this to the camaraderie that one should feel if their world was being invaded by beings from another plane. In the real world adversity brings people together. Look at how the soldiers bonded in the HBO series Band of Brothers. They were family and they looked out for each other. Then compare this to grouping in today’s MMOs.

    MMOs need to start creating circumstances, scenarios and mechanics that bring people together instead of isolating them even further.

  20. Roy says:

    I think I am gonna cry. But then on the other hand she could could have been a he. Now I think I am gonna laugh.
    But wait, it could have been your cousin or something, even funnier.

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