Some random MMO philosophy

Due to a distinct lack of events happening in my personal gaming life, I’m going to try to create this post to be one with a split focus. I ran across a few interesting articles this morning while I was surfing Virgin Worlds and I figured I would discuss them. As with most things on this blog, I plan to give my personal opinion so if you feel the need to flame, please do.

Why We Solo in MMOs. 

This was an interesting article for me to read because varying play styles in MMOs have always fascinated me. The author of this article is someone who values soloing in MMOs and tries to explain why he plays this way.

People who solo in MMOs and refuse to help or be a part of the group have always been a point of frustration for me. According to Bartles MMO test, I am SKAE (Socializer 73.33%, Killer 60.00%, Achiever 40.00%, Explorer 26.67%). I think this sums up my playing style rather well. I mostly enjoy playing within a community of other people and locking horns/killing other people. I cansolo but usually do so out of necessity. I would much, much rather play with other people because that usually makes the unpleasant parts go quicker and my time more enjoyable. To compare it to a different event, it would be like choosing to have co-workers instead of choosing to always work alone. If I am at work, it would be nice if I had other people around to either talk to or work with. I am a social creature I suppose.

In my opinion, soloing belies a certain mistrust of others. Someone would rather solo, in a world full of others players with similar interest, than risk messing up the private, mental world that they have constructed for themselves. I have known all manner of solo players that range from innocent, noobie players to power gamers that believe other players do nothing but hold them back. I tend to believe that most of soloers fall into that ladder category. This could very well be true. Making a decision by yourself as opposed to making a decision with 6 other people, will always be easier.

It is something interesting for me to think about. Games that are created around a concept of multiple people, playing together, sharing an experience but yet, a lot of people choose to sit on the side line.

What do you think? Why do you solo or not solo?


Is endgame merely the beginning?

This is a very serious question for me. The article, while short, has an interesting spin to it. Despite whether or not it is played out or old news, I think it is what truely makes a game great as opposed to merely average. There is an quote i’m going to begin on:

  • “This begs the question: is all game content merely there to help you get to the endgame, at which time the fun truly begins?”

 For a great majority of MMOs, this certainly feels like the case. Great games are ones that make this fun somehow. There is a delicate balance that has to be made here between making something require effort but somehow making that effort fun in its own right. That is where I believe WAR will truly outshine the competition but still not perfect the formula. I can see WAR being chocked full of fun things to do and interesting content at all levels but the truly epic things, the cool gear, the big fights and the city seiges are all high level.

Part of me believes that it is an inescapable part of any MMO and it can never be changed. Leveling is just part of it and its not always going to be the most fun. It’s going to require some work and it may not always be what you wish you were doing but I do believe that games like WAR are heading in the right direction.

  • “Once you’ve reached the heights, is the rest of the game still fun?”

Good question. Normally, probably not but as long as the content is varied enough for all available paths, yes. Once again, WAR may break the mold in a huge way here. They seem to have done away with the idea of “all races meeting together and having the same areas and quest after level 10” stuff. Thank god. It seems so simple but yet no one has done it yet. Cross your fingers guys. WAR could be on their way to tossing out a few unpleasant things that have always haunted MMOs.

What do you think?


~ by bartlebe on April 17, 2008.

4 Responses to “Some random MMO philosophy”

  1. Thank you for weighing in on my post! Speaking as someone who’s never stuck around long enough to experience endgame content, it all sounds dreadfully repetitive and meaningless. Yet I know people who feel like that’s the only reason to play. Me, I’ll wait for the next innovation.

  2. Your thoughts on my post about “Why We Solo” actually opened up another avenue of thought for me. Solo players aren’t sitting on the “side lines” they are very active players, often times very participatory in other elements of the game such as crafting and the economy. I do believe the designers think they designed group oriented games but putting them into a fantasy setting and virtual world means that you can’t assume how people will react or choose to play the game. The games on the market where I can see that the group mechanic is really required is to be successful or competitive in FPS games or hardcore PVP environments. I think it’s too much of an assumption to create a virtual world and for them to assume how people will choose to execute the game play.

    One of the other things I didn’t mention is that in reality – the real world, our lives are filled to the brim with “must do” activities. The one place where you should have freedom of choice, expression and play style, is in a game. Virtual worlds IMO should be free from forced activity.

  3. @Saylah

    That is a very good point. Touche and thanks for stopping by! 😀

  4. If you join a mature guild in an established game almost everyone is already at the game’s highest level. Initially there may be a flurry of interest and offers of “help” (often given in a lofty patronising sort of way as befits a superior player to an inferior one – although no doubt well intentioned), but very soon the high level players return to their endgame loot concerns.

    On the other hand if you can find a new guild, that isn’t full of juvenile idiots, the players will level at different rates and divisions soon occur between levellers and explorers. I suspect that many players who solo a lot are explorer types who engage more with the fantasy elements in the world and are less interested in their status within the game vis a vis other people. They don’t wish to be hurried into rushing through the content, to an often sterile endgame, in order to keep up in a struggle for status with other players.

    My style of play was developed in those early single player RPGs (Wizardry 1-8, EOB etc) where I came to realise that, for me, the enjoyment in the games was in getting there and that when you eventually did meet the big foozle at the end of the levelling process the game is essentially over and all your fat lootz becomes meaningless – you can’t take it with you to the next game (the parallel to RL has not escaped me 🙂 that’s how i try to live my life as well – who says games don’t teach you anything?).

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