Monday, October 22, 2007

Socialization and Online Gaming

Monday I responded to a question regarding the state of the game in Guild Wars, primarily having to do with team forming vs. using computer players (AI).*

After pouring out my thoughts to complete strangers that share this common interest, this game we play, I continued to roll the idea over in my head more after I stepped away, refraining from replying in kind to the knee-jerk response my post elicited from a contentious member.

For whatever reason, I myself have long been a social outsider. Personal preference, the childhood peer estrangement of an odd religious upbringing, pseudo-intellectual snobbery, one could speculate all the various causes and pontificate for hours on end about my personality or lack thereof. I am fully aware of my social shortcomings and have learned how to work around them and hide them most days.

I, as almost everyone else in the world, believe my viewpoint is correct and the one that everyone else should accept, and once again, this is a shortcoming of which I am fully aware and can work around most days. But I am not succeeding so well with this topic. I am a bit irked with what I already know (maddeningly) to be an entirely futile case: I haven't won over persons of the opposite viewpoint on a gaming forum.

So I will lay out my case here, in the semi-isolation of my blog, a step away from the heated 100+ reply debate raging regarding online gaming with or without other players.

Mulitplayer gaming is just that - multiplayer. The very word implies interaction with other persons: multi - more than one - and thereby a social activity. So I get bent out of shape by persons who want to play multiplayer games ... all alone ... and who complain that the game is too hard or unable to be beaten or would be improved if the human player could have better computer henchmen/players in all the places where the game is designed to be played by multiple human characters working together.

In my mind, this is like wanting customizable robotic companionship and assistance throughout real life - a bit preposterous and extremely anti-social. Yes, I too would greatly enjoy the convenience and responsiveness if everyone else in the world was a robot. Programmed to do exactly the right thing at exactly the right time, who would never bother me with traffic violations, who would never forget to take care of their responsibilities, who would be perfect in every way and respond exactly as I desired and leave me alone with my thoughts.

This is a great fantasy in which to escape when I am most annoyed with people.

But after awhile, this vision becomes bland. If all the world's annoying people disappeared and were mysteriously replaced by wonderfully behaved robots, although my life would become wonderfully and neatly ordered, the way I would love it to be, I would be denied those human quirks that make us humorous, insightful, able to share love and pain both.

So although I still fervently wish that people would just generally behave better, I would not replace them all with robots. The world would be boring indeed.

So back to the topic of MMO games.

While the rest of us team up and enjoy both sides of the multi-player coin - the pain of loss and the immense frustrations of dealing with other people's personalities, coupled with the tremendous happiness when you finally get past the personality struggles, mesh with a few people and find success - a few misanthropes want to complain about not being able to play the game alone.

Short point - if you don't want to deal with people, bother with their attitudes, or take the time to make a friend, then don't play an MMO! Go find some single-player game; there is no shortage. Do a little introspection, self-examination, and realize that you simply do not like multi-player games and therefore should not buy them.

*The discussion thread was later merged into this thread, to which I had also replied previously

1 comment:

RedPh0enix said...

Celeste, I post my comment on this particular blog post simply because it is the most recent. I found my way here a while back by way of your profile at TOG. On occasion, I will explore others profiles to learn a bit more about who the person is behind the posts and nicknames. Most of the time the information is insignificant. Sometime there is a link to a myspace page, these tend to offer a bit more insight then the typical "interests"/"about you" sections of the profile. However, upon following the link that you left behind, I found some very intelligent writings that I was able to relate to and that have brought me back a time or two more. I've found that your writings have a sense of depth and are well thought out. I appreciate that. I'm always interested in reading things of this nature. Although I don't know you, I feel that in some bizarre way I do know a little bit about the person that you are, through the passages that you have written. Primarily because I can relate to some of those things. Anyway, I just felt that I would let you know that someone has read and related to that which you have written. I hope that as I spew forth the thoughts that bounce around in my head that they can come out with a similar level of eloquence.