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When Online Games Become All About ME! ME! ME!

February 18, 2010

MMO gamers are a funny lot. How many times have you seen complaints on a forum about how a game isn’t “massive” enough, or that community is lacking, or that it plays out like a single-player experience? But when it actually comes down to it…for a group that’s often so vocal about such matters, we sure can be an individualistic bunch. I’ve found that this is especially true during the first few days of any MMO event, and the Allods Online open beta (essentially, the “soft launch” of the game) is no exception.

Times like these seem to bring out the worst in people. Everywhere I look, I see examples of the “everyone-for-themselves” mentality, the most common one of course being the dozens of players running back and forth on their own across a zone trying to kill snakes or deer or lynxes or what have you whose spawn rates just can’t keep up with the raging demand.  And yet…no one wants to group up to help each other out or even interact with one another! It’s mind-boggling. It would make more sense if this soloing helps one progress or level faster in any way, but it doesn’t. You waste more time traveling to look around for an untagged mob than anything.

Even more appalling are the instances of kill-stealing. Now, we all know that kill-stealing is not cool, right? Especially when it’s one of those “beat mob down to less than 30% health, then activate some debuff on them” quests. You don’t stand around watching and waiting for someone else to do all the work then steal the credit from under their nose. But earlier this evening, I saw in zone chat that not only was this behavior being practiced, it was being encouraged. Several of my own guild members admitted that they did it because it was the best option and advised another guildie to do so when he expressed his frustrations at being KS’ed. Well, call me uptight or priggish or goody-two-shoes or whatever, but I still assert that this whole “everyone-else-is-being-an-ass-about-it-so-why-can’t-I?” attitude does nothing but destroy community.

Anyway, I read all this and I just don’t know what to think. While it may be tempting to say “Screw it!” and sink to those levels, I refuse to do so and disrespect my fellow players. I’m still a firm believer of common courtesy, and I’ll always try to do my part in fostering a good community. There are always other alternatives around the self-seekers, the most obvious one being to GROUP UP! We’re all playing an MMORPG for crying out loud, it’s not that hard. I take the initiative to start a party whenever I can, and we always finish the quest much faster than if we were all separately waiting around for a mob to spawn. The social aspect is such a huge component of an online game, so I don’t know why people don’t make the most out of it.

5 comments

  1. Never underestimate a player’s ability to optimize all the fun out of a game. I don’t understand it myself, but I’ve seen it often enough to know that it is sadly too common.


  2. What game did that happen in?


  3. I’ve seen stuff like this happen in most games, really. But the particular examples I listed in the post was from the Allods Online open beta launch.


  4. I’ve played a variety of MMOs and the worst I’ve seen for this sort of kiddie behavior has been WoW. The best, either EVE or Fallen Earth.

    sure seems like the “easier” the game the worse the players act.


  5. I fit the bill of being one of those solo players who would rather take all day doing a quest than party with others, and it’s pretty much for the same reasons as mentioned in your article: people are selfish, greedy, rude, obnoxious, douchebags; pick whatever adjective you want. Even when people seem pretty cool at first, it doesn’t take long before you see their true colors. I’ve had so many bad experiences trying to play with other people, I would just rather be alone and do my own thing than have to deal with the bad attitudes of others, not to mention oftentimes other people have a habit of actually SLOWING your progression down instead of speeding it up.

    For these reasons, I tend to shy away from MMOs; after all, the whole point is the social aspect, right? However, every so often a game comes along that’s worth playing, regardless.

    It seems the world — especially on the internet, is in a rapid state of decline when it comes to, as you put it, “common courtesy”. Perhaps it’s the anonymity the internet provides, but it seems people are losing sight of how to treat one another respectfully. But I digress.



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