Do We Really Need to be Playing MMOs?

Consulting player-made resources or seeking other players’ advice is an over-tedious hurdle to circumvent when one just wants to play the game and be told straight up what to do or aim towards.

Over yonder at the GW2 reddit, some people are even of the mindset that mesmers offering free portals to jumping puzzles are cheapening the experience for others, who ought to learn how to do it for themselves. Similar expectations often exist for group-based content like dungeons or raids, where “carrying” weaker players is denigrated.

Teamwork and cooperation is a pain, coordination of maps and large player groups an exercise in frustration, and schedule matching for regular meetups a cat-herding despair. Guilds are drama magnets.

Differing expectations and poor communication between players lead to accusations of elitism and toxicity and all-around unpleasant experiences.

It seems like every potential interaction between players has a high chance of going “wrong” for at least one party, if not both.

Lately, I’ve been playing Warframe as a solo player for at least 95% of the time (minus the time I got carried by indifferent strangers through a tactical alert).

I’ve been making a push to participate just a tad in Path of Exile’s Incursion League, or rather in its Incursion Flashback form. SSF, of course, aka Solo Self Found. (Though I am not above taking a shortcut via using other players’ advice on forum guides.)

On a whim, I decided to pick up Monster Hunter World on Steam, though I’m not actually sure when I have the time to a) clear 25gb on the hard disk in order to install it, b) and how long I will actually play it while juggling a ton of other games. The main deciding factor was me googling “Can I play Monster Hunter World solo?” and reading a number of affirmative replies that this was indeed possible and allowed by its game design.

These days, it seems like players are more likely to attack than help others anyway, which just leads to corresponding attempts by others to -avoid- player interaction like the plague.

The only group-based stuff I read where people do seem to be having positive experiences is when they are playing with a known and pre-established group of a small number of friends or family.

Maybe massively multiplayer is no longer a necessary thing.

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7 thoughts on “Do We Really Need to be Playing MMOs?

  1. Nogamara says:

    Maybe we don’t need to, but I prefer to. I haven’t really interacted much with people in the last couple of years, but I still prefer playing MMOs to solo games sooo much.
    Not sure if I’m just waiting for the desire to play more with people again or if it’s something else, but the sense of permanence is stronger than with a single player save game.

  2. bhagpuss says:

    You’re trolling, right?

    Boss Blitz has been some of the most fun I’ve had in PvE since the Marionnette had her strings cut. I’ve been yelling advice in map chat along with everyone else and it’s been loud, messy fun. In WvW it’s like there’s been a party going on all week. We’ve had three tags running on three BLs, scouts working overtime, desperate last-second saves and inglorious wipes, all managed by a judiious mix of yelling and shouting in /map and /team, rallying cries in /guild and the fine tuning somewhere out of my hearing in Teamspeak.

    Two hours ago I did the collect for the new player-designed greatsword in Fields of Ruin. There were at least three tags there giving advice and marking points. Someone was porting to the ghost in the jumping puzzle and certainly no-one was complaining about that. Nor about the tag in Labrynthine Cliffs porting to the most obscure of the Master Crystals.

    I’ve been playing plenty of EQ2 and general chat there is an open question and answer session every day. If it gets quiet someone holds a trivia quiz with prizes. Humans are social, there’s no getting around it. It’s great that the games facilitate solo play in a way they haven’t always done but there’s no shortage of either communication or co-operation – at least not from where I’m standing.

    • Jeromai says:

      I wouldn’t go as far as trolling, but I’m definitely devil’s advocating and waiting to see if this position is refutable with evidence. 😉

      It is true though that I prefer soloing a great deal of the time, and that my in-game positive interactions with other players are lower in number compared to the neutrals or negatives – which makes me question the value of an MMO to me from time to time.

    • Moongy says:

      Worst part about Boss Blitz is overscaling. Every time I come to Crown Pavillion, there are 50 people tickling Sparcus for ten minutes, while other bosses are standing bored at 100% health. It’s organization issue, but it’s still very annoying when other people make event worse.

  3. Isey says:

    I’ve written about changing the sub model to private server (paid for) model. Your world for you and your friends, and you can tweak the ruleset. Housing wouldn’t be an issue on smaller servers and you could play with like-minded people. Even have a way to hop to other servers.

  4. Telwyn says:

    Even if all these games became massively solo online roleplaying games, in which we never actually grouped with another; I would still prefer them to purely solo games. Just the world chat, the auction house, and seeing other players randomly in the world makes quite a difference – at least for me.

    I’m certainly evidence for playing mostly with premades, or at least first choice friends & family, second choice guildmates. But then I’ve always played MMOs that way, it’s nothing new to me. Even back in 2007 I’d only group with guildies if there weren’t enough friends online – friends are friends. We’d go out of our way to help a guildie with a quest etc, but for formal group content it will always be friends first for me. Why would I chose to play with others over them?

    I’ve solo’ed at lot as well right from the start, it just hasn’t always been possible to play with the people I want to play with, and chain running dungeons to the detriment of seeing the actual leveling experience (i.e. quest chains) isn’t my thing.

    Honestly, the only thing I would take issue with is the idea so many developers have that this overall gaming style is invalid in their game and that we should somehow prefer to chain-pug group content over a more casual/”we control the pace” small group experience.

  5. SDWeasel says:

    I’ve found that I like being *in* an MMO world, but only enjoy them as a co-op experience with friends/family.

    I have occasionally enjoyed the sort of emergent randomness of playing with random people in pugs, and god knows I’ve had my fair share of carries in Warframe, but mostly other it’s a backdrop.

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