Thursday, May 31, 2012

EvE Online: A social game in an increasingly anti-social genre.

I was recently invited to the third broadcast of the podside podcast. It was a hilarious experience getting to talk with Jade, Frfrmpukin, Cyph3r and Snowman, whom I've listened to for so long was great. Getting to catch up with Pinky was also a good time. When I went to work the next day I really began to think about the connections we make in the game and even more in the community. I also began to ponder why such connections seem so strange or off-putting to some new players.

I've made it no secret that I was a guild officer and raid leader in that most maligned of MMO's, World of Warcraft. While I wasn't there for release I was able to play some of the legacy content from Vanilla and the game's first expansion The Burning Crusade. The content as one approached level cap was such that it required group coordination and planning, increasing in difficulty as one progressed into large PvE encounters (Raids) or group PvP (primarily in the Arena system). The raids consisted of teams that ranged from 10 players for the initial raids (Blackrock Spire, Kara) to 25 and 40-man content in the highest tiers (Naxx, Black Temple). The groups that ran these dungeons were organized and cohesive units. They knew their role in the group as well as the strengths and weaknesses of their class. They were very social and were often very tight knit because of it.

Near the end of the second expansion, Wrath of the Lich King, a new random group generator was launched. The idea was to help players get into groups if they were not affiliated with a guild or couldn't find a group on their server. Unfortunately the mechanic was soon populated by people who were not interested in the content, just stealing the loot from the boss kill. Since the offender was not on the same server as the rest of his party members the element of anonymity was added to their actions thus invoking the full brunt of the Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory illustrated below.

Why do I bring this up? Simple. In his latest installment of Sins of a Solar Spymaster The Mittani mentions a sense of entitlement borne of other MMO's. It is my strong belief that part of that mentality is the result of actions by game developers like the one illustrated above. I have since learned that Blizzard has doubled down on the stupidity by allowing raid groups to also be generated from a random pool. When faced with such abominations spewing forth from other MMO developers, where there is no need to have a community to achieve large goals is it any wonder then that the newbies to our "Dystopian Heaven" of a Sandbox have such foolish preconceived notions about EvE?

1 comment:

Nicholas Downs said...

Online social gaming are so entertaining and absorbing to the point of being quite addictive and can consume hours and hours of an individual's personal life so as to be quite socially, physically and professionally unhealthy. Thanks a lot.

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