Massively Single Player, Part 1

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I still play WOW and have done since open Beta, in the early days I did group but stopped long ago. I'm not even a causal player, I play a LOT. The main issue with WOW is the community it has just turned into a group of elitist pricks (as someone else called them) who want to do an instance at full speed and have done it 1000 times before and they're just arse holes.

For a game thats has multiple classes and races and talent trees to get into a group you basically have to be class A and tree B or you wont get into a group. I used to play with a group of friends but they introduced another player who was again an elitist pricks. Even to the point where he was complaining I wasn't using the optimum order for the attacks and moves.

For me I play it because I enjoy it, not so much now as they keep dumbing it down in stupid ways where as maybe being able to solo instances instead of heroic version.

Also wow is just too loot orientated which again just encourages elitism. As i say I still play but the enjoyment has definatly faded. There's just nothing to replace it as the moment which is any good. Lets hope the new star wars mmo changes that

Getting competent and pleasant players together to get shit done in an MMORPG is a weird sort of alchemy that can fail in many frustrating ways. I think most people who value single-player content in a game like this want it as an alternate way to progress whenever they need a break from dealing with other human beings.

Others use it as a way to learn the game and get confident with it, building the skills (such as they are in WoW) to participate without making a total noobsauce spectacle of themselves.

And sometimes server dynamics are such that your faction is 98% Chuck Norris enthusiasts and all the good guilds are elitists who enjoy being big fish in a small pond. Allowing solo progression is a necessity at that point.

I've been saying it for years. I want to solo end content on WoW. I'm not interested in, nor do I have the patience/time to get a group of people together at a certain time to run an instance or raid. I want the ability to log in and play the entire game by myself OR with a group of people should I choose to.

BUT thats just me. Im a different breed of cat.

:)

I totally agree with this line "Specifically, solo quests that end in forced-teaming missions have no place in a modern MMOG."

I absolutely HATE when regular quest-lines end in a group quest. I play WoW, and I'm in a guild with some friends, but I have no desire to do instances in groups. It may sound anti-social, but I don't want to mix my gaming (an escape) with the work of building working relationships with strangers. I can do that in real life. Sure, I chat with my guild mates, but that doesn't put my character's status at risk. The effort it takes to get a group of even five people together just to finish one or two quests isn't worth it. (Especially since I'm on an old server and my main is only lvl 64.) The result? I don't finish group and dungeon quests until they're old and gray and I can solo them.

Shamus Young:

I think the only thing f-ed up here was your understanding of the article. You're arguing with the opposite of what I was saying.

Well, no reason for listing the other ways you are a bit wrong, plenty of other people have already done that. (Bad players, unavailable groups, etc)

Pretty sure many people (including devs) can't deal with the 'phenomenon' of solo players because they are hung up on a basic fallacy: they equate grouping with socializing.

Most solo players socialize the hell out of their MMO of choice. They chat, they trade, they show off, they watch, they entertain and are entertained... all of this by and with the other players. They are playing a massive multiplayer game. They are just not grouping in it.

On the other hand, countless groups don't ever socialize... they are simply fighting the same monster in the same place at the same time and taking advantage of possible synergy between their classes. When the last monster is slain and looted, they go their ways. They might just as well be playing single player with a bunch of computer controlled party members, it would make no difference.

The selling point of multiplayer is the social aspect, not the number of players in the same dungeon. Most solo players are not actually contradicting the point of multiplayer at all.

I keep telling people MMOs are boring grind fests, get me to where I can pay more money for a better characters with more states/ability than the average cut and paste drone and I will be happy with it!!

Yup, soloing in an MMO sounds like me alright. It's partially for the wish of being efficient, but at the same time do things at my own pace. Were there another person in my party, I'd have to ditch one of the two seemingly impossible to combine aspects. I'd either be simply wasting their time by dicking around or running through things faster than the other guy wants. So meh, when possible, I solo stuff.

ZippyDSMlee:
I keep telling people MMOs are boring grind fests, get me to where I can pay more money for a better characters with more states/ability than the average cut and paste drone and I will be happy with it!!

If you play a game, you play it by the rules, not try to weasel out and cut corners just because you have less time/more money/life commitments/yaddayaddayadda. I've heard this crap a thousand times. Do you get an above average character as soon as you boot up a single player RPG? No, you don't. You have to earn your power. Then pray tell, why do you want special treatment in an MMO environment>

Hi, I'm a single player mumorpuger with a worlock in WoW and I have to say that I really like it because of the fact that you can trade and fight with other players as well as just questing on my own.

Eversor:

ZippyDSMlee:
I keep telling people MMOs are boring grind fests, get me to where I can pay more money for a better characters with more states/ability than the average cut and paste drone and I will be happy with it!!

If you play a game, you play it by the rules, not try to weasel out and cut corners just because you have less time/more money/life commitments/yaddayaddayadda. I've heard this crap a thousand times. Do you get an above average character as soon as you boot up a single player RPG? No, you don't. You have to earn your power. Then pray tell, why do you want special treatment in an MMO environment>

........yes you get a special character in a SP game because you and yours tend to be a head above the rest of the bland generated fodder, in a MMO you are bland generated fodder fighting bland generated fodder(tho a good bit of the newer RPGs JRPG or otherwise sue bland MMO style rules to the point the game is bland and boring see FF12 for a good example.....).

MMOs focus on milking and restrictions I'd rather pay 3 times as much a month to have fun with it rather than be a sheep and go with the heard.

In a MMO you earn nothing new powers do little to help with the drag the rules antiseptic "balanceing" place on the game.

One dose not necessarily have to buy their way out of it,offer a mix and match build as you want class/character EXP and money is slower but you get full control over what powers go into youer skill slots to the level. What MMOS need desperately need is customization, being a generic cookie cutter stamped player character one of thousands/tens of thousands is simply boring.....

I loved WoW but couldn't stand most of the vocal people in the game. (I was a solo druid up to level 70.) I am sure there are thousands of people just like me who I would get along great with, but like me, they won't speak up and have to suffer the fools. The times I really enjoyed working with other people was when I could get together with people I knew in the real world to work quests. Then it wasn't even about whether we have a tank or healer but a group of friends hanging out and playing together. So when Blizzard figures out a way to stop idiots and uber serious jerks, I'll see you back in Azeroth.

Guild Wars isn't an MMO. The company (NCSoft?) said it themselves!

I, personally, do and don't agree with MMOs having solo content. As said by someone earlier, the game starts at end game, so level 80 for WoW players. What you do from 1-80 is earn your class skills, learn to play, gather some gold and experience to prepare you for this end game situation. A tank wouldn't necessarily know what to do when they solo hit 80, even if they've leveled from 1-80 as a tank. The skills needed for solo and multiplayer are different!

Games like WoW need more emphasis on multiplayer content, so dungeons, group quests etc, not less.

"2) MMOG worlds are bigger than huge.

There really is no comparison."

OBJECTION!

Seriously though, take a look at any of the X-series games, most notably X3. That, my friends, is as close to massively multiplayer as a truly single-player, no-online-mode game gets. The world is huge and all the time the traders and pirates on the other side of the universe are doing their thing (and killing your CPU in the process), and everything interacts.

coldalarm:
Guild Wars isn't an MMO. The company (NCSoft?) said it themselves!

I, personally, do and don't agree with MMOs having solo content. As said by someone earlier, the game starts at end game, so level 80 for WoW players. What you do from 1-80 is earn your class skills, learn to play, gather some gold and experience to prepare you for this end game situation. A tank wouldn't necessarily know what to do when they solo hit 80, even if they've leveled from 1-80 as a tank. The skills needed for solo and multiplayer are different!

Games like WoW need more emphasis on multiplayer content, so dungeons, group quests etc, not less.

GW is a MMO after a certain point when you regularly need a group, one can scale and sort out single and multi content so that people can lone wolf it, but I see far more issues with linear, bland and highly restricted skill/equipment sets, it drags the game down and makes it boring....

Shamus Young:
Experienced Points: Massively Single Player, Part 1

What's with all the people wanting to play MMOGs by themselves?

Read Full Article

Shamus, you forgot the biggest reason for people playing MMOs solo instead of single-player; they still want to progress, so they're not going to play a single-player game at work and then their favorite MMO at home, when they could progress in the MMO at work and reap the rewards of higher level/more gold/new questing areas once they're able to jump into a team session.

Honestly speaking, for me when I set out into a MMO world.....I intend to do it alone, and oddly enough almost always as a cleric or other support class. I'm talkative once people get me going, but aside from jumping into a conversation to get a word in edge wise, I don't know how to start a conversation with peoples whos faces I can't read. Now its not because people hold me back/steal mah rarez...I actualy plod along leveling up wise. My big example of that is one of the free mmo's I'm playing now, its taken me over a year to get past the half way mark to a level cap. Even though the power players reached it in the space of a few months.

Of course I also pick up and drop MMOs faster then Family Guy goes through random cut-away clips. I've tried most of the free ones and many of the paying ones, yet if I can't enjoy a solo experiance, or find people to converse with I'll move on to the next one coming up within a month.

My only irk right now is I'm a big sci-fi nut, and the only MMO scifi games either aren't to my taste (EVE online for being based around humanities worst aspects, RF Online for not actualy being a sci-fi game) or are so poorly supported (Phantasy Star Universe for the fact I played it for years enduring all the issues) that its a joke trying them out, let alone staying long enough to find people.

It's a little daunting to socialize online in a game as well.

I just don't play mmo's. I used to play muds, but I found that the behaviour of other players often detracted from the immersive world I created in my own head. Put simply, others acted in ways that did not fit what I was looking for.

So, I adventured alone, and killed a lot of crappy little rats for minimal XP. But, I enjoyed it more than playing with people who pretty much automated their characters or were favoured in some way, or were just power tripping with their juiced up characters.

Being the team isn't the problem, it's those people that don't know HOW to that frustrate you into a constant state of solo play.

Been playing mmos for YEARS. heres the list of the bigger ones.
ultima online, everquest, everquest2, diablo2, swg, shaiya, ddo.
I tried wow for a week but hated it, couldnt stand the cartoony graphics.
curently just playing DDO now (if any one is interested in characters/server names pm me)

Well as regards the comment about mmos being treated as single player online games i can definately see where the op is coming from. There are a lot of people who solo a lot of the time. The point is tho that these people almost certainly wont solo ALL the time. It gives you an option to group up with people when you want (like when your freinds are online) or to still be able to play the game when you cant find a nice group to do a mission your looking to do. Further more there are some things that can be acheived easier in games solo than with a party, stealth missions are a good example.

I think there are very few people that would solo play an mmo all the way to end game. Rather that as the genre has developed there has come a realisation that players will want to group up some of the time but not all the time. Its this added flexibility that will make mmos more popular than traditional single player games - especaily for those gamers that would other wise be spending 30 quid a month on a new game to play they can spend 15 quid on a regular subscription and have access to a much larger game world.

To the various people that have commented that people solo so that they can grind there character up to level cap where all the fun happens - im sory but i honestly dont understand you folks, some of the best gameplay hapens along the way. Stop grinding and enjoy the ride.

I think you should replace "casual" with "people with lives".

Honestly, I've been a gamer since I was a little kid. I used to spend entire days playing video games and I still spend much of my free time doing so. But I'm a grown man now and most days I don't have time to run a 4 hour instance. I have to go to work, clean the house, make supper, and all that other grown-up stuff. Long gaming sessions are almost non-existent, so I can't dedicate myself to scheduled raids, large instances, and takes-half-an-hour-to-walk-there quests.

But I still like to game and I still like to play with people. That's why MMOs, despite how much I have hated nearly every one I've tried (Can we please do something other than kill waves of baddies? It's getting old.), are still interesting.

The other problem is what John Gabriel termed The Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory. Put a thousand people together in a room with no real identity and no fear of recourse and see what comes out of it: homophobia, racial epithets, and general ass-hattery. The hardest quest in most MMOs is finding a group of 20 amicable, amenable friends. Unless you come into it with your own huge group of friends, you may as well get used to playing alone, because it's not worth the effort to try finding a group most days.

Lastly, most games really punish you for working in groups. Sure, it's the only way to do a 25 man instance (which is where all the good loot is), but during your three month crawl from level 1 to 80, you'll be penalized heavily for having a friend along: you'll each get less than half of the XP you would normally get, plus you'll blow through the limited number of mobs long before the quest is over and spend 20 minutes waiting for them to respawn. At least you'll have somebody to talk to while you're grinding through the meaningless, unchallenging quests.

So there's a good reason many people play solo, and it has less to do with "casual" gamers infesting our "hardcore" games and more to do with the limitations of adult life, the social skills of your average gamer, and the broken systems used in nearly every MMO to date.

If you want a real multiplayer game, go play Team Fortress 2. Not only do you get to interact with that massive group of people, you can kill them if they piss you off and you can ban them if they are being asshats.

I am a single player gamer and I don't play MMORPGs, but the one time I almost thought about getting into WoW was when I couldn't find any good, new, single player RPGs to play. I genuinely wondered, "I wonder if I can just do the quests by myself and ignore all the asshats who'll say horrible things to me because I'm a woman--let alone a newb or anything else?"

Not actually having played MMORPGs, I can't say for sure, but I'd have to wonder if at least some of these single player MMORPGers are folks like me, looking for a good video RPG to play in. In their case, they just picked the MMO of their choice as an additional option (me, I just decided to play Nethack until a new single player game came out). Or as others on this thread mentioned, maybe the players joined in part to be social, but then found the company lacking but the gameplay to still be enjoyable.

DeathQuaker:
I genuinely wondered, "I wonder if I can just do the quests by myself and ignore all the asshats who'll say horrible things to me because I'm a woman--let alone a newb or anything else?"

I'm just curious as to why you assume you'll have horrible things said to you because of your gender? I'm also a female, and I've never been insulted in a game because of that. How would your fellow players even know you're a girl?

Feste:

DeathQuaker:
I genuinely wondered, "I wonder if I can just do the quests by myself and ignore all the asshats who'll say horrible things to me because I'm a woman--let alone a newb or anything else?"

I'm just curious as to why you assume you'll have horrible things said to you because of your gender? I'm also a female, and I've never been insulted in a game because of that. How would your fellow players even know you're a girl?

I've been shown some screencaps of some fairly horrible harrassment going on in some MMORPGs chats. Not just of women, but just rudeness in general as well.

But you have a fair point--I'm sure there's plenty people decent as well.

I probably shouldn't have included the comment, it wasn't necessary nor especially illustrative; just venting one of my fears I guess. My main point remains: I prefer to play video games single player, and the only reason I'd join an MMO is because I was out of single player stuff to play. Which isn't enough incentive for me to start paying subscription fees (in the case of WoW) or what have you.

Shamus,

I have been, in the past, a solo MMORPG player, and I don't fit any of your guesses at why someone would do this. I'm not a housewife nor did I play from the office. I wasn't multi-tasking.

In a single player RPG you typically have a broken economy (you wrote a good article on that once) and a bunch of bone-head AI opponents. In a good MMORPG you can have a real, player-driven economy (such as in EVE Online) and real, human opponents (such as in, er, EVE Online) that no single player experience can rival. I gave up on EVE for many reasons (all of which can pretty much be summed up in the word "grind") but I still like the concept of going solo in a player-driven world.

Lone-Wolf ideal.... which doesn't make sense because wolf are pack animals.
But that's the general idea, I prefer to play by myself and interact sometimes with other people. For me, an MMO is a huge game that I will play singleplayer unless one of my friends is also playing it. I like the whole idea of going into the wild (in an MMO), killing loads of wolves on my own, and then.... I dunno. Don't play MMO's that much due to shitty internet.
How about many gamers are social-recluses, and as such prefer to play on their own/ are shy of other players?

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