Single Serving Friends

I wasn’t going to make a post about this, but then the ancient relic known as Blogger ate yet another of my comments, and well, here we are. Tobold first had a post about how the cross-server dungeon finder is pure awesome for an MMO, and followed it up with how Rift is basically the same game in terms of community because people don’t have pleasant conversation when grouping to close a rift. Basically.

The cross-server thing has been covered, but just to quickly summarize; auto-queuing for a group activity and receiving increased anonymity is basically taking the GIFT and turning it up to 11. Add in other socially awesome changes like gearscore, solo-everything gameplay, and loot>all, and surprise, you turn people into complete trolls. If you don’t see the issue with that, well, I’m not sure what to say honestly. If anyone thinks WoW had the server community it has now back in 2004, god help you. And if you think that the decline in that community has nothing to do with Blizzard, you are beyond even god’s help.

Moving on, what DO people expect from social interaction in an MMO? If I told you that in my MMO of choice every random group starts and ends with a pleasant conversation, would you really see that as a plus? Because to me, those random conversations are about as awesome as a random conversation in an elevator with a stranger. “Yes, it is cold you. I know, crazy. Yup, Spring is coming soon. Have a good day” /end. If I never have that conversation again, +1, both in-game and out.

And really, public grouping in Rift simply removes the tedious step of /whisper invite, followed by /invite X. Are we really gutting social interaction with such a removal? Because if you want to have that pleasant conversation once you hit the Join button, you still can, and I’ll still respond curtly or ignore you based on how my day is going. Either way, I don’t feel I’ve lost some great social gem. We don’t need to have a conversation about how we are here to knock out this rift, or stop this invasion; it’s pretty damn obvious.

I did encounter what some would consider a gem last night, though this is somewhat common in Rift. It went like this; fly into Stillmoor, see someone putting together a raid to knock out a raid quest and farm some elite mobs in the area. Accompany the 19 other strangers to the start of the elite area, inform raid leader that I’m a tank, healers know to target me, and I start to chain pull like a madman. Healers keep me up, DPS knocks stuff down, progress is quick. We get to the raid boss, we gather everyone, quick strat overview, boss goes down, “good job everyone”, we stick around to continue farming the elites. Whenever someone goes down we rez them, people stick with the group, we don’t have randoms pulling, chasing resource nodes, or causing trouble. After about an hour or so we wrap up, everyone leaves the raid. I check my bag and have a few green items that I rolled greed on. Good times.

Feel free to share a similar experience you had in WoW in the last year. Wait what, you’re still in the queue? Hmmm. Oh and you roll ‘need’ on everything because it’s a PUG? Odd. And you are shocked that everyone did not split as soon as the main boss went down? Ok. Wait you don’t visit zones anymore, you’re at the cap? I see. But hey, um, you can random PUG dungeons easier now. That’s nice.

As for those pleasant conversations? I have those in vent with my guild, who are not strangers, who I do know something about, and who I do want to play with regularly. But them, I’m in a guild with people, not gearscores. I recommend you try it, it’s pretty cool, adds a lot to the MMO experience. Plus it really reduces our ‘queue’ time when running a dungeon, and we don’t get many ninja looters (not that anything but Cleric stuff drops anyway, F you Allerion). Which is not to say we have not gained guild members from random stuff on our server; we have. When people see gods-gift to tank (me, duh), they want to be a part of that.

Plus being in a guild with someone who is ‘kind of a big deal’ on the internet makes people feel better about themselves, and as I’m a fan of the little people, I let them tag along. I’m nice like that.

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
This entry was posted in Inquisition Clan, MMO design, Rant, Rift, World of Warcraft. Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to Single Serving Friends

  1. Bhagpuss says:

    You say “chasing resource nodes” like it was a bad thing…

    • SynCaine says:

      It is when it causes you to pull 10 elites, and you end up getting the healers who are doing their job healing the tank killed, yea.

  2. Tipa says:

    “His humble nature set Syncaine from the lesser members of the pantheon. His modest and unassuming nature hid the fierce warrior within.”

  3. John says:

    Trollbolds post on cross-server impact was crazy. Thank god I can pop over here and bask in the sanity that is Syncaine.

  4. Snafzg says:

    Take one look at New Yorkers.

    Now look at your average MMO.

    I’d wager this is starting to apply to humanity as a whole, but look at your Average North American.

    Fifty years ago we were sitting in our front yards chatting with passers-by. Now we sit in our back yards surrounded by 8′ fences sipping on an evening cold one.

    Fifty years ago community groups and churches were booming with activity. Now they’re closing up due to lack of young blooded interest.

    Fifty years ago people would lend a helping hand to someone in distress. Today you can watch hours of hidden camera footage of people stepping over someone stabbed and bleeding to death on the street.

    Today we barely give a thought to what’s going on in the world outside our core group of family and friends. We ignore the plight of the unfortunate because it’s inconvenient and depressing to think about. Call it a defense mechanism if you will, but ultimately I think growing human apathy and cynicism will destroy us.

    We all wanted independance. Well, we’ve got it and society as a whole is starting to suffer.

    Am I any better? Not really.

    And wow, that was probably a little too dark and out there for a thread comparing WoW to Rift! :P

    • Snafzg says:

      Rereading that it seems like a kind of directionless rant! :P

      Point I was trying to make is that what we commonly saw as social structure in MMOs is just following the trend in RL.

      Who talks to random strangers in while questing, in a dungeon, or during dynamic events? How much conversation do you see going on in a NY city subway?

    • SynCaine says:

      Not that I disagree (I honestly don’t know enough about current day charity vs 50 years ago), but I do know that today, with everything being captured by a cell phone and uploaded to youtube, the extreme examples are much easier to find, and broadcast to all thanks to Twitter. Again, not saying things are the same, but without a doubt it’s easier to see or read about the very negative occurrences.

      Look at the very recent Kobe Bryant thing. Do you really think the phrase “fucking fagot” is not uttered in every. single. NBA game? Yet a camera just happened to be on Kobe at that moment, and bam, GLAD sends a letter (to further help push their agenda) and the NBA gives out a 100k fine (to save face). Is this really a case of the NBA getting less and less tolerant, or is this a case of TMZ making a big deal out of basically nothing?

      No one cares for good news, which is also a factor.

      • Snafzg says:

        This is totally true.

        A researcher I work with is studying the declining levels of community involvement in various organizations that meet regularly and I can tell you with 100% confidence that this is actually happening (in the organizations he’s studying).

        Interesting book:

  5. Allerion says:

    Don’t hate me because I have three different epics for each slot.

  6. I have found, over the last year and a half (or so) since the Dungeon Finder came out, that it is a fine, even an awesome, tool… as long as I am not running dungeons in or around the level cap… or heroics.

    To pick up a group to run something in old Azeroth, Burning Crusade, or non-heroic Lich King dungeons with one of my alts, or when out playing with my daughter, Dungeon Finder totally solves the problem of finding a PUG. People are almost unfailingly nice and I can only recall one person who needed on every roll in probably 100+ such runs.

    But the people doing that content seem to just want to run dungeons to have fun generally. They say “Hi” at the start, “Good run” or “Thanks!” at the end.

    Since I generally know the instances we’re running, I’ll check to make sure that, for example, everybody knows to keep jumping during the final boss fight in The Nexus, but otherwise not much is said.

    I don’t worry about people not chatting since I came from the MUDs, where you kept chatter to a minimum when doing dungeons or zones or you didn’t get invited back. Chatting during exp grinds, great. Chatting during a dungeon, frowned upon. Commo discipline is important.

    I would never want to go back to single server, manually gathered, spamming the LFG channel, PUGs for that content. NEVER.

    But my experiences around the level cap and with heroics, that seems to be where asshattery becomes the norm rather than the exception. That sort of content I will only run with a static group, a luxury I currently possess.

    • Pitrelli says:


    • Angry Gamer says:

      So what you are saying is that the player behavior is “different” for content BELOW Cata…

      Hmmmm…. I wonder if the design in Cata is somehow different than all the other content.

      Hmmm…. I seem to recall some crazy guy ranting on other blogs about poor design = bad player behavior…

      Eh probably nothing to that and your experiences in non-cata content is an anomaly.

      • Actually, I noted this behavior in Lich King heroics before Cata was released. Cata is not to blame, at least not for this.

        The people who run heroics over and over again at level cap represent a very different demographic, in my observation, than the people running dungeons on the way to level cap. Their motivations seem quite different.

        Most of the complaints I read when it comes to dungeon finder seems to target the “go go go!” level cap crowd, anxious to get their gear drop or their perky pug pet and quick to kick or drop when their pace isn’t being met. They were obnoxious long before Cata.

  7. Barrista says:

    You mean you don’t like insincere chatter in the name of being “social” or “friendly”?

    • Gankalicious says:


      Can’t be arsed with it in real life, so why would I want it in an mmo? Like SynCaine said, that’s what guild are for. Even when grouped in a pug I’d still chat to guildies (back when I was social about gaming)…usually to complain about pugs. People who think society is crumbling because we don’t talk in games anymore need to watch the news and review some history. Shit’s always been crumbling and has been since about…oh, I dont know…the Industrial Revolution maybe (depending on your particular sociological leanings and beliefs)?

  8. Andrei says:

    I think LFD in WoW and public grouping in Rift serve different purposes. LFD helps you to find PuG when you need one. Rift system groups you when otherwise you may have not considered doing it. Therefore, Rift system promotes grouping while WoW LFD simply automates it.

  9. bonedead says:

    Kinda skimmed but the end made me lol.

  10. Angry Gamer says:

    sync quote:
    “We don’t need to have a conversation about how we are here to knock out this rift, or stop this invasion; it’s pretty damn obvious.”


    Yeah I really like the OBVIOUS part of Rift social interaction.
    Rift opens 2 people are around… Join Pubic Group pops up in an obvious place on the UI… Great design!
    First time I saw it I was taken aback by the elegance.

    sync said:
    “Feel free to share a similar experience you had in WoW in the last year. Wait what, you’re still in the queue?”

    EXACTLY – Rift shows you that the extra-ordinary friendly gameplay CAN be supported through superior design!

  11. SM says:

    In the last few months, Tobold’s blog has been barely recognizable, at least to me. Maybe someone’s putting something in his coffee.

    Or maybe it’s the WoW.

    • Angry Gamer says:

      Yes I have noticed that too…

      Sometimes I wonder if he has a quest poster and isn’t admitting it.

      Frankly it’s a no-op because he will not see the value in rift until either he gets fed up with wow or he gets fed up waiting for SWTOR.

      I guess other fantasy MMO failures have just jaded him beyond finding fun in the genre.

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