By now I think it’s well-known that I’m one of those oddballs who plays MMOs, but prefers to do so in solitude. I play in PUG groups when the mood strikes me, and I will occasionally chat in public channels (especially in The Secret World, where general chat usually won’t make you lose faith in humanity), but for the most part, I tend to keep to myself.
I wasn’t always so anti-social. I used to belong to a small but tightly knit guild in World of Warcraft, but once it fell apart, I embraced the loner lifestyle with open arms.
And for the most part I’m content with that decision. It makes the most sense for my playstyle, and humans and I have never mixed particularly well.
Still, every decision has consequences, and this is no exception. There are definitely some things I miss out on by being a virtual loner.
For instance, I’ve been putting a lot of effort into my stronghold in Star Wars: The Old Republic, and I’m really happy with how it’s turning out. But I can’t help but feel a little depressed that, in all likelihood, I’m the only person who’s going to see it.
I could post images of it on this blog — and I do — but it’s not the same.
All issues of vanity aside, it’d just be nice to have an excuse to spend more time hanging out there — there’s just not that much to do in a stronghold on your own.
Similarly, going to more diverse events in-game might give me an excuse to use more of the many different costumes I’ve collected in my various games.
There are also the occasional grinds that would benefit greatly from some company. Right now I’m procrastinating about leveling my monk in WoW. I really want her to be 100 to be ready for Legion, but boy, I do not want to slog through Draenor again. It would be much more appealing if I did not have to travel alone. Just having a friend to chat with would help.
Then there’s the fact that I still haven’t found four people to recruit in Heroes of the Storm…
And sometimes it’d just be nice to have someone to share experiences with. Someone else who gets excited when TSW launches a new issue or something. The blog somewhat fills my need to gush and flail, but still.
Of course, there are some things I just can’t do on my own — like raids in TSW or dungeons in Elder Scrolls Online — but honestly, that doesn’t bother me nearly as much as you’d think. It’d be nice to do those things, I guess, but it’s not very compelling.
Which is perhaps an interesting lesson to take from this. Of all the reasons I sometimes regret playing alone, forced group content is at the absolute bottom of the list. Mostly I just sometimes want company for things I’d do regardless.
Take heed, MMO developers.
Of course, I could reach out more. I could try to find more people to spend time with in-game. But I jump around between games so much I doubt any guilds would want me, and again, me and humans don’t mix well.
So, yes, I’m comfortable being alone in the virtual crowd, even if it has its downsides.