Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Narrow vision - 20:20?

I have just read the post Tobold made about WoW in 2020 and Larísa's 'response' to that. I even commented both of them, almost with the same response, something I see every time I run a levelling PUG with my druid (lv63). The sad decline of the random groups ever since the Dungeon Finder came. Especially the decline in the social side of the grouping, as no one can be held accountable on anything else than their performance in the dungeon and with no repercussions on acting poorly or being a jerk, aspects which have caused the PUGs to be silent runs through the instances with - in a good case - a hello and thnx to cap it.

My opinion is that the social side of WoW has died outside the guilds which are composed of people fitting into the guild mentality and group. Anyone else is a lone wolf in a world of pixelated avatars which could be easily replaced with AI drones everywhere, creating an illusion of a living world.

The more I read the blogs of people in high end raiding guilds or people in guilds with real life friends, the more I get the impression that this vocal minority has narrowed 20:20 sight of the game. They live the game in the promised land, in tight, seclusive, social ground which seems like the game is perfect to their needs. What ever is outside that perception is fault and voided by their perception.

Even though I'm in a great guild, I don't feel I'm part of the group. It's purely because we have differing agendas on the game. Thus I'm levelling up Gnomore as well as my banker druid, exploring and experiencing the game without the hurry and need to compete or achieve. And as such I see a very much different game than the people in guilds gearing for the next raid.

And the view isn't pretty.

Sure, to make a social connection requires activity on your side. But why bother on a random group, which you will never meet again. A group of random players from other servers whom you will never know any better than "nice tank", "great healer" or "darn dps".

So I'm very reluctant to agree with the rosy tinted views Larísa poses as the future facts of the game: I share her view on how newcomers will have a very different view on the game than her, though.
If we socialize, we tend to do it with people we already know. I feel truthfully sorry for new players who enter the game on their own, like I did once upon a time. My impression is that you’d better have some real life friends joining at the same time, or you might end up lonely and alienated. It seems to me as if people don’t have the time for small talk they used to have once upon a time. It’s all about efficiency and return on investment of time. Get your achievements done. Gear up. Get your ranking. Accomplish. Don’t waste your time on strangers!
The game is already more solo friendly than ever, the social possibilities have been limited to the bare minimum and I doubt that any player coming to game even gets the notion that the other player characters are played by a living person. To deny this is the ultimate way of narrowing your vision by your own experience.

And I refuse to narrow my vision like that. Instead, I treat the other players in a PUG with the same courtesy they offer to me.

They be NPC's, means to my ends.