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Why I Don’t Like Playing Video Games With Other People

I hate talking on the phone. Call it a phobia but yeah, okay it’s a phobia. I am also terrible at sports unless that sport involves alcohol, flip flops or napping. Napping is a sport, shut up. And when it comes to anything social I am more than a little anxiety-ridden. I mean, I’ll power through it because I like having friends and not being a shut in, but it requires a lot of emotional energy on my part. So the idea of sitting down to play what for me is a therapeutic, quiet-the-restless-mind, solitary game of Splinter Cell and then being told, “hey you should play this game with a group of strangers who will judge every mistake you make and force you to talk to them over a headset which is JUST ANOTHER WORD FOR PHONE wouldn’t that be so much more fun than playing all by yourself?” sends me into a sweaty, spinning, mad panic.

I can’t be alone in feeling like MMOs are the devil’s business, can I? I know how popular they are and realistically, they are probably the future of gaming. Right now, it almost seems like tacking on an MMO (or maybe tacking on single player to an MMO is more accurate) is the gaming world’s version of making a movie into 3D only you know, executed not shittily (I’m looking at you Shyamalan and you too, Asshole Who Directed Clash of the Titans).

I asked my friend and colleague, Erik Henriksen (The Warriors: Jailbreak, Film Editor for the Portland Mercury, and all around smart funny nerd) for his take on MMOs and multiplayer gaming. While he and I share introverted tendencies, Erik does not have a phone phobia and has been known to go camping…OUTSIDE. So I was a little surprised to learn we were on the same page when it came to this issue.

Anyway, here’s what Erik had to say:

“I don’t particularly dislike MMOs so much as they just don’t appeal to me. Maybe this is a result of growing up playing the NES and the GameBoy (which were, more often than not, necessarily solitary game systems), but I’ve found the games that I enjoy the most–the ones that I find the most inventive, rewarding, memorable,and engaging–are usually single-player, narrative-driven experiences. There are, obviously, exceptions–playing split-screen Halo in college, co-op hack-and-slashing through Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance with a girlfriend–but even those mulitplayer experiences are rooted in having the other players in the same room, on the same couch, drinking the same beer. While I’ve dabbled in WoW and played a good amount of stuff over Xbox Live, those games simply don’t feel as challenging or as immersive to me as, say, playing through Mass Effect 2 or Portal; nor do they seem as much fun as having friends over to button-mash through a billion Soul Calibur fights. As the number of split-screen co-op games has diminished over the past few years, I’ve found myself going back, more and more, to purely single-player games: Give me characters, a story, a world that I can explore on my own terms, and I’m set. Once an MMO is able to offer similar levels of immersion and narrative, I might be convinced to switch over–but so far, I haven’t seen anything in any MMO that can compare to the storytelling experience and emotion that a solidly crafted single-player game can provide.

But while I feel like I’m in the minority on not enjoying MMOs and online multiplayer as much as most people do, I do think there’s still a demand out there for well-made single-player games–people love Bioshock, people love Portal, people love Braid, people are bummed that the new Knights of the Old Republic is an MMO and not a more traditional western RPG. If multiplayer and MMO games continue to grow, hopefully they’ll get better at integrating the kinds of narrative and emotional techniques that the best single-player games successfully use, which’ll make them more meaningful, rewarding experiences to someone like me. And also: As MMOs and multiplayer games continue to grow, I hope the developers of games will continue to cater to gamers who enjoy playing alone.”

I particularly agree with his assertion that the NES and Gameboy shaped the way he games as an adult. When I was a kid, we went to “arcades” and couldn’t “teleport” with our “mindpods” the way kids do now. And while sometimes your friends would watch you play Tron or whatever, more often than not it was just you and the machine. And when the Atari home system came out (or ColecoVision if your parents were assholes) well, everything changed. Pong, Superpong, Breakout, and Pole Position could all be played from the comfort of your living room floor so long as it was near enough to the tv to plug in the controller. For a shy latchkey kid this was the best thing that could ever have happened. No more quarters! No more riding my bike to the arcade! No more Penguin’s frozen yogurt with gummi bears and Reese’s Pieces! Wait. Okay, not all change is good. Moving on.

So now, when I play Modern Warfare 2 by myself. I can’t get excited at the thought of it being a social experience. I really, really want to play The Agency and DC Universe when they come out and yeah technically, I could play them alone, but I doubt very much the experience would be optimal as that’s not how the games were designed to be played. Same goes for the new KOTOR and Fall Out MMOs in the works.

What do you guys think? Do you think playing one of these games on your own is worthwhile or even possible? Do you think it’s possible to overcome a lifetime of solitary living and enjoy the MMO experience? Because if they are indeed the next generation of gaming then I had better learn to accept the things I can’t change, right? Or I could just give up and learn how to fucking fish or something. Feh.

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52 comments

  • I completely agree. I’m introverted as well, and it seems like multiplayer games always have people threatening to hack you and when you friend people they expect you to play with them even when you don’t want to. Idk, multiplayer just isn’t for me. I’ve given it many tries, but I only like it when I know the person who I am playing with and we can talk in person (or at least through skype). When its a random person you met online, or an mmo, its not as fun. And you have to deal with hackers and kids and trolls ect…

  • I can understand multiplayer gaming experiences when your working together in the game. But I find online gaming where people kill your character to level up, just plain boring. I understand what the obsession is for companies to get everyone who owns a console, online and all playing together. I love the fact that I have private gaming experiences. The sense of achievement when you successfully advance in, or complete a games is far more gratifying in my opinion.

  • I loved this post. I’ve been reading alot about hating multiplayer and MMOs because that’s the way I’ve been feeling. I had like Left 4 Dead, but people get stupid. I promise, one guy threw a hissyfit because I messed him listen to a song in “The Sacrifice.” He just stopped playing as a team. I’ll play that occasionally and TF2 occasionally, but I really don’t have time for the soloing guys in L4D who get mad and call their “teammates” niggers because they are doing better than them playing a black character after they died. Tried Payday: The Heist, but without checkpoints, it’s frustrating playing with strangers. Fable 3? Forget it. Resident Evil 5? You kidding? I bought that day one and there were already people who had beat the game and were criticizing me for not knowing the puzzles. Very awkward. Stopped using headsets chiefly for that reason as well. Only once have I ever kept up a live Gold membership beyond a month and that was when I made the mistake of purchasing a year and only gaming online for a month or so.

    I hated that reviews pushed so heavily for stranger baded Live multiplayer, even scoring Gamecube or Wii games lower because of this. I prefer 2-player local co-op and for party games maybe more. Double Dragon 2, River City Ransom, Contra, Guardian Heroes, that was my stuff, but even Castle Crashers with all the cheat and exploits and competitive aspect eventually made the multiplayer useless to play.

    Devs should focus on local and local network co-op first, then only for certain types of games should they make vs. multiplayer the focus.

  • I tend to agree with Mr. Henriksen on a lot of his points. I, too, do not have any affinity for multiplayer gaming. This is not to say that I hate the experience as a whole. I’d played a good deal of the original Call of Duty on the PC and loved it, but I think I could only do that because of the mouse/WASD controls. On consoles, however, I despise it. I try to avoid it whenever possible. If I do have to play any multiplayer, the headset never goes on because I just can’t stand the immaturity that I run into.

    The only time I ever enjoy multiplayer gaming is when I have a group of my closest personal friends playing with me. My brother and our two friends, and myself usually make up the 4-player team in co-op games, and we try to band together in multiplayer lobbies whenever possible. This standard even applies to my facebook account, as I only have close personal friends and family as “Facebook Friends.” I refuse to add anyone and everyone from my old graduating class, especially if they weren’t my friend back then. What makes you want to get to know me 14 years after the fact? No thanks.

    Which leads to my point. I don’t think the problem is introversion. I like to think that I just would rather not play with strangers. It’s tough to team up with someone you don’t know, and even tougher when said person is a jackass. Rather than deal with that drama, I just avoid the experience altogether.

    As far as the games themselves, I also think the MMO style of games don’t appeal to the player who enjoys the single-player narrative-based games. A lot of the gameplay mechanics revolve around teamwork and raids and job specifications, and that’s not something you can do with one player. I also feel that the narratives in these games aren’t quite up to par with a good campaign on a single-player console game. The experience will most likely be a hollow shell of what it should be, so trying to get into it feels hopeless before even trying.

    Maybe I’m crazy, but I’ll take another 14 Mass Effects, Metal Gear Solids, BioShocks, or Dead Spaces before I even consider trying The Old Republic.

  • I was very unhappy to see the game industry incorporate online play to the detriment of the single-player experience. Then game reviewers started lowering the ratings they gave games if they lacked an online component. I’ve attempted to play a few games online but have never enjoyed the experience. I’d love to see the industry embrace the single player again. Arkham Asylum was a brilliant game that didn’t need multiplayer and hopefully will give the game producers some confidence that they can leave online play out altogether and still have a huge hit.

  • I couldn’t agree more. I loved Knights of the Old Republic but I won’t be buying the upcoming Old Republic MMO because I want to be able to play on my own, and that doesn’t sound like an appealing prospect in a socially-driven, online genre like MMO.

    The only times I ever play with / against someone else is when I’m sitting in the same room as them, preferably playing Super Smash Bros. or GoldenEye or something. Hell would freeze over before I bought a headset, or subscribed to World of Warcraft, or voluntarily waded into an online MW2 bout.

  • I pretty much agree with all that. For one thing, I have a house that I keep neat and tidy and a job, so gaming time for me is very minimal. I’d say I get to switch on a console at least once or twice a week and I’ve found myself going back and enjoying NES or N64 games over the XBOX, Game Cube, and PS2. My GF has a Wii and PS3 here, but those aren’t really my things. Sure I have a couple of games for each…but guess what? Those few games I do own are solo or multi-player (The ones were an actual friend sits next to you) games. My friend bought me a copy of GTA 4 for $20, AND I HAVE YET TO PLAY IT!!!

    Because 1# I don’t want to hear my friends when I am playing a game…video games are me time…where job, house, girlfriend, and the outside world “go bye bye” AS ANIMAL USED TO SAY ON “MUPPET BABIES” and I am free from responsibility to let my mind go blank and enjoy something that has little to no meaning in real life, but is so overwhelmingly enjoyable and enriching. And 2) I don’t want to play a game that takes about 100 hours to beat…wow, remember how I said I played NES or N64 games? That’s because you can beat NES games in 15-45 minutes, at the most, and still have a life and everything, instead of sitting in front of the TV forever while everything goes to hell around you.

    Also, all this talking on the head phone/playing online has turned my friends into total Dildos who never want to come over and play at your house anymore…because they are so god damned attached to their stupid headset…so it’s just an all around turn off to me. Like this article said, make some games for the people who like to play alone….enough with this World of War Craft type crap that turn your friends anti-social, numb to the world, and all around pathetic… let’s have healthy games where it’s okay to game and you come back to it when you’re ready on your own terms…so you don’t feel left out because your only a level 5 elf when you could have been at level 20 by now if you really tried…

    MMO’s a money making scam first and foremost and a good idea for a game, but thanks to people with no life you hear stories about people letting there kids die so they can play Warcraft.

  • Word !

    I’m a social person. I like hanging out with people. But for me, ‘people time’ and ‘games time’ do NOT overlap. ‘People time’ involves talking, drinking, eating, hanging out and so on. ‘Games time’ is time for me to enjoy being alone. It’s a solo pleasure. I agree with everything you say about both MMOs and multiplayer gaming.

    I’m no hermit freak, I assure you. I’m a regular kind of freak. But I game alone, exclusively.

  • This is funny to me because I have the same problems with social anxieties and hate talking on the phone, quite likely a good deal worse than you. But I am fine with online games, mmos and all of that ilk. In fact more than just fine, I love them.

    One major thing is that I find it easier to deal with people on the internet than in real life. The veil of anonymity, distance and nature of the connection makes it so if I’m not enjoying it I can cut off without feeling bad or offending anyone. Whereas I can’t just run out of someone’s house if I’m feeling stressed out without offending the owner and/or looking like a total freak.

    Whilst I am very social-phobic, I am also very competitive and love to argue with people (debate really, but arguments are good too) . Which is very easy to do in online games and game communities. The key thing about multiplayer gaming is that you are in total control over your interactions with others. You can just block/mute/etc someone who is annoying you or you don’t want to have to talk to. Since it isn’t real life you aren’t bound by social conventions to try to fit in and are free to pretty much act however you like.
    Since you are posting this here it shows that you feel relatively unconstrained by the internet. People judging what you say here is the same as doing it in Splinter Cell or whatever else. In fact since this is your opinion this is actually a lot more serious, and not “just a game”, which obviously a online game is.

    However it’s entirely possible that you are avoiding online games becasue you simply prefer the gameplay of single player, which is true for a lot of people. There is much to said for the value of a well done single player game and both types have their merits. For me I think the difference comes down to challenge and that single player games can rarely offer a sufficient challenge without “cheating” by say making the AI units twice as strong as your own or having immersion breaking AI routines such as immortal allies which just love running headfirst into walls for 5 minutes. Which is ultimately unrewarding and often frustrating.
    Conversely many multiplayer games are quite terrible and substitute good gameplay with social interaction, which doesn’t work for me.

    I would suggest that you start playing something with some friends. Eventually if you start to get into it you will meet some like minded strangers who you get on with, can make friends with and then can play games with them, and this process repeats. Playing with strangers can be pretty rubbish, but playing with friends can result in some really amazing experiences that you simply cannot compare to single player games.

  • I am with you 100% on this one. I love playing games with people in the same room, but drop me in an MMO with strangers and I get alternately worried about being thought a totally useless idiot because I’m new and IMMENSELY ANNOYED at the stupidity of the sprinting idiots dying all about me because they just couldn’t wait a second longer for the thief to disarm that deadly trap we all know is there, etc… I may be straying off course, here.

    What I wanted to say is that LAN games were always much more fun than these MMO thingymajigs (although I am willing to admit that it might just be the design that is the major flaw with them, so far – DDO, as a great example, encourages zerging for freebies; this means a desperate struggle to find anyone that’s *not* playing a silly-hatted version of Daley Thompson’s Decathlon [I am old...]).

  • I think how offputting multiplayer is depends a lot on the game, and the community. If you jump into a random game of Counterstrike or Halo, you’re probably going to get jerks. (I don’t play these games, so this may not be the case). However, my experiences with Team Fortress 2 and Left 4 Dead have been pretty positive. Which is not to say I’ve never seen any jerks, but on the whole I’ve always been able to find a comfortable server/game. I was surprised by how little people in L4D judged me actually. When I started playing, I was running ahead or falling behind a lot, and requiring rescue/healing often, and yet people seemed happy to help. Perhaps because it actually makes the game more fun, or perhaps because they hadn’t got those achievements yet… either way, I rarely felt uncomfortable.

  • It’s much more fun to play with another person, but not some random 5 year old halfway ’round the world. Especially on the hated telephone device. Lounging on the couch with fellow nerds is better :)

  • For the most part, I agree with this article. I have played MMOs, and have a level-capped mage in WoW. I’m not geared, though, and haven’t played in months, because the “endgame” is where you have to start working with others (often, arrogant others) to progress any further. Bleh. I got to the level cap entirely by my lonesome, but once teamwork reared its ugly head I bounced.

  • I was a steady WoW player…ok addicted…for a couple of years. My wife dragged me into it kicking and screaming and ultimately I enjoyed it. My guild was great and full of more adults than brats and didn’t have to deal too much with the child factor. Once I hit level 80 though, my addiction went away almost instantaneously. There was nothing else to do. In my mind I “won” the game and I no longer had any interest. So I think MMOs can be good given the right friends and engaging story line. I need a goal to achieve. A reason to be there. I need to win for me. Single player games bring that to the table for me.

  • Hate phones, hate crowds, love drive throughs. This article was great made me feel a little less weird. I have alot of friends and make myself go out and do stuff too but I prefer to just be off doing my own thing. Maybe with a friend or two around who are equally as boring and nerdy but even then. I do really like MMos, though, and sometimes find people I can chat with on there but I don’t do the whole ventrillo thing. I’m a bit of a people watcher so MMOs are a nice playground of stuff I can do by myself while still being able to watch a somewhat living world around me and interact as I please. If the Fallout MMO isn’t somewaht soloable I’ll be pretty pissed but I’d adapt. I think thats why I couldnt get into Final Fantasy XI after level 4 or 5 it seemed like you needed a group to do anything

  • i hate phones, ever since I was an outbound collections agent to try to support myself in college; 400 calls a day minimum 7 days a week for 2 years, until they outsourced my position. I was a friendly “collector” and never pressured anyone, which is why I never got praised for the job, and eventually was forcibly thrown out of the company in favor of cheaper labor

  • I’m not really a social gamer either. Most of it has to do with the fact that I enjoy getting immersed in the single-player experience and having other people around quickly shatters that state.

    Also, since my time for gaming is limited I begrudge the time in multi-player games where you sit around waiting for other people to join, or go get a snack, or use the restroom etc..

    There are some nice-looking MMO’s out there, I’m quite interested in KOTOR and STO, but the thought of having to deal with all the jerks out there is a deterrent since, let’s face it, online gamers aren’t noted for their manners.

  • I would also say this pretty much summed up my whole gamer attitude. Nice article.

    One thing I find curious is this idea that MMOs are the future of gaming. Who the hell said/thinks that? I don’t believe I’ve ever heard such a notion uttered before. There is definitely big growth going on in the MMO space (especially the casual social stuff like Farmville, etc., if you count that as MMO) but that doesn’t mean the rest of gaming will become a niche market. And yes, many games these days, maybe even most, include a multiplayer mode, but multiplayer and MMO are not the same thing.

    Anyway, I say just stick with the games you know you like. Who has the time for anything else?

  • First… excellent article Kiala. Just the fact that you represent women gamers the way you do alone is magnifico… BTW I’m a guy. Anyhow…

    I started on arcades like you and Erik. However, I came from the school of placing quarters in line with everyone else that crowded around the pizza-and-cigarette stained Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, or Pit Fighter (tee-hee) machine. Those were big, sometimes loud, competitive experiences. Plus, I grew up inner-city poor ghetto, so some of those games ended up real fist-fights. Anyway, I love the MMOs. I mute the big mouth toddlers. Can’t stand RPGs. I’m a neanderthal what can I say…

    What I really miss is two-player offline games. I’d love to play a game with just Mrs. Magnifico for instance… one that doesn’t always involve a guitar or a wand. Thoughts?

  • Great article. I just got back into gaming after a decade-long hiatus due to Steam becoming available for the MAC. While a few of my buddies play WOW, I enjoy games like Portal and Half-life 2 because they give me the well needed alone time that allows me to unwind after a high stress job and 4 hours of commuting. I am a very social person but sometimes I just want to explore a post-alien invasion world with just me and my gravity gun.

  • Despite my misgivings about raiding in mmos I have to say that I really love them. This coming from someone who for years scoffed at anything that wasn’t an fps. I do recommend trying an mmo just for the experience of questing, which you can do alone for weeks/months while leveling your character. The enormity of the world and the challenge of understanding character classes is pretty rewarding after years of point and shoot.

  • I’ve never played a MMO, and they don’t really appeal to me. I think if I had friends who played, who would play with me, I’d be more likely to start. But as it stands now, it’d be like going to a party where I don’t know anyone, which is something I avoid at all costs. I don’t really want to add social anxiety and awkwardness to my supposed-to-be-relaxing game time.

  • Jeez, listen to these comments.

    Here’s a pointer: the people who don’t get uptight or insecure about being crappy at something are the ones who get better.

    If you aren’t actually interested enough to overcome the first few obstacles they happen to encounter in online multi-player (such as fear of being a beginner, finding people in your demographic to play with, or paying $15-20 a _month_), you probably shouldn’t be espousing your opinion on the matter publicly.

  • I quit before It got too expensive. I’m not the best player but it’s mostly about stress relief for me. I still end up playing with my brother who just yells at me all the time for sucking.

  • I, too, shun MMOs for all the (anti-)social reasons you mention, but also because of a financial one: I have real philosophical issues with repeatedly having to pay for a game. Video games are expensive enough these days, even used (remember when the GameStop used game prices were more than $3-4 dollars below retail?), and I simply don’t have the money to pay an additional $15-20 a month just to keep playing.

  • I like to think the emergence of the ‘strictly online multiplayer option’ in gaming is a symptom of people no longer wanting to play split screen. I can’t tell you how many people would always bitch about not getting the top screen if we split it three ways in Halo, ridiculous. Of course now with everyone have giant flat screens I don’t think split screen gaming is as much of an issue anymore. But still people want to hog the whole screen to themselves to perfect their head shots, whatever. We should learn to share to make gaming not a hermit-like activity. I really prefer playing games with people in the same room as me, call me weird.

  • You are not alone! I’m really not into co-op MMO playing at all, partly because of my experiences with it. I don’t want to have any children, let alone talk to the vapid little wierdos whenever I fancy playing a game and partly because i share the same anxieties. I do love WoW, though I don’t play it much anymore, and when I did, joining a group for a raid or even a simple “collect x amount of whatever” missions the 12-15 year olds clumsily battled and ninja looted every substantial NPC kill–which is fine if you’re a kid–but I look for a more nuanced experience, taking in the stunning visuals, mining, skinning, etc..I like people, but I don’t want to play games with them. *Insert silly masturbation joke here*..great article!

  • I’m pretty much in this same vein, game-wise. For me, the main issue is other humans screwing up my gaming experience, whether it’s because they’re too much better than me, too much worse than me, generally incompetent, generally inconsiderate, or just plain No Fun. If somebody’s gonna screw up, it’s gotta either be me, or be some perceived glitch that was totally not my fault, maaaaan. I still play Diablo 2 more than any other PC game, and yet have never ventured online. I don’t completely hate online gaming though; I really enjoyed Popcap’s Psychobabble (before they killed it), and other chat-enabled games like Cribbage or some Wheel-of-Fortune variant can be fun, even if fellow contestants (and sometimes I) are prattling on like we just got a brain transplant from a preteen extrovert.

    Bottom line — still not itching to try out any MMORPGs.

  • Based on that view of MMO games, you’d probably enjoy Guild Wars. It’s has a narrative, and can be played completely solo if you want. Plus, no monthly fee.

  • I really relate to this, I myself am not a fan of recreational sweating or competition and think my problem w/mmos is that it brings up old gym class complexes.

  • Erik is a guy after my own heart. He’s summed up, with the examples I would use, exactly my position on video games. If I had to label myself, “gamer” would be very high up on the list, and yet I fear telling people this, not due to any amount of ridicule since everyone with a Wii or Guitar Hero thinks they’re a gamer nowadays, but because they’ll want to come over and play games with me. And all my games are single player. My multiplayer experience is guided entirely by Blizzard and Bungie, and when they’re in development, well, it’s just me and my system.

    MMOs don’t appeal to me. Back in my day, it only took ONE person to save the world. Be it Link, Chrono, or Master Chief, it was just me versus evil incarnate. Now it takes up to 40 players do what I could do myself. Kids these days…

    Besides, what kind of economy runs entirely on God-like adventurers? I immerse myself in single player games because it’s just not possible in an MMO. I’m a high enough level in real life, I don’t have the time or patience to start from level 1 in a new realm.

  • wow! kiala aloft once again! in elegant flights of wit and wisdom! … if mfk fisher had been a gamer instead of a foodie, she’d be, well, the author of this sweet little blog post … let’s see … on the issues? … watching felicia day’s stuff is as close to ever playing a massively multi-player online game as i’ve ever gotten. that’s if you leave aside all of us being massively telepathic in a fully-spiritualized 21st century aquarian age (good thing about that: no headphones. downside: some people just won’t shut up!) … had a lot of fun with pong, space invaders, legend of zelda, and super mario … fussed and fumed over tmnt … so solo games r cool … still, seems MMOs could be fun, assuming the right people were on the headphones with me … like kiala, kim evey, felicia day, and pam anderson …

  • I totally agree. I love Xbox Live because my few close friends also have Xbox Live and we can play games like Left 4 Dead or MW2 as a team. Online co-op is a lot of fun with good friends who can’t come over to play, due either to distance or sheer laziness. Otherwise I have absolutely no interest in playing death match games, especially with strangers. Also I have no interest in playing MMOs. Like your friend Erik said, I don’t really have any hatred for the genre, it just doesn’t appeal to me at all.

  • Video games are a multi-billion dollar industry covering all kinds of niches and subgenres for different players. If you identify as a gamer, chances are you have identified a handful of game types you gravitate towards: real-time strategy, first person shooters, world builders, puzzles, etc etc. It is only from the perspective of an outsider that these myriad of different gamers would be expected to all enjoy the same games.

    Even within MMO gaming there are different types of players, some of whom cannot stand playing with the other (role players vs min-maxers. also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bartle_Test). It really isn’t necessary (or noteworthy) to explain that you don’t like MMOs.

    If you’d like to see a bunch of non-gamers overcome their dread and curiosity about fantasy indulgence in the world of pen and paper RPGs, check out the escapist show “i hit it with my axe”: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/i-hit-it-with-my-axe/1533-Episode-One-Meet-the-Party

  • Warcraft at least has made it very possible to play with other people while still essentially playing by yourself. The random instance queue seems at first glance like you’re playing with people, but you really don’t have to talk to them, or get to know them or anything.

    And I with GGD on this. The cooperative nature of grouping in Warcraft makes it a lot less annoying than playing MW2 against high school kids and frat boys who say “faggot” like Smurfs say “smurf”.

    I think once you start playing The Old Republic, your feelings will start to shift. Lightsabers and Bioware’s storytelling will suck you into playing a cooperative game with friends.

  • I used to be the same way about MMOs until my friends starting playing. Now we’re all WoW nerds (I know, I know! Shun me if you must!) and we have a blast. It’s especially nice bumping into like minded people and being able to game with them.

    I can’t WAIT for the KOTOR mmo though. If it’s as great as I hope it is, it’ll dominate my limited gaming time. And I’m totally fine with that!

  • I didn’t play an mmo till a couple years ago, prior to that I was strictly and fps player and mostly enjoyed only free-for-all matches which require no communication with others. And while I enjoy the mmo very much, in order to progress in end game content you need join a guild and socialize which has turned me off that aspect of the experience and I still find the most enjoyment questing alone. That said, getting together with friends for split screen fps games when you can smack talk each other is still very fun. Maybe I don’t have time to make/manage more than a handful of friends.

  • My husband INSISTS that the ‘game’ is cheating when he loses playing solo. When I play with him, he accuses ME of cheating or trying to humiliate him. The male ego is so fragile in these matters. As for me, I have always liked MMORPGS because I’m an annoying ass chit chatter. I don’t pretend to be a half elf warrior from Thule, I just talk. However, Fallout 3 consumed my life and I became a recluse preferring the grunts of supermutants to the daily drivel dished by my stressed out hubby and our 2 adorable little angels who get their loquaciousness from their mommy.

  • I grew up on the NES and the SNES as well, and I couldn’t disagree more. While I still have a special place for certain single-player titles (Mass Effect for instance) I spend most of my gaming time in multi-player franchises like Halo or Call of Duty, or even Skate.

    Of course, I’m a member of a great community of “mature” adult gamers. It’s a pretty dramatic difference from logging on to Xbox Live and playing on a team with a bunch of strangers which I agree, doesn’t really engender much in the way of social interaction. Unless they’re screaming at you for some reason.

    That said, I’m not a fan of the MMO style of game. When I play a role playing game, I generally want to play it solo. I want the story to be the emphasis. To me, that isn’t the case in any MMO I’ve seen. Perhaps this new Star Wars game will change that, but I doubt it.

  • I totally agree. It’s even to the point that if I’m playing a single player game on the 360 and get that “friend is playing this game” popup, I’ll think to myself “Oh crap I hope they don’t want to play with me”

    I really hope Bioware isn’t lying when they say The Old Republic is going to be a great single player experience.

  • It’s an odd dichotomy. I don’t necessarily like big groups of people and I like to game alone, but I WoW pretty happily.

    I think it’s because I have choices to play alone or with people and, bottom line, they have to work with me in order to get something done. So, common goal means they can’t spend too much time griefing me if I’m actually taking care of my end of things.

    After a long day of the intarwebs, people and work, I like being able to come home and blow shit up in piece. By myself. Making “pewpewpew” noises.

    There’s nothing wrong with that. Well, I hope not.

  • I am exactly the same, everything you said except I don’t make an effort to talk to people… since we moved it’s just my wife, me and the kid. And the wife has been in Iraq since October so I’m pretty much a shut in. And I do not like MMO’s at all… I will be buying the old republic however since I’m in love with the kotor games. Which is somewhat odd in the first place since i’m not exactly a Star Wars fan, also Bioware can do no wrong.

  • one time i was playing doubles on halo3 with a randomly assigned partner. the kid has his headset on but didn’t say a word, but left the speaker on. the whole game i listened to his heavy nerd breathing, while i was torn between being completely creeped out and laughing my ass off.