Massively Single Player, Part 1

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Massively Single Player, Part 1

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

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I got to the bit about hunters being a casual class and was just like O_o

I mean, i took out /warlocks/ with that thing, and warlocks are stupidly easy to play as in pvp.

Ever heard of Demon's Souls?

They took the idea of ''Single player MMOG'' and went with it in its online portion.

I actually bought Guild Wars with the intention of playing it all by myself, then I sort of stumbled upon the extended group of people I've been gaming on and off with for 3 years now.

Most of the time I'll still be by myself in the game though, as Guild Wars is exceptionally solo friendly - I use the guild/alliance channels to chat with people while I play the game by myself, just like most of the other folks I'm talking to are, heh.

You hit it on the nose. I play LoTRO in a kin full of casual, and largely solo, players. We do like to organize groups to go after raid content, from time to time, but since real life comes first, group-based play just takes too long to organize to be more than an occasional thing.

The other factor is the pain of pick-up-groups. I got spoiled playing with people who could at least run over a bridge without falling off and target a mob in the right group. It's gotten to the point that I'd rather solo what I can and skip the rest than join a PUG.

The comment about hunters is funny, too. A friend told me the other day that he always tells new players to roll a hunter first, because nobody actually expects hunters to know what they're doing.

I'm totally that guy. It's not because I have something against playing with other people (I used to run a MUD for several years, after all), just that it's hard a lot of the time to find specific people I want to play with. When you narrow it down to people I get along with who want to do the same kinds of things I want to in the game and are around at the same time I am, there's often no one left. I have a hard time justifying the subscription price to play by myself, though, so unless TOR or something like that is really amazing, I can get most of what I want out of single-player games.

This article makes me very sad for the state of MMOS. The whole point is the end game content, not the leveling, that's where the interesting groups happen. People solo in MMOS mostly because it's easier and more efficient if you know how to level better than your likely groups. You get to the end game faster and then you group up for raids.

I've done this in every MMO I've played because compared to a good end game the grind is a boring waste of time. The grouping later is what makes the soloing worth it.

Shamus Young:
something more satisfying and engaging than Minesweeper

you sir, have obviously never spent hours trying to shave a second or two off your expert score


Shamus Young:
something more satisfying and engaging than Minesweeper

you sir, have obviously never spent hours trying to shave a second or two off your expert score must have been REALLY bored at the office one day.

Because most people online are twats and will more than likely stab you in the back to pick up a rare trash loot that sells for just above average gold... Or who will disconnect from dungeons (usually tankers or healers) ... sometimes its just fun to be alone and actually get somethig done xD

I just don't like looking for a group for several hours. Also I don't want to look like a noob in front of people.

personally I've been playing (or trying to) mmo's solo since everquest, the main reason being that other players muck up the game for me. griefers, beggars, spammers, gold farmers, elitist pricks etc. quite often if there is a way to turn off the chat window in a mmo I do.

I tend to play them until I reach the limit of fun soloing and then move on, often with a bad taste in my mouth from not having access to the rest of the game, but it's not like I'm not aware of that going in.

for me this goes right along with my main gripe about team fortress 2. I've played the hell out of that game but I would have played it a lot more if there were single player bot matches like unreal tournament. makes me wonder why they chose to include single player modes for l4d and not tf2.

I love good games regardless, but encouraging one playstyle by punishing others is kinda lame in my book.

1) But who are these people who play alone?
2) Why?

When I played MMOs, I used to hunt and gather on my own. I liked the exploration aspects and didn't feel the necessity to force everyone else to play the game at my pace. I still socialized with others though.

The largest barrier for participating in group scenarios is that, frankly, I don't like a lot of the players out there. If a game absolutely forced me to group with these people or weed through them, I wouldn't play it.

Of course, I don't understand the allure of facebook and twitter either so maybe it's just me.

Lone wolfing is cool but group stuff is great only if you have a good group.

just two days ago i started playing a mmorpg again (i blame you and Funk) and since my work schedule means that i wont get home before 22-23 i really miss high level solo options, i have been spending the majority of the time just farming gold since thats all you really can do, the smaller instances are fun but towards 02 it takes awhile to gather a group often it takes longer than the instance itself.

and during the 3 days i have been playing i have already encountered plenty people who where offensive and uncomfortable to playing with.

It's a bit of an ironic situaton, alright. You play MMORPGs because they've a massive amount of players... but, you will tend to want to play MMORPGs solo because dealing with the other players can be hassle.

It's mostly a design problem, really. Once you make a game solo (casual) accessible, the players don't have to go through the hassle of dealing with other players, and so they fall into the habit of playing alone. MMORPGs which make grouping easy and noticably more rewarding than soloing tend to get a lot more groups. Simple carrot and stick, really: the carrot being the rewards to group, the stick being the hassle in doing so.

Most MMORPGs don't spare the effort towards doing so because their designers can't figure out how to make a game that can be casual-accessible and yet still possess the incentives needed make grouping the primary mode of play. The rabbits need brave no sticks if they've more than enough carrot to tide them over.

Playing with other people tends to be an inconvenience. In my experience with WoW, it's nearly impossible to find someone who 1) is at your level, 2) needs the same quests as you, and 3) is generally not an ass. Once you've hit 80, of course, it's a completely different story, with nearly all level 80 players doing roughly the same things.

Even when playing with real-life friends, I've found leveling together to be an extremely annoying, frustrating and unsatisfactory experience. It requires coordinating schedules and an agreement to never play that character when the other isn't around: Something that, assuming you get any enjoyment from the character, can be singularly frustrating. My RL friends and I therefore tend to congregate on our 80's when we want to play together, but play alts independently when we'd prefer to simply talk.

I guess the point I'm trying to make is that it's nice to be social without necessarily having to work together. I love talking to people in guild chat, but at the same time having to gather groups for anything other than high-level dungeons can be truly frustrating. I think it's nice to be able to group together when needed, but one of the huge advantages WoW has over early MMO games is that it's not mandatory to group in order to advance.

Also, finally, I wouldn't exactly agree with the "hunter = casual" argument. Hunters are one of the most capable classes in the game, and can take a fair amount of work to master. More importantly, they're one of the few classes able to reliably solo the "elite" quests, which can be really enjoyable. Playing a hunter is somewhat a natural evolution of this whole "I don't want to be forced to group in order to progress" mentality.

I got to the bit about hunters being a casual class and was just like O_o

I mean, i took out /warlocks/ with that thing, and warlocks are stupidly easy to play as in pvp.

I never said that Hunters SUCKED, or that they were over powered, or underpowered, and I can already see this thread is going to be nine miles of thin-skinned hunter hater / apologists. Sigh. Shoulda seen that coming. Honestly. This is why we can't have nice things.

It's simply possible to play a hunter while you're barely paying attention and they're the ultimate solo class. Yes, you can get more out of them if you learn to play them well, but they're forgiving in that you can get by with just the basics.

It's worth noting one of the reasons one might want to play solo, other than space/time constraints: people on the Internet are assholes, as demonstrated by the Penny Arcade Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory.

Every multiplayer game I played to date was dominated by the assholes, jerks, schmucks and generally unpleasant fellows of the Internet. This social circle is more than unappealing, it's downright repulsing. To speak for myself, I don't want to interact with this kind of crowd, and I know others who feel the same. Regardless of why one wants to play an MMOG, the mere presence of this yapping, whining, cursing, flaming, trolling, spamming (you get the idea) crowd can be almost insufferable. For me to actually actively seek out and play alongside them? Unthinkable.

Why not play single player? Some reasons were already said. And sometimes I do want to play with others, but others that I know and like rather than one of the anonymous masses. This is the reason I picked up Guild Wars, to play with a friend.

I see in the multiplayer crowd a deterrent against many potential gamers, or at least online gamers, who might take only a single look at an online game madhouse and decide "This is not for me". Unfortunately, I don't see online demographic changing anytime soon. With people as with many other things, I find that quality has largely gone underground and into hiding. The face of online gaming remains in its obnoxious form. This is as good a reason as any to stay away from it.

Just dropping in to offer my two cents.
It's not necessarily about playing with others, but about the others you play with.

I'd like to put forth something that may have been overlooked, and that's the people (admittedly like me) who enjoy the concept of playing multiplayer in theory, but have next to no comfort with the idea of initiating the multiplayer with other players. So I get this MMO, and end up hacking away at junk by my lonesome.

I'm an introvert at heart and find social interaction draining to a certain extent. Don't get me wrong, I'm not your stereotypical gamer shut-in, I go to parties and enjoy the company of other folks. It just drains me, and every once in awhile I feel the need to....well, shut myself in my room and read a book and avoid interaction completely.

Anywho, that's how I inevitably play my MMOs. Because playing with other people stresses me the hell out. It's fun, but it's stressful, and I eventually feel the need to recharge by just doing my own thing. Who knows, maybe I'm not alone?

One of the reasons I quit WOW was that I needed help for so many dungeons and all the groups I was in sucked. I don't mind failing because I agro-ed a really powerful beast but I would die because some one else screwed up. I play DDO online and just buy hirelings for the tough dungeons, I need no one else.

I don't play MMOGs, but I would imagine one of the factors involved is the fact that there are fewer and fewer single player games being developed and the ones that are are generally shit.

For myself, the answer is multi-faceted:

1) Many a time questing while fun with friends you know can be more efficient solo. sometimes I feel when parties have to wait up for me, or I have to wait for them to catch up, maybe re-equip, or get distracted by side items like mining an ore or something.
2) Sometimes dungeons or quests can almost become too involved where you need dedicated people upfront. In WoW, sometimes if a party gets wiped once or twice, members start dropping from the group and the search for more to fill in becomes a time sink and/or a challenge for other peopel patience.
3) Rude players - Often I get spammed over and over to help someone with no please/thank you's, etc. Once the quest is over, or a certain section they need is 'over' or completed...they're gone often leaving you alone anyway.
4) Team member requirements....Often raids all become about DPS or "We need 2 tanks, 1 mage, and 1 healer"...not "Anyone wanna play for fun?" If you don't fit the requirements, you aren't even considered.
5) Too much trash talk. When someone in my team complains and complains and complains about "Stupid Noob", I don't want to play with them. I'd rather play with a Noob then someone who berates them every five seconds.

There's more, but there's a strating pint to chew on.

I used to play a couple MMOs, but I did it alone because every 999/1000 person was an ass.

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

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

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I think you also missed out on discussing players looking for bite sized chunks of gameplay to digest at a time. Sometimes you just don't want to have to group up with 10 other people and set a block of 1-2 hours aside to run content in an MMO. Players who enjoy multiplayer in some games might shy away from intimidating hour long grindfests or even wipefests where that hour might stretch to two. You want something you can walk away from without a second thought and without the possibility of leaving someone in a lurch.

We got things like Battlegrounds and Public Quests to try and draw those "solo" players in. From my experience in WoW and Warhammer Online it did a fair job of it. I knew a lot of people who were enticed by the bite sized aspect of these encounters. People who had said they would never want to PvP or "Raid" because of the hectic or competitive nature of the experiences.

Perhaps it comes down to people self reflecting about how they feel about their own experience in gaming. Group gaming requires a lot of the people who you surround yourself with. It puts the burden of shaping your experience on them rather than the game itself. No one wants to feel beholden to others for their gaming experience and neither does anyone want to be responsible for shaping their style to the benefit of someone else.

My thought is that there is one very difficult overarching problem to overcome. How can you make a multiplayer game that rewards both teamwork and lone wolfing at the same time, while keeping the game challenging for both.

Thats because (at least for me) trying to PUG in WoW sucked and I wasn't wasting time with a crappy guild, I was waiting till 80 to get into a good raiding guild, but with patch 3.3 PUGing is easier and has rewards so I've done nothing but do instances for the last 3 days, I've leveled from 77 to 79.5 (so close) and I've replaced most of my gear. So yes doing instances is MUCH more rewarding, but I'll always miss solo questing :'(

.. i would add that working in these games with others isnt always fun; in multiplayer many others can just disconect (for xyz reason), go away and to do their own thing, or get too far ahead in power and get bored with the other slower players
Working as a team is fun when you have the time and patience to do it.

And free time is a luxury for some people.

its largely cause most people are unreliable. partly from my loathing of every1 who proves themselves to be stupid. and finally, because noone wants to party with u in the first place

I'm short on time so I'll be brief.

I'm one of those severely antisocial hermits. Sure I'll chat you up, but I don't want any other actual involvement with you than that. There are three primary reasons I prefer MMORPGs over single-player games. They are:
1) The vast world. As stated by Shamus.
2) The living world. Players alter the otherwise stagnant and dead game world.
3) Trading.

Another reason I play alone, is because I enjoy watching the story unfold. It's hard to do that when shouting orders or following somebody else's lead in a group.

And I've reached the point that I actively avoid any game that forces me to party for any reason, for any occasion.

(It's common for old timers to say the word "casual" with a twist of the lip, the way you might say "sewage" or "plague rat".) They're supposedly bored lonely housewives who want something to do while watching their soap operas or reality-TV catfight shows.

Shamus, is there something you want to tell us? I'm sensing a LOT of anger as of late; and hasn't that last paragraph just been rather mean to both groups?

I tend to solo-play MMOs mainly because I like to relax as I play. If I want to be in a team, then I'll go in a team, but most of the time I just like to wile away time crafting or something and a lot of people find that boring.

I can work efficiently in a team, I just choose not to; and I really get upset with the whole PvE idea that HAS to be stuck into every MMO now as it's just another method for Mister 24hour stretch to rub his e-peen.

When you're sitting in the camp and there's a guy 5 levels higher, on a mount, with full armour and pets up waiting for you to step across that line; then you just want to log out.

Equally with the screaming know-it-all who wants to do his missions on top level, or the berserker who just wants a heal-bot, or the lonely fanatic who just wants to give you free stuff so you'll chat to him.

Give me a game with a medium population, a solid world and no "SUPER NEW UPDATES" and I'm happy. The scrambled non-sequitur world of WoW or Champions just give me a headache.

Personally, I like MMORPGs a lot more when group play is optional rather than necessary. Because while the idea of a big, open world game that I can play with close friends is nice, I hate forming parties of people I don't know because 95% of the time they turn out to be total douchebags.

Even without being in a party you still have kill-stealers, bots, and people who gather up swarms of aggressive monsters only to dump them off on lower-level players. This is why instances are so nice; they let you enjoy the game with whoever you want without having to worry about other human beings ruining your good time.

This article makes me very sad for the state of MMOS. The whole point is the end game content, not the leveling, that's where the interesting groups happen. People solo in MMOS mostly because it's easier and more efficient if you know how to level better than your likely groups. You get to the end game faster and then you group up for raids.

I've done this in every MMO I've played because compared to a good end game the grind is a boring waste of time. The grouping later is what makes the soloing worth it.

Just like a lot of other things, that's a matter of opinion. To me, endgame raids are a terrible experience that I don't want to repeat ever again. By the time I reach the levelcap in any game, people know whatever the endgame in that particular game is by heart and just rush on. Yeah, in the right guild you'll get an explanation, but nobody takes time anymore. I like to enjoy the scenery, the fights, the quests, not the rush to the final boss and the bickering over loot afterwards.

I happen to like the leveling experience. It's the most enjoyable part of the game for me. I like quests, I like exploring and no genre gives me as much of that as MMORPGs do. Endgame consists of visiting the same locations over and over again in order to gain better equipment which is needed for other locations that you visit over and over again. Minuscula upgrades are not what make a game fun for me and the group dynamic in endgame is all but lost. No exploration, no discovering new things, new foes, new bosses - just rush, fight, loot, next. And that's if you are in an active guild. If you aren't, then have fun with random groups. All the problems of guilds and then some! No, thanks.

Oh, to me, the endgame is much more of a grind than the leveling in many games.

I liked this article alot although it seemed kind of cut off at the end. I'd of like to see you elaborate more on your thoughts, but maybe thats just me. All in all still a good article.

This actually came up at the perfect time. My girlfriend and I are looking at replacing guild wars with a new game once she finishes up her protector title, she's not interested in hard mode and I'm disenchanted after 3 years. Unfortunately, Guild Wars' instanced explorables seem to be unique since PSO went away. Any of you obscure game lovers know of games playable start-to-end by 2 people (or 2 people + AI like Guild Wars)? Free or subscription is fine (though free is always better, of course)

I like playing City of Heroes. It has a very strong solo game in there, there are team based activities but I like that they arn't mandatory, the missions can be tailored to either solo or teaming.

It's why I don't like WoW, all the best stuff requires you to be on teams, and said team require you to have the best possible gear.

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