It’s disheartening to find out that no matter how much ink we pour out (virtual or otherwise), at the end of the day we don’t usually understand each other and may not even really want to understand each other. Rant incoming, though I know it’s a pointless exercise. Be warned: I don’t particuarly feel like being reasonable or fair, so I shan’t be — this is a rant, after all.
Today’s catalyst is Syp’s post on soloing, which fairly neatly encapsulates why some of us play the way we do. And yet the comments, some of them from people I really respect, only make it clear that no matter what gets said, some playstyles will continue to be viewed with hostility by others. Maybe I should know better than to have these illusions; it’s not like it hasn’t been discussed many times before, including here. And yet, it sucks that people I thought were friends apparently think I’m the MMO equivalent of a hyena crossed with a rat.
It also galls me, deeply. I have absolutely no problem letting the raiding people do their thing, and the grouping people do their thing. I don’t leech off anything they do. I don’t ask them for help, I don’t ask them for money, I don’t ask them for goodies. What I do ask for, occasionally, is simple bloody company but if I’m going to be seen as a giant selfish asshat who apparently plays only for themselves and is a minor step up from a bot gold farmer, then what’s the point even of talking?
Why is it that soloers are constantly and continually challenged to justify the way they play — and I can, believe me, there are many perfectly sensible and valid reasons for the way I choose to play — but raiders and groupers are not? Hint: it’s not because games are designed for grouping only and soloers are the metaphorical leech on underside of the brave grouping raider gestalt. It’s because some people absolutely cannot imagine that any playtstyle that doesn’t involve playing exactly like them can be anything but negative and bad for everyone. It’s because some people see instances of a given behaviour and use it to tar everyone else who doesn’t behave the way they want them to. (I’m annoyed enough to make this analogy, even if it’s not fair: “Gay? Ew, I ‘ll bet you’re a child molester too!”) It’s because people who like to play their own way don’t give a shit how you play, and don’t feel the need to require you to explain it over and over again, as if explaining it often enough would make you see the light and realise the error of your playstyle ways.
It’s beyond irksome. If we’re going to be asshats, I’d have to say I think raiding is probably THE biggest waste of gaming time anyone could indulge in, doing the same thing over and over dozens of times for what? The chance at a roll for some item that will only be replaced a few weeks or months down the line, and that’s mainly used in order to get to the next instance that gets done over and over again dozens of times? Personally, I’d rather chew my own arm off. But I don’t generally go around saying so, nor do I say that raiders are selfish, narcissistic, achievement-obsessed people who will only join guilds until they get what they want and then move on to the next guild that can give them what they want. That raiding creates more drama among groups of players than I have ever seen in games, and leads to more split friendships than any other kind of play.
And don’t get me started on grouping. Every damn time, there’s always one player who runs ahead, or behind, or to the side, and brings back every single creature in the local area, all foaming at the mouth for blood. Who gets everyone else killed except themselves, and then stands around whining about how the group isn’t moving fast enough. Then there’s the player who absolutely has to tell you what you’re doing wrong and how you should play, what you should be wearing, and what you should be casting at whom at any moment (in between gazing at themselves and thinking how unbearably awesome they are). There is, always, the player who thinks everything that drops is intended for them and them alone, and gets increasingly hostile with any kind of attempt to, you know, do the right thing and share loot equally. And don’t forget the player that’s always happy to group but never actually anywhere in the vicinity, and keeps everyone else waiting for an hour because they just have to do this one thing, or they don’t have the brains god gave an amoeba and they’re not sure how to get from A to B, could you come get them? Bring a blanky and a pacifier.
If I did say it — ahhhh, it did feel good to vent, even hypothetically — it wouldn’t be fair, because while the above may contain some truth, it’s not the whole truth. Besides, if people want to do what I consider to be a monumental waste of time, what business do I have to judge them if they’re having fun?
But wait, says the solo-hater. I contribute to a wider community! I get shinies! I die a lot with my friends! I go into dungeons! What do you do?
Well. I craft things that I give away or sell to other people. I harvest stuff that I make available to the rest of the people in my guild, server, friends list. I loot stuff I also make available. I chat, laugh, make silly jokes, and giggle with my guildies and friends. I help them out if they need it, or find someone who can if I’m not high enough level or don’t have the right skills. I interact with others. I just don’t do it in the way solo-haters think I should.
Aside from the fact that I don’t raid and I don’t consider constant grouping to be my only play option, how are we so different?
And why is it to damned difficult for raiders to understand ANY playstyle that isn’t their own can be productive and useful … and fun?
Yes, I understand that some people join raiding guilds in order to obtain stuff they couldn’t otherwise get, and then they slurk off, leaving drama and anger in their wake — that really does suck, but lumping everyone into that category… narrow-minded much?
Yes, I understand that when a grouper wants a group, anyone who says “No” is somehow making a personal declaration of war and somehow letting down the whole MMO universe (I understand it, but I think it’s pretty freaking bigoted). I understand that not doing what YOU want me to do is somehow an affront.
I just wish YOU would understand that MY not wanting to do what you do is not a personal insult, that soloers aren’t all the gollum-like dregs of the MMO universe, and that there might just be more than one way to play an MMO. There are bad apples in every playstyle. Seriously — raiders and groupers are all shining examples of friendly, helpful, community-adorning altruistic gameplay? I freely admit that many soloers are asshats; I just as freely admit that many groupers and raiders are asshats, because playstyle is not who we are, it’s just the way we play. MMOs are full of assholes and guess what? Quite a few of them aren’t soloers.
God help me, I want someone to design a grouping- and raiding-only MMO so that the grouping nazis can get their asses in that game and stop being so damned mean about my playing preferences.