Have you ever felt overwhelmed with the numerous amounts of people in an MMORPG?
You’re not alone.
There is a reasonable difference between co-operative games, and massive multiplayer online games. Both aspects represent the basic grounds of finding friends or strangers to help conquer a tough boss; or complete that hour-long quest or mission. But where does it really draw the line? It can prove difficult for someone who might be burdened by social anxiety, to find a comforting environment in any populated gathering. It’s almost too easy to just follow close behind a large group in hopes that you grab what ever experience; or that sought after weapon will drop, and hopefully, for you.
But, to give credit where credit is due; The Elder Scrolls Online boasts an incredible server population over consoles and PC alike. Though, with any MMO title; the general population is usually hard to decipher, or if too crowded, poses small challenges. Though, if pulling a ‘Leeroy Jenkins’ finds you in a bit of trouble, there is usually someone close by that could lend a hand. In that time, you or the other might start a group. Hooray Teamwork! Asking someone for help or helping those that are in a bind makes the idea of social gaming blossom and grow; and gaming in general a lot more enjoyable. It helps us break the stigma of the gaming community being ‘hermits’.
Another feature that some social games offer is PVP or player versus player. It’s a way to test your strength against one another. Usually in a competitive area or in a simple and plain duel. In a way, MMO titles adhere to no short ways of growing such a huge social database. But, some are left to wonder if being in a social setting is worth the major traffic and possible server outages. Of course, it happens at least once to any social or online game. But, there wasn’t much to worry about in those nostalgic days, you always had that one friend who you had to call on your corded telephone in hopes they were free enough to come over and play.
“Mayhem Awaits. Bring Friends.” – Borderlands 2
The long list of co-op gaming titles gives you the choice of a small group to complete the game in itself. Games like the newly released Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands, is a great example of what you can do with just a few good friends. The small group feeling leaves a more memorable and fun experience; a more personal challenge to leave a base undetected. Communication is smoother and any personal achievements feel more earned. Left 4 Dead manages to take that group or party mentality deeper by trying to survive an oncoming hoard of zombies; and to make sure everyone comes out alive. Some titles actually base their setting on difficulty, urging players to send a quick message for help. Not to mention, the replayability of party-driven games slightly outweighs the replay factor of a single player title.
Social gaming will continue to grow, adapt, and thrive. Either with co-op titles, or ‘Megaservers’. Unfortunately, with any social initiation, there is cause for a few drawbacks. Trash talking, ‘trolling’, and sheer rudeness constantly runs rampant. Games are merely for entertainment purposes, and most who find themselves getting bullied are just beginning their adventure. It doesn’t speak well for that specific community, and they might find themselves leaving, or switching to another server. It’s an underlining responsibility to help those who need it; maybe educating them on a certain build, or steer them in the right direction to complete a quest.
It’s all about the connection. The connection of commonality. We find friends or acquaintances almost anywhere, and everywhere. Being a social species, being in a community of like-minded people, it meshes well within our DNA. Even if some of us covet and cherish our alone time, we still have a small itch to pry ourselves away from our time alone to check to see what a friend might be up to. A spark of delight might find you, seeing they might be playing a game that you would like to join in on.
That certain connection, is what social gaming is truly about.