June 4, 2010 4 Comments
So, this weekend is my wife’s 10 year high school reunion. Seeing as how she helped plan and set this stuff up, she (and by association, I) is obligated to attend. Both days. The joy I have at spending my weekend with a bunch of strangers I don’t know, don’t care to know, and will probably never meet again is unmeasurable. There is no data-gathering tool that can examine something as small as my enthusiasm for this event. Still, with her reunion this weekend, and mine in some not-so-distant future, it has left me wondering about the people who come and go in our time in a game. Where do they go? Why’d the leave? Are they doing okay? Will I ever get my FLCL dvd’s back from them? Okay, that last one was a classmate from college who never returned my most-beloved of anime’s back to me, and I still loathe him to this day for it.
But you get my meaning.
Most of the time, when a person stops playing an MMO, it’s done quietly. They just unsub, and let it go. They might tell a person or two if they’re tight with their guild, but frequently, it’s just a fading away. Player X stops logging on, and four and a half days later, some asks, “Hey, you seen ‘X’ around? He hasn’t logged on lately.” Someone makes some non-committal, half-hearted noise of indiscriminate response, and then two days later, the subject gets broached again. People start to realize they’re gone, and then say something like, “Well, that sucks.” then get back to the game.
That’s how it’s always been in casual guilds I played in. They’ve usually been larger, with a big roster, so the loss of any one individual isn’t a huge blow. It happens, and not a lot of people outside of maybe a “core” group have heavy ties to the rest. I think this might be why I prefer smaller guilds as well, the people you play with you form a really close relationship with. If someone stops playing, it gets noticed. And quick. There is a personal connection in small guilds that just isn’t always there in larger ones.
Anyway (that’s my sign for when I get a multi-hour interruption in my post during the work day), playing with familiar faces is a common thread with a lot of people. It’s a part of the community aspect that is unique to the MMO genre, and it’s one reason why you so often see people move between games as groups, or look for people they used to play with when they come to another game. When you meet back up with them, it’s often like running into an old friend. You chat for a bit, make plans to meet up, and carry on from when you left off. The community of the genre as a whole is increasing, but at times, I’m still surprised at how small it can be.
Enjoy your weekend everyone, I hope I’m able to get rip-roaring drunk to tolerate the most horrendous of events – a spouse’s highschool reunion. You lucky bastards get to play my second favorite SC – Blood of the Black Cairn.