On Being Social

Well I got busy recently, and was out of town over the weekend, so I haven’t done much in any game. What I have done is open up Steam and have been going through my collection of games with the goal of playing every one at least an hour and then either keeping or uninstalling.

I’m guilty of grabbing games during a sale, and then ignoring them. I don’t feel too bad, since those sales can be spectacular, but all the same I don’t need dozens of games taking up space or cluttering up my library. What I’ve done is make a category called “hidden”, and when I uninstall a game I set its category to “hidden” and just keep that folder (tree view) closed. So I don’t see those games listed unless I click the “hidden” category. It helps me organize a little bit. 😉

So far I’ve played and recategorized about 10 games, with a few more to check out in the near future.

EVE

I finally applied to a corporation in EVE. There are various well known benefits so it is time to stop being a solo player and get a little more involved. I’ll write more when I hear one way or the other… I figure I can’t really say too much right now. EVE is just different with respect to joining others due to the possibilities of spying and theft or even providing info on where they are located.

So I trained the suggested minimum skills and sent off an application with an API key. I guess I’ll hear back sometime…

As a side note, several recent blog posts discuss a related topic: group content and the ability of a “new” player to enjoy game content:

All in all, lots to think about and some great point about what EVE does do right (i.e. the design of the game allows it).

I’ll say that for me, I fall squarely in Mabrick’s description of things; the idea that Jelly Knight’s experience is what a new player will have is almost unbelievable. More like maybe 10% of new players are lucky enough to get that and probably a lot less.

EDIT: Wilhelm replied and I wanted to add a clarification. The above posts focus on different aspects of EVE. Wilhelm and Syncaine are pointing out that new players can get to “end game” content in EVE, right off the bat. EVE doesn’t prevent that; a new player can contribute immediately. Mabrick points out (and I agree) that this is atypical; the average new player doesn’t get that experience. CCP’s own data on player retention supports that – see Jester’s post in the next paragraph.

Just in case you skipped those linked posts above, CCP itself mentions new player retention issues. I’ll just link to Jester’s post with additional info including the chart of interest. I get my 10% number from CCPs stats on new player retention, 50% quit, 40% solo, and only 10% group/diverse. So I’m guessing that at best roughly 10% of players that hang around for a month get to see stuff as cool as Jelly Knight did on his first day.

When I first started, it took a while to figure out what to do and eventually I joined EVE University. Everything I was able to learn about EVE came from outside EVE – websites, even what corporations were good for beginners to join – and not within the game. EVE prides itself on allowing various play styles and latitude on what is acceptable, which happens to include scamming and ganking. Newbies are the lowest hanging fruit to pick on so they make the easiest victims. This in turn makes it tough to encourage grouping or joining a corporation, due to a vast array of choices that are out of the game’s control (specifically, what player corporations form and how those players act) and the fact that a certain percentage of new players aren’t going to have a good experience. No matter how awesome Jelly Knight’s first day was, that simply isn’t typical.

It’s a tricky problem but I know this: it is up to CCP and/or the playerbase in general to fix it, because the new player doesn’t have the knowledge or information to figure it out. CCP can encourage group content, but if the game funnels new players to PvP or grouping (i.e. to other players), then be assured the scammers/gankers will also note this and figure out a way to be there with open arms to victimize the steady stream of easy pickings.

LoTRO

There isn’t an easy way to say this, but the kinship I’m in is dying. Well more like atrophying. Over the last several months, the active membership has dwindled away to 4-5 people, as far as I can tell.

LoTRO is very solo-friendly and I haven’t been stopped trying to do any content, but looking at the guild roster and seeing that only 3-4 others log in on a weekly basis makes me think of looking for a more active kinship.

After I get settled in EVE, where being in a corporation is more important for stuff I want to do in-game, I’ll probably do some looking in Middle Earth.

Nothing against my kinship – back in the day it was a ton of fun to raid, run dungeons in Moria, help with epic quests – it is only that the level of activity has almost disappeared.

Guild Wars 2

I kind of ran out of gas in the 70s with my ranger. The completionist in me is bothered by this and I want to get back and level that char to 80, and do some stuff I liked such as jump puzzles and slowly work on map completion. If I can do that, I’ll have two level 80s to adventure in Tyria with.

When GW2 came out, my old guild from Guild Wars went to Kaineng. Meanwhile, a RL friend started up on Maguuma, so that’s where I went. After a few months, everybody in that Maguuma guild drifted away except me, dabbling on in an apparently dead guild on Maguuma. Due to ANET’s curious design of not being able to tell when the last time somebody in a guild logged on, I had no idea of players were still around and I was just missing them, or if everyone actually stopped playing. My RL friend stopped so he didn’t know if others did as well.

A few weeks ago ANET allowed free transfers between realms, in an effort to balance competitiveness is WvW (I think). It just so happens that Kaineng was available for free transfer, because it was near the bottom in WvW rankings, but I didn’t care. I took it and transferred from Maguuma to Kaineng. The way I see it, if I do any WvW at all and Kaineng rises from the bottom of the rankings, I can claim some credit for helping out. 😉 haha

However, I haven’t contacted anyone from my old guild just yet. Not that I don’t want to say hi and rejoin, I just don’t want to do that and then not be reasonably active. So I’ll wait until I’m sure I’ll be somewhat active before contacting anybody.

The GW guild used to have a core of 5 or so players that were active, including myself, so if that holds up in GW2, that would be just fine. I know that if the same group is even half as active as we were in the GW days, I’d be able to do a bunch of the group content, all the dungeons in quest and story mode, WvW, etc.

Secret World

I hate to mention this game only because of the lack of playtime I’ve put in.

This game has great, challenging quests, an interesting storyline to follow, a unique skill system, all classes available to a character… I just need to find a consistent amount of time each week to play.

I enjoyed the time I’ve spent, but haven’t made it very far at all. One RL friend picked it up but we haven’t met up in game yet. Maybe that would help if we could set up 2-3 hours a week to meet and play.

I think it would be ideal to play this game (modern world horror/conspiracy setting), EVE Online (sci-fi setting) and LoTRO or GW2 (fantasy setting), to balance out different game mechanics and designs, so as to not overload on fantasy MMOs for example.

Social

Anyway, I mostly solo in MMOs, but that’s just for convenience – being able to hop in/out whenever, set my own schedule, play as long or as short as I want, take long break, come back, etc. There are lots of advantages. But it would be fun to group up occasionally, that’s a lot of fun as well. So I’m eyeing changing things up in EVE and LoTRO, maybe in GW2, and figuring how to get some TSW in there as well. Whew!

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2 thoughts on “On Being Social”

  1. “I’ll say that for me, I fall squarely in Mabrick’s description of things; the idea that Jelly Knight’s experience is what a new player will have is almost unbelievable.”

    Hrmm, so you’re taking the position that I somehow said that Jelly Knight’s experience was what a new player should expect to experience, that it was somehow typical? Because Mabrick seemed to take great offense at my story, calling me out and removing my comment where I pointed out that I made no such claim. Are you joining in on that?

    1. No, I don’t take offense at your story. I don’t mean to imply that you are claiming all new players get that kind of experience – at least I don’t think I did, I’ll edit/reword if I did!

      I think what is more likely is that Jelly Knight is an active member of the Something Awful forums, or somehow knows some players in CFC personally, etc. It’s mind boggling otherwise, to literally be a day one player and even figure out how to apply to a corp, have the application turned around that quickly, figure out how to travel to fleet up, fit a ship for tackle, train propulsion jamming and buy a non civilian module (do enough of the tutorials to get that skillbook and the civilian module, realize the civilian module is useless for real content), etc.

      That’s what I meant by “almost unbelievable” – that’s just a large amount of info to absorb, even if the new tutorials do cover some of it.

      Nevertheless, I think it is aweome/amazing/cool that it is possible, to tag along and do something useful, even if very few new players get that kind of experience – this is something you and Syncaine point out that I never really thought about in a typical MMO. I’m definitely used to the grind rats and level up mechanism. Which in turn was how pen & paper RPGs were and various computer games were/are.

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