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Originally posted by GreenHell You have a game. Why complain about LFG tools if your game doesn't have one? Why complain about people who don't want that slow, boring experience when you already have that game and community in place? Why did you venture out in to other games expecting the same experience that you had in EQ? Why would you even leave that utopian bliss? Why are people that enjoy todays games not experiencing anything meaningful? Maybe it's just that you don't find it meaningful so no one else should either.
Witnessing 3 game launches post-WoW, it has always been players who seem to suffer from ADD who "complain"
-the game had meaningful travel helping community, people whined until they got mounts and could move instantly from continent to continent through rift stones
-the game required you to socialise for grouping opportunities, people whined until they had rift autogrouping during beta
-people whined about everything under the sun that didn't offer them immediate gratification
It is not us who do the complaining I'm sorry to say, it is consistently the overwhelming majority of WoW players who come into games and expect every game to be as accessible as WoW.
Originally posted by GreenHell Originally posted by CalmOceans No..its worse for you. You have had bad experiences. Not everyone has had the same experience as you and not everyone would react like you do. For me the community isn't as important as it is to you. I don't need a loving, caring experience every time I enter a dungeon. I don't want a MMO to replace my social life. I just want to play a game with my friends and family. Like I said before it's not the LFG or modern game design that is the problem. It is the player.
No one is asking for a loving caring experience, don't belittle socialsing or try to stigmatise people who want more out of their games as social outcasts as you have done previously.
There are games for people who do not care about communities, people who want the dungeon run experience of WoW and LoL, you have those games, we would like games with a more meaningful instead of fleeting experience.
And that's not a lot to ask, because that's how MMO always were before they went mainstream through WoW.
You have a game. Why complain about LFG tools if your game doesn't have one? Why complain about people who don't want that slow, boring experience when you already have that game and community in place? Why did you venture out in to other games expecting the same experience that you had in EQ? Why would you even leave that utopian bliss? Why are people that enjoy todays games not experiencing anything meaningful? Maybe it's just that you don't find it meaningful so no one else should either.
You have to deal with the fact that MMOs are not created like that any more because there is no money to be made. I said it before you are niche. Why is there no money to be made? Because people find that style of game play boring as hell. Don't blame an LFG tool for you loving some boring out dated game design that will never come back. Maybe it's time for you to move away from MMOs. They are abviously not what you want.
our niche market seems to be bigger then you think. Developers have not seen that yet. And like ive said before in some other similair thread. People have never been in those old games they might actually like it but have never tried it.
its like saying hamburgers at mcdonalds are the best, while you never been to burger king to taste theirs. You are calling us a niche market because thats what we started out as MMORPG's a niche market.
edit: and btw we don't have our game. I don't want to play one of those old games now. I like my eye candy too.
Originally posted by Bladestrom I disagree greenhill, 'the player' is me, you, others. We have not fundementally changed as human beings, and assumable we are not all total arses in real life, so what exactly is it in the game that makes people start shouting at people in game ' omg you fn noob what the hell did you do that for, this is ginna take all night im out of here' What changed is mmorgs stagnated, due mostly to WOW's monopoly and abuse of that monoply. Simply put if you are enjoying a game you would be getting angry and abusive, so ergo people are playing games when they are unhappy. The question should be why are thses people playing a game they dont enjoy. The answer is addiction. All good and well playing with friends and family, its great and easy to socialise there, true socilaisation is where you show respect and tolerance for strangers along with a littile bit of humbleness and SELF SACRIFICE. the opposite to self sacrifice is selfishness, which comes hand in hand with a feeling of entitlement.
Did you not read my post where I said I helped other people? I am never rude. I never yell in chat or call people noobs. I never vote to boot people from raids. I want to work together as a team to accomplish our goal. I just don't want to be taken advatage of by you while you go afk for 15 mins. I dont want to be your friend. I don't want to talk to you unless it has to do with the dungeon or raid.
Originally posted by Ortwig The speedrunners look at social gamers as inconsiderate and wasting their time, while the social gamers look at the speedrunners as impatient and antisocial. It's tough to foster any kind of empathy when no communication is taking place, hence my distaste for autogrouping tools: they foster lack of communication and lack of empathy. But if they are to exist, at least give people the option to the experience they prefer. But, no, they are still no substitute for actual talking (which the speedrunners don't want to do.)
Hey. Ahhh, I see. Sometimes it's hard reading the intent behind the words. My mistake for the misunderstanding, and I have this habbit to attempt to defend people that experience sorrow, then I remember that what is true needs no defense at all.
Yeah, communication is important for the community. Ironically, for some reason, I find myself not being able to join large guilds at all. In WoW, I arrived at the end of BC and had lots of fun just meeting people and questing, didn't have any idea about all the gear, end game and battlegrounds really, was just transitioning over from Phantasy Star Online and before that console RPGs.
When I first started playing they had the LFG but it was minimal, just a listing of players looking for a dungeon and what level they were at, and I used it a few times and had fun runs with them and people communicated. Then after a month of hardcore playing I got a job and that was that.
Then after "playing life" for many years, I found myself in the summer of 2011 playing it again for a second time, and it was fun, never even reached level cap, just wandered around questing with people or solo. Then all of a sudden out of nowhere I hear about Star Wars and was instantly hooked into the whole wider world of MMORPGs, found this site, watched a bunch of youtube videos. Even before SWTOR was released, I was hearing stories about GW2! and TERA! and got so overwhelmed, didn't know which game to play, but I loved Star Wars so went with that. Played for a month - after a slow start out of the gate because of my computer, I was "behind" this massive rush to reach max level, then stories of TORtanic arrived and got swept up in it and lost interest.
Then TERA, didn't get past the preorder head start, then began waiting on GW2. Actually played Civ 5 all summer of 2012.
So super stoked to play GW2, and in the excitment I didn't plan my character properly, didn't research what class to play and ended up making characters I didn't like, which AGAIN, put me behind this rush - especially in a game with a cash shop which IS pay to win - I'm seeing that now after returning 4 days ago, after being inactive for 3 months due to "life game". And yes, there isn't a lot of talking in this game and I'm one of them! Ironically because I enjoy virtual talking, for the most part.
Anyways, there is a point to this story... I started reading the most interesting posts I can remember on this site, just now, and had a massive shock to spirit.
It truly is an eye opener and I really resonate with that this poster is saying. The answer to the original question of this thread is answered in there.
And I just looked at the gameplay of the upcoming games... I don't know if anyone else realizes this but
ALL THESE GAMES ARE THE SAME!!!!
more or less, with a few exception for the more sandbox oriented games. I'm really disappointed that I spent money on SWTOR and GW2 now... I had fun, but because I wasn't STEADILY and CONSTANTLY heading towards endgame due to lack of preperation - because of over excitement.. lol... not fun actually. GW2 does look and feel amazing... yet I've leveled to 80 and haven't forged a relationship, kinda sucks - yet it's my fault because I was uncreative with my character creation. And none of my best friends are online gamers. But there is a part of me that enjoys grinding mobs with cool animations and crunching numbers. Maybe I should have stuck with TERA actually. Anyways, so be it!
I'd still love to have that feeling of having The One MMORPG (not the biggest yet most fun for me) yet with so many titles that are very similar... it's more than a little discouraging. At least for which ever new game I choose to play, I'll totally research what I want to play first, as to not waste time... because aparently time = progression.
So back on topic, communities fail as a whole because the foundation of the games we are playing aren't based on Freedom.
There are a few exception of course back in the early 2000s. Anyways...
our niche market seems to be bigger then you think. Developers have not seen that yet. And like ive said before in some other similair thread. People have never been in those old games they might actually like it but have never tried it. its like saying hamburgers at mcdonalds are the best, while you never been to burger king to taste theirs. You are calling us a niche market because thats what we started out as MMORPG's a niche market. edit: and btw we don't have our game. I don't want to play one of those old games now. I like my eye candy too.
I played SWG from 2003 until the end. It was a very social game if you chose to play it that way. Your niche market is not very big. You may want to believe it is but the reality tells me differently. If your game was wanted and it would be profitable it would already be here. I don't call it niche because it is what started MMOs I call it niche because there is a very limited market for a game like that. Just like there was for EQ, SWG, VG, and the other mmos of that type.
I really like LFG tools.
I dislike them when they go cross-server.
When I group with people, I like to see familiar faces - if I know them and friend them we'll gravitate into groups naturally. If I don't, well, I like the pool for the LFG tool to at least draw from people in the same community as me.
And if there aren't enough people in the server/shard/etc to effectively use a LFG tool - then maybe the population of that shard/server/etc is too low (or too level skewed) in the first place to support a healthy game.
Originally posted by GreenHell Originally posted by Kyleran You play games for other reasons than those folks do. Your way is not better, just different.
I never said my way was better. I have no desire to change the way those people play their game. The problem is that anyone who does not want to pay to sit in a chatroom has to constantly defend their position. There is an elitism on these forums that if you don't agree with the snail crawl game design of yesterday that you are the problem with the industry.
Maybe those people are upset because the game design they like is dead. They would like to see one of these relics released with modern graphics. It just not going to happen though. There is no money in it. So we have to blame something. The LFG tool, the modern community, the casual player, WoW...something. It can't be that they are a niche group the like to play what the majority of gamers view as boring. It can't be that. We must all be anti-social ass h*les that hate the world and just want to be "uber leet". We all have to be 14 year old BNET kiddies that never played a "real" game.
How can it be if the modern game design and LFG tool have destroyed the social aspect of games that people are still having great social experiences? How can people still be meeting their guild members in person? How can it be that people still find RL romance in these games? How can people be forging friendships that last for years? Why is it so unfathomable that maybe it is not the LFG tool or any other part of the design of modern games? Maybe it is the player. Maybe those people that are forced to be social by outdated and boring game design need that in order to be social. Maybe its not the modern player that has the problem.
Considering the amount of posts I see here all the time about old school desires, I'd say there is plenty of market for it. But with a loud vocal majority of newer players and their willingness to throw money at the next new shiney without throwing caution to the wind first...it's hard to get anything other than the usual. Why try something different if you have a sure fire way to continue suckering money out of people non-stop? They buy, then complain.
The only reason I see monthly fee MMORPG's have gone extinct is because...
1) These MMORPG's now don't deliver on content and logetivity to justify a monthly fee and developer's know it.
2) Developer's see more profitability in making promises they usually don't deliver on because people will buy it based on promises ...not research before buying, charging for beta entry (Because a lot of players jump at it), pre-order gifts and in-game extras, cash shops, and delivering quick fun that wears out fast not caring about player retention because hell...they are already paid anyways. Players now are ready to throw money at anything. Also why there are so many kickstarter games out there...most of which are vaporware...a lot of suckers and impatient people.
Very hypocritical btw with the first paragraph considering you can look anywhere on these forums and find the same elitism with the berrating those that would like a slower progression, open worlds to explore and not just teleport instantly to the next objective, and social aspects. They are on both sides of the coin...it's difference in play styles and what each considers fun.
Another issue is a lot of people brought in since 2004 never played the ones prior to them. It's hard for them to understand where those who started playing them from their birth are coming from. Those that DID play from the begining that side with the new age fast paced, heavily instanced stuff do so because, IMO, they want to hold onto the magic and still play them...but don't have the time to dedicate to them as they should be...so changing them to suit their schedules is desireable. Which is fine...everyone is entitled to one that suits their play style, etc.
But there are a LOT of people who (Again back to elitism) want just there own style, and fight against anyone who asks for something they don't like. Probably because that means when they axhaust the month or so of fun in the current new MMORPG they are in, they want the next to be like what they like and if it seems to different...that means they have to wait longer.
The kicker is...I haven't seen many old schoolers saying that new age types shouldn't be here at all (Although I know there are some), but rather there should be more variety and not all be that way. Where as I have seen MANY posts from people who are rabid new age MMORPG fans saying old school style shouldn't be here at all. Pretty selfish IMO.
As far as LFG tools, it's a double edged sword. They can be helpful to cut down on having to sit in a city and spam for an hour or more for a particular dungeon.
But they DO kill social aspect. Most MMORPG's I have tried with them you get invited pretty fast...but as CalmOCeans has said...you don't respond fast enough (Within a minute) they move on to the next person looking. And when finally in a group, I try and say hello to people...no one responds with a greeting, or are rude to you because you are not focusing instantly on the task of racing through the dungeon to get the boss and associated loot.
Another difference between old and new dungeon crawls once you have cleared the dungeon, killed the boss, and received loot based on the above...
Old: Players made sure everyone had a safe way out of the dungeon, be it a teleport (Based on their class), or escorting them out safely. Reputation mattered.
New: Once loot is distributed...most drop group and teleport out leaving others hanging. Cross server dungeon finder groups and the such make reputation not matter as you may not see those players again.
Originally posted by GreenHell *snip*
Your viewing it wrong. Yes the MMO market was very niche back then. gamers who truelly enjoyed them played them. WoW introduced millions of people by advertisement and because the warcraft universe was already visited by many people. also Blizzard itself had alot of people playing their games.
That is the sole reason why WoW became so succesfull. not because people suddenly became intrested in the Genre but rather because alot of people knew warcraft and blizzard with their high standerd of making games. And that is why we have alot of these failures because ultimatly WoW does it better. Because evryone wants a piece of the pie. developers try to rake in those 10 million players but fail to do so each and every time.
this means that the market you say is so grand doesnt really exist. else all those new MMO's would flourish. And that is why i say that there is room for our community / open world / forced grouping market because all those people havent played it before. you cannot possibly say that the market will not like a game wich they have never tried.
edit: im pretty much saying the same thing as claud in the post before:P
Originally posted by xeniar Originally posted by GreenHell *snip*
Yes advertising did bring in a lot, and yes blizzard ha a lot of gamers from before. But that just brought them in, that didn't keep them. The numbers were kept high because it is a good fun game.
There is also another group of people (at least one more). Those people knew about the older MMO's tried, them didn't like them because of something to do with game or mechanics, when WoW came along they tried it and liked it.
The market does exist, most of the games today have populations just as high as the old games were that being in the 20-400k range, and therer are many many more games.
Originally posted by VengeSunsoar Originally posted by xeniar Originally posted by GreenHell *snip*
oke bad choise of words:P. Im not trying to say that that market does not exist. But if people truelly love WoW they would love the WoW-clones asswell and i jsut don't see that. what i see is alot of games trying to get in the wow numbers by offering the exact same. failing to do so and have to revert to a F2P status in order to stay alive. Yes F2P brings in alot of money. but i think if you have enough subs that is alot more money. but that has to mean that your game has to be really Good.
WoW keeps holding those high numbers because people keep going beck to it because there issnt really anything else. I myself recently came back to WoW but apart from chalange runs (a really tough goal imo) im already gettign bored again. if not for my real life friends. if they wouldnt be there i would have never gone back.
Betting most that did try the old games didn't like them because again...Blizzard brought a lot of people in who never knew about MMORPG's prior to WoW's mass advertisement and likely played console games before the WoW discovery.
WoW was fast paced and had quite a bit of instant gratification elements...which, were from console gaming. These players had the same feeling as UO and EQ players had because it was there first, new to them (Being able to play with thousands of other players and explore a huge world at will, etc) which was all amazing to them...so no kidding they retained their numbers. It's mostly advertising and that same nostalgia WoW players always accuse old schoolers of. Let's not pretend it's all because it was a superior game.
If EQ Next gets a lot of advertisement on the radio and T.V., I am sure it would pull in large numbers as well. Even if designed with more of the original EQ feel.
Originally posted by ClaudeSuamOram Originally posted by VengeSunsoar Originally posted by xeniar Originally posted by GreenHell *snip*
Your first paragraph doesn't maket sense. Most that did try them, didn't like them because they didn't know about them till blizzard came along? They had to know about them to try them.
WoW was fast paced, no game has instant gratification but it did not take as long to get rewards, most rewards anyway. For many it was their first, for many others it wasn't.
EQNext might pull in a lot of numbers, of course we really don't know what kind of game it is going to be, other than "sandbox style, and smed now lies permadeath". This doesn't tell us very much. It could be Wow with permadeath and housing.
@Xeniar maybe they don't like the wow clones because they are not doing it as well as WoW. I've tried Swtor twice, never made it past a month each time, just got bored with it. Same with warhammer, haven't tried Rift yet. Why play a game that while has somethings that are different, isn't any better and in many ways worse than the one you allready have?
Originally posted by VengeSunsoar Originally posted by ClaudeSuamOram Originally posted by VengeSunsoar Originally posted by xeniar Originally posted by GreenHell *snip*
*snipperdy snip snip*
that is exactly why they fail. i believe that as well All those games comming out are not as good as WoW, How can they when wow is lets grab a random number here 1000 while all the new games comming out are 100 or less based on the amount of features amount of world and evrything.
They can never compete with WoW because they can never strive to overcome that 8 years now? of development time (more if you include beta etc ofc) So that is why developers should stop making the same game. and look for something wich is so vastly diffrent, Thatt will be recieved as new and refreshing if it is done well. I think a Game with the essentials of traditional MMO's and some eye candy in the form as WoW (good eastetichs yet barable for your computer) i think that will work.
The only MMO i actually liked beyond WoW was warhammer. I rolled a dwarf and a orc, and that world was amazing. i saw a busted tank on a beach with those sharp stick around it and evrything. it felt like there had been a battle there. It felt like a world a feeling wich i lost after WoW. WoW has this feeling when a expansion releases i had this feeling in TBC and WoTLK the zones amazed me but that feeling disapears quickly. Heck the only game wich coudl retain that feeling was EQ. actually the entire EQ series in EQ2 EQOA and EQ i feel like im in the same world. (still do)
Guess I should of worded it more simplistic.
I mean, players who knew nothing about MMORPG's that were attracted by WoW via mass advertisement...once in the MMORPG genre...looked to see if others were available out of curiosity. Once they dicovered there were others before WoW, they tried them, but didn't like them because they had little in common with WoW.
Once they tasted the faster pace feel of WoW, better graphics (Compared to UO/EQ anyways), and other features added which stemmed from console gaming (Something most were familiar with), it was unlikely they would like the older ones.
Much like a kid now who plays PS3 being introduced to a Super Nintendo. Despite Super NES having many great games...it's likely the kid would not stayed interested for long based on graphics differences, it was before his time and not familiar, etc.
Originally posted by CalmOceans Originally posted by observer CalmOceans, will you acknowledge that it's the design of modern dungeons, that ruin communities, and not the tool? Because that's the fact. Modern dungeons do not require downtime or camping.
Yes I do, part of the problem is the lack of camping and the action paced combat, but I think LFD, especially the cross-server kind, hurt the community jus as much. It's not one thing.
There's a lot of small things that make the communities so dreadful nowadays, the lack of meaningful travel, no death penalties, the lack of downtime, lack of camping, the increased combat speed, the ability to solo, the LFD dungeons, lack of good chat channels, increased power of guilds creating isolated bubbles etc
Current MMO are more like console games.
I'm still trying to see how a LFG Tool hurts a community. It just assembles people together more quickly.
With that logic. Zone-wide chat channels destroy communities. To communicate zone-wide is a detriment to building bonds with those you meet on your travels. Right?
Guild websites form communities. Participation with strangers form communties. Intervals of time in virtual space do not.
Originally posted by ClaudeSuamOram Originally posted by VengeSunsoar Originally posted by ClaudeSuamOram Originally posted by VengeSunsoar Originally posted by xeniar Originally posted by GreenHell *snip*
Much like a kid now who plays PS3 being introduced to a Super Nintendo. Despite Super NES having many great games...it's likely the kid would not stayed interested for long based on graphics differences, etc.
I stated many players tried the early games, and I meant before WoW came out and didn't like them, but they did like WoW when it came out. On these forums Axehilt is one of them, he has stated he tried the old games at the time they came out, didn't like them, thought they were bad games. He did try WoW and I believe he liked it.
I tried them, and while I liked them, I like newer games more, specifically because they are faster, it is easier to form groups and there is less downtime. Those were all the things I didn't like about old games, I hated the wait of sometimes up to an hour to form a group, I hate the up to an hour to travel to a location before I could actually start playing, I hate the 5 minutes between fights needed to med up. All that to me, was just waiting to play a game and not actually playing. Newer games got rid of that. I can still be just as social, talk to just as many people, rp just as much but the detriments are gone.
Originally posted by VengeSunsoar
Ah...miscommunication. I thought you meant those that started WoW went back and tried the old ones.
Well, to each their own. Not everyone has the same tastes in games, nor the same definition of fun in some of the aspects.
Problem is...Axehilt campaigns for only those types of games he likes and blasts those who bring up the possibility of an old school game coming around again...not considering those who liked those types he doesn't. Many here who do that. I mean, I don't like the fast paced MMORPG's, or the lack of the community within them, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't exist or I should campaing to make sure no more are made because I don't like them.
Originally posted by ClaudeSuamOram Problem is...Axehilt campaigns for only those types of games he likes and blasts those who bring up the possibility of an old school game coming around again...not considering those who liked those types he doesn't. Many here who do that. I mean, I don't like the fast paced MMORPG's, or the lack of the community within them, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't exist or I should campaing to make sure no more are made because I don't like them.
That is no worse than the old school games advocates doing the same ... and they are pretty condenscending to new MMOs too.
Originally posted by observer I'm still trying to see how a LFG Tool hurts a community. It just assembles people together more quickly.
Ok, I'll just be frank since I explained it a number of times and I feel I should be more direct perhaps.
Automated LFG tools allow you to be a douchebag and get away with it.
(cross server makes it even worse but normal local automation does it too)
Without them people are required to live up to certain community standards, the more you lower the barrier to entry the less consequences there are for your behavior.
The behavior we see when people drop groups, kick others, take unannounced AFK, fly off the handle, and other types of behavior that was not present in old MMO, is the result of increased grouping opportunity and anonymity, automated LFG tools offer easy grouping with low repercussions, they foster a fleeting experience where people can get away with misbehavior and where a reputation is not based on your interactions and standing within the community but on your stats.
People who lament the erosion of community and the onset of cross-server grouping understand the damage this can cause to a game, it allows for complete anonymity and no repercussions to your actions, localised automated grouping does this too, it's just less pronounced and harder to see the effects it has on the community, it's especially the automated type of grouping that causes issues, because they're fast and anonymous grouping opportunities.
I find players in LFG to be poor players in general.
The reasons for offsite LFG or other means is purely as a filtering tool. Just being able to follow the simplest of directions eliminates quite of a few of the players you don't want to team with.
LFG doesn't ruin the game only bad LFG systems do. As long as you can filter out the players you don't want to team with.
Boobs are LIFE, Boobs are LOVE, Boobs are JUSTICE, Boobs are mankind's HOPES and DREAMS. People who complain about boobs have lost their humanity.
Originally posted by CalmOceans The behavior we see when people drop groups, kick others, take unannounced AFK, fly off the handle, and other types of behavior that was not present in old MMO, is the result of increased grouping opportunity and anonymity, automated LFG tools offer easy grouping with low repercussions, they foster a fleeting experience where people can get away with misbehavior and where a reputation is not based on your interactions and standing within the community but on your stats.
It is not a bad thing when you have to drop group, kick others, take unannounced AFK .....
It goes both ways.
Originally posted by observer With that logic. Zone-wide chat channels destroy communities. To communicate zone-wide is a detriment to building bonds with those you meet on your travels. Right?
I'm not against zone-wide chat, in fact Everquest has a server chat and still has to this day. Zone-wide chats offer opportunities for people to engage with the community, I don't see anything wrong with them, I like them.
You can even make your own channels and talk to other servers.
What you can't do is group with 5 other people from other servers, never talk to those people, AFK, kick people, or be a jerk to people who are trying to be nice, and get away with it.
That is possible in many games, and you don't have to think very hard to find the cupript, it's the anonymity that cross-server grouping gives those people which allows them to act that way.
Originally posted by CalmOceans Originally posted by observer I'm still trying to see how a LFG Tool hurts a community. It just assembles people together more quickly.
In my experience, that happened before LFG came into effect. People talk about the good old days of games and how reputation mattered. In my experience it didn't matter. Remember EQ had to bring in a play nice policy because people were douches. And reputation didn't matter, peopel were douches and they still had epics and fungi tunics... meaning no matter how bad they were they still got invited into groups.
So I submit that because they had to implement a play nice policy, people were jerks, and becuase they still got invited to groups - reputation didn't matter. Therefore LFG had not effect on people's behaviour (in general, there will always be outliers in both groups).
edit -since IMO it had no effect the only thing it did do was make grouping easier.
Originally posted by CalmOceans What you can't do is group with 5 other people from other servers, never talk to those people, AFK, kick people, or be a jerk to people who are trying to be nice, and get away with it. That is possible in many games, and you don't have to think very hard to find the cupript, it's the anonymity that cross-server grouping gives those people which allows them to act that way.
You just said that "That is possible", and "what you can't do"? Obviously you *can*.
And why do i have to talk to people in PUGs every time? I am not playing a chat-room, am i?