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There is a lot of demand for MMOs to be more social, "like in the good old times". But what makess MMO more social?
I don't have statistical data and fancy graphs, but I have my own experience with "good old" mmos and relatively modern ones. It was, indeed, a lot more social in the old MMOs, but why?
The answer is, because in old mmos I had a lot more time to socialize. When I'm sitting camping a mob, and my teammates seat nearby and camping it too, some random guy nearby is sitting waiting for health restore (small amount per tick) because he doesn't have a dedicated healer, and my guildmates are sitting and waiting for their own short period of actual playing activity, we have plenty of time to discuss anything, to roleplay, to make plans and exchange experience.
When I'm moving from one action sequence to another, when group is built in minutes with modern tools, when a new group instance is born whenever we all are ready, we are too busy actually playing to be social! You can't type and fight at the same time. You can't even speak properly through voice chat, because you can't spare attention.
EVE is a social game, and was so even more in the past. Jumping through 20 gates on the way to Jita will cost you 30-40 minutes of pretty much inactivity - and your mate jumping out of Jita into his solar system has his 20 minutes of boring time, so what else can you do but socialize? Add a couple of guild miners, who's whole life is watching a rock and changing the target when it pops, and you have a lively discussion about anything and everything. Bonding and friendship and stuff.
So the main reason for socializing in the old MMOs, as I remember, was the lack of gameplay and general boredom. Are you sure, people, that you want a game that throws out the actual gameplay and replaces it with idle waiting? Because it's the only way to make mmorpgs more social.
Me, I'm not. I mean, I'm nostalgic, yes. But I can't even stand the temps of modern Eve, seriously increased compared to old times, in my busy life; anything slower and it's instant uninstall. And I'm pretty sure most of you would do the same, no matter what you say about wanting more socializing.
After all, there is Wurm Online, which is a haven of socializing and sandboxing... and it's struggling enormously, because, it turns out, people actually don't like it all that much.
So, what do you want? Are you for gameplay or for socializing, because you can't have both? Or do you think you can combine the two? Can you describe, how would you do it?