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I have been a member of Furcadia for nearly six years now, and although admittedly I have never been a dedicated one, I have been around to witness much of its “progress.” It is extremely alarming to me that the more the technology, or rather the game client, seems to advance – the more the standards and quality of the community continue to decay.
How charmed and enchanted I recall being the first time I logged onto Furcadia in March of 2002. How intrigued I was by the game’s intricacies and how pleasant I found the other players to be! The members of the time were helpful and interested in their other community members; good conversation was not a rarity, but rather a norm. Although it is true that the dreams were neither as flashy nor as engaging as the ones that exist now, it seems to me that we were prone to enjoying ourselves far more – perhaps because our concern was not with the interface of the dream, but rather with the quality of our companionship. Roleplay, interesting conversations, and general play were commonplace, and very little dramatic going-ons or interpersonal rudeness occurred – or if it did, it certainly wasn’t vocalized.
Although I have absolutely nothing but respect for the creators of the game, I am afraid that in their valiant attempts to improve game play, they have neglected the community. Perhaps I am too harsh in my judgment, as they do provide community-wide festivals and activities and contests for their players, and have indeed attempted to make everything as tightly-knit as possible. However, their attempts to improve upon the “flashiness” of the game have served a conflicting purpose – people are no longer focused on interaction, communication, or mutual enjoyment – they are far more interested in fiddling, babbling, and other idle nonsense.
It is my personal belief that there is no such thing as a Furcadian “community,” despite that they say quite succinctly on the website, “Make friends in our worldwide community.” The word community includes connotations of sharing, participation, and fellowship – Furcadia has none of that. It is only a community insofar as it brings together a large number of people in one place; perhaps it is the sheer size that prevents a true communal spirit from existing, and that would then mean that I am being far too critical, but I’m afraid I’m prone to believing that more can be done in order to improve the quality of the community.
I suppose I expect too much, and would do well to remember that Furcadia IS a GAME, and not an online community – but they seem to tote it so often that perhaps it should be mentioned that the bonds of fellowship that they proclaim are frayed and thinning as time passes, and should they choose to continue to ignore the necessity of repair, they will inevitably break.