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Are in-game communities today weaker or stronger?

AmatheAmathe Member EpicPosts: 4,151
My one on one interactions with people in game nowadays are about the same today as they were in 2002. Some people are kind, some are wankers. 

What to me has changed is the overall bond between players. By that I mean, players working together to overcome the challenges of the game. Helping out strangers for no reason other than to be nice. Generosity to newbies. Buffing passers by. That sort of thing. 

I see less of that. But that's just my own experience.

 

EQ1, EQ2, SWG, SWTOR, GW, GW2 CoH, CoV, FFXI, WoW, CO, War,TSW and a slew of free trials and beta tests

AlBQuirkypantaroTheScavenger
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Comments

  • LacedOpiumLacedOpium Member EpicPosts: 2,327

    I would say generally weaker overall but it really depends on the game, the guild, and the game's play style and format (Ie., PvP vs PvE etc).  That said, despite the toxicity that MMOs may bring, I will prefer playing games with real people (MMOs) over single player games every time.

    Xodic
  • KyleranKyleran Member LegendaryPosts: 31,077
    edited February 27

    I would say generally weaker overall but it really depends on the game, the guild, and the game's play style and format (Ie., PvP vs PvE etc).  That said, despite the toxicity that MMOs may bring, I will prefer playing games with real people (MMOs) over single player games every time.

    I used to feel the same, but after 9 months of mostly Fallout NV / 4 I've come to grow fonder of the NPCs than most real people that I've met in MMOs the past 10 yrs.

    I don't think people changed that much, when I've sought out game content in modern MMOs which required a certain level of codependence, I have no problem finding like minded folks to game with. (PUGs suck more however) 

    What did change is my desire to raid, coupled with the much faster pace of many modern games.

    Heck,  I just started Witcher 1 last night (easy mode even) and the tutorial's pace wore me out, had to log out in the middle and go to bed early.

    ;)
    Post edited by Kyleran on
    XodicConstantineMerusimmodiumAlBQuirkyPhryTheScavenger

    "I should run a marathon backwards. So I could see what second place look like" Royce da 5'9"

    "I need to finish" - Christian Wolff: The Accountant

    Just trying to live long enough to play a new, released MMORPG, back in EVE until then

    Fools find no pleasure in understanding, but delight in airing their own opinions. Pvbs 18:2, NIV

    Don't just play games, inhabit virtual worlds™

    "This is the most intelligent, well qualified and articulate response to a post I have ever seen on these forums. It's a shame most people here won't have the attention span to read past the second line." - Anon






  • cameltosiscameltosis Member EpicPosts: 2,123
    I would say weaker, but it varies game to game. I would say that the difference has come almost entirely from the way modern MMOs are designed. 


    Social connections, the backbone of a community, can only form through repeated contact with the same people. Between excessive instancing and mega-servers, you simply don't see the same people very often, so you don't form those bonds and don't feel part of a community. 

    Additionally, the quality of modern social contact has also diminished. There is less codependence, faster paced action and less downtime, so even if you see the same people, you often don't have much of a chance to actually socialise unless you specifically try to. 


    What has changed for the better is community sites and blogs. It seems like it's much quicker, easier and cheaper to setup your own blog or community site and so there do seem to be a lot more of them about and they are of higher quality than in the past. It always impresses me what some fans do to support a game or express their enjoyment of it. 
    SilmapelikoneblastermasterAmatheBruceYeeAlBQuirkyStraef
  • sunandshadowsunandshadow Member RarePosts: 1,874
    I think IRL communities are also weaker now.  The 70s was the last decade where people were actively taught to befriend strangers and create social networks, plus they tended to live in religiously or ethnically unified communities.  Today's teenagers are the second generation of the "stranger danger" mindset, with an added helping of "pedophelia's the only thing we can all agree to hate."  My neighbors who are older than 40 talk to each other, while the ones who are younger than 40 pretty much don't.
    SilmapelikoneAlBQuirky
    I want to help design and develop a PvE-focused, solo-friendly, sandpark MMO which combines crafting, monster hunting, and story.  So PM me if you are starting one.
  • nariusseldonnariusseldon Member RarePosts: 27,768
    what communities? If i play a game and never talk to anyone .. is there a community?
    TheocritusScot
  • LackingMMOLackingMMO Member UncommonPosts: 318
    Population is stronger due to a wider more accessible market. Community is overall weaker though. New games on the horizon which look to focus on grouping, lets see how this goes. Is it the communities that were weak or the community aspect of the games being played that were weak?
  • KyleranKyleran Member LegendaryPosts: 31,077
    what communities? If i play a game and never talk to anyone .. is there a community?
    Awesome, a modern version of if a bear sh*ts in a woods, but no one is around to smell it, does it still stink?   Or was that about tree's or something?

    ;)

    The good news is Nari, even if no one talks to you, you at least serve as a more animated NPC for local "color"


    PhryScotTheScavenger

    "I should run a marathon backwards. So I could see what second place look like" Royce da 5'9"

    "I need to finish" - Christian Wolff: The Accountant

    Just trying to live long enough to play a new, released MMORPG, back in EVE until then

    Fools find no pleasure in understanding, but delight in airing their own opinions. Pvbs 18:2, NIV

    Don't just play games, inhabit virtual worlds™

    "This is the most intelligent, well qualified and articulate response to a post I have ever seen on these forums. It's a shame most people here won't have the attention span to read past the second line." - Anon






  • WizardryWizardry Member EpicPosts: 14,978
    IDK,let me know if there is a game built around community and not built around soloing to end game then pugs and selfish "help me,i need best gear".
    VERY poorly shallow designed games out there right now.Geesh many games don't even have guild halls or guilds or much reason to have them if they do,i would say EQ2 is about the best community built game but then guess what,it's solo questing and even solo instances like the rest f of them.

    I don't mind soloing,that is not the problem,the problem is designing the main premise of the game to REMOVE any thoughts it is a MMO+a RPG,more like hand holding questing hubs.

    Never forget 3 mile Island and never trust a government official or company spokesman.

  • UngoodUngood Member RarePosts: 1,639
    Like any game, community is what you make of it, however I will say, there does seem to be an increase in nasty people in MMO communities, not to say there were no jerks and bullies and elitist scum all the way back to the beginning, but they seem more prevalent now.

    Also, a lot of modern buffs are not lasting, like for example, Spirit of the Wold in Everquest used to last 30 min, now Swiftness Buffs in GW2, last 15 seconds. So there really is little to no need to buff other players unless you are mid combat.

    In the end, I think they are stronger for those that seek them out, with private forums, discord, skype, facebook, and tons of other social media to interact, that we can have on our phones, so our guild mates are always just a notification away.

    it less for the people that expect to be handed to them, like anything, if that is what you want, you need to work towards it.
    CalerxesAlBQuirky
    There is no Truth, only the Illusions we wish to Cling to. Knowing this, why do we all cling to such shitty illusions?
  • VengeSunsoarVengeSunsoar Member RarePosts: 6,473
    I would say weaker but only because communities are so fragmented. There are so many more communities in a single game than there were in the past.
    SilmapelikoneAlBQuirky
    Just because you don't like it doesn't mean it is bad.
  • Flyte27Flyte27 Member RarePosts: 4,571
    It's true that there are many more communities and that also leads to the other factor which is people being forced to interact in games.  A lot of people were playing the same games and interfering with each other's gameplay in both positive and negative ways.  This will almost certainly lead to stronger bonds developed between players as they band together for various different reasons.  A good example would be Ultima Online players banding together to protect themselves from player killers or Everquest where players had to learn to share camps, set up rules, etc.  Most people are against anything being forced these days.
  • TheocritusTheocritus Member EpicPosts: 6,419
    what communities? If i play a game and never talk to anyone .. is there a community?
    I havent seen a good community in about 15 years (ie before WoW)
    Amaranthar
  • AlbatroesAlbatroes Member EpicPosts: 5,402
    Weaker mainly because games dont require them as much as they used to. This is largely in part of "catch-up" mechanics. Anyone who's played an mmorpg that was made 10+ years ago remembers that when you stopped playing for a way (and were maybe removed from your guild as a result), you had to make nice and know whats what in order to get help on things to catch up. This typically resulted in a "nicer" and "tighter" atmosphere because there was no way around it if you wanted to progress. Now you're giving stuff if you're going for x amount of months etc and games usually nerf or make content that was 2-3 patches old obsolete or irrelevant. If the person doesn't like it still, they can quit and come back later and still get the same hand holding from devs. I'm not blaming the devs since most are at the whims of the publishers, but it definitely breeds a more introvert society within a gaming community.
    AlBQuirky
  • cameltosiscameltosis Member EpicPosts: 2,123
    what communities? If i play a game and never talk to anyone .. is there a community?
    There could be, you just aren't part of it
  • btdtbtdt Member RarePosts: 407
    I think people's idea of community is skewed.  Community back in 2004 wasn't about banding together to beat some boss, it was more about just chewing the fat online whilst playing an online game.  Just so happened that some of these people also raided. 

    Fast forward to 2018.  Drop a brand new player in game (and I do mean a new player, someone who wasn't even alive back in 2004) and have them define community.  Pretty sure their idea is purely about getting some objective done in the most efficient means possible.  Are they interested in chewing the fat online whilst playing the game?  Not really. 

    Community has changed because people have changed.  You live in a world of instant everything.  Gone are the days of putting postage on a letter to write your friend across the country.  It's instant communication.  Gone are the days of waiting for special occasions to call your family overseas.  It's instant communication.  Gone are the days of meeting up with friends to hang out at the mall.  It's instant communication.  Gone are the days of waiting to use the phone because there was only one line in the house.  It's instant communication.

    Because everything is so instant, so are people's patience.  They don't relish the idea of having to wait for anything.  They aren't used to it.  They grew up on instant everything.  The joke about walking to school 3 hours each day, in the snow, uphill, both ways, doesn't resonate with them because they get dropped off at school or drive themselves.  You loved the idea of talking to people in game instantly because it was new.  You couldn't do that before.  The game seemed to revolve around this community when in fact it was the people who created a community that just so happened to play the same game.  It was the first Facebook-like interaction happening in real-time.

    Now that we have so many ways to communicate instantly with people, we don't gravitate to just one of them like we did in the past.  When was the last time you actually wrote a letter and mailed it?  Used a land line to call a friend?  Made a date with your friends to hang out at the mall just to talk?  Pretty sure all that happens digitally and instantly for everyone these days.  Why would you expect game communities to stay the same when everything has changed?

    AlBQuirky
  • DMKanoDMKano Member LegendaryPosts: 19,307
    edited February 28
    To answer the question with any degree of certainty - how do we precisely measure "strength of community" in the first place, so that we can compare old to new?

    So yeah - this is going to be a pure speculation answer without any quantifiable data.

    My gut feeling is they are pretty much the same, they seem weaker because of a huge increase of online playerbase - but the niche/veteran players today are roughly equivalent to normal players of old and it's about the same.


    Post edited by DMKano on
    SovrathAlBQuirky
  • blastermasterblastermaster Member UncommonPosts: 242
    It depends on what you are looking at I guess.

    If you talk about toxicity, jack a$$ etc, I would think the ratio is probably the same as it used to be, just that with more players, there are obviously more of those too...

    If you talk about "interactions" between players, I think it has degraded quite a lot, but I would tend to blame the games more than the gamers for that.

    Nowadays, it feels like you are constantly into the action. Everything seems faster. Combat is fast pace action that keeps you occupied every seconds, and after any fight you are still all jacked up and ready to go (no more down time).  Add to this buffs that have very limited duration (and that's when they are not "group only") so helping others for <1min is'nt really worth the detour. Also, once you are done with something, you can travel almost instantly anywhere to start back on something else.

    This means that we don't have as much time as before to smell the roses (or bears sh*t , I won't judge.. ;) ) as we used to have, which was the perfect time for interacting with others. I guess that is fine for most player, since, when you have limited time to game, you want to actually "play" it, but I think that's the main thing that made interactions more "optional" than they used to be.



    Ungood
  • AnthurAnthur Member UncommonPosts: 938
    TL;DR: Definately weaker. But I wouldn't blame the players for it.

    I will try to explain.
    E.g. in real life in the past most people were living in small villages. Today most people live in mega cities. In those small villages you usually had a very tight and great community. In todays cities most people don't even know their direct neighbours anymore and they also don't care about them. There are many reasons for this but the main reason I think is that in those villages you actually needed your neighbour. The next village/city or guy who offered the same service or help was far away. 

    The same is true for those first gen MMOs and todays MMOs. In EQ, Ultima, FFXI, DAoC you needed the other players. You could do it solo but it made your life so much harder only few people really did.
    In todays MMOs you need no one. You can just solo anything and even if there is e.g. group content there are tools to just find random people which you join for 15 minutes and see never again. Many times even from different servers. There is no need to talk to them either. This is no environment any community can grow on. So nowadays you can play those games together with millions of others and they mean not more to you than an npc or bot.

    Some call this old style "forced grouping" and they hate it. What they don't see is that if you need noone it is also much less likely that you will make any stronger bonds with anyone else ever.

    Sorry for the rant. ;)

    AlBQuirky
  • Flyte27Flyte27 Member RarePosts: 4,571
    edited February 28
    Speaking of toxic people and rants standards must have risen a lot in the last 20 years for online behavior.  I remember seeing message boards filled with the vilest angry comments.  What you said is more like a polite suggestion at best IMO.  Just another reason it was important to have strong bonds with others in game.
    Post edited by Flyte27 on
    AlBQuirky
  • danwest58danwest58 Member RarePosts: 1,905
    The Communities are much weaker today because no one needs anyone else in today's MMORPGS thanks to LFD/LFR.   The vast majority of gamers today will never make friends because what is the point when you can click a button get in a dungeon or a raid and see it on a welfare setting.   This causes just about everyone to do LFR get their gear and leave the game.   No point in trying to get better because you already did the content.

    This is why MMORPGS from AAA publishers are on the rocks and why private non publicly owned publishers are creating their own MMORPGS with old school game play.   
    BruceYeeAlBQuirky
  • ScotScot Member EpicPosts: 9,641
    If they exist and its not a given now, they are not as strong as they were. 
    KyleranBruceYeeAlBQuirky

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  • ikcinikcin Member RarePosts: 1,807
    What communities in solo MMOs? Maybe there are communities, but definitely they are not based on the modern games. To have a community, you need communication, and for a gaming community - also competition and cooperation. In most modern MMORPGs the gameplay is so lame, that most of the people talk about entirely different things, while they play solo.
  • KyleranKyleran Member LegendaryPosts: 31,077
    DMKano said:
    To answer the question with any degree of certainty - how do we precisely measure "strength of community" in the first place, so that we can compare old to new?

    So yeah - this is going to be a pure speculation answer without any quantifiable data.

    My gut feeling is they are pretty much the same, they seem weaker because of a huge increase of online playerbase - but the niche/veteran players today are roughly equivalent to normal players of old and it's about the same.


    Perhaps.  I know I'm different,  far more jaded, and not nearly so hopeful of what the genre could be.

    One big difference, in the early days moderators walked the game world and chat channels and enforced a sense of order,  at least within the game world.

    Might have just been an illusion, but I miss those times.


    ScotTheScavenger

    "I should run a marathon backwards. So I could see what second place look like" Royce da 5'9"

    "I need to finish" - Christian Wolff: The Accountant

    Just trying to live long enough to play a new, released MMORPG, back in EVE until then

    Fools find no pleasure in understanding, but delight in airing their own opinions. Pvbs 18:2, NIV

    Don't just play games, inhabit virtual worlds™

    "This is the most intelligent, well qualified and articulate response to a post I have ever seen on these forums. It's a shame most people here won't have the attention span to read past the second line." - Anon






  • AmarantharAmaranthar Member RarePosts: 3,135
    edited March 1

    DMKano said:
    To answer the question with any degree of certainty - how do we precisely measure "strength of community" in the first place, so that we can compare old to new?

    So yeah - this is going to be a pure speculation answer without any quantifiable data.

    My gut feeling is they are pretty much the same, they seem weaker because of a huge increase of online playerbase - but the niche/veteran players today are roughly equivalent to normal players of old and it's about the same.


    My opinion, you measure community by meaningful player interaction that sticks.

    High quality community:

    UO- (and I'm leaving out PKing as a source of "need", even though that is viable here)
    Players interacted a lot through trade and need.
    Lack of "easy" interaction buttons meant players had to interact on a more personal level.
    Sandbox meant players of all skill levels could play together most of the time.
    Guilds had a stronger glue because of this.
    Players got together for like interests because the game was about much more than just leveling.
    Examples:
    -Fishing guilds
    -Player run auctions
    -Player run taverns
    -Player run trade fairs
    -Dungeon romps and player events
    -Player organized meetings and voting (UO did add "ballot boxes" to help with voting)
    -Players groups to try to decipher the Wisp language
    -Rare item knowledge, trade of rares and knowledge of locations
    -Player made Museums
    -Player organized Chess Matches, Plays, and Campfire Story Telling
    -Player organized Tournaments (and other contests based on skill to a lesser degree, like races)
    -Player Libraries with player written books including stories of events and theories on Lore
    -GM events and Lore, and players interactions in trying to figure it all out and predict what's next
    -Freedom to specialize and change according to "demand" (economics/trade, including knowledge)
    -Organization for training up characters (mostly through guilds, but also guild to outside for some skills and PvP)

    In a Sandbox like UO, players got to know other players for what they did and had to offer (mostly as player shops for quality and supply, as guilds that organized events), and for those who offered aid in various ways (smiths repairing gear, help getting reserrected and gear back from looting MOBs, etc.).
    You knew players, long term, as a community well beyond your guild mates. And others knew you too if you were active at anything. Or even if they constantly saw you at the same bank.

    ------------------------------------

    Low quality community:

    Modern games-
    Only lasting community is top end guilds dedicated to leveling and "end game", RMT and Gold Farming.

    Post edited by Amaranthar on

    Once upon a time....

  • DataDayDataDay Member UncommonPosts: 1,519
    From my observation, weaker is also the conclusion. By weaker I generally refer to a mixture of social cohesion and general attitudes via online multiplayer gaming... at least in so far as mmorpgs are concerned.

    I would argue that part of this has to do with the nature of niche vs mainstream mindsets and consumption. MMORPGS used to be a niche, a hobby that was not really all that mainstream. With it came a kind of "secret club", in group mentality. Since the market has become over saturated with both players (consumers) and products, many with high accessibility (f2p), the nature of the community will naturally change. In this, I would suggest for the worse.

    Furthermore, my opinion so far is that gamers have become a bit jaded. The golden era of gaming is gone, with the rest of the offerings feeling cheap or overly commercialized. The element of surprise is gone for a lot of people. The kind of niche unity and excitement is missing or rather has been lost. Perhaps VR is the next niche market in order to experience community, at least for now.
    MadFrenchie
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