Friday, May 15, 2009

Random Shots: Defending The Solo Player (Again)

  • Another interesting discussion has cropped up over and Bio Break and Stylish Corpse intending to defend the solo MMO play style. Syp gives us a bullet list (yay!) of various reasons someone might prefer solo play while Ysharros fights back at the anti-soloer. So much of the arguments we see on the internet come from 1) the lack of nuance available in stark text, and 2) the fact that the standard style of blog discourse is a rant post. I'm not holding myself up as a paragon of nuance and equanimity. Far from it, in fact. But I can't help but jump into the discussion with both feet and try to calm to waters a bit.

  • As I originally articulated way back in March 2007, I am a solo gamer. I primarily play MMOs alone, only grouping up when the moon is full, when Jupiter aligns with Mars, or the bones fall in the prescribed pattern. It's not that I don't like to playing group or raid instances. They are often a lot of fun and some of the most interesting content in the game. My problem is that I cannot be shackled to time demands of anyone other than myself or my family. I've tried it, it was fun, but I'm done with that now.

  • Defining myself as a solo gamer does not mean I resent group content in MMOs. Quite the contrary: I want there to be games to cater to every audience. Since MMOs were built on a foundation of forced grouping, there should be games for group players. Hardcore PvPers deserve to have their own game, where they can kill and triumph away from the carebears and WoW tourists. Roleplayers should get a game that lets them dream and act. And soloers should have a world where they can come and go as they please, have fun while they're playing, but not be tied to a game longer than they want.

  • But I see arguments all the time about people mad about soloers in their MMOs. Or group content that can be soloed. Or PvP and PvE balanced to the determent of the other. Or roleplayers being ignored entirely. And everyone blames the other for the lack of developer attention. Especially since we should be blaming the developers themselves.

  • Developers are in a bad position and I understand that. Tastes change over time and you can't change course in a running game very fast. Also, businesses don't want to exclude potential subscribers by designing a specifically niche game. World of Warcraft has tried to balance many play styles at the same time, but everyone complains that everyone else is ruining their game. Darkfall is the definition of hardcore PvP, but they still have people clamoring for better PvE.

  • If you don't like how the game is designed, vote with your wallet. The only message you can send is in cash. Flooding the forums, blogs, twitter, or whatever will have little effect on the company. The language of business is money. Support the games that support you and abandon games that don't.


  1. Amen and F'g amen! Stop the whining and leave the games that support too much solo or too much grouping for your tastes. I do!

  2. Great points (u see wut i did thar? har), all.

    I'm the kind of person that flitters (in a masculine way, of course.../flex) back and forth between casual and hardcore, solo'er and grouper, depending on what kind of time I have at a particular moment in my life. So I really appreciate that a single game, whether it is WoW, EQ2 or some other flavour of the month title, is able to let me get my game on with a minimum of fuss.

    In the end though, people need to quit moaning about things. Despite what they may think, it's not "their" game and their subscription doesn't get them a seat at the shareholder table.

  3. The problem I see is the boxes to begin with.

    I wouldn't describe myself as any type of player in particular. Sometimes I solo, sometimes I group, sometimes I PvP. Whatever. Maybe it's time we stopped thinking about interest groups and started thinking about the good of the game as a whole. I have a blog post planned on that point, no surprise.

  4. @ Saylah - Thanks so much for stopping by. There are so many games out there right now, there has to be a right one out there for just about everyone. They should go find it already!

    @ Exeter & Elnia - You are both right. The problem with solo v. group, casual v. hardcore, and such is that no one is really that extreme. I know I'll do a little of this and a little of that as my mood changes and having expansive games is a boon to that. I often find that I have more fun when I understand the developer's intentions for the game and play accordingly. Maybe people would have more fun if they thought about what they're actually doing.

    (Think?!? But it's just a game! /sarcasm)

  5. Eh, if your first visit to my blog was the rant, don't assume it's all I do. In fact, I don't do a lot of it at all, and I don't rant particularly well (by which I mean the kind of rant that makes the reader either laugh or squirm -- laugh is ok, squirmy rants make me uncomfortable).

    But yes, it's accurate to say I'm fighting back against the anti-soloer. Sad fact is, the most intolerant players I've come across aren't the roleplayers (who are a lovely bunch) but the grouping players who think everyone else is not just someone paying their own sub, but a resource that the grouper gets to make use of; that, I have to admit, really bothers me. I pay my subs, they pay their subs, I try my damndest not to grief or annoy anyone, but past that, nobody has the right to tell me whether I should group and when, nor to call me names because I don't play like they do.

    That said, most of the time I couldn't give a toss. I just ignore them. But it *is* interesting discussion material. Some of my best friends and I disagree vehemently in solo/group and casual/hardcore type discussions.

  6. @ Ysharros - Not to worry. I understand your post was woven from strands of frustration. One would think that there would be fewer arguments between people who come together for the sole purpose of having fun. Nothing is ever easy with there are people involved. Thank you so much for stopping by. Loved the My Little Pony post. :)