Today an article has appeared in Wired about Personal Gaming (my new phrase of the day!)
Basically the writer comes to a realization...
Playing with yourself feels good...
But, the article discusses about his current Fable 2 game time and reflects some of my feelings as well..
"Why do we want to immerse ourselves in a world that emulates all the tropes of a vibrant world like World of Warcraft — but where we are, essentially, alone?
I told my friend he was looking at it all wrong. The reason we single-player fans love world-games like Fable II is precisely because there are no other "real" people around.
Because really, who needs people? People suck. I'm joking, of course — but only a bit. The truth is that, in online multiplayer worlds, dealing with the delightfully unpredictable behavior of "real" people can be an absolute chore. Teammates fail to show up for a raid, or they leave everyone waiting for an hour, or they log out in the middle of battle and leave you gored by a howling mob. Have you ever actually tried to play Age of Conan? It's like the Stanford Prison Experiment in there, my friend."
The writer goes on to state
"Indeed, the dirty secret of online multiplayer worlds like World of Warcaft is that the vast majority of people play solo in them. As Nicholas Ducheneaut discovered, players who are piloting characters below level 40 spend a stunning 70 percent of their time questing alone"
I think this is why Bioware may have something with SWTOR, by not FORCING players into groups. With Spellborn keeping it small, and personable, you can form cliques. DDO even realized the failure of the grouping mechanics, and presented THEIR henchmen system.
Back to Fable 2. It works. In the respect that secretly you CAN be in an online MMO. You can turn on the new "orbs" system. As you run around towns and in the wilderness, you can see others playing. And guess what, you can group...in duos mind you, but think of the many husband wives who play MMO's in Duos? Look at how Guild Wars presented a method in their last expansions to allow Duo play. You can play the whole campaign with just 2 players.
I still remember Diablo 2 and co-op'ing through. Baldurs Gate:Dark Alliance on the PS2. And now Fable 2 (although slightly broken) couch co-op or Marvel Ultimate Alliance (4 player).
We enjoy the thought of other players being online, but the constant need to become social elites (Questionnaires 3 pages long to join Raid Guilds in WoW, limited elite guild rosters like the CoW's in WAR), and being selective about those players (how many REALLY good PuG's compared to bad do you have. I can count on one hand the number of good PuG's)
Overall, we enjoy the "thought" of others online, but do we really care if we group or solo?
I ran into this post on Pumping Irony with his summary of the month... He states..
"I’m curious about Fallout 3, but I have such a horrible track record with single-player games. I am largely unable to stay focused, especially in RPG’s which tend to be slower-paced. I get lonely when I am the only actual person in the world other than the handful of NPC’s that allow limited and shallow interactivity, so I tend to quickly come back to the PC and login to an MMORPG."What can we garner from such a statement? Do some find a NEED to have the other players exist in that world? What makes the other player on the other end a requirement for enjoyment of a game?
Does this type of player ALWAYS group then? I have seen the poster state the many times doing things solo. So why the NEED to see others?
Maybe in this respect, some may need the online socialization due to complications, like those who cannot do anything but socialize online (cripppled, etc..) (not to say this is Scott's issue, and if it is...no offense.)
But today, casual playstyles and more mature people playing whose times are limited really decreases the overall abundance of players who can play ALL the time for these forced grouping systems.
Fable 2 helped me break out of the habit or need to be online LFG'ing. The game stands well on it's own merits as an RPG (lets not even get started on the broken mechanics of most of the MMO's now which ruins another aspect of being "online"), and down the road, it looks like these games are making an effort to present content in a lightened fashion toward groupings. Or making adjustments to the reasoning to group. (seems LOTRO is making adjustments to all of it's regular content to be solo friendly with the "story" lines being group only..to promote grouping if you want the REAL game...will that work?)
What is YOUR need to be online and not in a single player RPG?