Thursday, 6 January 2011

Ultra-Casual?

This post from Jae popped up in my reader this morning, and I read it with with degrees of both sadness and recognition.

One of the things I'm really enjoying about Cata is that, having stepped back from raiding, ummm pushing on a year ago, and having stepped off the gas in WoW-terms generally about 6 months ago, I haven't had a need to do anything specific post-expansion. When Wrath hit, I was all about hitting 80 and gearing up to be raid ready - hey let's get moving on that gear treadmill as soon as, yeah? And whilst I had fun initially, my second character to 80 basically didn't go near dungeons or raids because I really couldn't face doing it all over again. I remember the Tournament coming in and really resenting the dailies almost from the get-go: the jousting didn't help, to be sure, but mainly it was feeling of 'here I go again, another grind, as if the Sons of Hodir grind hadn't been bad enough...' And I don't want my game time, my down time, my escape from RL time, to feel that way. I want it to be fun dammit - gimme funz nao! I'm happy to accept that for a percentage of people, gearing up and raiding is the game, in the same way that I accept that hitting gold cap and playing the AH and the markets is also a big part for some and that PvP is what it's all about for others. It's just not my thang.

I'm one of the most anti-social casuals around now. Whilst I still have characters in SAN I'm playing alts that only I (and Himself) know about. I'm still on RP servers because frankly I find regular PvE ones really hard going nowadays but I'm levelling alone. I'm playing classes that I'm relatively inexperienced in - it seems like quite a good time to be doing this now, with so many recent changes to class mechanics, so I'm having the joy (and it is a joy to me) of not really knowing what I'm doing again. I'm not having to re-learn 'my' class so I'm not frustrated by anything that I perceive to be a nerf. I'm really enjoying the changes to the world, some big and some much more subtle. Making that head change from being part of a guild to going it solo is bloody hard. I did it through sheer necessity, too much RL recently to be able to 'commit' meaningfully to a guild, and it was odd to start with certainly. I was reminded of my early WoW days when I bumbled around, being bemused by the concept of guilds.

Now I realise that there are two 'M's in 'MMO' and, once I'd gotten comfortably ensconced in a guild, I was confused by why anyone would choose to be totally solo, but I'm realising that there are positives as well. With the changes to guilds (which I know less than nothing about, by the way) I assume that people are expected to 'commit' much more to their guild now, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but possibly means that being ultra-casual won't make you hugely popular within guilds...? And as the most fun I've had in guilds were in SAN when we were all starting out afresh, and in my old PvE guild, where again, we were all new and starting from basically zero, I don't have a burning desire to be guilded where not only is there raid progression to worry about, but also now guild progression. In my perfect world, as, I assume, in most people's, there exists an idealised version of a guild, where there are around 15-20 people, with a good class balance, who all want the same things, get on well and generally meld into a healthy, happy mass. Somewhere where there is no drama or internal politics, where raids aren't stressful, where there isn't a blame culture, where fun > progression, where people aren't bigots, where the sun always shines and no-one ever Moonfires the bunnies. Where is this guild??? Oh, that's right - it's in my head... I don't want to be somewhere that doesn't significantly enhance the fun I have with my gaming. As selfish as it sounds, if I'm not going to have any more fun playing with others than I will playing alone, I'll stick to being unguilded. If, by being guilded, I'm going to 'have' to do x y and z then I'll stick to soloing, that way neither I nor anyone else feels like they're getting a rough deal. I do miss the sociability of guilds, the nattering in g chat and then general feeling of being a part of something, but I can live without it.

10 comments:

  1. Actually the guild levelling is pretty good :) Though they've reduced the ways you can get it, you can still get experience from guild runs (raids/instances, 4 or more of you) and doing quests and dailies. And if you don't do those things, I highly doubt anybody's going to yell at you for it, that would be as silly as going, "Right, we're raiding now Pilf, c'mon, kill some internet dragons time." Nobody would expect you to do anything you didn't want to :)

    And that imaginary guild you thought up? Think my current one is pretty bang on the money. They're a social guild that raids and PvPs, except, because it's a social guild, anything they do is entirely optional and guild chat is fun, people are generally up for stuff, I have found a couple of people I don't agree with but they're not so obnoxious that I can't ignore them (and I am terrible at ignoring dicks, I just don't think there are 'dicks' in this one). So hooray! It does exist, I just found it at the same time I realised I was incredibly bored of the game.

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  2. I'm hating on you for finding 'my' guild actually exists right now :)

    Seriously though, I think I'm in a better place for flying solo atm. Who knows - I'm sure that eventually I'll miss company and random guild chatter though...!

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  3. I've been looking for it for 2 years, maybe more, I'm totally allowed ;)

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  4. I couldn't agree more - I've had a woeful lack of time to play WoW recently but it means I've not been able to be all gungho about 'MUST GRIND AND GET READY FOR STUFF NOW!!' and not been able to think about raiding. And I'm really enjoying Cata! I've never been the 'must be first' type, and I feel lucky that I can go at my own pace and not burn out in a few weeks.

    I've always refused to grind unless it's something I enjoy doing - for example, I got my Diplomat title before any of the rep gain increases and Ambassador before city tabards or the tournament dailies, but I didn't do any of the tournament dailies once my main had her 'home city' title. There was nothing I wanted or needed that much to do something I found tedious and boring.

    As for guilds, well (un?!)fortunately I'm GM of one, so I kinda have to stay in one :) But I don't see guild advancement as a grind or millstone around our necks, just as a perk as we do what we do. Long live the social guild!

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  5. I'm a great fan of social guilds and friendly, casual raiding when you get around to it. I really don't care if I never get a server first - I'm simply not prepared to put the work in when I'm supposed to be having fun.

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  6. @ Len - Hai! How are you? And ditto re The Diplomat and Ambassador - I did them pre-Tournament as well and I'm still quite proud of it! And I didn't realise you were Mistress GM *bows* and seriously, props - I'd NEVER manage that!

    @ Sven - yeah, I'd kinda gathered that from your response to the Warcraft Challenge - wasn't your favourite NPC the lazy peon *giggles But yeah, couldn't agree more - fun > everything else!

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  7. Sounds like you're having fun, and that's the most important thing ;)

    I have most of my low level alts on my main server in a banking guild -- but I'm not very concerned about the guild leveling or the perks thereof. Then there's my Alliance toons in SAN. Most of my other Horde toons are unguilded. Because I only want to level with these characters, and have no endgame plans for them whatsoever, I'm just fine with having them guildless.

    If one of my unguilded toons gets spammed with a random guild invite, I'll accept if it has a reasonable sort of name (not very often) and decline it if it has a stupid name (most of the time). I don't really participate in any of those guilds -- I just joined because if I do have a guild tag under my name, people won't spam guild invites at me -- and I'm too nice to /gquit if I see that other people in the guild are online, but eventually they get around to kicking me out for inactivity anyway.

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  8. @ Kam. Yes, I agree about characters that you have no plans to endgame with. At present that's all of mine. That said, today I dusted off my paladin (who's in SAN) and it was nice to see green text in the chat box!

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  9. *koffkoff*myguildonMoonglade*koffkoff*

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  10. I know :) Mage alt made and I'll catch you soonest xxx

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