An Antisocial Gamer Enters a Room – And in that Room is an MMO

Today I’m going to be a little more personal than I usually am, so bear with me.

I don’t like playing online. That’s not true. I don’t like communicating with people. If I don’t have to talk with anyone than I’m perfectly fine like in non-team deathmatches, or in Dragon Crown’s simplistic online. You see, I like to play games at my own pace, and I especially hate having to deal with idiots nattering on and on about nothing. Hell, I don’t like it when what they’re saying is completely relevant. To me, gaming is an isolated hobby, only shared occasionally by friends who are in the same room. It generally stems from the fact that the vast majority of the people I know have little interest in video games, and the ones that do either don’t have the same level of interest as I do, or are entirely interested in singleplayer experiences. I’m also a fairly private person, who isn’t particularly interested in getting worked up by a bad online experience. As such, I’d rather shoot myself in the foot than go anywhere near something like League of Legends. I play video games for many reasons, one of which is to relax, and a bunch of people of varying age groups yelling at me, or actively trying to sabotage my efforts is the epitome of frustrating.

League? Hell no! Give me something I can do without all of those… people.
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As I’ve stated elsewhere on this  blog, at the basest level, I’m an RPG gamer with various outlying interests. Due to that core interest though, I have dabbled in the mythical beast known as the MMO, which is short for MMORPG, which means Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (Be thankful we shortened it to MMO). My first experience was with Ultima Online, a game I joined far after practically everyone who cared had already left. It was an interesting dalliance to say the least, but I never progressed to any meaningful level. My next attempt at the genre came with the original Guild Wars. It felt a little like Diablo II, which was a huge bonus for me, but in the end, I just couldn’t deal with playing with people. So I pushed my Necromancer as far as I could without grouping with people, and basically got my money’s worth. However, my primary MMO experience came from Final Fantasy XI, which I played quite a bit (In my terms).

I think I killed an ettin once in this game.
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Final Fantasy XI had a strange build up. I played it on the PS2, which meant getting my PS2 online, which was probably one of the most convoluted and difficult things I did with the machine. However, I was steadfast in my resolve as I dreamed of creating Dark Knights and Paladins, and a huge world that was mine to take. The actual payoff was not as wonderful as I dreamed. I ended up playing as a Red Mage, and I made it as far as gaining the ability to subclass. As hardcore XI players know, this is not very far, but in order to get there, I did play with people. I learned what tanks were, how to manage aggro, and I really loved my debuffing role in a party. So much so that I think XI has the best interpretation of the Red Mage class in the entire series. However, I hit the wall with XI due to another major problem I have with MMOs and online games: obligation. As soon as I feel obligated to play a game, when it becomes more of a job than relaxation, is when I jump, pretty much cold turkey. This happened to me in XI, and I simply couldn’t play it anymore. Then I lost the ability to go online with my PS2, and I really couldn’t play it anymore. Still, I really had fun with my Red Mage.

My Red Mage looked like every melee class because I was at too low a level to look interesting.
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That was all prior to the current console generation, which is the generation that has really brought online gaming to the forefront. In some ways I find this funny. For an entire generation, the one where most people have jumped online, I have almost doggedly avoided it. Sure, I’ll play the occasional deathmatch or the like, but I don’t even own a head set, nor do I ever intend to buy one. It generally suited me fine because MMOs don’t generally come to consoles, and I like to play a wide variety of games so I don’t really have time for such a huge life-absorber such as World of Warcraft or the like. As I’m writing this, I feel like I’m coming across as being behind the times, stuck in some Nintendo-esque world where online gaming doesn’t exist or is at very least fringe. I’m not. I fully embrace online gaming and what it has brought to the industry. The problem I have with it is personal: I don’t like talking to strangers while playing video games. That doesn’t mean I don’t approve of where the industry is going, however.

Why should this have online multiplayer? It isn’t like it would be the perfect game for it /sarcasm.
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MMOs are pretty much all social, so I should probably avoid them, which should be easy, right? It’s not. And that’s because I’m a fan. I’m a fan of many series from Shin Megami Tensei to Zelda. But one series that’s particularly close to my heart is Final Fantasy. It’s the reason I played online for XI at all. Now Final Fantasy XIV has been relaunched to almost universal praise, especially considering how unplayable it apparently was before. I’m an antisocial gamer, and I don’t play with people. However, here I am, an Arcanist playing on Diablos. Why have I made this, probably disastrous, plunge again? Truthfully, I’m not sure. It’s probably some combination of having few major releases before next gen launches in earnest, the ability to upgrade to the PS4 copy for free, my love of Final Fantasy games, and the fact that I know someone playing it right now.

It has the “fun so far” seal of approval.
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Either way, I’ve found the game very enjoyable from what I’ve played. However, I’ve yet to need to group with anyone, which will be the major tipping point. The real question is whether this antisocial gamer can get over himself enough to enjoy an MMO all the way to the end, or will I cut out as soon as the social element cuts in? Odds are on me cutting and running, but I feel like I have a chance this time, maybe that’s a testament to Square’s attempt to revitalize XIV, which seems like something I should cover soon.

– Mistranslations for the Modern Gamer

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2 thoughts on “An Antisocial Gamer Enters a Room – And in that Room is an MMO

  1. I can totally understand where you are coming from. I've quite honestly felt the same way when trying my hand at MMO's. (Sorry Guild Wars 2!) However, doesn't it ever get…lonely? It might just be me personally, but a lot of games have seem to try to convince us the characters we use/see are people we know, people we are close to. But when the game ends, all we are left with is a sense of longing to return, and maybe a wish we really DID know those characters. I've actually felt that most when playing Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity of all things! It's almost like our subconscious tellings us we're just escaping a reality, not enhancing it.Sorry if that came across as offensive, but it's just something I thought after reflecting on your post. And believe me, teen psychology is never the correct answer, so I'm sure most of that was probably wrong. Anyway, great post, glad you are enjoying FF XIV, and hope to see more from you soon.

  2. There's no offence to be had. I understand your comment about loneliness. Although, I see that as the hallmark of a great storyteller. As much as it sucks to put away a universe you've fallen in love with, the fact that you could get so attached to fictional characters and worlds is a testament to good writing and great ideas. I don't read fiction, but I know those who do, and they tend to have the same kind of escapism, which, personally, I find very healthy. It's nice to be able to shut out what's going on and escape into a fantasy world. Just as long as that escape doesn't become your whole being.

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