Enjoying social interaction with online gaming

Posted by Madbot on Jul 1, 2012 in Madbot Madness, Techno |

With the many multiplayer games played over the years, some worked really well and others not so much. Here is a quick look at some of them.

1. Everquest.

I got into EQ after moving to Japan and using it as a way to continue staying in touch with friends – but on a deeper level than emails. For anyone who has played, EQ took a significant amount of time investment and at the time it was the only real player on the market.

Many fond memories of questing with old and new friends. Luckily, most of the not-so-fond memories of raid wipes, xp loss have faded.

2. City of Heroes

After leaving EQ behind, friends and I jumped onto a new MMO, City of Heroes. Refreshingly, it filled our characters with power and purpose to battle evil. More importantly, our characters can now wear dashing costumes and make funky dance moves. What a difference it was to EQ where my toon spent most of the time sitting (to regenerate mana).

3. World of Warcraft

WoW – the MMO that blew all others away. Oh many 3 years of my life went into this game. Numerous max level toons, epics, and raids too many to count. Many friends from before EQ, during EQ, and after EQ joined online for some epic adventures. It had everything. The fancy costumes, epic equipments, fun skills, dance moves, and awesome boss fights.

Guilds formed and died in the years invested in the game. Some people got married, and some went separate ways.

On smaller scale, many squad/team based games on PC and consoles were also fun. X-Wing vs Tie Fighter, Star Craft, Diablo. In the early days it was not straight forward to set up multiplayer sessions, but once successful, the extra efforts made the fun all the more worthwhile. It has’t always been this simple as just logging on and join.

One game that has consistently kept my attention for the past few months is Mass Effect 3. As much as I hate the random upgrade kits, it’s like a drug that I find difficult to resist.

On the other hand, Star Craft 2 and Diablo 3 have not done so well with me. I had no trouble playing Mass Effect 3 with complete strangers – in fact I have never played a session with a friend. However, Star Craft and Diablo felt like sessions I needed to play with old friends. With the difficulties in arranging everyone playtime, group sessions had been few and far between. With the single player campaign over, I struggled to maintain interest to keep playing even on more difficult settings.

Other games:

There have been huge developments on web based games. With the PC and console platform based games, investments in extra hardware and software, and their maintenance, are usually required. The web based games broke through this barrier and required only the basics like a computer with internet connection. Many like Yahoo Scrabble, and Farmville let users use real world money as credits to game or purchase enhancements, and provide deep entertainment values to the non traditional gamers who do not have the interest or capability to invest and maintain the gears needed just to start.

Also.. these can be great at the office during “downtime” – assuming your IT gurus have not blocked them.

So after these years of gaming with friends, here is my theory on what aspects work better than others to keep us playing.

  • Co-op/squad based – encourages the spirit to work together.
  • Progression in perceived value – better gear, game progression, bragging rights, medal/achievements. When done right, these can replace a boring or non-existent story and help to establish a common goal and interest.
  • Easy to get started – Xbox has done an amazing job. I still struggle with some Steam games and need to setup private VPNs that dont always work or have lag problems.
  • What doesn’t work so well with the social gaming:

  • Head-to-head – these can be fun with strangers but with friends there is always the possibility that feelings will get hurt.
  • High barrier of entry – these not only include hardware and software, but also the learning curve such as skills and level.
  • Grind needed – Repetitive game play with the little or pointless goals and progression. Honestly, it’s like watching the same movie again and again. It becomes torture after a while. I am looking at you, Diablo 3.
  • Let’s hope more games are released with the good parts..!

    1 Comment

    Nov 18, 2012 at 8:52 am

    EQ and CoH was fun 🙂

    you forgot the star wars galaxies you played 🙂



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