Casual Differences in Raiding
Culture is really important to me in MMORPG gaming—I can sit and play a single player game alone, but it adds a twist to inject humans (and their quirks) into the mix. I’ve found that its almost impossible to play single player games now—I’m too used to the interaction component of gaming. Except solitaire, of course. 🙂
When I started playing FFXI back in 2003, the culture was unlike any other game I’d played before. Accepting multi-cultural groups and becoming proficient with the built-in translator was a requirement—at that time, and to a degree now, English speaking Americans were the minority.
In addition to that, raiding (large group efforts, etc) became a part of the culture. If something was about to appear, you dropped what you were doing and headed that way to help. Other forms of raiding, like Dynamis, were there for entertainment and, typically, large scale craziness. 64 players running around wildly trying to sleep, pick off, and beat a bazillion creatures rushing at you. Generally, the attitude was casual, but professional. Do your job, but have fun. There’s competition on HNMs, but, after that’s done, most everyone goes off, groups up with each other, and merits, farms, does BCNMs. Our shells define us, but typically (*cough* except for a few) don’t separate us.
I took a two year stint and played EQ2–-to get away from some of the level grind of FFXI and see what everyone was raving about (read: dragged kicking and screaming by coworkers). EQ2 was fun, had beautiful graphics, but an entirely different culture. “leetism” reigned supreme and raiding was only available to those who were in raiding guilds (this has changed a bit with the alliances and syndicate raiding groups). Unlike FFXI, however, raiding was “serious business” in EQ2. Over two years, I’ve seen friendships dissolve (or explode), entire server wars begin over “drama,” grown adults crying, and attitudes that certain groups shouldn’t even associate with others—the guilds create almost a heirarchy on each server.
So, now that I’m back to FFXI, I’m enjoying the ‘casual’ side to gaming again. I don’t have a calendar. I don’t manage pop timers, instance timers, or schedule where I should be every night. I know that when I log in, something will be going on and if I’m not busy or they need me, I’ll go help my friends out—and they’d do the same for me.