Multiplayer Conundrum


Last night was a really weird night for me, where I spent a significant amount of time doing things OTHER than playing games.  I logged into Final Fantasy XIV pretty early but had the very annoying fight that I had been struggling with the night before ahead of me.  So I found myself alt tabbed out of Parsec and doing other things…  like watching a whole bunch of videos on YouTube.  Yesterday was one of those days where everything was stacked together so tightly that I felt like I was jumping from meeting to meeting without any real pauses between… and before I knew it was 5:30 and I felt like I had accomplished nothing.


When I got home I fixed us some dinner and largely went into a vegetative state, and part of this was avoiding actually doing the thing that I logged into Final Fantasy XIV to do that night.  On some level I think I just couldn’t handle the failure that was inevitably going to happen.  However around 9 ish I finally started working on the quest and sure enough I failed the first attempt.  However on the second try I made it through to the Y’shtola phase…  which honestly seemed really hard to fail.  It was an interesting encounter but way the hell to long, and the margins for failure were way the hell to slim for a story quest.  I am however up to patch 4.5 which I believe is still the latest story content patch, and will likely begin that tonight.

The other day Pentapod/Dominoposted a twitter poll of sorts asking players why they prefer to play otherwise multiplayer games solo.  This is a bit of a loaded topic and I chimed into the thread with my own thoughts but never quite made them in a blog format.  The above twitter post includes the follow up that shows that the vast majority of the reasoning behind why…  is issues of player toxicity.  For me personally it is a bit more nuanced than that but toxicity is definitely a huge problem that keeps me away from any game where voice chat with strangers is forced or at least heavily suggested.

For me the issue comes from something that I have noticed over the years and have talked a bit about on this blog.  The more responsibility I have thrust upon me in the real world…  the less I want to be entangled with it in the virtual world.  When I was working thankless dead end jobs, I looked to World of Warcraft, the House Stalwart Guild and the then Duranub Raiding Company raid to provide me structure in my life and give me some semblance of control.  However as I moved jobs and arrived at a place where I was deeply appreciated… and as a result given more and more responsibility…  I found myself withdrawing significantly from guild leadership and even recently from raiding at all.

When I group with other players I feel responsible for not only myself but for the enjoyment of others.  I am just wired that way and I think it is in part why I have always leaned on tanking classes as my window into the virtual world.  However since January of last year I have had fifteen human beings relying on me every single day for their survival and job satisfaction at work…  I just cannot handle going home at night and taking on that responsibility for putting myself out there to organize things.  As a result I have found myself spending almost all of my time playing solo in MMORPGs or playing some truly single player gaming experience.  I traded that responsibility for others that I used to cherish in games…  for applying those same guild and raid leader skills to the workplace.

The end result however is frustrating because I have found myself withdrawing from even what I would consider the safest of places and instead erecting mental blocks against those activities that thrust me in with a bunch of other players.  I’ve found it extremely difficult to bring myself to queue as my Warrior main in FFXIV because I am just not sure if I can deal with having to feel responsible for the success or failure of an encounter.  The time-shift for the Seattle crew has also harmed this a bit, but there is a significant gathering of East and Central players in the Final Fantasy XIV free company that would be more than willing to do anything I ever wanted to do with me.

At some point I have to rip the band-aid off and get back into the swing of things.  However there are so many nights like last night where I allow myself to find alternate diversions.  I am looking forward to Anthem as some what of a clean start.  However I spent almost all of my time in the demo playing alone, either doing missions solo or roaming around aimlessly in free play.  However on the Anthem front… reminder that you can begin loading the game through Origin at Noon Central today.


3 thoughts on “Multiplayer Conundrum

  1. Domino! Long time since I saw anything from her.

    The solo thing is interesting. In my case it has nothing whatsoever to do with fear of toxicity. I have seen very little of that in my time in MMOs. It has WAY more to do with wanting to be able to stop, start, change direction, tab out and read a blog, watch a video, change games etc etc etc at will, without having to explain myself or wait until it’s convenient for someone else.

    I see gaming as much more like reading a book than watching a movie: something I can pick up and put down at will; something I don’t have to allow a set amount of time for; something I can do with people around me but that I don’t have to do with people. As I’ve said many times, I prefer to read in a busy environment with lots going on around me – in a pub, at a cafe table, in a park – than alone at home and I see playing MMOs “solo” in the same way.

    • I think that makes a lot of sense. I have learned over the years that I tend to wander away quite often so that is definitely a thing. I don’t want to inconvenience others.

  2. I think I am going to have to go with the month of access… I have so much trouble paying 70$ for a game any more considering my backlog, but this is one I would like to at least dip my toes into. I work this weekend so I really won’t have a ton of time to play but maybe I’ll see you in game.

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