Warcraft has always had the ability to be a good game for whatever you want to do no matter what the level of your desire to interact with other players was. While it is a multi player game it was never required that you do things with others. There was enough you could do on your own even if it was not everything.
With all the additions over the years the game has become more friendly to the solo players. Being able to do PvP, dungeons, and raids without leaving your home city or even ever speaking to another person has made it even more accessible to the solo player.
It almost seems as if it is being done by design. As if Blizzard was trying to remove the social aspect from the game.
I've often said I am not a very social player. In randoms I say hello at the start and thank you at the end because I believe it is the respectful thing to do. Unless there is something important that needs to be said or I am answering a question, that is all I will ever say in a random.
This is why I consider myself a solo player. I am content to play the game and never talk to another living being while doing so.
It is important I mention that because as you will see, even me as a solo player, I found the game to actually encourage me to be social.
When leveling I would run across a quest where I needed to beat some big baddie, lets say a bear. I would wait there killing things around it doing some other quests in the area hoping for someone to come by that I could ask for help or for someone to come by doing the same quest so I could join them.
It never took all that long. In most cases it was no more than a half hour, not much waiting as I was doing other quests in the area while waiting. I would join up with the person. They needed me just as much as I needed them. Perhaps we would even grab a third or sometimes forth person and we would get the quest done for all of us.
We would all mention that we tried it solo and mentioned our lack of success, or success even, like I almost killed him or something like that. It reminded you that you are not in the world alone. It made you actively seek interaction of some sort, even if it was only to further your own personal agenda as a solo player. Other people where needed, interaction was needed.
For someone like myself that does not like to talk while playing I learned that there was a place in the game for that. Like it or not, I would interact with others and in time I actually started to enjoy doing so once in a while.
Even now, although a lot less often, if I am passing through an area and see someone mention needing help in general I always stop and help unless I am in a rush on the way to somewhere. I remember what it was like. Although I would have never been the person that asked for help in general, I know what it felt like to need help. More often then not it is something like the amphitheater or ring that people are looking for help with, it is no longer random elite mob so and so. That random elite mob so and so probably started many friendships in this game and he is missed.
Like I said about the options of the game even back then, you could have just skipped that quest. Kept being the solo player. You where not exactly required to do the quest so the option became yours.
Questing has changed to the point where the need for other people for group quests are few and far between. There are a few quest mobs that will beat you like a redheaded stepchild but over all there are not many of those any more.
My first dungeons were when I saw people asking for help with a dungeon in general in the area I was in. I would join them and work my way to the dungeon. I would get lost sometimes and have to stop to socialize, like it or not, to ask directions and share my story of getting lost. I would hear the stories of others that got lost.
We would finally get everyone together at the dungeon and start working together to defeat it. Maybe it is me with some rose tinted glasses on but I do not remember old dungeons being like they are now. I remember needing to attack with a plan and not being able to over pull or we would all be spirit walking our ways back and getting lost again.
I still get lost going to Mara and affectionately remember one time with three others when we wiped in there and none of us could find the way back in so we all revived at the spirit healer and sat around talking for 10 minutes before we went our separate ways.
You where forced to socialize to some extent like it or not. You where forced to realize that it really is a multi player game. You needed to assemble groups, you needed to travel to get there, you needed to talk about how you would advance in the dungeon, you would need to play the game with others, interactive, and not just as if they where NPC controlled units there to assist you.
Maybe you were not forced. You could have just skipped them and continued being the solo player and not do the dungeon quests. Maybe you went the way I did and tried to solo it as much as you could at level or came back later when you had a few more levels and it would be a little easier. You where given the option of being the solo player still or to socialize.
With the new system you do not need to assemble a group. One is assembled for you so no need to talk to people to get a group together. You do not need to find your way to the dungeon because you will be ported directly there so no need to ask people for directions if you get lost. When you die your body is usually right outside the dungeon now, no ghost runs from half a continent away where once again you could get lost and need to ask for directions. Now it seems that dungeons are just a series of pull the whole room and kill everything so there is really no need for talking about getting one mob at a time or one pack at a time, because none of that is really required.
You can now find a group, finish a dungeon, and get back to where you were before you even started in the blink of an eye and even more importantly, without ever saying a word to anyone. Dungeons are effectively added to the solo players game choices. The other people, while actual people, mean nothing to the solo player. They are just assistants to help you finish your task. You are playing solo, they are only there to help you.
The same can now be said for raids. Raids were the next step on the social ladder. Quests where minor social interaction with people you would do one simple task with. Dungeons where more advanced interaction where you would work with several people for an extended time toward a common goal that needed communication. Raids are the last step in the line.
You needed to assemble a larger group. The group tasks where harder than anything else you have ever encountered. You had to deal with the same travel to and from issues as dungeons. This is where guilds came in. You actively needed to start working with people on a regular basis so you could conquer these advanced tasks. Working on them with the same people every week increased the chances of getting better as a team, the ultimate social interaction, teamwork
Now they are the same as the dungeons. There is one minor difference. Unlike the dungeons where you can get through them with all 5 people being non social people you need at least one person to be social in the raids. But with 25 people there will surely always be one person happy to call out the colors of the slimes to go kill. Even the only boss in the raid, the 5th, where I would figure there needs to be tank communication I have found out can be solo tanked thanks to a comment from someone here. So not even that needs communication and when I go there I solo tank it and totally ignore the fact there is another tank there, the way any solo player would.
While you will never get many of the more complex tasks done without interaction, the game from beginning to end can now be completed without ever typing one word to another living being on the other end of the screen.
Where it was always a choice of the solo player on what they will and will not do they can now do nearly everything while effectively still playing the game as a solo player. It even seems as if Blizzard is designing the game so it could be done that way.
PvP by nature is a social action, you are working with and against people and know that beforehand and even that can be done by the non social person, at least not at the top level.
While I do like that idea that the game is more solo friendly I am somewhat upset about it. While I was never a social type of player to begin with I got used to the fact that sometimes I needed to talk to others to complete a task. Other players would feel like real people because I needed to talk to them and not just like NPCs that are helping me with my task.
Maybe the reason we see such venom being thrown around from the people that do talk is because of this. They do not see other people as people, they see them as NPCs that help them on their tasks. When the NPCs do something wrong they treat them as if they are not people. Just the same way all of us have looked at our screen at least once while doing an escort quest and said, "would you hurry the F up".
The other people in the game are just those annoying quest NPCs now because the game lets you do everything solo you seem to forget those are people and not NPCs.
From a self proclaimed non social player and a self proclaimed solo player you would think I would actively support these changes but I don't.
As it seems, warcraft is leaning more and more toward being a solo game with multi player aspects instead of being a multi player game that gives you some things you can do solo. Perhaps that is their intention, who knows.
At least I will never be stuck sitting at a graveyard with three people I don't know with resurrection sickness talking about not being able to find our way back to Mara.
Oh wait, that was actually one of the best moments of leveling and it will never happen again for anyone. Such a loss for he new generation.
A non social person missing social interaction? That is proof they had the formula right before. In my opinion at least.
Blizzard Watch: Episode 117
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