With both of these games I was playing with people I either knew in person or had met over the internet and talked with over the phone to get a more personal dimension to the relationship. No real risk involved there since I played with no unknown factors. The games were fun, if a bit tedious. Rapid resource utilization and massive body waves really seemed to be the way to win. Whoever did it quickest probably won.
Evercrack, Rubies of Eventide, Horizons, City of Heroes and Aion were all played over their last 11 years with about 5 years of no playing scattered throughout those 11 years. In all of these games there was a greater degree of community because of things like guilds and the fact that you rarely played the game in a solo manner. Don’t we have console & PC games for that? I met some really interesting people and few imbalanced people to make me more than hesitant about the health of internet communities. I think Chicagowiz’s quote of Raggi’s general advice is pretty apropos about the nature of community, conversation and comments. They are rough words, but honest ones. Sometimes the truth of human nature is hard to ignore. Trent B over on A Pack of Gnolls comments mentioned something along the same lines about a place where one can be a dick. I appreciated his analogy. I don’t visit sites where free-range jerks are a plenty. Piranha infested waters are dumb places to swim.
Games go even farther in creating a false sense of familiarity. Until you meet someone outside of the internet medium it still is not a friendship. I guess something like Teamspeak or Vent can help cement those relationships, but even then the lack of a face-to-face relationship can FUBAR things quickly. On a few occasions my inner jerk escaped during some of the drama of MMORPG communities and added to the grief. They are not moments I delight in remembering or hope to repeat. Typos can total screw up things too, one absent word can totally change the meaning of a sentence and do substantial damage to further conversations.
Well, this is longer babbling than it needs to be. MMORPG like all hobbies depend upon enjoyment, when it ceases the game is over and it’s time to move on. Just be mindful of the good will and ill intent that playing with others can bring into your life. Be mindful of the fact that the lack of face-to-face interaction makes the jerks more brazen but does not lessen the sting of their words if they hit a soft spot. On the flip side, be thankful for all the great people you meet through a small window of interaction who seem pretty cool and you wouldn’t mind meeting in real life.