Life Without MMO Guides

Have you ever wondered why there are so many MMO guides out there? Step-by-step walkthroughs and so forth? I think I know the answer. It’s because without Internet guides, most MMO game players would simply stand in one place and stare at the screen, paralyzed and unable to figure out what to do or how to do it.

You can tell this from watching the global chat of a game that is in closed beta. It’s filled with non-stop questions that one might conceivably fall into the "duh" variety. How do we find this or that? How do we solve this puzzle? Where do we find this NPC? Where do we get crafting materials? How do we get past this monster? There are no handy guides to turn to, and obviously reading the quest text or any of the in-game hints are out of the question in this fast-paced, go-go-go world we live in.

You might think it would be a great opportunity to hone your critical thinking skills and try to figure something out on your own. Perhaps if you figure something out before anyone else, you could be the one to write an Internet guide that becomes super popular. (And then becomes obsolete six months later but for some reason still comes up first in searches.) But no. Apparently your only recourse is to stand helplessly in place, typing in global chat.

6 Comments

  1. Pingback: Asking | Kill Ten Rats

  2. I think this type of willful helplessness is why many players also complain about ‘lack of community’. Instead of making the effort to meet people, make friends (and linkshells) and pay into the players around them to form bonds, they stand in place begging for handouts and help and turn away when someone else is asking.

    At least, that has been my perception. I am currently in 8 Linkshells in FFXIV and never feel like I’m lacking friendly, helpful people to play with. But then, I made the effort to get to know people on my server instead of just complaining that DF ‘ruins communities’ and sitting on my hands.

    I don’t know if this ‘social laziness dysfunction’ comes from the same roots as the unwillingness to make the effort to figure out quests and ingame directions, but perhaps it does.

  3. It’s not all Love and Roses in the FFXIV community Pai. You have different values.

    Some folk value loyalty and commitment; they see you in your 8 linkshells and are not impressed. I’m one of them, although I accept it’s great for you in the short term.

    I’ve already had two LS ‘collectors’ drive a truck through our FC dragging a bunch of guys off with them when they inevitably ditch us to form an FC with some LS that is ‘getting more progress’. Most of those guys seem to ragequit FFXIV within a couple weeks afterwards. All the ties we are building here are superficial and hyper-complex. Observing the social map of FFXIV is like staring into madness itself.

    It’s getting irritating but I remain calm :) Social Butterflies are great for a guild in the short term and never mean the harm they do which I why I still love them.

    I could write 20 paragraphs on the challenges faced by FCs in the LS world.

  4. I’ve wondered how the Linkshells would interact with FCs.. They seem like opposing grouping mechanics.

    I don’t think mmo communities are necessarily worse.. I just think there are more of them, each with its own niche.

  5. I’m in a Free Company , too, so I understand ‘commitment’ just fine, thanks. My FC gets the lion’s share of my time in terms of tackling things like Coil and saving for a FC house, but I have an extended circle of friends as well in my various shells, and we will help each other with things or just talk. One of the shells is a newbie-help channel, basically. I feel community outreach is a valuable use of my spare time in game.

    I find your ‘irritation’ with people refusing to lock themselves away into one guild to the exclusion of the rest of their server rather baffling to be honest. I get the feeling there is some personal bitterness coloring your attitude.

  6. Maintaining a viable guild has always been hard work. In the one guild I was a part of in WoW (which I joined during Beta and stayed with until I stopped playing — and it’s still active in-game to this day) we had several waves of drama/exoduses and problems with folks using us as a ‘feeder’ to get up to the level of better things. But the guild has survived for 10 years in spite of it all, basically because of the hard work and dedication of our leadership and members. The problem that many players have now with sticking with a game or guild has nothing to do with the ability to hang out with people outside their FC.

    A Linkshell is nothing more than a private chat channel. WoW had the ability to make custom private channels since day 1, and it’s far from a unique mechanic in MMOs. Blaming Linkshells for inter-guild cohesion problems is simply scapegoating, in my opinion. The hard fact is, managing people into a committed unit is like herding cats and will always require a huge amount of pain and effort. It’s why many guild leaders burn out and why so many guilds don’t make it past ‘vanity tag’ status.

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