Why Do You Play?
For example, consider the diversity of how players socialize in MMORPGs through the following narratives. There are players who use the environment as a chat-room with dynamic backdrops:
I started playing after watching my young sons play - i never had never been interested in computer/video/nintendo/online etc. games but felt that i needed to watch to make sure it was suitable for them. After many weeks of questioning and watching i found myself interested in the interactions between people in the game, it was totally absorbing!!!! The fact that i was able to immerse myself in the game and relate to other people or just listen in to the 'chatter' was appealing. I enjoy being a healer and like to help people and are often disappointed if Iím too slow in helping even if people haven't asked, I'm quite happy to watch while someone battles and then heal them once they are finished and then just keep going with what i am doing in the game. I will happily risk my character to save anotherís character. [DAOC, F, 34]
What keeps me coming back to MMORPGs, and any RPG in general, is the social aspect. I've been playing RPG's of various kinds for over 15 years, and it's the only 'hobby' that I have maintained that long. The reason is the people. When I log on to EverQuest the first thing I do is say 'hi' to my guild, then I hit my 'friends' list and say 'hi' to them. Often times I will sit and chat with people and never get anything accomplished in-game. And I never feel like I wasted my time. I would have stopped playing long ago if it wasn't for the other people that play. [EQ, M, 30]
One step away from the players who enjoy the chatter are the players who enjoy making good friends in the environment. For them, a large reason why they play is to sustain their social network:
Overall, I think it's the friendships that I've forged that keep me returning to Norrath time and again. It's rewarding to log on and be greeted by the same quirky, fun-loving friends I've spent the past two years learning and growing with, both in-game and personally. [EQ, F, 37]
For awhile I kept playing because I enjoyed exploring the high level zones and seeing new things. The gods and other creatures looked amazing and the scenery was really beautiful. Now I have seen mostly everything and I continue to play for lack of anything else to do and mainly log on to chat with the good friends that I have made. Raiding with my guild is pretty fun, we just recently made it to Plane of Time - only one other guild on the server has made it there so far. It's new and exciting but raiding gets old sometimes, so mainly just to talk with my friends. [EQ, F, 18]
I just recently started playing again after 2 years away. I started playing again simply because I missed the people that were my friends. I enjoy being able to chat away while healing my group and meeting new people. [EQ, M, 30]
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