Why Do You Play?
Whereas for others, the focus of socialization is less on the chatter and more on group loyalty and affiliation. Notice how for some players this creates a two-edged sword – the burden of responsibilities that come with the satisfaction of feeling valued, or in the case of the third narrative – the way socialization transitions into group achievements.
My guild and my friends. I am an officer in my guild, with a lot of responsibilities (head of recruiting, raid organization, healer organization) and my loyalty to the guild and my friends in it keeps me playing. Experience camping got dull a very long time ago (I've been playing for over 4 years), but my friends keep me coming back. When I don't attend a raid because of some RL commitment, illness, or some other reason, I often feel guilty that I'm letting my guild down. [EQ, F, 31]
I play for friends. I have made many friends in EQ - and have carried those friends threw to other games. If it wasn’t for my friends in EQ I would have cancelled my subscription a year ago. Having a family like guild has been important to me, and in turn I stick around to help them out. Friends can make you feel needed, and that feel is what keeps me in game, cause I am then useful. [SWG, M, 26]
The friendships are the force that keeps me coming back. The guild keeps me playing. In order to be able to play with my friends, I have to keep up with equipment and raid points. This is not my favorite part of the game anymore; and if it were not for the people and the fun we have as a group, I would most likely stop playing, or at least, stop playing as much. The most appealing part of the game now is the people and the teamwork we display. Our guild, though decent sized, is rather small for a raid-guild. We simply do not usually have the numbers on to 'zerg' a mob or zone. But we make up for that in teamwork and skill, and some of us prefer the game when there is an element of 'will we be able to do this with only xx people?' The fact that we as a small group can take on and defeat encounters that other guilds or groups need (or just take along) nearly twice as many is a great feeling. [EQ, F, 43]
For other players, rather than focusing on making new friends in the environment, socialization means sustaining connections with friends and family through the virtual environment:
My family just moved out to west coast and I still live in the Midwest so my brother and I frequently play together as a way to stay connected. We are constantly chatting about what is happening in life and it's a fantastic way to stay close. We both find the game interesting and fun and can usually be found spending time together in the 'virtual world' when we both have a few extra hours. [SWG, M, 24]
I play MMORPGs with my husband as a source of entertainment. Overall it can be a cheaper form of entertainment where you can spend quite a bit of time with a significant other. To play well you end up developing more ways of communicating. While my husband and I were separated we still played our first graphic MMORPG EQ but switched servers and only duo'd with each other giving us time to talk. Since we were not in same room we actually communicated with each other better at that time. It alone didn’t help our marriage but was definitely one of the contributing factors in helping us communicate and get through our problems much easier and without anyone else's involvement. [DAOC, F, 31]
I use the game as a way to spend time with family and friends while I am away from home at college etc. Almost my whole family plays so it can be a good way to get together and catch up. It's also a way for me to de-stress. [EQ, M, 21]
And finally, for players who have physical handicaps, the environment provides them with the socialization that is difficult for them to find in real life:
Several years ago (Dec of 1997) I was working as a nurse on the graveyard shift at a local hospital. While repositioning a patient, I seriously injured my back (L4-5 disk). I've been disabled and unable to work since then. MMORPGs have allowed me to interact with people and feel more whole/able. I've come to enjoy spending time with people my own age and people of very different ages (both younger and older). Folks who are friendly and helpful, polite and worth getting to know seem to be in most games. With online gaming I can meet people and have something of a social life even while isolated and pretty debilitated in 'real life'. [SWG, F, 46]
I have always enjoyed video and computer games. This was a whole new experience for me, being able to play real time with other humans. I am disabled and mostly housebound so EQ gives me a great social outlet; I can talk and joke with others without having to leave home LOL. I keep playing as I advance in levels, etc there are always new goals to reach. But the most appealing thing to me is not what level I am, or what level mob I can kill - but the interaction with other people. [EQ, F, 59]
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