Social Architectures in MMOs
Soloability / Need for Grouping
Different games also vary a great deal in terms of how much need there is to find a group to accomplish basic tasks. By making it easy to solo, a variety of social effects set in.
The big solo experience that today's MMOs focus at make it easier to log in just for a little while and achieve something, but in my experience it takes away a lot of immersion and bonding to other players/guild/game. [F, 28]
In general, I think EQ required more dependence and community. And heck, you HAD to group to get much of anything done. There was virtually no level-appropriate solo content. [F, 44]
Or even where groups are needed in some games, it is remarkable how quickly they can dissolve after the short task is completed.
I'm sure game mechanics play a role, since in EQ you were pretty much obliged to find 5 friends to do anything. In WOW, grouping is much more fluid -- you come together to accomplish one single objective, sometimes for no more than 5 minutes, and then immediately disband. [M, 37]
And as the following player describes, the importance of social reputation diminishes in an environment where you don't need a group to perform basic tasks.
When I started playing world of warcraft I was amazed with the total lack of respect that people have for each other. It didn't take me long to realize because the game is easy, you don't need to respect anybody or make friends. You can solo to maximum level. You can ninja-loot epics and then just switch servers or even change your name now. In EQ you lived by your reputation. I remember an incident where I somehow got under somebody's skin in a group and then I couldn't get a grinding group in dreadlands for like 3 days. [F, 26]
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