Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Whiny Post Day: A post about loneliness

In case you've missed it, March 17 is the Whiny Post Day. Klepsacovic was the one who brought up the idea:
"On this day, bloggers everywhere are allowed to make one whiny post in solidarity with their fellow bloggers who are also making whiny posts."

This is an opportunity I just can't ignore. If you just hate whiny blog posts, move along, come back tomorrow or go back to one of my previous posts. I don't think I normally whine a lot, so you should be pretty safe whatever post you pick. If nothing else, you can take the one from yesterday, which was on the sparkling, never-give-up side.

The biggest taboo
But if you don't mind a bit of melancholy, or even genuine sadness, feel free to stay. Because today I'm going to write about something that I've wanted to write about for a long time, but just haven't been able to vocalize in a manner that it doesn't come out as whiney, self-pitying and generally pathetic. I still hesitate. However, The Whiny Post Day gives me the perfect excuse to write about a topic, which normally would be unthinkable. A word that is far worse to say aloud than "Voldemort". The biggest taboo of our time, the unspeakable word, the crime and shame far worse any bank robbery or careless car driving.

If you dare say this word, if you dare admit that you are THAT, and that this fact sometimes - although not always - bothers you, you'll see people fleeing as if you had the worst of plagues. In their eyes you're carrying a disease, and you probably deserved to get it. You just don't get this without a good reason, so apparently there's something wrong with you.

Take a deep breath. Yep. I'm going to talk about feeling lonely.

Lonely in a multi-player game, where the biggest problems for everyone else seems to be that the limit of the friends list is too low.

Isn't it strange how much you can be on your own, with hundreds, thousands, yes, even millions people around you?

A geek personality
I guess it's partly a matter of personality. I've always been geek, a nerd, an alien, outsider, call it whatever you want to. I always had top grades at school, which definitely wasn't a merit on the schoolyard. I was never one of the sparkling girls with a blond ponytail and a neat shirt, always giggling, always the center of the attention at the schoolyard, moving around as a group. I saw it from the sideline. Most of the time I was actually quite happy with this. After all they were superficial, not to say stupid. I chose not to participate. At least that was what I told myself. But to be truthful I don't think I was entirely pleased with it all the time. Deep inside I wanted to be loved, seen, appreciated, befriended. Like anyone else. Geek or not.

You could think that when you come online in Azeroth it should be different. You're not surrounded by the kings and queens of the schoolyard. There are tons of other nerds around, people like myself. And getting to know people online, without the barriers of prejudices and quick judgement due to looks, age and social status, should be way easier. And still somehow it isn't. At least not for me.

As I look around me I see groups of players who either are real life friends or have been playing with each other since vanilla. My common sense tells me that it's natural that it happens, that some people sort of gravitate to each other and enjoy playing together and that you can't expect them to let in a newcomer into their well functioning little family which is fine just as it is. You can apply to a guild but not to a group of friends. I know they don't owe me anything and that they deserve to have fun on their own. Most of the time I succeed pretty well. I'm mature and I let go and I don't care. But sometimes I just sort of go backwards in my psychological progression, ending up at the mental age of 12. And in those moments I don't just feel sad and lonely, but also ashamed because I have those feelings. At my age you should know better.

Getting friends in WoW
How do you develop friendships in WoW? That's something I've been asking myself many times. The friends I've had over the years have been few and far between, and they tend to quit the game, cut down or drift away for one reason or another. How do you get new ones? I may be wrong, but I have a theory that it was way easier to get friends when the game was young, everyone was levelling, all was new and the online resources weren't as available so you had to help each other the best you could. And besides there were group quests with real elites, that actually required cooperation. You had a reason to talk to people, and those conversations could turn into something more. Today - not so very much.

But doesn't Larísa belong to a guild? you may wonder. And sure I do, and I love and respect it deeply! Don't think anything else! But a raid guild is in the end quite much run like a business - it's in the nature of it, and as many players either don't play much between raids, or already have their friendships very well settled, it isn't the most fertile ground for getting to know new people. It would be to expect too much to think that you'll become close friends with people just because you're raiding together. Especially if you never were a sparkling girl but a geek who were standing by the sideline.

I don't know what there is about me that keeps me at a distance. Admittedly I've always been crap at getting and maintaining close friends in real life, so I guess it's somehow in my personality. And then there is the age difference. I don't say that there aren't players like me - WoW.com even wrote about a 76 year old player the other day - but I guess I AM a little bit of a strange bird. Many of the players I meet could be my children. It's no wonder if they hesitate to get closer. I'm a grown-up and, and even if I'm childish and playful, that will shine through sometimes.

A little bit of hope after all
This is a whiny post. And now I have whined for a bit, feeling sorry for myself. Enough of this. I will cheat now (sorry Klep!) and add a little bit of hope and light towards the end. There are other perspectives that makes the darkness crack up a bit:

  1. Being lonely isn't necessarily a bad and scary thing. Forget about the taboo crap. Forget about the expectations that you SHOULD have friends. Let's use the word "solitude" instead. I'm not the worst person to be with. I should take the opportunity to get to know myself a bit better. Maybe I'll even learn to like myself!. Maybe I should rather enjoy the freedom and the peacefulness that solo playing actually offers. If you don't have any obligations and duties towards your "friends", you're free to do whatever you want to for however long you want to, without considering anything but your own interests. That's quite relaxing, a change to the group dynamics at work and in your family. It's actually an asset as much as it possibly could be a burden.
  2. I may spend a lot of non-raiding time on my own in-game, but when I'm offline I've got the entire WoW blogosphere to correspond with and relate to. Some of the bloggers are more than just providers of entertainment or information. They're actually friends. Take Gnomeaggedon for instance. We may not play on the same server, but he knows my writings so well that he can spot even the slightest signs of disharmony appearing in my blogposts, and you can be sure that he'll send me a concerned e-mail, asking me what's up. like any real friend would do.
  3. And finally there's SAN at Argent Dawn, a reservoir of openness, friendliness and chattiness, where there aren't any set patterns and already set social circles. It's fantastic to slip in there and not only get greetings from everyone online, but also get whispers from people, asking me to join a five-man run or just wanting to talk about something. It brings me a new dimension to the game that I had more or less given up on.
This post is most of all dedicated to everyone else who sometimes feel alone in the game. You're not alone in being alone. I'm in the same club, if that makes you feel a bit less lonely.

Your cheerful, sunny innkeeper, bringing energy and optimism to Azeroth will soon be back again.

End of Epic Whiny Rant.

30 comments:

Azryu said...

[Warning: This wall of text will hit you for an un-mitigatable 100,000 damage should you decide to read. You don't want to know what it crits for.]

I actually was pondering this recently. Ever since I was a level 68 mage, I have had this same friend on my list. This name may have changed a few times in-game, but the person was forever the same. My friends list endured even a server transfer--- they came with me. I offered to pay for them.

While we were discussing life beyond the game in ventrilo one day, he mentioned another person constantly bugging him to "hang out". This person stated to them up front that they liked him and his group of friends and wanted in. As one might expect, they resisted.

But why is this expected? Why would one shut out another?

I think it has to deal with the fear of change. You like how things are now, and any interference could break that apart. I see it in even myself--- I recognize that I am not as susceptible to building a friendship where I might have been before. Once I created that close friendship already, I focused on that relationship... and I think that might hurt potential applicants to my friends list. But at the same time, having found that great friend, I feel that it is my job to see that it, above all us, should continue to strengthen and grow.

What does this mean for those who have yet to find a great friend? I don't know that I can answer that. I found my friend without looking for them. I was running a lowbie who was on my friends list at that time, someone who I far surpassed in levels over the course of knowing them. It just so happened that my future great friend was in that pug.

My not-yet great friend was a druid, a bit too low for the instance, hence preforming poorly. The lowbie on my list scoffed at this, and decided to kick him from the group and replace him with a level 70, just a few pulls from the last boss. I told the lowbie that I was having none of that-- I told him that I would not support such douchebaggery and proceeded drop group, invite the druid, and portal us out of the instance.

Through discussion, we came to the conclusion that we would add each other to our friends list. I added him because he seemed likable, and he later admitted to me that he added me because I was a high level who ran lowbies through instances xD. Why we added each other holds little meaning to me, since it resulted in what I am glad to say is the finding of one of my best friends.

It's interesting to think back on what things would be like if I didn't run that lowbie on my friends list through Sunken Temple. I would have to say that I would have most likely lost interest in the game, and moved on.

Magma said...

Nailed it =/

pugnaciouspriest said...

Wow people I play with make me question on a daily basis - what is real friendship - I don't get to choose everyone I play with - and I would have kicked some of those people out of the sandbox a long time ago had it been in real life - so yes the shallow nature of wow relationships make me 'lonely' and can only be pieces of candy to enjoy for the moment. I am still in contact with the guild I felt most at home in. People are scattered x servers but probably have been the closest to long term friends ever in wow, but mainly only because we still have our old vent, being able to pop in a chat has been very important to maintaining that relationship. We have msn, and facebook - extra threads of contact keep them in touch when Wow is not mutual.
But I get more out of bloggers/blogging then I ever have out of any Wow play based relationship. The constant flow of ideas, and words - even if just listening to people like you can listen to leaves rustling in a breeze - there is always life in communication, and often the things that fall down first in any relationship in real life is communication - and when there is communication I don't think I will ever feel really lonely.

Klepsacovic said...

People are understandably reluctant to give out RL information, or possibly even an email. That means that if someone isn't online, they're gone and there's nothing you can do about it. That one-way shut-off of communication isn't very helpful for relationships. But who are you going to give any RL information to except a friend? I've only told my real name to two other players ever, and that was after being forum friends and eventually rerolling with them; but that was a multi-year process.

They've since vanished. I don't even see them on IM anymore.

@Azryu: 200,000? 150,000?

Ben-M said...

I admit feeling lonely at times in-game, in fact it's the principle reason my account is inactive most of the time.

I think it's natural to build relationships with other new players when levelling one's first character, because you're all on the same page, you're all as bad as each other, and you can all learn together. I managed to take this further and create a sort of crossover guild in 05/06 that got a bunch of newbies (like me) into 40 man raiding and cleared four of the old raid instances. Because we were still all learning the game together, the social cohesion was high - to the point that members who had never met before got together in their local cities for a beer, took photos, put them on the forums and that sort of thing.

And I think that that aspect of learning the game together is part of the retro allure of "vanilla wow" that is bandied about from time to time. It wasn't that the game was "better" at all, it was just that the social links were stronger.

These days I will occasionally log in and say "hi" to people I "met" online five years ago. And yet it is somehow more impersonal than it was back then, despite the shared history. On the one hand maybe it's because the challenge and shared achievement is gone, or on the other hand maybe it's because we've, after so many years, diverging interests (you can't expect everyone to maintain the same commitment to the game after 5 years). And I do wonder, at some level, at how much LFD and other features have diluted the need to build and maintain those in-game relationships. Which maybe is why you see so many of the 'real life friends' you mention, because the game is no longer forcing us to build lasting relationships with strangers.

But then I suspect I've found one of the same solutions as your blogging, Larísa: a new hobby and a community outside the game. And as my leisure time gravitates towards that and my WoW time diminishes, I can't say I mind all that much.

Because our leisure activities - whether they be blogging, WoW, TV, lacrosse or football - can give us fulfillment, let us take part and create something bigger than us, and help us belong.

And in an increasingly impersonal and lonely world, that's not a bad outcome at all.

Oxymustard said...

Thanks for the morning tears, Gnomey. This post has been most inspiring for me and I'm about to make a few phonecalls and rekindle some friendships. I really miss my friends. :(

Dwism said...

I think most "old players" (not age, but years spend in game) feel this way, one way or another.
My friendlist is also very much grey. i still have the names in there of all the people I used to play around with.
people I know in real life, and whom I know has cancelled their subs.
Yet I keep the names there, so I just have a long list of people not online. Think I only have one person on my friend-list that isn't in my guild. So on days where I am not raiding and everyone else is, Azeroth ends up being a very lonely place.
And i'm not afraid to admit it! and neither should you.
I think you are very right that when the game was new and fresh, people would indeed bond while leveling up.

Vorne said...

I to have friends that have come and gone over the years, but there were a band of 3 i really miss, we leveled together (being in the same guild ) and talked out side Wow via email and blogs.
But when our guild imploded one left for Age of Conan and have not seen him since, the other i see very very rarly on now and when we talk we seem to not have the same things in common and it gets awkward :( we only talk about the past now.
So since Wraith i have pretty much been a loner and yes i am in a great guild and have friends in said guild but.... it is not the same :(
So yes i know what you speak of and if your ever in Nagrand US look me up and have a chat :P
cheers

Jb said...

First I would like to say \hug
Totally see where your comming from, very nice post. My solution to this has been another hobby warhammer fantasy batle, a miniature game requering other players. Meeting others with the same interest in a game that not only is s vary tactical game, but also social game with discussion of painting ( you need to paint your army of miniatures )and other aspects of the game. It is also ofc an opportunity to discuss other apects in life. And as for the age thing, Im 40+ and still very much a gamer at heart.

Stabs said...

"it was way easier to get friends when the game was young"

There were quite a lot of design reasons why this was the case.

- much more downtime. Some fun moments were had at zeppelin platforms or boat docks. Waiting for healers to drink was a time for people to entertain each other.

- less performance measurement. Nowadays no one wants to be friends with the >1500 dps guy. Back in the day no one knew when someone was underperforming.

- less tank threat. When tanks do weak threat aggro management is cooperative and dps have to think and communicate. When tanks should be able to cope because they do high threat dps whine or leave group if they can't hold aggro.

The problem with WoWs development has been that a lot of little changes that seem to be no brainer an improvement in isolation have led to a slick fast loot-centric gameplay that is a less rewarding experience than before.

Okrane S. said...

When you are playing the game, you are sitting crouched in a chair, behind a bright screen, in a cold, empty room.

There is no warmth of an interaction with another person, no smile, no eye contact, no body language or fluctuation in one's voice. You can't confide your fears, you can't share your joys, you cant ease your pain. You can talk about dps and loot at best...

You are, if anything, all alone...

A article I love about this topic:
http://technology.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/tech_and_web/the_web/article5139532.ece

QuietKjun said...

/tear!

I know exactly how you feel.

Copernicus said...

I actively avoid making friendships in WoW as well as in life. I just don't have the energy to maintain all those contacts on a meaningful level. To me, that is what a true friend is. The relationship you have with the other person is meaningful, rather than superficial. I have a handful of good friends; Everyone else is simply an acquaintance.

Regarding how new people break into a group, I think it depends on how long the group has been together. It takes energy to bring new people into a group, you have to talk, get to know them, tell stories that have all been told before, catch them up on inside jokes. Then to turn around and have that person leave in a week, month, year. We become cynical. Is it worth opening up to this new person if they're not going to stick around? If they don't really fit in? We shut them out without even giving them a chance. It's unfortunate, but it seems like a natural progression that has to be fought hard keep from happening.

Cantique said...

Thank you for this post. It touched me.

I've met people I really like in-game and even though WOW was the only thing we had in common it seemed like there was more because of the time spent rping or fighting the enemy together. So when "friends" disappear it hurts my heart. I mourned at least a year for one of them. That's all I can say that was, mourning. The other day, I finally removed the "grey" name from my friends list. My eyes are moist as I write this. I don't make friends very easily. WOW is sorta tricky. I'm an old woman, but my heart and mind is the same as someone that is only 22. I want to be included, I want to feel like I belong (guilds really do that for me and I am careful with my guild, loyal and I worry about people leaving) ... Perhaps I have too much invested in people I never "see" and not enough invested in those around me. I've never really had close friends except for my sister. Without her friendship and the love of my mate, I would be totally alone.

I know how you feel. I've learned that loneliness can only be helped though when I reach out to others. I cannot depend on others to take care of my heart. I must offer it, and care for it, and apply the balm of acts of kindness toward others. Then I am not so alone. /hug.

Anonymous said...

Now why do you think i spent my time on the IF bridge ? Baiting the whole server? Was my own form of beating this affliction.


Cacknoob (the freak of IF)

*vlad* said...

Friendships can be just as strong online as in RL. When you fall out with each other, it hurts, just like in RL.

Yaggle said...

I get lonely, too.

Dorgol said...

I guess it is a matter of what you want from the game.

I have no desire to make real "friendships" in WoW.

I have a few aquaintances - all people who I have gamed with off-and-on since Classic WoW.

These days all 5 of the players who I would keep on my friends list are gone. One left way back when TBC released, another shortly after TBC. One still plays but is so sporatic it is nigh impossible to keep up with him. One left for Aion and will never return (at least won't return to my server). And one still plays regularly, but he only logs on for his raids.

Do I feel lonely when I'm solo farming ZG every Friday night? Or when I solo-queue my 72 DK to tank some instances? Or when I was completing the Loremaster Achievement on my Warlock last month?

Nope, not at all.

Because I don't play WoW for social interactions. I play WoW because it is FUN, and my real life relationships are much, much more interesting.

Anonymous said...

A DREAM WITHIN A DREAM
Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus, much let me avow
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therfore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep - while I weep!
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?
Edgar Allan Poe

Imperial said...

It's definitely hard to get into the circle of friends that lead / organize the raiding guilds I've been a part of. I'm sort of a mercenary though when it comes to my game time, I want to down bosses and then be done for the evening.

I seem to only make friends with those who play the same class as me. I wonder if that's because it feels safer to talk to them? Or easier to get to know each other while talking class mechanics etc.

Ravven said...

I've always felt a bit lonely in game. To be honest, I do enjoy just pottering around by myself, so sometimes it's by choice. And I have had some very good friends in game. Being in progression guilds, however, means that although I may like most of the people in the guild, we may not always click personally. I would raid, and join in conversations, but never felt as though there was anyone that I was really close to.

The beauty of online groups such as guilds, though, is that you have the potential to meet friends whom you never, ever would have met otherwise, and I very much value that. We've since drifted apart, but for a while I had a very good friend that I would chat to while playing, talking about issues in our personal lives, as I listened to him playing guitar over TeamSpeak. Me, a married American who admits to being "younger than Madonna, older than your mom...but cuter!" Him, a 15-year-old Korean boy living in Norway. What are the odds of that?

Markus (Gilneas for the moment) said...

I couldn't have said it any better. I miss the vanilla WoW where I played and leveled with people who could have been RL friends. We quested, wiped and just had fun no matter what we were up to. Once MC opened up, a number of us went our separate ways as raiding became more important for others.

The last guild I was in was filled with asshats interested in purple pixels and achievements at the expense of other guildees and most of the people I hung out with the last couple of years had left the game, so it was time for a break.

I recently came back online when some RL friends decided to play WoW and are on their way to 80. If they reach 80, I'll transfer my gnome mage. Until then, I have been playing a BE Mage on their server to see things from the Horde side (and some different quests) and I have been doing it all solo. I have yet to go into a 5-man and have done just about all of my quests alone. I have no problem playing the game in "solitude" mode and I am starting to enjoy the game again. I think the very low Horde population helps solitude mode as well, so it almost seems like I have the game all to myself.

So, playing in solitude is not, nor has it ever been, a bad thing. I think it would be great to have a group of RL friends that played WoW (or even a significant other that played as well...but this IS a fantasy game), but I enjoy my solitude (RL and otherwise) just as well.

Ixobelle said...

I have a weird take on it, because sometimes I missed the raid invites by 30 minutes, or sometimes I just don't feel up to the group activity of the day. My guild is full of good folks, and I tend to have every alt in the same guild, but sometimes I wish I could have some alone time... but with Ixobelle, Ixsobelle, Izobelle, and Izzobelle, etc... it's hard to remain anonymous standing outside the bank ;)

Carra said...

Been a while since I've raid your posts :)

I guess it's partly a matter of personality. I've always been geek, a nerd, an alien, outsider, call it whatever you want to. I always had top grades at school, which definitely wasn't a merit on the schoolyard. I was never one of the sparkling girls with a blond ponytail and a neat shirt, always giggling, always the center of the attention at the schoolyard, moving around as a group.

Feels like looking into a mirror:
-Always been a bit of a nerd. Check
-Top grades at school. Check
-Schoolyard? Well, I remember that when I was about 7 I got a good report from school. With one concern listed: "doesn't seem to mingle, is self centered".
-Blond ponytail? Euh, scrap that one.
-Having a hard time making friends? Double check

It bothers me from time to time. But at least we now have got a degree and some nice jobs which not all of those girls with pretty ponytails can say. Then again they probably married a rich doctor.

As to making friends in WoW? You're right, those few people I'd call friends in WoW have been around since vanilla. Doing those original instances like Molten Core all felt very new and exciting and if you then go and play tons of other instances with them you do create a bond.

Chev said...

What interests me about his post Larísa is the PR tone about it. What I mean about that is you're speaking of something quite personal and important enough to you that you want to write about (loneliness). That's a brave thing to do. However you wrap your feelings in layers of political correctness, caveats, warnings about taboos etc.

It's entertaining to a point, but what's underneath is what counts. And that I think is what your loyal readers want to hear, is what's important to you, and why, and what your perspective is on it. That's why I enjoy your writing and hearing you express your thoughts. I guess the blog medium means you've got to wrap things in caveats, as it can be tough to get raw, (optionally) anonymous feedback to your posts in the way of comments. It's a self-protection mechanism. It's a pity, really, that it's necessary.

On the topic of loneliness itself, I think a reason why people play MMO's like WoW in general is to get a feeling of connection, of being wanted and needed, of being useful and appreciated, just as we need in real life. And of course to do so in the backdrop of a fantastic fantasy world. But to struggle against adversity with a group of online friends brings you closer to those people, just as working to overcome stresses and obstacles in real life teams brings you closer. We need to feel that as humans, that connectedness with other humans.

Lately I've felt more validated and connected with the SAN-US community than I have in my main characters' guild, who are mostly about the purples, with existing circles of friends (I'm a relative latecomer), similar to the situations you describe.

It's such a pity that the US and EU chapters of SAN can't play together, but I'd encourage you to focus more on that community if you're feeling lonely at times. You have many loyal and interested readers who feel a connection to you simply because of your habit of writing always honest, often insightful and sometimes touching posts. We are all real people with real lives, and every one of us takes the time to read what you write, and for very good reason.

Take heart in that, that these real people actually care about you, when you're feeling a little down.

Larísa said...

@All: thank you for all those touching, honest, openminded replies. I’ve been swamped with work the last few days and haven’t been able to reply to them as quickly as I wanted to, but it meant a ton to me.

@Azryu: You should know by now that I don’t fear walls of text – on the contrary, I enjoy them. And yes, it’s perfectly understandable why you won’t bother to let someone more into your close circle. It MIGHT turn out to be a bad tactic in the long run. Things happen. People drift apart – get new life circumstances, quit, move, get ill, hey, even die. Suddenly the friends you had are gone and since you never let any new blood into your circle you find yourself very, very lonely. Because now all other circles are closed to you, as you chose to just stick to your friends before… But somehow we don’t want to think about that. We think that friendships will last forever.

@Magma: Thanks!

@Pugnaciouspriest: Yeah, I agree. I really get to know the bloggers much better than my guildies. At least the ones who write personal stuff, which are the ones I enjoy most to read.

@Klepsacovic: The nature of this online friendship never stops to boggle me. On one hand you can get pretty close to some people – or at least think you are, after exchanging very personal thoughts, like you do when you’re blogging. On the other hand they can be vanished the next day. And all you have left is memories. I never get used to it.

@Ben-M: I think you’re really on to something there. All those vanilla players crying for the good old days aren’t really longing back to the fights as such, but to the sense of comradeship and belonging. And the LFD definitely hasn’t made things better.

I have been into a few communites of different sorts over the years. Nothing has ever seemed to last for lifetime. I don’t know why, probably it’s in my rather restless nature, always aiming for something more, somewhere else, looking for something I just can’t put my finger on. Anyway. Blogging helps a lot as it is now.

@Oxymustard: I’m glad I could inspire you to do this.

@Dwism: Yeah, all that grey stuff is really saddening. At some point I guess it’s better to just take away those names and realize they’re gone. Trying to reach out a bit more, finding new to add. But I’m frankly not quite sure of how to make it in reality.

@Vorne: I’m afraid I can’t come and see you since I’m a EU player. But thanks for the invite!

@Jb. Thank you. And /hug to you too. Yes, probably a geeky hobby where you actually meet people IRL is what I should look for. But even there the circles are rather closed. I always thought that I might like old-fashioned role-playing for instance, but as far as I know any role player in the 25-45-year-old bracket already have been playing for tens of years and have their campaigns and parties going. They don’t need any stranger to jump in.

Larísa said...

@Stabs: I think you’re pretty spot on there. But I’m not sure it’s only a good development – talking from a market/economic perspective for Blizzard. Probably that’s one reason why they’re buffing the guilds in Cataclysm.

@Okrane S: I have a more romantic, brighter view on on-line friendship. I still believe it’s possible. But I think you know that after reading my blog for a while as you have.

@Quiet Kjun: /hug

@Copernicus: I guess it goes two ways also. It’s not only that people don’t want to let you into their set circle. It’s also that at least I sort of tend to give up even trying. Since I’m deep inside, probably without really realizing it, is too afraid to be rejected.

@Cantique: honestly, your comment gave me tears in my eyes. It’s sounds so much like me. Even if we’ll never meet, it’s a comforting thought to see that I’m not alone in feeling like this. /hug

@Cacknoob: I knew all the time. There’s a saying in Swedish at least that when to thieves meet they recognize each other. You’re not a freak. Just lonely.

@Vlad: I agree.

@Yaggle: /hug

@Dorgol: It’s probably a good approach, provided that you have all the real ”friendships” you need or want in real life.

@Anonymous: *nods*

@Imperial: Well, when I’m raiding I’m a part of a team, so I’m more than just a mercenary. But outside of games I think I’d like to have a little more friends to just chat and be silly with. People who cared about me. But honestly I don’t care if they’re mages or not.

@Ravven: Haha, yeah I love those unexpected friendships. One of the best friends I had on my former server was a 15 year old boy who made me laugh as he in vain tried to learn me PvP. I guess he was more like a son than a friend, but nevertheless we had a lot of fun together.

@Markus: Yeah, I’m really working on my own attitude. I think I’ll be way happier in the game if I can rid myself of the idea that I need friends and just enjoy the solitude for what it is.

@Ixobelle: Hm… so… what’s stopping you from creating a secret alt with a non Ixo-name?

@Carra: Yeah, time has given me some distance to the schoolyard thing. But sometimes I slip back anyway, letting emotions and self-pity taking over. It bugs me a bit. I’m supposed to be a grown-up, right?

@Chev: Thank you very, very much for the feedback and thoughts. I’ve been hesitating a lot to touch on this topic. It’s possible that I could have made it more heart-bleeding than it is. But somewhere I guess there is a limit even for me how much I rip myself into pieces in a blog post. As you say, we have some sort of self-protecting mechanism. For good and for bad. It’s definitely not about making good PR. I’m not putting on some professional glasses as I’m blogging, not intentionally at least. I’m Larísa and I write about what’s on my mind. Period.
After publishing this post I came to think of other things on this topic that have been swirling in my mind lately, things that I had wanted to bring up, but escaped my memory as I was writing. It’s possible that I forced the post a little, just to make it done in time for the Whiny Post Day. Which I guess is a bit silly and also shows something about how much of a shame loneliness is. Hey, I can’t even write about it, without saying that this is “whining” and that I only do it because Klep said we should…
That’s pathetic and cowardish tbh. I should be able to blog about being lonely ANY day without asking for forgiveness about it.

Akara Ari said...

(This is Holly by the way, actually learned to sign into my e-mail address! I r smrt)

Disclaimer: MOAR WALLZ OF TEXT!

But anwyay, I don't think I've ever had this issue, I tend to look for friends, find ways to talk to them out of the game if they're someone I enjoy talking to playing with, etc. . .

The easiest way I've found to make friends is the way you would in real life, comment about something positive with them, strike up a conversation, ask them how they do x, and be actually interested, having a level *mumbles* mage! I like to learn about mages, this one's nice, a good player, on my realm, and so asking them their rotation for example, is a good opener. After a good, pleasant discussion ask if they'd mind an IM invite of some kind (I use trillian, so I have a lot of options with little difference to me!)

Admittedly finding friends was much easier before looking for dungeon, because while that mage from realm asbacadus (yes, this is now a real realm >.>) was just as nice as the previous one I mentioned, a good player, funny, and not made of black licorice, chances I'd ever get to play with them again are slim =(

To comment on the raiding guild thing, yeah the entire inpersonal aspect of it is why I avidly avoided a 'raiding guild' persay. I'm ina couple on other characters but the one I feel most at home with, is my casual progression guild, who only raids (now!) 2 nights a week. We've done everything up to sindrigosa 10 man normal, the guild is fun, we wipe a lot, but wipes don't feel like failures, but more who to blame laughing so hard the tank missed the taunt, or the stupid shadow priest (also known as me) didn't realize she was standing in the fire. It's relaxed, it's fun, and I like to think we're not doing badly (we were up to sindrigosa before the 5% buff...I actually cringe at it going up to 30%)

But to kind of sum it up, find some common ground between you and another player that seems fun and find some way to not only chat with them in game (friends list definitely works and inviting them to things is a great way to get to know them better in game) but finding an offline connection is really where I think long term friends can be made.

Azryu said...

I think my disclaimer was mostly for other people ;)

But yes. No one wants to beleive it will end. It wasn't long ago when my former best friend and I severed the friendship that we had been building since middle school. Without going into much detail, he came back into town and was sending my sister raunchy text messages, which I confronted him about, and denied everything despite hard evidence.

People go change...

But where one door closes another opens, as they say. I now have another great friend. I have nothign to be sorry for, or to wish different. All things have lead me here, and to change one thing is to take me on another path completely.

My favorite quote explains it completely:

"My formula for greatness in a human being is amor fati: that one wants nothing to be different, not forward, not backward, not in all eternity. Not merely bear what is necessary, still less conceal it—all idealism is mendaciousness in the face of what is necessary—but love it."
-Friedrich Nietzsche

Anonymous said...

Ahhhh, I was just waiting for your dark Scandinavian moment, hold on the spring is already dawning.

Stab already mentioned, why the game turned away from social experience, so it is no wonder, that you hardly find any friends.

Believe me, it is not your fault, not because you are a geek, introverted or something like this.

RPG originally contained group play, ergo social aspects. Think, back in the Pen and Paper days, when we met for our RPG round.
Offline Gaming was Solo, with the internet, the social component actually came back. But by now, the
industry focused again on Soloplayers with online access.

There is not much room left, for social interactions, which are mandatory for finding friends. Not your interests determine friends, but their way of thinking, feeling, empathy.
If you would play my tank, no one would hardly notice it.
That's why you find your peers in the blogsphere not in game.

It is not your fault. They sacrificed you, the settled, mature customer, in favor of the clique and short attention span characteristic Asian and NA Market.

On one point I disagree with you.
To speak in Series, you expect the typical customer to be taken out of "Big Bang Theory", while I know that "How I met your mother" is there as well.

If I would be able to find a handful of mature developers, I would found a studio, to create a back to the roots RPG, the market is there. But unfortunately, the family fathers, somehow disappear from the developer market. And as Tosh once mentioned, developers create games, they would like to play ...


Usiel