Evil Rant #37- How to Play MMORPGs (Correctly)- Part 1
Notes from False Prophet: As many of you know, we are very passionate about entertainment here at Twisted Jenius. With that in mind, we offer you a rant designed to give you some insight into how a real villain approaches the world of online gaming. This rant is the first written by my associate, Vicious. And as overlord of logic, you can expect his style to be very blunt and to the point. His perfect blend of pragmatism and malevolence are ideal to instruct any gamer on how to play from their own, unique, dark side.
I have many years of MMORPG experience. I have played hundreds, if not thousands of hours each in games such as City of Villains/City of Heroes, Guild Wars, World of Warcraft, a lesser known game, Fung Wan Online, and Warcraft 3. Of course Warcraft 3 isn’t a MMORPG, but most of the information in this rant is so general that it can be applied to almost all large, social, online games; because my overall focus here is on guilds and related topics. In addition to the games listed above, I’ve also dabbled in or tried out dozens of others; including about half of the major games on the market and numerous not so major ones. And I am currently planning on playing Age of Conan after it is released. As I said before, the main focus of this rant is guilds and socialization. I will not discuss, in detail, player versus player (PvP), player versus environment (PvE), raids, or role playing.
Starting a Guild
Never start your own guild. It will either fail in regard to gameplay or will be a lot of work and responsibility. Even though you should never start a guild, you should still try to be a leader; by this I mean show some initiative. It’s not always the most fun thing to do, but leading parties/raids/events is still better than just standing around waiting for someone else to lead (especially since once someone does lead they might do a worse job of it than you). Even though you may lead a lot of things, you must avoid gaining a reputation as being a leader. If you do, others will begin to expect it of you and leadership demands will constantly be placed on you.
Joining a Guild
In most MMOs, joining a guild is key to achieving your goals and having fun. The personality of a guild as a whole is very important. If you participate in end game content, you could end up spending a very significant amount of your time with the people in your guild; and if you don’t like them, you won’t like the game. One of the best ways to find a compatible guild is to make friends with individuals and then join the guild they are in. Don’t join the first guild you see after grouping with someone once or twice; group with them and others from the same guild multiple times before making a decision. Find out what the goals and intensions of the guild are, how it’s run including websites, VOIP, leadership structure and loot distribution, and find out why they were grouping with a non-guild member in the first place. The guild will most likely have questions for you as well and possibly a trial period. If they don’t, this is a bad sign in and of itself; a good recruitment process and recruiter are keys to a guilds long term stability and success. Joining a bad guild can be worse than not joining any. In addition to just being a bad overall experience which can even effect other aspects of your game playing; being in any guild will likely cause you to stop searching for a better guild and better guilds will stop trying to recruit you.
Never join or form a guild before a game is launched unless you know a large portion of its members from another game or real life. MMORPGs are notorious for launch delays; when these delays go on for six months or more, it can test any guild let alone a loose group of people that barely know each other. Without extremely good, strong leaders; a premade guild will fall apart before even setting foot in game (especially considering the type of people that are likely to join these guilds). And if the guild does make it into the game; it may not end up being what you expected.
Even though you can and should do research on a game before it launches; you should try not to form an opinion about it. Now remember that an opinion is different from a fact. For example, if you like PvP and a game doesn’t have PvP, then you don’t like this game. It’s a fact that it doesn’t have PvP, and while it is an opinion that you like PvP, it’s an opinion based on previous experience, not an opinion about the game in question. Other peoples opinions are not facts, but facts can be taken from them. For example, it’s a fact that more people like game X than game Y.
When almost any game launches, it’s still very flawed. For the first one or two weeks it is likely that the game will be almost unplayable. There will be a number of major bugs that the developers didn’t catch or didn’t have time to fix in beta. That, combined with everyone in the game being in the same handful of starting areas, is a recipe for disaster; due to the inherent strain that it places on the game’s still bugged servers and the fact that everyone will be fighting each other to kill exactly the same mobs. The one to two months following that will still be a bit shakey, with any number of major, but not game breaking bugs and balancing issues. During this time try to find out about as many bugs as you can, and avoid the bad ones and exploit the good ones. This is also a good time to start looking for a guild. While most people are still leveling it’s easy to see what times a guild generally plays at and how fast their average member is leveling. Pick a guild at is similar to you in those ways. Three to four months post launch, the game should be generally stable, with few or no major bugs and better balancing. The development team should have learned the best things and ways to patch by now; and the guilds, servers and community in general will have gotten settled in. The average player should have become more knowledgeable about the game. The game has now matured; and if numerous things from the previous list have not happened or are not going in a direction that you like four to six months after launch, you might want to start looking for a different game.
Picking the Right Class
Depending on your goals; what and how you play may not be up to you alone. If you’re planning on doing long term, high end raids or PvP, the balance of your group is just as important as your personal taste in gameplay. Even though I’m a big fan of choosing my own path; in this case, high end content is the path you chose and to be successful, you may have to pick a class that you normally wouldn’t play if your individual opinion was the only factor. Different classes actually don’t play as different as some people seem to think. You still just press buttons in a certain order at certain times; only the order and times change slightly. In general, if you’re a healer you’ll find groups easier to get; which alone can be worth the slight difference in play (and the psychological difference that goes with it). If you think a class or build is over-powered, try it. Either it is as good as you thought and now you’re over-powered too or, more likely, it’s not but now you’ll understand its weaknesses better. I’d also suggest changing your class from game to game, or even several times within the same game if you play it long enough, to avoid boredom.
When You’re in a Guild
You have to make your own fun. The game isn’t going to magically be fun for you. It’s there to give you the ability to have fun on your own. But you have to get out there and do things; the best PvE or PvP in the world means nothing if you don’t do it. But it’s not just that, you have to go beyond what the game intended; organize your own events or at least participate in other people’s events. One guild I was in used to play hide and go seek, tag and have duel tournaments; both impromptu and preplanned. Either a few rich, high level guildies would put up some prize money or we’d have an entry fee to raise it. All events would have restrictions on some spells or level brackets so that no one was left out. Sometimes we would even allow non-guild members to join in; especially people we wanted to recruit, friends and whole other guilds. Another guild I was in used to regularly train high level mobs on to people or towns. These are just examples, get creative with it; be pro-active and involved.
Dealing with Random People
Be an ass. Being a jerk is much more fun than being, or even attempting to be, nice all of the time. The trick is knowing when not to be a jerk. Be a dick to random people who you’ve never met or to people in your group that you don’t like. Don’t be a prick to your current (or potentially future) guild mates or people in your group whom you are indifferent to or like. If you hate someone in your guild so much that you can’t even pretend to be nice to them, try to avoid them. If you can’t, especially if the reason is because they are a high ranking member or there are multiple people that you hate, than it’s probably time to find a new guild. If you really like to be an ass, but your guild frowns upon it, then it may also be time to get another guild (one that’s not so bitchy and that’s actually fun). So remember, be an ass; it’s just a game after all and we all know that bad guys have more fun, in game and in real life.
Leaving a Guild
Don’t be afraid to quit. If you personally aren’t having fun you should quit your guild, server, character or the whole game. If you feel even the slightest hint of getting burned out, take a break from whatever is causing that; whether it’s your guild, one aspect of the game (PvE or PvP for example) or the game itself. And come back to it when, or if, you feel refreshed. If you’re very burned out or need to take more and more breaks, just quit altogether and don’t give it a second thought. But make sure to quickly find another game or activity to fill the void or you may relapse back.
Remembering, let alone following and implementing all of this information can be a daunting task. For those reasons, even I myself don’t always abide by all of these rules all of the time. But the more of them you follow and the more closely you follow them, the better your gameplay experience will ultimately be. So even if you can’t get everything exactly right, you should still at least make an effort because you will become better at it the more you do it. If taken loosely, the majority of this information could also be applied to everyday life (substituting your job for a guild).
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