The Daily Grind: How important is your MMO circle of friends to enjoying the game?

I’ve been fortunate, over the past couple of years, to make some really good friends in MMOs. Those friends are not the reason why I play games, though. Honestly, if all of my friends in Final Fantasy XIV stopped playing the game, I would still enjoy playing the game, and I hope most of them would still be my friends even afterwards. But they aren’t the reason why I play.

That is not universal. Some of my friends have even indicated to me that they’re only playing certain games because I’m there; if I left, they would leave. That doesn’t mean they don’t necessarily enjoy, say, World of Warcraft; it just means that their primary reason to stay centers around the company.

And I am sure that there are people out there who overlook issues in Star Wars: The Old Republic or Blade & Soul specifically because of their groups of friends; the games would be fun without those groups of friends, but it’s easier to ignore the non-fun parts when friends are there. So what about you, readers? How important is your MMO circle of friends to enjoying the game?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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52 Comments on "The Daily Grind: How important is your MMO circle of friends to enjoying the game?"

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jay

HUGE, monumental, it is honestly the largest single part of any MMO when it comes to retention and fun IMHO. When I look back across all of the MMO’s I’ve ever played (which is a massive list), the MMO’s I’m most nostalgic about are all ones where I had an amazing guild of friends to play with, and we had laughs & heartache, spent a lot of time socializing and together.

Where as the vast majority of MMO’s I’ve played, while multi player, and online, were mostly solo oriented. Yes I could group in them if i wanted to, but no one ever did unless it was to kill a big raid boss, or run a dungeon. These MMO’s are the ones that have faded into the vague grey mists of my memory, I really have to think about them to recollect them, and I never played any of them for more than a month-three.

I can’t say it’s the same for everyone, as everyone has differing tastes. But for me, my best MMORPG memories are always involve myself and my friends. The activities vary, but the friends are always there….

**Games that I recall with a lot of nostalgia: DAoC, EQ1, EQ2 (vanilla), WoW (Pre-cata), LoTRO (release)

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jay

I thought BDO would also be one of those huge social games for me, but when I really got into it, no one ever wanted to grind together at end game. Instead they all wanted to solo as it was “more efficient”. So that game didn’t last for me. (and no, i’m not a slow player, or a anchor)

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Vunak

Its important for staying factor. I can pick up an MMO and go through the motions of getting to endgame, but if my friends don’t either join me or I don’t make new friends in that game, join a guild etc. then I won’t last long.

My friends can affect what MMO I do choose as well. If I have a bunch of friends enjoying a game I will more than likely give that game a fair try. Even if it was a game that wasn’t on my radar before, or one I didn’t enjoy in the past.

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Alex Malone

My circle of friends is not important when it comes to selecting a game to play, but is critically important to my enjoyment of a game once I’m there.

I’m a former guild- and raid-leader, so I’m all about other people. I tended to bring my guild with me wherever I went which also helped. My guild / circle of friends kept games interesting far longer than the content did. SW:TOR, for example, we completed within 6 weeks (i.e. at cap, cleared every single bit of content on hardmode). But, I stayed on for another year, purely because of the guild.

Eventually, even a great group of friends can’t keep a game interesting for ever. A difficulty I had is that friends would eventually become the only reason to play. At that point, I’d usually start getting bad tempered in game, or just neglect my guild leader duties. Luckily I’ve learnt from past mistakes but certainly went through some rocky times.

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Suikoden

Critical. My decision on which MMO is my main MMO is based on the group of people I am playing with. The game is completely secondary to that.

veldara
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veldara

The multiplayer element of a game is the most important thing in a game for me. With exception to what I do for a living, the games I actually enjoy the most and play the most, is multiplayer games. I find playing single-player games or going solo in online titles to be pretty dull. No matter how dynamic npcs are, they’re just npcs, it feels hollow to me.

If it weren’t for friends I could game with I wouldn’t be picking up games outside of when I work on them.

Reader
Reht

Immensely. I tend to stick with games that have good solo play when my friends aren’t around but i tend to invest myself much more into games that we play as a group. Unfortunately most of my RL and longtime gaming friends (who have become RL friends) have long since quit playing so i tend to end up going back to my guild in EQ which is the last bastion of long time gaming friends i have.

kofteburger
Reader
kofteburger

Friends? What friends?

Mewmew
Reader
Mewmew

Really, not at all important.

While my real life friends and I did a lot of gaming together when we were still quite young, as we got older our gaming tastes diverged and we just mostly all split up to whatever game we liked best. I still would talk to my friends in texts and things while we were playing different games, it just didn’t matter to me anymore if we played the same game at the same time or not.

I have enough real life friends and enough bad online experiences where I don’t really care to make that close of friends out of strangers I meet online. I don’t have a super lot of free time, I’d rather spend that chatting with my real life friends I know and not strangers, I try to avoid getting too close to people I don’t know online these days (for a lot of reasons really, and I’m very happy as satisfied like this).

Whatever new game I move to, I can easily find new groups of people there that fit my personality and play style to play with there for a while.

My real life friend circle broke off into different games years ago now, and it’s fine really. I was a bit bummed at first but got used to it.

So my MMO circle of friends isn’t important at all anymore. It was when I was in Grade School and Junior High School, but these days I just don’t care that much. I’d rather we all played stuff we actually enjoyed rather than worrying about meeting up on the same game some of us may not like, fixing the time to always be together when it may not fit well for some, etc.

For me it’s my brief daily entertainment and while I do like playing online games with others, there are always people to find to play with. I don’t need to be with the specific same people all the time.

A lot of the time when I go on a story rich game I want to get lost in that story a bit and it’s lore and babbling friends are often a distraction in those cases.

Leontes
Reader
Leontes

I was going to write something very similar. So, thanks for sharing your thoughts – I’ll just say “same here” :)

Goettel
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Goettel

Since GW2 has become my MMO of choice: not that important, with its open-world random group content being best in class.

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mistressbrazen

If friends are present I’ll play with them, but mostly no one I know plays the games I like. I am definitely all right with that. I don’t mind playing alone or grouping with others just in the game when necessary.

Reader
starbuck1771

Not that much sure having friends to game with can be fun but at the same time can be a pain. So in the end it isn’t that important because you can still have fun without them.

Reader
Sray

After I burnt out in DCUO I decided that friends wouldn’t keep me in a game I wasn’t enjoying again. I was so whinny and nasty by the time I reached the end there, I’m sure on a level they were happy to see me go.

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mysecretid

As others have said, playing with friends is not a good indicator for me — because my friends’ presence can make even a bad game seem acceptable.

If I play a game solo and it’s not fun, then I’m pretty sure of that result.

Reader
Chris Moss

I started my first mmo, FFXI, with just me and my brother. We loved the game from the beginning. Then we joined our first Linkshell and I was hooked to the game even more. I could not wait to get off work, just so I could get home and talk to them, and XP with them.

Sadly as the years past, I lost some friends, but meet others. Up until about 2014 I was still pretty active in FFXI, until it was down to only me and 2 others from our original LS. I think finally decided to quit, because I did not want to be the very last. I still go back a couple times a year to play.

What I would not give to go back to the years between 2005-2009. I have so many fond memories.

Reader
Armsman

For MMOs (for me) in general; the friends and social aspects become more enjoyable then much of the game. I often maintain playing an MMO longer than I would because of the friends who still play. (I guess it helps that I have RL friends who over the 30 years since our College gays still enjoy gaming of all types and we like to do those things together – but I’ve made other in game friendships that have lasted over a decade as well – and we often run into each other in new games.)

harbinger_kyleran
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harbinger_kyleran

My real life friends stopped playing MMORPGs years ago. I made a small group of friends on the internet back in L1/DAOC who I still keep in contact with.

Earlier this year when they decided to play on a DAOC freeshard I joined in for about 6 months. I grew tired of it for the same reasons I quit the game the first time as blue servers hold little long term interest.

I’ve joined these folks on and off in several games over the years, but never let that stop me from quitting their guild and joining another more in line with my current in game goals, or playing another game entirely.

Reader
Bryan Correll

There are several times I’ve kept playing a game long past the point where I was enjoying the game itself just because I really liked the crowd I was playing with.

camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

Peace out to Nutek, Psychobunny, NekoAli, Pogoman and a ton of others all related to City of Heroes and the Angry Angels.

You all made it a wonderful experience.

Friends made it a great game.

Reader
nobleeinherjar

It depends on the game. When FFXIV 2.0 released, I went in with a few friends and made even more in-game. Out of that original group, I’m the only one that still enjoys the game and I happily play it despite my friends dissing it.

SWTOR, however, is a game I dropped once my friends and RP circle slowly drifted away. The same goes for TERA and BnS.

taradyne
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taradyne

Really depends on the game for me. I don’t play WoW anymore because of the very close friendships that started and died there. But other games have lots of solo content so I’m fine with those. Really depends on the game.

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squidgod2000

My what?

Reader
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xanadox

The most important thing.
Playing with friends is the best experience, even in Tic-Tac-Toe online.

Reader
Castagere Shaikura

When i was younger it was real important. But now if i have enough solo content i just solo play. Mostly because my real life friends don’t play mmo’s anymore they play board games instead because they don’t like the mainstream of mmo’s today. They liked mmo’s better in the early years of the genre.

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wratts

I’ve tried over the years, but it’s really difficult to feel any deep sense of connection without being physically close. Among my RL social group, virtually no one is a gamer and those that are are pretty much CoD players or similar, which isn’t really my main space. I enjoy talking to people in game, but if I have a session where I’m just in my own zone I’m fine with that too

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Tandor

While I used to have RL friends playing the games I like, and also made ingame friends through guilds etc, these days I’m at an age where those RL friends have either moved on or passed on and I’m no longer as tolerant of the young drama queens that are found in a lot of guilds (and groups). Put simply, I no longer feel any need or desire to socialise when I’m on the computer, it’s just not why I play computer games – much tho’ I like running around a gameworld among other players and completing e.g. delves, dolmens and world bosses in ESO cooperatively with others. It isn’t that I’m a loner or anti-social, rather that I mix socially in other ways and the computer is for when I’m relaxing quietly at home with no fixed sense of obligation or commitment.

Reader
Arktouros

Originally I joined a guild for protection because being solo out in a world of roaming gank groups is rough on your survivability. However over time that’s become a non factor.

Personally I’ve always been more into MMOs for the progression mechanics rather than social ones. The right people can certainly enhance a game but equally can ruin a game as well.

Reader
Utakata

Depending on the circle of friends. However…

“And I am sure that there are people out there who overlook issues in Star Wars: The Old Republic or Blade & Soul specifically because of their groups of friends; the games would be fun without those groups of friends, but it’s easier to ignore the non-fun parts when friends are there.”

It’s been my experience that the opposite happens in the anecdotal. That is, the criticism of the non-fun parts become much more pronounced when we all trash it in agreement. o.O

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Pandalulz

If there was one, I suppose they’d be important, but all of my IRL friends quit MMOs long ago, and I’ve never bothered making internet friends. Say what you will about the olden days of MMOs, but I wasn’t ever social then either, can’t blame LFG or cross-server play for any of that.

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Danny Smith

Its not. Its an old saying at this point that “playing with friends can make even the worst game fun”. I like playing with my friends but if they are the thing im playing for then its probably a bad game and im just enjoying hanging out with friends which i can do anywhere else.

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Nate Woodard

I’ve realized after reading some comments that until a few years ago, gaming friends came and went. I would keep in touch with one or two, but it was always work finding friends in a game I wanted to play.

When I went back to WoW a few years ago, I happened upon a guild that I’ve stuck with for a few years now and am quite reluctant to move on from despite my WoW boredom. I don’t know. I guess I find good friends in MMOs really important these days.

Reader
Godiva

Most of my game-friendships are game-specific and rarely survive when I’ve stopped playing the title. It has happened, but it’s very rare. One thing I’ve noticed as I’ve aged is that it’s harder to make friends in MMO’s (just like in real life!) because I have less patience for annoying behavior. In the past I’d put up with someone just to finish a quest, or to achieve a certain goal, but now I’d rather play solo than deal with someone who gets on my nerves.

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Veldan

Friendships in games never lasted beyond those games for me. I don’t mind though, because I always find people to play and will make new game friends if I am serious enough about an MMO. I prefer it that way anyway. I like it better when guilds / alliances are formed inside a game than when they are dragged in from the outside.

So, to answer the question: not important at all. As long as a game still has players I’ll find people to play with.

Reader
Knox Harrington

No matter what game I play, I always find fellow nerds to play with. It’s not surprising that we have a lot in common because we were drawn to these games in the first place, so I don’t take it personally like any of these people are actually my friends because in reality, we really don’t know each other. That would require existing in a physical space together, and enough people have been murdered via Craigslist to make me generally distrusting of people on the internet so by default, we’ll never be more than acquaintances and those come and go.

smulb
Reader
smulb

i don’t have any friends

Reader
StonerMk2

Lol me neither, at least none that play games sadly. Wish i had a group of cool people to run games and mmos with though

smulb
Reader
smulb

i hate people

Reader
rafael12104

Hmm. Well, friends are great. I’ve made a few playing MMOs and some do follow each other from game to game. But over time that has waned a bit. And inevitably, a new MMO brings new friends too. It is a bit of a revolving door.

So, yes. They are an important component, but I’d play and have played without the same cadre of friends. I’ve played new games with no friends at all. I guess, if I’m honest, it’s all about the games for me. But I certainly appreciate the people I’ve met and the friends that I have made.

Reader
Loopy

Enjoying the game – not important at all. I like trying out new things, as well as going back to old ones, and it wouldn’t be realistic to expect my friends following me with each jump.

Remaining in the game – absolutely. Once i hit a burnout period, unless i have friends playing the same game that would entice me to still do the in-game activities, i jump ship.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

one of the things i wanted to do differently with my guild (especially with how our first merge ended) is i wanted to not pressure members to keep playing a game they were no longer enjoying just to keep hanging out with us.

as in just because someone quit a game many of us were playing, didn’t mean they had to go quiet or awol from the community in general.

and evne tho we haven’t had super high concurrency rates in years i feel it’s helped keep the community together in ways that wouldn’t happen if like our first merge’s GM i demanded people who were tired of the current game fuck off and stop hanging out. which his guild for various reasons eventually fell apart completely over time. tho not for this reason alone.

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Bryan Turner

None I go where the wind takes me, the last time I followed a circle of friends to a game I was miserable on a PVP server in Rift, I decided to roll a character on a PVE server and we started to drift apart. I connected with them on Facebook but now they game on XBOX Ones instead of PC.

CapnLan
Reader
CapnLan

Well this is an easy one. I don’t have an MMO circle of friends so for me this is a non-factor. I play whatever I want, whenever I want these days.

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Hirku

Not important at all. I play MMOs for the worlds, and randomly encountering players in those worlds is all the socializing I need.

Reader
Schmidt.Capela

If this was a deal-breaker for me I wouldn’t be playing MMOs anymore; most of my real-life friends refuse to play on a PvE server, while I refuse to ever again play on a PvP server. Besides, even if we do happen to be playing in the same server, there’s usually a large enough power gap between us to make playing together not exactly enjoyable.

Thus I play MMOs with random strangers, and go for other kinds of multiplayer games when I want to play with friends.

Besides, after almost burning up with the whole MMO genre in the past, I adopt a “no commitment, ever” approach to gaming; I will only play anything as long as I’m having fun, and will leave immediately (and sometimes without warning) if I’m not having fun anymore, regardless of how much I spent on that game or whether anyone still playing is counting on me for anything.

Reader
Bryan Turner

Same situation.

edangerous
Reader
edangerous

If this was a deal-breaker for me I wouldn’t be playing MMOs anymore; most of my real-life friends refuse to play on a PvE server, while I refuse to ever again play on a PvP server.

That’s interesting, might I asked what situation occurred to cause you to turn your back on PvP servers?

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Schmidt.Capela

I never liked them to start with, but originally I was willing to give them a try. A long try, mind, as I played in PvP servers (and also played PvP-focused MMOs) for the best part of a decade.

That try convinced me that PvP servers are detrimental to my enjoyment of every game I tried. So, my current rule of thumb is: if a random stranger can attack me without first securing my explicit consent to fight, I’m not playing that game (or server), regardless of how good the game might otherwise be.

Of note, I have pretty strict rules of engagement. I will only take part in a fight if I’m both in the mood for PvP and absolutely sure every involved player wants to fight. Thanks to that, I always refused to help friends, guild members, etc, with non-battleground PvP activities, and refused to fight if someone attempted to force me into a fight (I would usually just /sit and allow the attackers to kill me, if feasible after leading them somewhere the neutral NPCs would take issue with the attack and force them to either lose rep by defending themselves against the NPCs or accept a kill by the NPCs in order to not lose rep).

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Bryan Turner

For me or was getting mercilessly ganked while leveling.

Reader
Zen Dadaist

Very important. If my friends aren’t playing then even if I enjoy the game I’ll end up playing significantly less. I don’t enjoy pugging with randoms much and by definition certain things in MMOs are hard to do solo.

deekay_plus
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Patreon Donor
deekay_plus

since rift beta the only game i’ve played without friends involved in some manner or another is probably limited to only wildstar. and that only fairly breifly.

Reader
Zora

Some of my friends have even indicated to me that they’re only playing certain games because I’m there; if I left, they would leave.

That’s been the second half of my entire life-long mmorpg adventure, to the point I don’t even remember how I could play for any other reason. I swear publishers are so damn lucky a social aspect (that they so vehemently ignore) exists, or many many people would just waft their titles aside after a few weeks.

Many games I gave up onto despite loving them, just because my best pal did not. Wildstar I miss you dearly but you were only half of what I needed from you!

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