The Daily Grind: What’s the best MMORPG for shy gamers?

    
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A few weeks ago, Massively OP’s Eliot Lefebvre wrote about the intersection of social anxiety and MMOs. It was a surprisingly popular article, with gamers coming out of the woodwork to post about the stress of PUGging with total strangers in particular. A number of you recommended specific tools to help shybies survive in harsh online worlds (and others to avoid completely, like damage meters — the last thing a shy or anxious person needs in a pick-up group is judgy strangers yelling at him over deeps). Actually, I was quite impressed with our community’s response to that post because it never veered into “shyness is a problem and you should fix it” territory. Kudos.

But it did make me wonder about which MMOs are best suited for folks with social anxiety or who are shy, people who want to play in these fantasy worlds but are held back in some way by nerves or stress. I’m thinking the ones with really great tools for grouping and communication would apply; let’s nix games whose content virtually requires voice chat, for a start, or games that refuse to implement group- and guild-finders. Games with face-to-face-trade-or-bust are probably out too. I’m thinking that making social experiences low-stress and easy is the key; how great was it to walk into a Star Wars Galaxies cantina and just click on a musician for a buff, interacting without being required to rush into chat? How about getting a “run” in classic Guild Wars, where all you had to do was stand there and chit-chat while everyone’s goals were achieved?

What do you think is the best MMORPG for shy gamers or gamers with social anxiety?

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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Guest
breetoplay

TimothyTierless Definitely a cultural stigma in the west. Extroverts are privileged many times over and introverts, shy folks, people with social anxiety (not equating those by grouping them, mind) are seen as lacking. It’s obnoxious and something that many MMORPGs and MMORPG players make WORSE with their “group or gtfo” BS.

breetoplay
Guest
breetoplay

TimothyTierless I agree. It was social but very undemanding, and everyone had an incentive to help you (training you, IDing you, buffing you, etc.), which went a long way to encouraging friendliness. It let people work their way up to whatever comfort level they wanted.

schmidtcapela
Guest
schmidtcapela

ArtemisiaWS Akaname 
It’s a little worse for me. Usually I literally can’t understand what is being said, and my accent is atrocious. So, voice chat tends to be unfeasible for me, even if I’m not supposed to speak.

(It’s also the reason I will solemnly ignore any and all webcasts, not only from this page but also from any game  dev, unless they are subtitled or have a transcription. Understanding what is being said, even with a good mic, usually takes my full concentration, so I don’t even bother trying.)

schmidtcapela
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schmidtcapela

theeknighthood 
My pet theory is that much of the “silent majority” of the player base is made up of people that are either shy or have social anxiety. For obvious reasons, those players tend to not actively participate in forums and other such venues. Plus, in about every game that has published stats about it, activities that demand reaching out to other players tend to be done by only a small parcel of the player base.

Ernost
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Ernost

Detton BabbageUK  melissaheather Well said.

Theo454
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Theo454

Being a somewhat introverted and shy person myself, I prefer games that have private instances as options(not saying everything has to be instanced), where I can avoid the crowds and just group with friends. I stay away from games that don’t have any instanced content. That said, I have not found the ideal game for me yet, that fits what I want, plenty of instanced content to keep me and my friends busy, plus where I never have to worry about pvp. I thought DDO might be the game for me, before I realized that you only really gain experience by questing, you cannot just go out and grind to gain exp like in other mmorpgs. I found that too often, I would have to log out in the middle of a quest before being able to finish, so no exp for the nights session. Or I would get in and realize I didn’t have enough hours to complete a quest, so I would just log out without accomplishing anything. I did find short quests, but unfortunately there did not seem to be enough short ones and too many long ones. Also, if I was in a group with friends, a friend would log out partway througha dungeon, then things would be too tough for us to continue, and we’d have to log out as well with no exp since the quest remained incomplete. It became too frustrating not being able to advance with short periods of playtime available to me, so I quit playing.

Geering
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Geering

Out of all the MMOs I played, I stuck with Lord of the Rings Online DESPITE Turbine’s constant bumblings for other reasons than the lore.

Never in that game have I felt pressured to do something I didn’t want & despite the addition of World Chat – which you can easily turn off – bringing some potential unpleasantness to those of a nervous disposition, I’d say this is one of the games for shy people to go.

While some people do focus on getting the best end gear, it is not an absolute requirement. You can experience virtually all of the game even if you’re not th3 h4rdc0r3z.

There’s also the fact that in my Kinship I have never witnessed any drama and/or raid rage. They’re a very easy-going lot, even though they do their runs pretty frequently, which you can join any time you want to, but they’ll never pressure you into doing so.

I run around taking care of my homes & doing deeds & festivals all day while cracking jokes in extremely poor taste & I don’t feel any less valid as a member than anyone else.

I have had many, many good experiences with LotRO & don’t hesitate in recommending it to shy people.

catcatmoose
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catcatmoose

BigJohnny1982 You knew what he meant. Although I’m not sure what being upset with Bree over the definition of mmo brings to the table at all.

Cindy_Adorkly
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Cindy_Adorkly

Thanks for this piece. I’ve suffered from social anxiety and mild depression my whole life and I’m used to pretending it doesn’t exist or try to ‘get over it’ because that’s the mentality I was brought up with. It’s nice to see an article where my condition isn’t seen as just being weak and where there’s an understanding of where people experience real gut wrenching fear are coming from. 

I play FFXIV with some EQ2 and SWTOR on the side, ESO as well. I just do most things solo but I will PUG in duty finder in XIV or do things with my friends/guild.

Ekphrasis
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Ekphrasis

Same boat here. I’ll play with you Mana! Blade and Soul?