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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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.

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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
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kofteburger

Friends? What friends?

Mewmew
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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
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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.