OK. I knew this was going to happen. I got busy with other things and stopped posting. Or maybe I just had writers block. But Kaozz had a recent post that inspired me, because it connects with my own behavior in MMOs (and blogging too). I am a lurker. I like to observe a community, be it gaming guild chat or Blaugust Discord chat, but I very rarely enter into the conversation. I also rarely group even when grouping is pretty darn easy and incentivize.
Why? Well, the most obvious is that I am an introvert. I am a manager at work and that means a lot of time in meetings and on the phone with people all day long. I have no problem dealing with people, but I find socialization draining after a day at work. I also have a very social family life, so games are actually a refuge where I can have some “just me” time.
The second reason I don’t communicate more is that, even at my age, I can still feel insecure when talking to people I don’t know, especially in a group setting. This manifests in several ways. I communicate better in writing, but when in group settings I end up talking too much. I am probably overcompensating and feeling like I am obligated to contribute to a conversation even if I don’t have much to say. Generally, I avoid voice chat like the plague in games. I find most texting to be okay for exchanging quick bits of information, but not for actually getting to know people. Truth to tell, it’s been a long time since I “friended” someone outside my family in a game, although I still join guilds for the purpose of trading goods, guild hall facilities or other amenities. I do send donations to the guild, but don’t do many guild events.
An then there is my desire to set my own pace. Grouping is very frenetic these days at least for pick up groups. Everyone rushes through the content and it’s hard to pay any attention to any story or ambiance when you are running after your groupmates. Way back in the original EverQuest, groups would set up “camps” where a particular boss would spawn, sometimes with long waits between. Sometimes the group would talk while waiting. Waiting is anathema these days and has been eliminated from games, for better or worse. I am pretty sure that even I would no longer enjoy that slower pace in gaming.
Finally, there is just shear laziness. It’s just more complicated if I have to consider other people’s needs or respond to conversations. I probably could find a deeper enjoyment if I pushed myself out of my comfort zone, opened up and got involved. Some people out there can be really cool. Maybe someday.