Tuesday, March 1, 2011

How Important Is Your Community?

I had an unusual weekend. Normally my schedule dictates that I not be online much over the weekends (and given the proximity of exams, 2 yesterday, and 3 over the rest of the week, I probably shouldn't have been...), but this weekend I found myself online quite a bit. The most striking thing for me? My guild seemed to be deserted! Now don't get me wrong, we had our usual Alt-aholics, and the few people that don't ever seem to log off (that's right Mr. My-Boss-Lets-Me-Play-From-Work, I'm talking about you!), but there were very few others on.

Honestly, I didn't play very long. I was pretty surprised at myself, while I have been feeling the WoW apathy that so many others have talked about (see my post about it), I was starting to get into leveling my Palladin again (he was my go-to-alt in Wrath, I used to lead our guild's alt run with him). This situation has really made me think about what I enjoy in this game. I used to think that it was raiding, and dont' get me wrong I REALLY LOVE raiding (don't kick me from the raid group guys...please?), but I'm not starting to realize more and more that it's the community that I have built up, especially those 9-12 people that I raid/dungeon with regularly.
I know that the media has really played up the role that video games (MMOs being their go to scapegoat) play in encouraging antisocial behaviour in people, but situations like this really make me wonder if they've really looked into this as a real link, or if it's another situation with Downloading/CD sales, where they see a hint of a correlation, or imagine one, and POOF! FACT! (i.e. Foxnews).

For those of you who haven't heard about it, there is an interesting study being done by a PhD candidate in Europe on WoW (and MMOs in general), she's been focusing mostly on Paragon, however I am really interested to see this study when it's finished (excuse the pun...you know...'cause Paragon is Finish?!). Although I don't think she is specifically looking at community in MMOs, I'm sure any discussion would be incomplete without it.
What about all you readers, have you experienced the same thing, logging on to find an empty guild or friends list and quickly swapping activities?

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