Whenever someone admits to playing MMORPGs by themselves, the suggestion will come up that singleplayer games are better suited to their playstyle. The gameplay would be better, as well as story and the delivery of said story. So, after yesterday’s reasons for me playing solo, mostly- and by the way, this isn’t out of some kind of principle since i’d also like to group up and do stuff with other players- i’ll look into reasons for still playing MMORPGs.
I didn’t like Wildstar very much, although i’d say the gameplay is quite good for an MMORPG. But it wasn’t relaxing to me- the UI shot information and stuff to do at me like there was no tomorrow. Quests, Challenges, these solo-instances, crafting, gathering, housing and others. The combat is very active and involved, so much so that chatting with guildmates became a difficult thing to do. Almost every time i got a tell i had to move out of some spawn zone.
But the other games, especially stuff like Everquest 2 and/or SWTOR, i find to be very relaxing. You can do quite a lot of different activities like questing, housing, yeah, pretty much everything i’ve mentioned above. But where i felt “bombarded” in Wildstar, other games pace this stuff a lot better. I can do whatever i’m in the mood for, whatever fits in my schedule and i still get to do it with other people.
Crafting, for instance, i found to be a tedious and senseless affair in singleplayer games. I don’t know why that is, but i couldn’t get into it- maybe, because the economy was missing. Which brings me to the next point.
MMORPGs are still social, even when soloing
You don’t have to group up or do dungeons to have your MMORPG be a social activity. Of the top of the hat, there’s guild chat, tells/chatting with friends, the economy/auction houses, helping others out in the world (without grouping up) and, of course, seeing other characters in the world. An MMORPG always feels more alive than singleplayer games, because they are (except if you’re the only player in a zone).
Your gameplay will also be influenced by others- for instance, in the economy, if it isn’t borked in some way. Or by meeting others out in the world, maybe appreciating their equipment or looks, maybe cursing, because they stole a resource node or a quest mob or in a positive way by doing this together. This is why i’d tend to put Elite:Dangerous in the “almost-an-MMO”-bucket, too, because storylines and the economy depend on other players in the game and not on your actions alone- even when you play the “solo online”-mode.
Singleplayer games do have DLCs, but MMORPGs change in a course of years. You can begin playing one right now, stop, return in 5 years and it will be almost like a different game. It’s always nice seeing expansions or content updates for MMOs. The last expansion of EQ2 was the reason i went there (again) in the first place.
There’s lots to do and see
Housing is back- 2 years ago, there were almost no MMORPGs that featured it, but 2014 brought it to a lot of MMORPGs and it seems to be somewhat of a standard feature again. MMORPG worlds are big, there’s always a nice scenery, a quest hub or other stuff to explore. For someone like me, who doesn’t play that much, it’s practically endless stuff to do, sometimes it’s even a little overwhelming, as is the case in EQ2. There’s systems to look into, zones to explore and goals to set everywhere. Singleplayer games are quite directed in the most cases, and deviating from that linear progression is, in most cases, ineffective.
Not so in MMORPGs- you can do it all, at your own pace. And it makes sense. Even in todays very streamlined and often “linear” themeparks, you can often change course and do something different if you drop the experience-point-glasses and just look for entertainment.
We’re legion. 😉 Massively, MMORPG.com, all these blogs that i’m enjoying and reading, the out-of-game-community is very much alive, and, in most cases, made up of nice people (yes i know there are many trolls, but usually they’re quite easy to avoid and, to me, the positive outweighs the negative by a landslide).
Of course there are- at least i think so- similar communities to be found elsewhere, maybe in the Skyrim-Department (i don’t know about a active blog just focussing on that game’s content, though) or others. But, see two points above, the MMORPG community will always have more to talk about and discuss- play styles, patches, new games, expansions, in-game-stuff and so on. Or we’ll just open up events for ourselves, like the NBI or the Bloggy XMas. I don’t think you’ll find that in other gaming communities.