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Posted November 23, 2012 by Ryan Barth in Editorials
 
 

NordhUnter13 Liked Your Status

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A good friend of mine and I recently had an interesting conversation.  The pulse of the topic involved aging, and the growing distance between ourselves and some of the friends we’ve had for over a decade.  People do change obviously, and isolation over the years between individuals in numerous relationships is as inevitable as getting older itself.  However, we realized that some of our most recent friendships that had been forged in MMOS have in many ways become stronger than the relationships we’ve had with people we’ve known for more than a third of our life.

New MMOS promise the world to players, and like rats in a maze of boring quest hubs we right click feverishly for any new information to affirm that THIS game will change everything.  New combat systems, an absence of grinding, and an array of other things with the predictable quote from a passionate fan, “this isn’t your dad’s MMO!“  If you’re smart, you’ll be weary of such things and remain cautiously optimistic as I like to be.  They are doing something new though.  To the food pellet dispenser I go, teething at the metal tube for more information on something so simple; integrated social networking.

Ok, obviously there are things to be excited about that are a lot more important than creeping your guildmates photos.  Woah! I can’t believe NordhUnTer13 is a woman!  I get that, and trust me I am just as interested in gameplay and conquering the Cyrodiil as you are.  But, how often do we hear the empty promises of a game “shaking things up” only to find that it’s just a dressed up version of something else?  I think Zenimax Online has truly done something innovative here, and it really opens a world of possibilities that can only enhance our gameplay experience.   In this innovation, Zenimax Online has impressed me.  Zenimax Online has made me believe it might not just be a bag of winded promises again, but a company that is truly thinking of how to make a successful game for today opposed to copying another game of the past.  Matt Frior told MMOhut in a recent interview “if you’re a guild and create a group on Facebook, you can import it directly into the game”.  Start filling your ranks now.  A forward thinking developer at the helm of one of my favorite IPs?  Don’t mind if I do!

Do you know what I don’t like doing?  Registering on my guilds forum and posting stuff that 2 people read.  You know what I like even less?  Paying a hosting fee for a site that no one ever bothers to check.   Forcing guildmates to register on a deadsite just so it can fall apart months later.  I know that there are successful guilds that have functioned this way for years, and will continue to.  There are more that do not succeed this way for numerous reasons, but this will certainly make it easier.  Welcome to sanctuary MMO floater, those days are over.  This isn’t your dad’s MMO.  A maintained Facebook page can function just as effectively.  You don’t need to pay that 4.99 a month to get the calendar add on to schedule your events.  Just create a Facebook event.  Raid time changed suddenly?  Tweet it out from your guild’s twitter.  People have eluded that Zenimax Online’s bold move to integrate social networks in TESO may actually be counterproductive and it will keep us within our bubbles of awkwardness.  Contrarily I believe this will force people to forgo their social armor and become close with people they’d never know as friends otherwise.  It has always been my opinion that a strong core of players within a guild or group can keep a game going well past its prime. If only because you want to know what your buddies are up to.  Zenimax Online is hitting the ground running.

Some people lead private lives and don’t want every weirdo in their guild to intrude on this privacy.  Nor do I want that weird husband and wife that plays MMOs together liking my status updates about potty training my puppy or liking the pictures of that amazing lasagna I made for my girlfriend.   If this concerns you, why not create a Facebook account solely for the purpose of TESO?  You’ll still get an avatar (sort of), and you can still disagree with various noobs in threads (more or less).  I implore you to let that part of yourself go however.  For the man or woman that says, “I don’t have a Facebook, and I don’t plan on getting one”.  Cool story.   Yes, there is no point.  Yes, its sole purpose is for selfish validation of your thoughts or activities.  Come on though, I know you post in forums.  What’s the big difference?  Facebook is “lame” and “uncool”?  Like I said I know you post in forums.

To be honest with you, you really aren’t that interesting.  If you were that interesting, you wouldn’t be playing this game.  You’d be parachuting in a tuxedo into an undisclosed location with a case of champagne preparing to board a yacht full of other interesting people such as yourself.  My point is every person is here for the same reason you are; to play this game.  I understand that as MMO gamers we can be a crotchety bunch, but this game isn’t just being made for us.  This game is being made for casual players, new players, and on the fence players.  What better way to get more people to play than connect them instantly to everyone?  Most people use facebook, and they are comfortable with it.  Why not cradle them into the obsession of TESO by giving them an aspect of something they are familiar with?  They have my money already, and they know that.  They have almost every hardcore player’s money.  They know that too.  Getting other people’s money is the challenge.  Offering something so familiar to the new player is rather genius.  There will be hordes of console gamers coming in droves to TESO.  This world though familiar, will be foreign and intimidating.  They will be so paranoid of upsetting the basement dwellers; they will just go on being uninformed players all the way to the level cap when they inevitably cause a dungeon wipe due to lack of experience and guidance.  They know what Facebook is though, and they know how to use it.  So do you.  Change is coming.  This change is necessary.  It is the age of the failed game, and Zenimax is boldly trying something new.  Don’t fight it, embrace it.  I look forward to making more friends, and creating new relationships that otherwise might not have formed so easily.  There’s no reason why you shouldn’t look forward to it too.  And yes, I am lurking photos of your sister on Facebook while dwelling in my basement.

 [box] What’s your take on Social Networking in TESO? Comment below…[/box]

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Ryan Barth

 
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