For someone who’s played MMOs as long as I have, I have gone through a drastic change in the way I play video games nowadays. When I quit WoW last year, in March 2015, and then FFXIV later last year, something happened. I stopped wanting to play with strangers. I don’t care that strangers could turn into friends, because realistically, I don’t see that happening anymore. I highly value the wonderful people I met through gaming and blogging and wouldn’t miss them for my life. Regardless, the thought of logging into an MMO, MOBA or the new thing, cooperative shooters, I am just not feeling it. Instead, it fills me with dread.
I recently tried the Battleborn beta on my PS4, because I like checking out hyped games. It looked colorful, in a vaguely Wildstar-ish way. I played solo, because the thought of teaming up with other people, mostly male gamers who are really into shooters seriously turned me off. Frankly, I am not good at any kind of shooter gameplay, much less so with a controller and its imprecise targetting. I can do it for shit and giggles when I play Uncharted, but when I die in Uncharted no one cares or might sit there raging because I suck. I have crappy reflexes, I strafe like a noob, every headshot I actually manage is cause for celebration. I wouldn’t want to upset anyone with the way I play, and so, I don’t play multiplayer. However, most big game releases these days are multiplayer.
My summary of Battleborn: characters looked quirky, gameplay in solo PvE was kinda unexciting, and I sucked hard. Needless to say, I didn’t manage to successfully complete that first scenario because the boss felt super-hard to me. Also, I suck. I liked Borderlands a LOT better than Battleborn.
I flail, lost at sea, a sea consisting of games and hype that go right over my head like a rolling wave.
Video game hype is a thing of beauty at times. It’s easy to be swept up when everyone gets excited about a new release. It happens with every major MMO launch, expansion or AAA release. I soak up the hype on Twitter, but I don’t rush out and follow the hype anymore. I almost bought The Division. I had it in my cart at Amazon, and the only reason I didn’t buy it was that I was mad about Amazon.de’s policy of charging 5 Euro shipping for 18+ games. That was the closest I got to the hype trap recently. Why would I buy a 3rd person multiplayer shooter? I was the worst at Mass Effect 3’s multiplayer. Seriously, the worst.
Right this moment, I am following the hype once more. I am downloading the Overwatch beta, and my stomach already turns at the thought of dealing with the kind of people who enjoy this kind of gameplay. The game looks fun, I love the art style and the characters, but what if everyone’s an asshole and I get yelled at? Is there even lore, any kind of story?
Did I mention the one time I installed League of Legends, because my friend Caitlin told me about it excitedly? I downloaded it, created an account and…never played. I had no clue how to play, knew there were bot games, but feared that people on my team might be mean. In retrospect I am glad I never play. I read about all sorts of toxic players, and I seriously do not need any toxicity like that in my life. As consequence, I also skipped Heroes of the Storm. As I don’t play Hearthstone, I can honestly say that my days as Blizzard fangirl are over. I wouldn’t even want to go to Blizzcon, if I got free tickets.
This doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy playing with people. I mean, a large part of my life are tabletop and board games, but I get to choose who I play those with. I also enjoy video gaming with friends. On New Year’s Eve, I stayed at my friend’s house, and I played couch co-op games on the PS4 with her and her boyfriend til 5 am. I really enjoy couch co-op. My SO and I play Divinity: Original Sin (we really need to continue playing that), and Diablo 3 with friends is fantastic. But even with Diablo 3, I like to duck my head and just solo my way through it. In a way I am glad there is no season gameplay on consoles. I would feel forced to group up to level quickly.
I think a lot of hermit tendencies come from fatigue. 2015 was not a good year for being a proud video gamer, with all this Gamergate and SJW bullshit. It’s filled my head with pre-conceived notions of ragey, douchey people out there who are just looking for an excuse to lord over lesser gamers. I see people like Jasyla posting video content and getting the shittiest comments, and it’s making me want to stick with games where I am all by my lonesome self.
Is this a phase that multiplayer games are king of the world? People are so competitive. There’s a reason I never did any PvP in WoW after TBC. I fear this multiplayer > all is not just a trend, and this means that gaming becomes far less interesting for me. There’s still a lot of other games, sure. But I like to be swept up by hype and actually feel it. Sitting on the other side of the playground fence is not that great.
But this might just be me, a mediocre gamer who likes games with deep lore and story.
Am I the only recluse?