I’ve been pondering a recurring theme in my gaming life as of late. I’m sure there are plenty of other people out there who have a chance at identifying with it and whether I come up with answers or ideas or not, I do enjoy a good brain dump. So here we go.
Community and the lack thereof
Yeah. That big old ‘c’ word. Community. What is it? Where is it? How does one find it?
Ever since I quit the GM business, I’ve felt a pretty decided lack of community in any of the games I’ve played. Oh, sure, I’ve always had a close friend or two kicking around no matter what virtual world I’ve been in, and I’ve managed to drag At along more or less willingly on my adventures, and yet. And yet.
If I am being honest, there’s been a lack of connection since I stepped away from Eff the Ineffable. For a while, when I first started playing SWTOR, the Snark Side people that came over from Eff disguised the magnitude of the loss, but we all drifted. There’s no other way to describe the slow by ones and twos process that broke up that core group of friends and gamers. We fragmented and despite several attempts, have not managed to regain cohesiveness.
I joined other guilds, of course. A few Alliance guilds on Moonrunner and then, after the server/faction transfer, a Horde guild. I had a guild in Wildstar, too. Not one of those dopey ones where it’s just me and my two friends, but an actual “we applied to this and even got involved in leadership” guild.
And now I’m back in SWTOR and my old Imperial side guild hadn’t kicked my main in the interim, so I’m still plugged in there. There are people around everywhere I go. People I try to talk to and connect with, but for some reason, I feel like it just never works out.
As I always do, I go back to the common denominator. Is it me? Am I making enough of an effort to make connections or not? I could certainly be putting more time into gaming, but it seems that my hours never line up with everyone else’s. Sometimes that’s unavoidable, but there are likely things in my personal schedule that I could shift around in order to hit peak times more frequently. At the same time, I feel as though I did make that effort in my last Horde guild and it never made a difference. I could go on raids and be part of the team and still feel completely and utterly invisible.
Does the problem exist elsewhere?
Of course, I don’t and haven’t felt that this issue is limited only to the guilds in the games I’ve been playing. The blogging community seems to me to be a shadow of its former self these days. My own feed reader yields a depressingly small handful of posts on any given day and very often the bulk of them are content from authors, web comics and various other non-gaming bloggers I enjoy following. Even those few gaming bloggers that I follow and are still active tend to be, like me, sporadic at best about posting new content.
How and when did this happen? I recall seeing massive pillars of my own personal blogging community fall, but how is it that everyone else gave up the ghost as well? And why did it happen not with a bang but a whimper?
Maybe, like me, people have just had their lives get too busy. Maybe we’re all getting too old and too wrapped up in our careers to have the time we used to for the dual outlets of gaming and writing about gaming. Maybe other forms of disseminating information and options have grown more popular than Ye Olde Blogs. Maybe no one cares to write because no one seems to be reading and it’s just a little Catch-22 cycle that is responsible.
Maybe it’s not any of those things.
Maybe it’s a little bit of all of them.
I just can’t help but wonder how other people’s community experiences are treating them in-game. Is there any such thing? Or has the trend in games like WoW towards making all content accessible to everyone via tools like LFR done something to eradicate the growth of community because it also took away the need for it?
I don’t know, and I doubt I’ll even get to hear what is going on with other people because, haha, I’m posting about a lack of community knowing full well that a community is something I most definitely do not have these days.