The Social Hunter

It does strike me as deeply ironic that I ended up joining a raiding guild on my nelf hunter, a character I created on a server where I didn't know anybody, with the intention of doing nothing but level through the solo content (and maybe do the occasional dungeon pug), while my poor little cow shaman, whose big aspiration was to level as part of a group and heal her friends, sits lonely and abandoned elsewhere.

People in the guild have started talking about potential re-rolls whenever Classic Burning Crusade comes around, and I'm definitely considering the idea. I've started working on some alts and could see myself returning to my true calling of healing... but things will obviously depend on what other people want to do and what sort of revised roster we end up with. I'll also still definitely level and play Tir either way as I did enjoy hunter back in BC a whole lot too. Good old Pukaja was pretty much my main alt back in the day, and I even remember taking her to Mount Hyjal at least once (for whatever reason) and comparing dps numbers with our raid leader (who mained a hunter as well).

Regardless of what class I'm playing, the way I'm playing Classic in general has changed massively since I got involved with Order of the Holy Fork. I've found it to be one of the most common criticisms of MMO endgame and raiding that it's totally different from how you play while levelling, and while I've always thought that this was technically true, it was never really an issue for me personally as I genuinely enjoy both play styles, and I also tend to transition into group content more gradually.

In Classic though, it feels like the change has been super abrupt. While I was playing on my own, I would only log on fairly irregularly, with very modest and objective-oriented goals, such as "get that one quest done" or "farm some of these mobs". My play time tended to be fairly quiet and zen, and at times I even viewed it as a way of getting away from people for a bit while still playing an MMO (if that makes sense). At the same time, individual play sessions tended to not be very long as I'd either get bored fairly quickly or feel quite exhausted after a single dungeon pug.

Since joining a guild, most of my play time has been following heavily regulated patterns, because you can't herd 40+ raiders without some sort of structure. I'm not a big believer in the whole buff meta, but heart and head drops tend to be very regular on Hydraxian Waterlords, so it's easy enough to log in 20 minutes early and go AFK in Booty Bay for a bit before setting off to the raid instance.

Even outside of raids, I find it pretty much impossible not to be social though. I'll just log onto an alt to check their mail and I can rarely be online for more than fifteen minutes without someone suggesting some group activity or another. I've got into the habit of constantly checking the guild roster because I know if certain people are online, some sort of action is pretty much imminent. Play sessions can last hours and hours as it's tempting to just do one more thing as long as others are willing to go along with it.

I don't regret this at all because it's terribly fun, but it is kind of weird how I'm almost finding it difficult to get certain solo tasks out of the way because it's so easy to be roped into doing something else instead whenever I'm online in game. Plus it means that in terms of overall activity balance, you could say that I'm currently a bit overbooked in the grouping department (especially when you take my SWTOR guild into consideration as well) while having very little online "me time", so to speak. It's just something that makes me think and that I suspect I may need to address in some way sooner or later.


  1. That's pretty much how I came to abandon socializing in MMORPGs as my primary playstyle. It wasn't that I didn't enjoy what I was doing so much as that, almost by stealth it seemed, I found myself spending almost all my time doing things with other people rather than on my own. As with many pleasurable activities when over-indulged, enjoyment turned to familiarity and eventually to resentment. I went from being thrilled at all the new options that open up when you have people to do stuff with to feeling I never had time to do anything I actually wanted to do because someone was always organizing me to do something else.

    I guess the whole process took two or three years. By the end I was just about fed up of socializing altogether. After a year or two's break (largely managed by playing several MMORPGs and moving about a lot) I eventually slipped back into a more social mode but on a much smaller scale. That lasted a few more years and then Guild Wars 2 turned the whole socializing model on its head. Suddenly you could have all the benefits of a huge network of co-operative players without ever having to speak to anyone! That's pretty much where I've been ever since.

    1. A good cautionary tale for me! That's why I want to take care to not let myself be burned out or overwhelmed.

  2. My play time tended to be fairly quiet and zen, and at times I even viewed it as a way of getting away from people for a bit while still playing an MMO (if that makes sense)

    Yes, yes it does make sense.

  3. I quickly found I couldn't raid in two MMOs at the same time. It's cool you've found a way to do it. :)

    For me, I tend to have a couple of MMOs I've been casual in for story stuff. That scratches my itch to get away from people and just have fun in a persistent world on my terms. I don't even mind pugging small-group content because once I'm done I can move on without any lingering commitments.

    1. To be honest I'm not sure I've found a way of doing it! I mean, I've been doing it for a few weeks now but like I imply in the post it's a bit much at the moment. Treating my secondary MMOs as getaways has been largely how I've treated them in the past, but lately I just so happen to be grouping in all of them!