I will be hard-pressed to continue playing World of Warcraft if people on the server keep ignoring me when I try to make conversation. I am playing an online game. Isn’t the socialising a major factor in World of Warcraft‘s appeal? I feel like I am playing an offline game (that I pay monthly for) most of the time, and the other players are random NPCs. I am trying to be understanding of the fact that I am playing on an established server, where the social groups are fairly solidified, and most people are playing at the higher levels. I know that other players probably have better things to do than to talk to some low-level newbie that they don’t know, but what about to each other in general? Most of the time, I don’t witness any actual conversations in the public channels, unless you count people asking for directions or LFG. I am told that the socialisation aspect gets better at the higher levels and when you join PUGs for instances. I guess people are also cocooned in their own groups, having conversations on Guild Chat, TeamSpeak, or Ventrilo.
At the same time, it is frustrating that no one will even say “Hello” to me or answer questions. I’m not acting like a n00b, either (as far as I know), nor am I being rude. Much of the time, interaction with other players besides the couple of people I know, comes from people challenging me to duels, running past me, fighting monsters in the area, or showing off and jumping about in towns — if you can call that interaction.
People who play World of Warcraft criticise Guild Wars for being instance-based. Guild Wars does not allow for random and casual interaction with other players. People say that one feels more alone in Guild Wars when questing.* That is a fair point, however when comparing my questing experience in World of Warcraft with my questing experience in Guild Wars, I feel that there is hardly a difference right now. Azeroth is a lonely place. Like Guild Wars (unless you are in an outpost), most of the talk in World of Warcraft is in Guild Chat, and not with anyone else. As I said earlier, the other players I encounter whilst questing may as well be NPCs for all the interaction they provide.
You can’t talk in General Chat in the instances in Guild Wars, but you can in the outposts. In Guild Wars, General Chat usually has one or two threads of conversation going on, mixed in with the WTS/WTB spammers. It does depend on the outpost and what time of day it is, however. There are certain outposts where people go to hang out or to role-play, and the conversations there are usually free of immaturity. In major outposts, especially if they are not adjacent to farming routes, one can see people having fun and engaging conversations. Perhaps I haven’t been hanging around the right cities in World of Warcraft.
Last night, a stranger actually had a conversation with me. He said that he understood my feelings of irritation about the lack of talking in General Chat, as the same thing had happened to him when he joined his friends on our server. He also reassured me that people talk more in the higher level areas. I was happy to finally have a conversation with a random person after trying so many times to get people to say something more to me than one or two sentences. Earlier in the evening, someone told me that he had no idea what I was talking about regarding the lack of talking in-game, and he didn’t bother to elaborate or qualify that statement before going off on his business. Uncompleted conversations are better than no response at all.
I am making more of an effort to be outgoing to random people in World of Warcraft than I ever have done in Guild Wars. Being outgoing isn’t something I am used to, but I can make the effort. When I was at the same newbie stage in Guild Wars, it felt like a more social game than World of Warcraft does right now.
I’m going to keep trying to talk to people I don’t know, and I am sure it will get better when I am at a higher level. However, I can’t say that being constantly ignored doesn’t bother me, especially as I was led to believe from the media and others that World of Warcraft is a very social game.
*Though on the other hand, it gives you a greater feeling that it’s “you against the world” and that you have a lot of power, unlike in World of Warcraft, where you feel very small and ineffectual; although feeling small and ineffectual could be a symptom of me being only at level 17.