Friday, January 8, 2010

Not solo anymore?

It seems that some readers of this blog are having a problem with me not being a "solo" player anymore, ever since patch 3.3 hit and I've started running heroics on a daily basis. They suggested that maybe I should change the name of this blog and remove any references to "solo-ing" and "alone". Well, apart from the fact that it's impossible to change the actual url of the blog even if I wanted to, I will try to explain how I feel about the whole thing and why I still consider myself a solo player.

Being solo to me does not equate with totally shunning any form of interaction with other players. Most of us solitary players won't hesitate to team up with others for various purposes such as group quests or even dungeons while leveling up.

There are various shades of being solo but there's no clear cut black-and-white designation. It is not a state which can be defined rigorously. I have explained this repeatedly over time: I'm of the type that doesn't want to be part of a guild and doesn't want to be tied down to any schedule in the game. I want to be my own master. I won't back down from running a dungeon if it doesn't cost me a lot of time and frustration.

I think that the new Dungeon Tool has opened up the game to solo players like me, especially for the fact that we have even less of an incentive to be "socials". I don't need to belong in a guild, to have any friends, any alliances or obligations. In fact I don't even need to open my mouth while in a dungeon. The whole process is quick and it syncs with my own schedule. I can run a dungeon whenever I want. I am my own master and in control of my characters' destinies.

By posting about my new adventures inside post-3.3 heroics I'm hoping that more solo players will embrace this revolutionary new feature which is the Dungeon Tool. There's literally no reason why a player shouldn't experience 5-man instances which are a huge part of this game, given that it is now easier than ever to do so. The process has been totally automated and no one has to feel bad if they don't perform at the top of their abilities or if they are not geared enough.

I realize that many solo players are probably afraid to use the Dungeon Finder due to being used to stay out of instances before patch 3.3. I was like that too. I was terrified of PUGs and I was reluctant to spend a long time spamming the trade chat for a group, especially since I had no idea what dungeon I would do. If you are afraid, try not to be. Just bite the bullet, run a couple instances and see how it feels. In a worst case scenario you'll be kicked out of the group. If this doesn't sound very reassuring, don't worry. Chances are you won't see those people again. As long as you're not a jerk and you perform to the best of your abilities, you should be okay though.

Consider this. If I were to stick to the "true" spirit of solo-ing, meaning no interaction whatsoever with other players, it would mean I shouldn't use the Auction House, use the chat channels, group for various hard quests or interact in any way with another player. We can all agree that this scenario is ridiculous in an online game such as WoW. In fact, that's one of the main reasons why I don't play a single-player, offline game: there is interaction with other players but that interaction can be done at my discretion, just as in real life. In real life I'm not a social person but I do have a few trusted friends and I don't shy away from interacting with strangers whenever I need to. Just as in game, I will be polite and hopefully a "nice" person, without having to make any further commitments to friendship or whatnot.

So I am sorry if some of you feel that this blog has lost its direction. It hasn't, I assure you. I haven't magically become a social person. I am still a one-man army and I continue to be self-sufficient, and more importantly, now I have the option of grouping up whenever I want to or not at all.


Anonymous said...

I agree 100% DF is a great addition for solo players.

Anonymous said...

I'm really enjoying reading your blog and don't consider you to have betrayed it's spirit in any way. Keep it up!

Lugnut Daffodil said...

You are still a solo player through and through. Now, you're just blogging about the experiences of using the Dungeon Finder tool, a design that has revolutionized WoW solo play. So, keep at it sir!

...some people just like to argue. /vote to kick them

frogi said...

Wow is what YOU make it. To follow someone elses ideas is like slavery.

Skaut said...

I'm not really sure how I feel about your new direction. I mean, yeah, it's your blog do whatever the heck ya want. But I do still feel that solo means completely and always alone. Yes, I use the auction house, but I consider it just another vendor(and I rarely if ever buy from it). I actually try to pretend that there *aren't* other players around me because I *don't* want to interact with them at all, ever. I also don't ever want to talk to the people at the grocers(I usually use the self checkout) or any other place. I have zero friends because I have found that 99.9% of all people are jerks or will disappoint you and I'm old and tired of looking for that .01%. So I will stay completely solo while playing WoW.

If your idea of solo is different, that's fine. But I do miss the articles about what gear to get without doing dungeons or how to solo a certain quest. Reading about dungeons, well I could get that on tons of other blogs. I like reading about tips to make money or what minipets you get, things like that. I'll still check in every now and then. Good luck to ya.

Anonymous said...

Well said! & as far as I am concerned there really is no need for you to apologise for enjoying yourself and making the most of what the game has to offer.

As for those people out there who are telling you otherwise, well, all I can say to that is that there will always be small and narrow minded individuals out there who seem to get a kick out of squeezing the joy from all things for reasons I shan't go into here ;-)

So you just keep on doing what you are doing because what you are doing is great!

Anonymous said...

yeah to Skaut

there isn't anything wrong that you want to do dungeons now (I think it's great you're finding something new to do in WOW actually), but from a reader/blog perspective, the posts are no longer different to other sites. Descriptions of dungeons - other people have been doing that for years, and you can't beat them in this area.

So I don't know what to say - I guess keep doing whatever makes you happy with the game, but don't be surprised if readers leave...(sorry?)

Darth Solo said...

Like I said, there are various shades of being solo. Some people won't interact with anyone else in game, while others will even do raids.

I started this blog mostly as a way to recount my experiences in WoW. While back at the time I wasn't running any group instances, things have changed in the meantime and these days everybody can have access to that content. Remember, I wasn't playing solo because I hated all forms of interaction with other players. I did that because it was cumbersome to get in groups and I didn't want to make any commitments.

@Skaut I get what you're saying but from my experience these past few years, most people I've grouped/teamed up with have been very nice. There's a very small minority of jerks but I just put those on my friends list so I can watch out for them.

@Anonymous and @Skaut don't worry, I won't stop writing articles from a complete solo perspective. Lately I've concentrated more on heroics because some tips can be helpful for people who've started doing them for the first time. Maybe you've noticed that the advice I've given is very basic, the way it makes sense for me.

And sometimes, a change of direction (if only for a while) is like a breath of fresh air.

MK said...

@Skaut Why play a massively multiplayer online game if you have this anti-social view of the world? I thought you were being sarcastic until the end of your post. There are many many video games that are only one-player. This is also coming from someone who, like Darth, was completely solo up until the Dungeon Finder tool came out.

@Darth- I'm glad that you've decided to mix things up with some basic entries on the random dungeons. I've found them quite helpful, especially on the new ICC wings. This is the first time I've been caught up with the new patch content and it has really changed the game for me as well. I hope you don't let the few readers afraid of change deter the evolution of this blog.

Joar said...

I think what you're doing is fine. The new Dungeon Finder tool has changed things dramatically for the solo player by opening up a whole new area of content for them to explore. I've got no problem at all with you trying it and writing about it, just like I've also got no problem with Scout choosing not to. I really enjoy both of your blogs.

Skaut said...

@MK, maybe because it's fun???? And when I started playing 4 years ago I was grouping with my husband and his best friend who lived in another town, and best friends brother who lived in Alaska-you can't really do that with a single player game. And believe me, if there had been a "home version" of the game made, I would NEVER had played the online version. Besides, there is no single player game out there with the amount of content and character customization that WoW has. Just because there are other players running around, does NOT mean I absolutely HAVE to interact with them.

Darth, do whatever you want. I wasn't dogging you or anything. I was just so excited to find another player who played like I did back when I started reading your blog. I still have it linked to mine and will still check in every now and then. I just prefer the non-group articles. No biggie, I don't read every post on either, doesn't mean I hate them!

Darth Solo said...

@Joar thanks! Someone understands.

@Skaut I'm assuming that you'll be all over Diablo 3 when it is finally released. So will I :)

Hel said...

I have to admit that I have been a little disappointed with the blog posts about grouping lately, although I never considered writing to you about it. It is, after all, your blog & if you suddenly chose to start writing about how 25 man raids are the most awesome thing ever, then of course you're free to do so. I was a little disappointed though, as there are many, many blogs out there going on & on about the new LFG tool and how amazing grouping is now, which obviously doesn't appeal to me a great deal. It was nice to find somebody writing about actually being a solo player instead of constant write-ups about the dungeon they just ran, what they got & an exhaustive list of the maths involved.

Still, it's nice to see the other side of the coin once in awhile from the perspective of somebody who wasn't born with the "must join in!" bug. I am, however, relieved to hear you still intend to write articles about soloing ;)

@MK the "why don't you just play a single player game?" is a silly question for this blog isn't it? The question has been answered extensively over and over again on many, many blogs before. Tobold asked that question some time back & there were many, many answers for him.

Inscrutibob said...

It's not that your blog has lost direction, it's more that it has drifted towards one side, and, unfortunately, it's a side that has some (many?) of your readers sighing. Me too.

But it's your blog, so you get to choose. So bye, thanks, good hunting.

Darth Solo said...

Well guys, in the end it's all a matter of how one enjoys to play their game. Things change, things evolve. I will continue to solo a lot of stuff, especially with my alts but now I have the option of grouping, which I usually enjoy, especially if the group is competent. Nothing wrong with that.

Believe you me, I was just as scared or psyched of grouping as you, before the Dungeon Tool. I got over that. The first couple of runs weren't easy. I went in there trembling and not knowing what to expect, afraid that I would screw up. All this changed after a few runs and now I'm a lot more confident than before.

And consider one more thing: all this shiny new gear that I've been acquiring will allow me to solo more dangerous stuff that I couldn't do before. I'm looking forward to some old instances.

MIke said...

@Darth I've gotta say that i'm in a very similar boat to you (except for the 200k gold part :) ). When WOW cam out I tried some group content, but found that with my limited play time, I ended up spending more time trying to get into a group for an instance rather than enjoying the game. So I've been soloing for the last couple of years and really enjoyed it. I was excited about your blog when I found it, because you were doing a very similar thing. Since the dungeon finder came out, I've found that i've been doing the same thing, running a few instances almost every day and getting gear that I could never have done. It's been a lot of fun and opened the game up even more.

I do have to agree though that what I liked about your blog was the emphasis on solo play. It has been really focused on the group play, which is fine, but makes it more like a million other blogs out there. That's not to say that you can't play the way you want, or even write about what you want, it's your blog after all, but what made it different was that it was about the solo player and it seems to be getting off that focus. And no matter how you spin it, if your in an instance with a group of people, your not soloing. Your reliant on four other people to get through the content, for the good and the bad. Just my two cents here. Have always enjoyed your blog and happy to see that your enjoying the new tool and the content as much as I am.

Hel said...

I've always had the option of grouping. I actually have one character that I raid with once or twice a week (only a 10-man, I hate 25-mans). It's with people I know and like, so I view it mostly as an opportunity to catch up with them and play around. Having one 80 who does that allows me to get the odd heirloom item for an alt as well.

When I'm happiest however is running around on either my low level alts or one of my three other 80s who don't raid or even do instances. Preferring to solo is not remotely the same thing as a fear of grouping with others.

Darth Solo said...

@MIke thanks. You are right, of course. It can't be solo-ing if I'm in a group so in that aspect I have deviated from the "solo" mantra, however, thanks to the Dungeon Tool it is now something that can be enjoyed even by some hardcore solo players :)

@Hel heirlooms are another thing that will greatly benefit a leveling alt.

Jerry said...

I can't add more than what's already been said, other than to say that I still enjoy your blog and really find my experiences similar to yours. I don't belong to guilds, skip most group quests if I can find someone doing it already, and I never set foot in an instance prior to the LFG tool.

Now LFG has changed the game for me. I still consider myself a solo player: no guild, no friends list, almost always on my own. But I tend to do several dungeons each night on various characters. I still get nervous while waiting for the group. But once I'm inside the instance I just get down to business and I'm fine. I really enjoy the experience, have had great groups for the most part, and really like the gear my characters are getting.

Just keep doing what your doing. Some of your readership will leave, but others will come along.

Darth Solo said...

@Jerry thanks! It took me a few runs before I got past the nervousness. Now, I just press "i" and then Join and forget about it. I've run all heroics (apart from HoR) at least once and I know all heroics now so they don't scare me anymore. Occasionally I still get a failpug but less often than expected.

Just last night I was in a ToC failpug where the tank for some reason wouldn't get out of the green stuff, kept taking damage and the healer couldn't keep up so we wiped. Second try, the tank kept standing in the green stuff but also came up with a new tactic: went out of LoS so the healer couldn't heal him. Everyone dies except me, who feigned. Then I left the group.