Gaming is Better with Friends
There has always been two sides to gaming. The single-player and multi-player. Now strictly speaking sitting in front of a screen and taking turns on Super Mario is not multi-player in the sense as we know it now. It still enforces how gaming is a very social experience. In the past decade though it has really blown up. With the addition of playing with players from around the world, via Xbox Live and such, it has become normal to meet hundreds of people in a single day.
So much so that a lot of games today base a huge amount of their actual game play around this. It is vastly becoming involuntary to play with other people but it isn’t that bad. It can even be fun and I am going to show you how.
For some, their first ‘live’ experience was on the GameCube playing Phantasy Star Online using an $80 LAN adapter that tapped into the phone line. It opened up a whole new world to those of us who had nowhere to go but our living rooms. It opened up the opportunity to create new friendships or simply mutually beneficial relationships. Some have even spoke about obtaining a weapon called Durandal, some of which are still coveted by the players to this day.
But that was one of the good moments in a mess of some less than stellar occurrences. A diamond in the rough if you will. That being said, it’s not too hard to sit down and just have a good time with friends online. Even making new ones is easy. Let’s be honest here too, it’s the New Year. No better time to make new friends like the present.
Engage Everything and Everyone
Don’t be afraid to say your piece, seriously. Many people find it difficult to engage due to the social anxiety associated with possibly meeting new people.. I have ignored people who’ve tried to engage me, which usually ends in me being called a bot, and it detracts from the over all experience. What do you lose? You either make a new friend or argue with some one over the internet, so if you are a grumpy bastard like me, it’s a win-win. Any modicum of multiplayer thrives on organic interaction between two, or more, living, breathing players. It is in that situation that stories are made and is not what the be-all and end-all of gaming is? Stories? So go and create some.
We live in a world that at the tip of your fingers lies the power to connect to millions of other humans, learn anything and everything, experience things that would have been considered witch craft a hundred years ago. Do not waste this opportunity by being to shy to socialize. The internet is in many ways similar to 1600’s America. A land of opportunity.
Find Common Ground
Story time! I was streaming League of Legends one day, and doing terribly I might add, and I saw some one commenting in my channel chat. He went by the name Masonator117. Now he is giving me some tips on how to improve and like any ‘bronzey’ I was like “Pft, My team sucks. Not me.” but I didn’t say that. Instead I asked if the ‘117’ in his name came from the the Halo series (John-117/Master Chief is the lead protagonist). To which he said it was and it all took off from there. He turned out to be in ‘gold’ league so he give me some tips. He said “Merry Christmas” to me and I said “Happy New Year” to him. We still play League of Legends together to this day. End of story and it was still a better love story than Twilight.
The point is that a pair of decisions both of us made caused an event which had an effect on a relatively distant future that has only benefited us both. We have had some fun games together, he can obviously lift from carrying my ass in all of them. And that is what friendship does. Makes it a better experience so get out there and nerd out. Hell, I’ve even started a conversation based on some one having a name similar to a character in Raymond. E. Feist’s Riftwar saga.
Making new friends isn’t as hard as it may appear at first if you can find some common ground. Admittedly it can be hard sometimes but just try and you’ll be fine.
Preferred Method of Communication
Whether it be Skype, text chat, Google hangouts or messenger pigeon do what you feel most comfortable with. This is meant to be easy so you shouldn’t have to go outside your comfort zone to make this work, although some things you can learn to love. Start off small and grow your confidence by dipping your toe in the water and realizing it is actually warm and pleasant. Now you should take into account what type of game you are playing. General rule of thumb is that the more intense and fast paced a game is the quicker the communication needs to be.
Another thing to consider is that when using voice over IP software it will help you to have a good quality headset. This doesn’t mean expensive because most headsets will have an adequate quality of mic but the price tag comes with the audio quality of the speakers. If you are using headphones/headsets when gaming anyway then it is a good thing to invest in.
Stream and YouTube!
Get yourself out there when you feel comfortable but understand no matter who you are some one will try and start shit. They always do and then you sit there trying to think of a reply but all you need to do is ignore it. Rain will fall, the wind will blow, the sun will rise and a certain segment of people on the internet will still complain
But you’re on the internet and it is your choice to be a dick or not. Other people have that same choice so persevere and meet the right people because it it worth it. When you capture an engaging audience that enjoys what you are and what you do it will all be worth it.
Another great advantage to this is you could make some fat stacks of cash. You won’t necessarily be an overnight success but if you a doing it anyway then kill two birds with one stone. To put it into context from my experience you can expect one dollar per one thousand ‘monetizable’ view on YouTube. Streaming is different depending on where you go to stream.
No, seriously. You are never going to meet people more willing to have fun by social interaction than ‘role players’. Of course you are going to meet some people ‘R-ping’ as an ass hole (That was what my parents were hoping for with me but unfortunately for them that wasn’t the case.) but then it is actually for a reason not just mindless tomfoolery.
The point is gaming is often better with friends. So go out there and try it. Just not in certain games, because if you’re not careful someone’s going to get wounded. Generally any Wii game is a bad idea. Getting garroted with a Nunchuck wire is not a pleasant experience.
Tell us any fun social experiences you’ve had gaming in the comments below!