A comment on yesterday’s post from Milday:

“… Your experience with the warrior and the subsequent grouping that you were ‘forced’ to do in order to progress is something that lots of people claim to be phobic of. I’ve heard complaints about forced grouping so often. Last time it was while reading on the FFXIV main storyline, the end of which leading you to a dungeon that required you to have some players join you… What is so bad about that? Why do people feel entitled to being able to solo everything on a multiplayer game?”

People are afraid of rejection, Gevlon notwithstanding. They don’t want to group up because they:

Might be ignored when they whisper someone.

Might be seen to perform poorly and be afraid of getting a poor server reputation.

Might meet players they don’t like that pester them afterwards.

Etc, etc, etc. But what it mostly goes back to is the situation of not putting your hand up in school even when you are 99% sure you have the right answer. The risk of being wrong in front of your peers is not worth it. This is not irrational, because the humiliation is real and tangible, and a good many people carry this into adult life. And usually the ones who are the most vocal in their ridicule are the ones who are living in the most fear. It goes along the lines of, show me a homophobe and I will show you a closet homosexual. Deflecting attention away from ones own weakness or fears is a common tactic, particularly in video games. So we have players who ridicule based out of fear and players who are ridiculed. Quite a lot of angst there.

Blizzard got around this with the much maligned LFG system. Much maligned by players like me who don’t have any social anxiety hangups. But most probably a lifeline to players with social issues. If you’re reading this and thinking that it is ridiculous to have these sort of fears when you’re sitting at a computer literally thousands of miles from your antagonists, you need to try and have some empathy and put yourself in these people’s shoes. Perhaps the person who is afraid of being ridiculed in real life is driven to despair when they can’t even escape this sort of behaviour when they’re at a computer screen.

I have no hesitation in whispering people, putting calls out on general chat, or whatever. I even make a point to thank random players who univitedly buff me when they’re running past. You wouldn’t believe the positive response a whispered “thx for the buff” can get you. My friends list is getting so long I could start my own guild soon. And I didn’t used to be like this. In my early adult life just the act of stepping onto a bus used to fill me with social anxiety. I would always try and sit in the same place and keep my head down. But one day I decided that enough was enough and I sat in a different seat. And I looked at the people around me. Little steps, but they add up. If you’re freaked out about social interaction in a video game just take it in little steps. You’re not aiming to be the life of the party. You’re aiming to have a life.