Monday, April 27, 2020

Lonely MMO gamer life. Who else is (ironically) with me?

I don’t know what it is about me that makes me choose to be alone most of the time when playing MMOs and even other online games. My instincts tell me it’s my anxiety because for some insane reason, I feel pressure and actual social anxiety FAR worse with video games than I do in real life.

The first question I generally have to ask myself with a MMO, either new or one that I’m returning to, is how well can I/am I intended to be able to solo most of this game? Naturally this leads me to not only miss out on raiding and “hard mode” sorts of activities but also the entire social element—and what some would say is much of the entire point—of MMORPGs.

I think a lot also has to do with commitment. I have a really hard time in my life with feeling well enough to do things. Sometimes that’s even playing games myself. I have agoraphobia, really severe anxiety and panic disorder, and a whole ton of phobias. Social interaction was never one of those phobias, though, as I’m a big talker and I always used to make a lot of friends easily.

But if I made friends in online games, then they would invariably ask me to play again. Often it even becomes almost scheduled, like we’re going to play this game every weeknight at X time for Y amount of hours. I panic thinking about if I can commit to that time and ultimately decide that it’s better just not to commit to it at all.

And then there’s voice chat! I’m one of those people who talks like crazy in real life and who everyone volunteers to call in takeout orders or call tech support, and I’ve even been on podcasts and done voice acting and various things, but then at the same time I’m the guy who’s in a cold sweat panicking and trying not to breathe while I attempt to unplug my microphone if I accidentally left it plugged in for an online game or even just social Discord. I just don’t know what it is.

I think another part of it is that I used to be really close with my younger brother and we’d just play all online stuff together by default, often with another friend of ours, but he found a girlfriend less than a year ago and essentially forced her to become a “gamer girl” for him and he ended up replacing me with her in all online games, including Destiny 2 which we’d play together for years and years since the first game. So I think if I’m trying to head shrink myself, being tossed aside like that likely did a number on my already nonexistent self-esteem. But alas, what do I know.

I’m sure the answer is yes, but is anyone else a bit like me? Have you found a way to overcome it/do you care to, or do you continue along living the solo life? I’m really curious about this and often am, but never wanted to bother putting myself out there to see who can relate.

But hey, here I am. :)

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