A Crowded Dungeon

Diablo 3 has a neat feature where if you know someones battle.net tag, you can add them as a friend. It shows when your friends are online and you can instantly join their game. You have regular text party chat just like in an MMORPG.

Last night shortly after I created my first character, one of my co-workers whom I had swapped IDs with just appeared in my game. He was four levels lower than me but that didn’t seem to matter. The dungeon challenge level adjusts and you fight more monsters at once. He was able to catch up pretty quickly to me in level so it would appear you also get more experience when grouped.

The problem with having someone else in your game, especially someone that you don’t know super well on a personal level, is that one person winds up deciding which way to go and the other follows. There are numerous ways to go in a dungeon, and part of the fun for me is to explore every corner. I did not know if my friend felt the same way about exploration, or if he just wanted to get to the objective in the most direct way possible.

The years of playing MMOs have clearly shaped me. When I group with other people I feel this need to be efficient, and to be really good at playing the game so I don’t cause wipes or failures. Suddenly I’m not stopping to take in scenery, or paying much attention to the lore audio clips that play in the background. I don’t want to stop moving for too long while staring at my skills or the stuff in my inventory. I get into the “go go go” mentality.

However I’m also a polite person, so I don’t want to tell my friend to shove off because I want to play alone. It is difficult to convey to someone without it hurting their feelings. There will most certainly be times that I want to group so I’m not looking to burn bridges either.

If Diablo 3 implemented a way to make yourself appear offline even when you were not, it could solve the issue in a non-confrontational way. At the character selection screen you can set yourself as “busy” or “away”, but not “appear offline”. A quick search of the battle.net forums shows many other people want the feature.

If I can’t hide from the world I’ll either have to change my mindset, or become more assertive.

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9 comments on “A Crowded Dungeon

  1. Karael says:

    Under Social in the options is a check to “Allow Quick Join”, disable it and you will have to actually invite someone to join your game before they can appear there with you.

    • I understand. However that doesn’t stop people from messaging you wanting to know why they can’t join.

      • Karael says:

        I’d just answer that I want to play alone the first time through the game. but I understand where you are coming from. In WoW I often wish I could forgo all social interactions and just play at my leisure, but that’s a bit hard when I am both Guild Master and Raid Leader in my guild.

  2. Ninevi says:

    I very much agree with everything you said. I also often like to play solo, but at the same time I always have a hard time turning down friends who want to group up. Vidyala over at http://manalicious.wordpress.com wrote a similar post about wishing for an “Appear Offline” option for Battletags — I think her coffee shop metaphor is spot on. Many of us like being able to add friends and interact with sometimes, but there are some times that we just want to be left alone and go about our business. I hope they can implement that option for us one day.

  3. Aralosseien says:

    I understand what you mean about gaming with others and how it changes things for you – my partner spent a few hours yesterday running with some WoW guildies of ours, but they went at breakneck pace without reading text, talking to people, exploring all of the map or pondering skill use. For me, it would be a stressful way to play, so I’ve refused all invitations to run with them so far.
    I hope your friends are understanding about your desire to play the game your own way – people don’t realise that their casual “why can’t we team up?” question actually sparks quite a lot of guilt and trouble at the other end, when all they’re after is bodies to run around with. An invisible setting is such an obvious solution and I hope they implement it one day.

  4. pasmith says:

    I also agree. I really want to go through the game slowly once and savor the story and lore. I’ve been waiting 10 years for this game, after all! I haven no interest in blasting through it on a speed run.

    Last night someone jumped into my game just as I was getting ready to quit (it was about 11:30 pm) and I found it -really- jarring. I saw this person log in and seconds later he was in my game. I think I’d send a “Want some company” message first, even with an open game but maybe that’s not the etiquette here.

    So instead of quitting and going to bed I tried to be gracious and explain that I had been just about to quit to go to bed and it just felt sorta awkward (not that the other person was anything but understanding, mind you).

    I’d prefer playing through the game once solo (it’s not that long according to people who’ve already finished) and then jumping into multiplayer. And the easiest way to do that would be to make my games invisible.

  5. Elunamakata says:

    I’ve turned off my auto join feature, and asked people to at least check with me before asking to join…..I had a much higher level friend join my game and sit in town while I was being bombarded by stronger mobs…luckily it wasn’t too much for me to handle but what If I were doing a boss fight? And why did they need to join just to sit in town while I played? That is when I turned it off!

    I made the mistake of going into a friend’s game to help her and it skipped my character to what she was doing and I think I missed something along the way. =/

  6. Jomu says:

    oh wow; good thing i came here (for how to prevent people from auto joining and to know there are people like me); I wrote something similar on my blog I didn’t want certain people joining my game either. Especially when I was going through the first time in normal, I wanted to learn what was happening, but people would click through the dialogues or rush through it.

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