Multiplayer Gaming vs. Social Anxieties – Am I losing?

2014-06-16_00046I think I figured out why it’s so hard for me to find a guild in MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online) games. I don’t deal well with strangers. Okay, I admit – I’m scared of people I don’t know. I’ve been taken advantage of, used, misled, lied to, abused, and mistreated a lot over the years and I’ve realised lately that I’m just terrified of people I don’t know, especially in real life.

It’s something I’m working on, but it’ll take a while. It’s not that other people don’t go through that or that I can’t learn to cope with it and get over it; I just have yet to learn how to do that, and things keep happening or obligations keep getting dumped in my lap that prevent me from doing what I need to do to cope and get over it, so now I just am too scared of people I don’t know and afraid everyone who is nice to me is just putting on a mask.

Add onto that the fact I have Asperger’s Syndrome and my related need for consistency. I can’t handle PUGs (for those not in the know, PUG = Pick Up Group; essentially it’s creating a group or team with random strangers also playing the same game and mission/quest that you are doing) because the people I’m playing with keep changing when I just join PUGs, which makes the gameplay environment I play in constantly different. I need more consistency. I need people I can game with regularly, who’s interactions I know and am used to.

It doesn’t help when so many assholes (like the dipsh*ts I found in the Neverwinter community) make up so much of the player base of these games I love to play. After all the crap I’ve had done to me that I never dealt with, I just have become automatically distrustful of people by default, both face to face and IRL. I’ve stopped playing Neverwinter entirely now because I got too angry at the destructive greed of the community and just feel it’s not worth it to be dealing with jackasses like that; I’ve moved on back to Guild Wars 2 and some Single Player/Co-Op games I never got around to finishing.

2014-06-12_00002Games are a pretty personal experience for me, and co-op is, in a way, a kind of personally intimate thing. I’m sharing with someone something that is a deep, personal passion of mine. If I ask to play a game with you, it means you are really important to me. Gaming together reveals aspects of who we are that we don’t see otherwise; we reveal little subtle truths of ourselves when we game that we all too easily hide elsewhere.

Any of the guilds I’ve been in have been pretty much made up of 95% or more people I don’t know, never met, and have never talked to. I just am very uncomfortable gaming with strangers these days. I need to get to know a person a bit before I can become comfortable gaming with that person. I need to be able to spend time just chatting and getting to know the kind of person they are, before I trust them enough to game with them.

A lot of people game just for the sake of gaming, it doesn’t make any difference to them who they game with as long as the other people play their role properly and aren’t dicks. But I just can’t do that. I need more. Gaming is not just a pastime for me, it’s a passion. People don’t realize how much they let their masks down and reveal their core when they game. I need to game with people I get along with, and can game consistently with. Most people have had friends like that they’ve known for years by the time they are my age; I don’t really have that and I just have no clue where to find it or how to build it.

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