Monday, March 2

Being Social

GameAmp is gone for over a month now. I am actually mostly happy it finally closed its doors. It still sucks a bit they closed the doors before I could clean out my desk, but even that I don't mind. Having moved across continents has told me not to get attached to anything material much. And in this case I'll stretch the term material to pixels and data as well. I have made and posted some great screenshots and stories over the years, but do I really need to see them again? Perhaps, but reminiscing the past is not really my thing. I will just keep the fond memories and look for the next cool thing.

As a result of GameAmp's demise several new thing have started. One of them is, a place for the left over COH gameamp community. The site is up for a month now and it is clear it won't last long. We just don't have much to say about the game or each other anymore. This site exists because it wants to cling to the past. And that simply doesn't work. I'll pop in daily just because I am that compulsive, but nobody is enthousiastic enough anymore to do anything.

Fortunately the channel in-game is still alive. The cross-server global channels of COH/COV are the best implemented chat system of any MMO. And it is great I can still get to chirp on there from time to time. And all the collective wisdom any community has is still there to be asked, if needed. This weekend showed how handy/great it is to have that. Saturday I managed to team up with some old friends because of it, and Sunday the gameamp channel helped me out solving the obvious.

A way more positive thing that came out of it is this blog. I still hate blogs. They are just soapboxes, pretty much like all social network sites they are nothing but showcases and popularity contests. They are the oppostie of promoting lively communities and conversation. But since we (the nomads) are not part of any larger community, this is a great place to converse and discuss amonst ourselves. The tiny comment box makes discussing a bit cumbersome, but it looks like it is working wel enough. At least I am pleasantly surprised how well it is working.

And although I am mostly concerned about what my real friends think and say, I am still missing the belonging to a larger community. I looked around a bit more on, but I just think that site is crap. It responds/loads horribly slow and there is basically no community, just more shiny showcases. Thus I was still stuck to reading blogs. Not interacting, just reading. One of my most favourite ones is The Ancient Gaming Noob. He had posted an entry just me, I thnk, called "Gamer Social Networking?". It looks like he has some of the same objections as me. But I am of course ignoring all he said and signed up with GAX, and I have my shiny showcase. Look how shiny it is! Because I didn't want to be too negative out of the block I even wrote a quick blog entry to see how it all worked. Too my surprise and joy I actually got 8 responses from fellow GAXers. That smells scary close to a community. The comments are real fluff, but there are actual people around. Maybe I'll push it a bit more.

But I found out something ekse this weekend too. I don't really want to be so social anymore. Why would I care for that bunch of strangers I may or may not have anything in common with? I don't even know what I really want out of my gaming time and experience anymore. But maybe that is more for another blog entry. For now I will just ponder over my desire for wanting and not wanting to be part of a new community. Maybe I should just be happy chriping to the two of you. Or maybe I should big up some old gaming friends and see what they are up to, but that smells more like living in the past again.

PS. I very much like the new look of the blog. Nice work!


  1. Your blog post on GAX and the reactions for some reason immediately made me think of an article on Eurogamer that I'd linked to some time ago. In it is described how welcoming and great the EverQuest II community is, only to be revealed for the soulless 'gratz' /guildsayers that they are later on in the article.

    That's the kind of thing I've learned to expect from social community sites. The exception probably being LinkedIn mentioned by our Ancient Friend, which is a different animal altogether in my opinion. It's more a tool to help you keep up your professional social network than a Social Network Site. Those tend to be all about the fluff. My brother uses the Dutch version, Hyves to keep track of (ex) colleagues taking trips to Thailand and whatnot. There's also an Old School buddies (as in buddies from your old schools, not oldskool) site that thrives on the nostalgia factor.
    And I remember almost a decade ago we were all trying to get as many close personal friends as possible on the oddly named Google service Orkut. I believe there was someone with over 54.000 close personal friends on there at one time, shortly before I quit and deleted my account.

    In general social community sites aren't about what made Gameamp fun for me because there's no substance to them. You can give your own experience / use of the thing some substance. Like my brother keeping in touch with friends, which he made in real life, but by themselves, they're just empty bling and fluff for me.
    Gameamp brought people together of like mind and interests, which theoretically a games oriented SNS would do to. But those are to unfocused. So you get empty fluff with a wiff of games to them. AMP provided a service that got people to it, who then started talking with each other. After a while it gets old though. Everything's been said, the old guard (sub)conciously resents the new people rehashing the old topics and coming to the same conclusion and unless the new people can create a breath of fresh air, you end up with a stale navelstaring clique, as evidenced by
    The GW community managed to keep renewing itself a while longer I think, but it's an inevitable direction for sites to take with ageing games. Especially when "everything" has been said and done already. But I feel that such a community would not have existed without the whole game data entry element to the site.

    With more and more sites taking the Curse road of gathering game data in a more efficient manner through software than by manual labour, I suspect that 'real' gaming communities, for the MMO genre atleast, are a thing of the past. Guild and Clan sites will continue to exist though, as long as people keep creating drama.

    Maybe it's just me, but I manage to keep friendships alive only if we have something that we can do together. The coming over and chat all evening friendships I do have are with people I see 3-4 times a year tops. Friendships where we'd be in a club doing stuff or whatever typically last about a year tops beyond the mutual activity. The 'better' ones end up in the 3-4 times a year category.

    I recognize the "I don't really want to be so social anymore." sentiment. I first really norticed it when we created the Ampian Forerunners. It was a stillborn guild, largely because I did not feel like making it into a 'real' guild. I loved doing stuff for the DDB guild I was in before foundign the Gameamp Guides in Guild Wars and I greatly enjoyed being Quartermaster Kettle of the Ahgram Foreign Legion in Vanguard, but if I'm totally honest, what I enjoyed most was doing stuff for others and getting thanked for it, occasionally.
    With all the pre-fab client-data fueled information sites and wiki's there's no 'need' to do stuff for others anymore. Besides, gratitude is so last century these days. When I accepted Geek's invitation into the Ordos guild in age of Conan, it was actually with trepidation. This proved to be somewhat justified as it turned out. But another part of me is still saddened by that.

    In short, I'd love to be in a good Guild or some such. I just don't feel like making one. Maybe I'm jaded? Or both of us? We've been around the community block a few times and seen all the petty drama's, participated in some, probably even created some.
    Oh, I intended to type pretty there, but petty is just as accurate I think.

    As to Blogs, I don't hate them as passionately as you do. I do think the little comment block is a tad small. I wish they'd put in the full fledged editor you get when making your own post.
    I have started to use something called CoComments to kepe track of the comments I make on different blogs lately. As a result I've noticed that sometimes interesting conversations pop up. But the signla to noise ratio is bad. It's like the quote "I went to an icehockey match and suddenly a game broke out".

    CoComments is Yet Another Community Site secretly since you can add buddies e.t.c. and read eachother's comments and join in on that conversation and what not.
    Maybe it's more a Meta Social Network Network thingy then.

    here's hoping I didn't mess up any of my links in the comment :-)

  2. P.s. the new look wasn't really work. I just happened upon the site linked at the top, click on "template world". If you see any you like better, let me know.

  3. If Anet decide to follow on from GW into GW2 with their lack of official forum and a strict ban on any plug-ins, add-ons, robots, marshmellows etc then it could be that 'community fan sites' will flourish with that game, it may well be the last of their kind. Even F2P games allow some form of addons these days and give easy access to bots to gather info for various spiffy looking db's that we gamers so crave, well maybe not us because I can guess we are of a like mind on the people vs bot question :)

    Obviously as a full time nerd who can happily spend hours making maps and creating skill listings (never got finished a truly mammoth task even I couldn't handle) bots are robbing some of my potential enjoyment and aren't to be trusted.......

    Gameamp was great and I had a whale of a time until it ceased being fun, lots of great informed and friendly people and some excellent dramas to get stressed about, it was only when the latter outweighed the former that enough was really enough. I miss it but only in as much I developed a need to be able to type randomly or pseudo intellectualy about stuff I pretend to have insights or knowledge about, that's what I miss and it makes me glad of communal blogs like this and guild forums for guilds that are actually more than the 'grts' brigade.

    On a small personal note and on topic as far as guilds go it seems that I've landed on my feet and running in Crom.

    As a self confessed forum junkie I keep an eye and the occasional typing finger on the official AoC forums and have got to know who talks sense, who talks crap and who is entertaining (all subjective I know).

    My first investigative foray on to Crom with my lvl 14 Guardian (who will probably not make it off Tortage) spotted a regular poster from the AoC forums whose posts I generally agree with and mostly admire (how I felt about Lani back in those early GW GA days), he was recruiting in global for his guild looking for specific classes to boost the raiding pool. He was good enough to spend around half an hour chatting with me, enough for me to go off and register on their forums and post some kind of application - more of a 'this is me and what I am and if thats also you and what your looking for then we are gonna get along' type application than anything too 'suck up' or boastful. They liked it, I liked the cut of their jib and they invited me in. I've been pleasently surprised...

    They take an incredibly relaxed attitude to raiding and grouping - guilds are for both and you always have the choice whether to participate or not, as it should be. It's also the general tone of conversation how the 'leaders' are present in chat and in organisation, great humour, great helpfulness and some good old fashioned ideas about respect and manners, I thought it was lovely tonight when the guild leader chipped in after one too many f**ks in chat from a frustrated (and self admittedly tired and grumpy) guildy, to politely request the language was moderated, I for one really appreciated that, I swear like a trooper in my day to day life around people I know but I always moderate it in the company of strangers and in a guild of any decent size most are never going to be much more than that. It has a small enough day to day player base and enough casual players to be effective, not too big and small enough to allow for that bit of personality to go noticed. So far so good, I am liking this new guild alot.

  4. It's very good to hear you've landed with on your feet while somehow getting your nose into the butter at the same time Geeky. We're still going to try and convert you into a CoV player though. :-)

    One thing I miss, and I think that's what you're missing too, is contributing. Contributing in a meaningful manner. On the last AMP sites I worked I tried to put some decent info in, in a pleasing manner and I was quite pleased with what I did for the race and class pages of Warhammer, but the pointlessness of it all was very demoralizing.

    Take your Tempest Skill listing. It's great fun to do something like that, even if it's all manual entry. But when you know that some RMT farm driven site will have something similar but more accurate and straight from a client data driven feed it's hard to keep it up.
    A sense of contribution and a bit of peer recognition for that contrbution are powerful motivators, at least for me they are. Though on GW AMP healthy peer recognition (as you felt towards me apparently) would often drift into hero worship and a help-me, hold-my-hand, do-my-stuff-for-me attitude. That I won't miss :-)

    Another good thing about AMP as opposed to the's of the world today was that everybody could contribute. Not always in a highly intellectual way. But even entering Skill descriptions by hand or making screenshots of skill icons and whatnot allowed even the least tech-savvy to contribute. That's gone by and large now. Well, there's game wiki's gallore, but those tend to have pretty much the same 'problem' as community sites without focus. Short flurry of activity, then a dieback period.