You might see where this is going now...

This is a hard concept to explain, yet it's the concept that drives all social games, real-life based or online based. If you're taking the game so seriously that you're not having fun, then you've found the line where the problem begins.

"Serious business" sounds like a joke, but all games have some degree of seriousness in them. The only ones that are truly unbound by this rule are the ones that are entirely luck based, like The Game of Life, Chutes and Ladders, or Trouble, where the dice determine the progress of game play. Players have no true input into the game, thus no true focus is required.

"So are games getting too serious? Nope. They're doing the same things they've always been doing."

Once decision making is introduced, strategies begin. Once strategies are introduced, players will formulate efficient ways to win and those winning methods will always win unless luck determines otherwise or a more efficient strategy is found. Regarding our MMO games, which require player movement, button presses, and (to some degree) luck, you will need players who are focused. If players aren't standing in the right places or if the right skills aren't being used, then loss will almost constantly occur. Players don't gather in raids to lose, they gather in raids to win.

A football team and a raiding party are actually closer than one might think. Both get together to overcome a challenge presented to them, whether it be the Blue Mountain Eagles from the other side of the county or Patchwerk of Naxxramas. The fun comes from the work of overcoming the challenge; from "winning" the game. Sure, there might be rewards involved, like trophies or purple loot, but there is also going to be work involved. So are games getting too serious? Nope. They're doing the same things they've always been doing.

So next time you're in that raid group, or next time you're on that PvP team, or in that corporation war, or sieging that city, remember that focusing is not being overly serious. It's about working to get the task done, not screaming at one another. It also means that perhaps you might want to save your list of jokes and gossip for another time.

There's always more time to kid with friends. But right now is one of the few times you may be standing in front of Malygos.


Colin Brennan is the weekly writer of Anti-Aliased who is still forced to make decisions he totally doesn't want to. When he's not writing here for Massively, he's rambling on his personal blog, The Experience Curve. If you want to message him, send him an e-mail at colin.brennan AT weblogsinc DOT com. You can also follow him on Twitter through Massively, or through his personal feed.

This article was originally published on Massively.