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#1 superstarnova

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 11:36 PM

Hi guys,

My name's Mary and I am writing a paper on the dynamics of friendship and community in Guild Wars 2. I'm interested in whether or not people share their real lives with online friends, and how these relationships form. I'm going to post some questions so I hope a discussion will arise from this!

I am looking for patterns and themes in these answers, so no usernames or personal information will be used. It is not going to be published anywhere.

Here are my questions!

Are the people you interact with online people you know in real life?

If YES, know IRL:
Does online interaction strengthen your relationship?
Do you talk about your lives outside of the game while playing?

If NO, do not know IRL:
Do you consider people online as "friends" or otherwise?
How do these relationships generally form?
How much personal information do you share with them? Personal identity, personal history, day to day life, etc?
How much do they tend to share with you?
Are these online relationships stronger, or weaker than real life ones?
How do they differ from physical relationships?

And one more:

What is your general impression of the Guild Wars 2 community?

Thanks everybody!

Edited by superstarnova, 19 November 2012 - 11:36 PM.


#2 DrySoy

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 03:21 AM

I can't speak for everyone on this, but for me, I feel more comfortable trusting a person online and thus I will be more open about my personal life with them than I would with some of my other real friends.  Now, what I just said also works vice versa, again this might just apply to me only.  For the second part of your question, I have both kinds of friends in the games I play, for the questions regarding friends in real life, the first one would be yes, it does strengthen the relationship to a certain extent, but not to the point where I'd take a bullet for them haha.  And on the second question, the answer is also yes, actually to tell you the truth, the game is like 70% of what we talk about.
For the questions regarding the third part of the post about if a friend was online, I do consider my online friends as friends, though I view them as another category of friends apart from my real life friends they're still friends none the less.  I generally meet my friends through parties, and dungeons, most of the time it was from a casual conversation that eventually leads on into a deeper conversation.  The amount of information I share with my online friends really depends on my trust for the person, and in return they tell me as much about them as I would tell them about myself.  The next question depends on the type of person you are, are you a person that is on the internet all the time? Or a person that goes out more?  For me I'd say I have a healthy balance of both, but as of right now my real life friends and I have a stronger bond.  Really online and physical relationship has no big difference, except for the fact that you cant touch them.

My general impression of Guild Wars 2's community, I'd have to say most people here are nice and helpful, but there's many people that don't really open up as much to others in the game, when I say open up I'm saying just simply starting a conversation.  Yes, if you're lucky enough to be in a good guild with talkative members, then most likely you wouldn't relate to this, but for someone who has played 1-80 almost soloing, with occasional help from real life friends, I have to say that I'm just having a harder time meeting new friends in Guild Wars 2.  Well that concludes my answers, I hope you can use this information in your paper and good luck!

#3 superstarnova

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 07:56 AM

Thanks for the insight DrySoy! I understand feeling more open to sharing with friends online, I guess it's that sense of security that accompanies the anonymity. This is definitely something that others have brought up, I see a theme forming! Hope this sparks a discussion!

#4 Heart Collector

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 05:59 PM

I interact very little with others in-game apart from the usual dynamic event, "ty - np" routine. I'm in a guild but I tend to play alone in the open world, or with my RL buddy. I sometimes chat in the guild and very rarely in /say and map chat.


- The game does not strengthen my friendship with my buddy really, I've known him 10 years and it's pretty solid. However since we're both gamers it gives us something more to chat about when we're not playing. I see him more than twice a week up close anyway either in our running team or simply for a coffee or beer, and we've been on some holidays together as well so obviously we discuss our lives enough :lol:

- Regarding the people I don't know IRL... I haven't really gotten that close with this "gang" yet, but they seem like a nice bunch of people. I had a number of good experiences with people on my WoW RP server years back, as well as a very nice community for SWTOR... But when I quit the games I drifted away. And it actually makes me feel a bit bad and guilty sometimes... But I'm an introvert (albeit a social introvert) and find it difficult to retain a meaningful relationship with all but a few people I truly click with, and that will only happen IRL.

As far as personal information is concerned, people tend to open up with me easily IRL, and I guess some do online too. But since I rarely talk about my personal stuff or at least my deeper personal thoughts, fears and desires even IRL I don't open up to them at all, though I will talk about my actual past experiences freely (don't have anything to hide really). I will definitely respect and listen to the people who do open up to me though and if possible give them advice if they ask for it.

For me the online relationships are definitely weaker - physical presence and body language are extremely important to develop a true relationship with someone. I like and respect the people I interact with and go out of my way to help them in any way I can - but as I don't know them IRL I can't really consider them friends :( It's just the way I am.

BTW I don't mean "relationship" as in "romantic relationship" in this post at all.

- The in-game community seems to be pretty good as a whole, people seem helpful enough and I more often than not see an active and sometimes entertaining map chat. Though I'm beginning to get annoyed with the Guru, it seems to be following the usual videogame forum trend more and more. Shame as it was very much better when I first visited here and a year+ later when I actually  signed up.

If you need anything else feel free to ask :)

#5 Nightray

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 06:11 PM

Are the people you interact with online people you know in real life? No.

If YES, know IRL:
Does online interaction strengthen your relationship?
Do you talk about your lives outside of the game while playing?

If NO, do not know IRL:
Do you consider people online as "friends" or otherwise? Yes, very strong friendship bonds.
How do these relationships generally form? Helping each other with completing maps and presonal quests, doing events, guild runs in dungeons...etc.
How much personal information do you share with them? Personal identity, personal history, day to day life, etc? Everything for the guild.
How much do they tend to share with you? Same as me.
Are these online relationships stronger, or weaker than real life ones? Both of them are very strong.
How do they differ from physical relationships? Just the fact that guys from the guild I've never met in a person.

And one more:

What is your general impression of the Guild Wars 2 community? One of the best communties I've ever seen, just there should little less whiners and crybabies about Ascended gear... (my intention wasn 't making this topic into the topic about Ascended gear)

#6 BuddhaKeks

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 12:45 AM

Well I interact with friends I met IRL first, a lot more online than I do in real life lately. That's because all of them are people I met in school, and now that we are finished (actually almost 3 years ago in my case) and everybody has different occupations, it's just the easiest way to keep in touch. However I meet up with them, whenever it is possible. As such we of course talk about non-game related topics. Many of my friends seek out my advice in times of trouble. However I prefer to hold such conversations face-to-face rather than online, doesn't mean that I didn't do it online though, when the circumstances aloud no personal meeting.

Vice versa, I think I made even more friends online, than IRL. In GW1 alone, there were times where I got whispered by several people, who just greeted me. To be honest I feel more comfortable around people online than IRL, I have an easier time talking to them. Do I consider them all friends? Yes, in a wider sense. It's different for my guild though. I met most of them personally now, which we can rarely do, we live rather far apart. We did however meet 3 years in a row for the Gamescom and once for a lan-party. One of my guild mates I met for the first time IRL on the way to the mentioned party and we immediately got along as if we new each other for years. Which is actually true, he is, of all my online friends the one I knew the longest. What I'm getting at is, despite it being the first time I saw him, it didn't feel that way.
I mostly talk with these people about more trivial topics, however it has happened that more serious conversations had to happen, mostly about a servere problem I had, that I'm not going to describe in detail. I didn't mention it to them on my own, but some of them eventually noticed and I have to say they tried their best to help me. I'm 100% sure I would do the same for them. So yes, I consider my guild members as close friends. For me it doesn't make a difference that I met them online first, we are a group of people which share many interests and try to support each other if necessary. That's all that matters to me.
Last but not least, I even made friends in other countries, like greece, sweden, russia and even canada. SInce I don't really have the money to travel around, I think this is a nice way to get inside into different cultures and mindsets. I think through the internet, the world got more connected. Borders don't mean anything, it's a complete free exchange of thoughts and ideas. I can't even begin to describe how much I value this.

On the GW2 community. Well it's partly the same as in GW1 and I always felt comfortable around there. So far the new community members haven't disappointed me, though I sometimes wish people would just read what the damn quest says instead of asking over and over again in the public chat.^^ Jokes aside, I overall like the community, and I hope I will meet as many nice people heere as I met in the prequel.

#7 XgreatArtist

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 09:32 AM

Are the people you interact with online people you know in real life?

YES

If YES, know IRL:
Does online interaction strengthen your relationship?  Not really. Relationship same as ever. Because it is the internet!
Do you talk about your lives outside of the game while playing? Definitely. For example, homework, what to do the next day etc etc.

What is your general impression of the Guild Wars 2 community?
Nice bunch of people, i give this community a 9/10.

#8 Fenice_86

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 02:08 PM

Are the people you interact with online people you know in real life? I know about 40% of the people i play with IRL

If YES, know IRL:
Does online interaction strengthen your relationship? Yes, it's always one more argument to speak about and to share experiences
Do you talk about your lives outside of the game while playing? A lot of times!

If NO, do not know IRL:
Do you consider people online as "friends" or otherwise? Mmh... Few years ago i would say "yes"... Now "Not sure", they are "contingent friends"
How do these relationships generally form? Having the same target and having the same fun playing a certain game form them
How much personal information do you share with them? Personal identity, personal history, day to day life, etc? Depends, generally i avoid it, except with the closer friends (and only if i know them also IRL)
How much do they tend to share with you? Same as i do with them
Are these online relationships stronger, or weaker than real life ones? The same, even if they are easier to "cut off"
How do they differ from physical relationships? Sry this answer would be too long to write :P

And one more:

What is your general impression of the Guild Wars 2 community? New gamers communities are worse than year by year, i dont feel to be a part of a community while in game actually except in very very rare situations

#9 superstarnova

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 08:03 AM

Thanks everyone for your responses! This has been an eye-opening mini research project, and I appreciate everybody's cooperation and insights. This is the official close of this thread, thanks everyone!




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