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Tabletop or Online, Gamers Are All The Same

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that Karlos had recruited me into a clan of Halo 3 players, with the intent of competing on a ladder. Well, I went and got all invested in the idea, going so far as to set a Yahoo! Group up and start pestering the others who’d stuck their hands up for the clan idea about getting signed up on the ladder website.

Then we got in touch with another clan, who turned around and challenged us to some 4v4 matches this coming Sunday. Naturally I was all for it, but it’s been a right pain just trying to get not only three other clan members (of nineteen) to put their hands up, but also any kind of training time. Just last night, two of the other three who finally said yes were online at various times; one wound up in a four-person Team Slayer squad of his own, and the other – the clan’s leader and the one who suggested training in the first place – went straight into playing Viva Piñata. If he read the messages I’d sent about training he didn’t bother replying to them.

Now, I’m not soured on the whole clan idea, I just figure I’ve better things to do than try and get the interest of people who – well, figure they have better things to do. Before anyone starts, yes, I know Halo 3 is just a game. But when people use that old saw in rebuttal, they forget or ignore the fact that any "game" which involves more than one person is also a social activity. People must make time for it. What really rankles is when one or more people treats everyone else's time commitment, and therefore everyone else, as trivial. It reminds me of the RPG scene back in Sydney, filled as it was with double bookings and misplaced schedules galore (“Was it this weekend?” “Oh, shit! I just realised I had something else planned for today! I can’t come!”); as Vickie’ so fond of saying, “It’s like herding cats!”

I honestly thought gamers online might be a slightly different breed. Their consoles are at home, so they don’t have to organise to go anywhere. They can dress as comfy as they like and supplies are on hand. Also, as they’re online, keeping in contact via XBL or e-mail would be a no-brainer. It's more convenient, so in theory organising should be easier.

On the other hand, online gamers don’t have to see their fellow players or clan-mates in real life, so there’s no personal connection. They don’t give out phone numbers, so organisers can’t nag them if they don’t show up online at the allotted time. Finally, it’s easy to ignore an e-mail or XBL message alert when you want to get straight into a game.

Still, there’s another clan I saw up on the clan ladder forums who were recently looking for more players, and I’m opening communications with the clan leader in the hope that his folks are actually serious about having organised fun - the fact that they have their own forum on which their members actually post regularly is a good sign. I'm going to stick around with the current mob until the clan challenge is done, just so I can at least hold to my own word as the guy who organised the match in the first place.

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