Sometimes, with a single-player CRPG (especially for a guy like me, who often doesnít finish a game until a year or more after itís ďcurrentĒ), itís a pretty lonely experience. Not that I usually mind Ė I gravitate towards these kinds of games because there are times I really just want to enjoy an adventure all by myself. Unless I am stumped or stuck and looking for a solution, I tend to ignore any community of players out there. But other times, I really like to hunt down a forum or something and see what other people are saying about the game, especially if it leads me to better understand the game or the possibilities for enjoyment. Thatís something Iíd like to foster, but itís really hard to do in a little indie game. If you assume that only 1% of the players are predisposed to take that kind of initiative and contribute to the discussion, thatís not a lot of people.
Itíd be nice if the game itself made it easy. And, to be honest, itíd probably help sales if the game made it easy for players to broadcast to their social networks that they are playing the game and doing exciting stuff. However, I grew pretty disgusted by all the Facebook & Twitter messages from certain games announcing the discovery of a certain flower or rock in a game I donít give a crap about. Thatís ďdoing it wrong,Ē in my opinion. Decent idea, poor implementation, maybe. Bombarding friends with stuff like that isnít a good idea.
I especially donít want the experience ruined by having out-of-game notifications pop up while playing, inviting you to broadcast something or to visit a website or any crap like that. Then again, these days, certain people seem to enjoy nothing more than posting status updates everywhere they go and with everything that happens to them in the real world, so maybe thatís not so bad. I really donít know.
From my perspective, I feel like when Iím playing a CRPG, I want to be sucked into the game completely, so that the outside world disappears for a couple of hours. That includes little real-world reminders popping up or out-of-game achievement announcements or any of that crap. Thatís my ideal player experience. Maybe not all players are like that. But I think that later, when a player is finished for the night, or has a minute during a lunch break at work, or is waiting to pick up your kids from dance practice, or after the game is completed but for fond memories, the game world can still there, with a network of other players to share it with.