Social Obligation / Guilds

To avoid letting down your friends, you are obligated to play when you don't want to.

Many massively multiplayer online (MMO) games allow people to band together into groups, sometimes called teams, guilds, clans or factions. Often, much of the game is inaccessible until you have joined a guild, making it somewhat mandatory to play as part of a team. For many games of this type, solo-play is not an option.

If you have joined a guild, or if you have linked your friends into the game via a social pyramid scheme, you may start to feel social pressure to play the game more than you would have otherwise. If your team is depending on you to pull your weight in the game, you will play out of sense of obligation rather than a sense of enjoyment. The game becomes a chore and it becomes difficult to stop playing because you would be disappointing your friends.

This is often combined with the Playing by Appointment dark pattern. For example, the team may have a raid or other event scheduled for 10:00am. Because players don't want to let their team down, they may rearrange their schedule or play the game when they should be at work or doing something else important. A player on vacation may be desperate to find a WiFi connection so they can login and support their team.

Sometimes social obligation can be combined with the Pay to Win dark pattern. If your team is highly competitive and other team members are spending money to purchase the best items, there is a strong social pressure for you to also spend money to acquire the same items. You don't want to be seen as a slacker who isn't pulling their own weight. It isn't unheard of for the top guilds in some games to have a requirement of spending a certain amount per month on the game.

The feeling of obligation to someone else is a very strong motivator to play the game and can cause a lot of stress for the player.


War and Order War and Order

Fishdom Fishdom
"there is a chat function for the group you are in and people comment there as goals can only be achieved through collective play"

The Simpsons™: Tapped Out The Simpsons™: Tapped Out
"very slight feelings of obligation; the social interaction is extremely minimal and simple ("visit" somebodys town and leave a small bonus reward for them), but still notable enough to feel as if it matters."

Cookie Run: Kingdom Cookie Run: Kingdom
"i personally dont feel this, but there is a major guild thing."

My Singing Monsters My Singing Monsters
"I myself don't feel this bc i literally could care less about my tribe lmao but i do know other people experience this"

Cooking Diary® Restaurant Game Cooking Diary® Restaurant Game
"Guilds will remove players for inactivity (some for less than a day of inactivity)"

Figure Fantasy Figure Fantasy
"Yes, if you are in a functional club that emphasize teamwork during Playground of destiny, you will feel obligated, also the game has a really nasty habit of announcing club related events that requires teamwork & preparations only around 24 hours beforehand, take note that this type of event determines your club rank cross server."

Beatstar - Touch Your Music Beatstar - Touch Your Music
"There is strong competition amongst players within the discord server and other channels. It's hard to compete when the game locks you out with the stamina system, or when you don't have specific songs."

Pokémon UNITE Pokémon UNITE
"Need to keep training new characters to avoid falling out of practice"

Pikmin Bloom Pikmin Bloom
"youre encouraged to join group quests that take place over a week and everyone's steps/flowers planted are totalled together towards the goal"