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.


Examples

Dead by Daylight Mobile Dead by Daylight Mobile
"Survivor challenges are often time-limited and difficult to complete, requiring luck and co-ordination to complete. They can be completed alone but it will be much, much harder."

Single City: Life Metaverse Single City: Life Metaverse
"crews. Most players i know stay in game cus of their crews."

WWE Champions 2019 WWE Champions 2019
"Faction events force you to play or everyone won't get the rewards available"

The Tribez: Build a Village The Tribez: Build a Village
"*IF* you join a Tribe, there is pressure from other players to complete the challenges, spending your resources. Winning challnges does grant big rewards. Some Tribe leaders will kick you from the Tribe for not taking part!"

Life Makeover Life Makeover
"Guilds require you to participate via donating materials daily."

Ensemble Stars Music Ensemble Stars Music
"I believe societies are only in the foreign servers, but still worth mentioning"

Boom Beach Boom Beach
"Guilds require constant attention"

Eatventure Eatventure
""Guilds" are a recent addition and they have member list sorted by scores aka how much you have contributed. Scoring too low will run the risk of getting you kicked out since there is not even a chat feature to explain absences, so you need to work hard to remain important."

MARVEL Puzzle Quest MARVEL Puzzle Quest
"Most alliances require daily play"

Rise of Cultures Rise of Cultures
"Weekly alliance treasure hunts require everyone to play in order to get the best results. However, it is viable to play in an one-person alliance at your own pace (and I recommend it)"