I think that there are two social aspects to MMOGs, and that we need to stop conflating the two. There's social chat, and there is social gameplay.
FFXIV has social chat -- I'm pretty sure every MMOG has this -- but nearly no social gameplay. FATEs are joined automatically, dungeons are joined automatically, and the rest of the game is solo-oriented. So much is done for the player that, once a few people get together, the gameplay is still plays like a solo experience, it's just that a handful of others are doing their version at the same time; by the time the people have been teleported together, little remains but to plow forward, silently doing your job. There's a clear goal and a time limit for what you need to do, with little reason to "shoot the sh*t," as they say. Everybody's there for a finite reason, and the pace is fast enough to prevent many attempts. And afterwards you'll never see one another again, anyway, so what's it matter?
Then there are FATEs: to these I'll simply say that something does not become a social experience simply because a mass of strangers are all clamouring toward the same target, otherwise traffic jams would fit this description perfectly.
In sum, chat is different than gameplay. In FFXIV the two rarely intersect. This is what contributes to the overall lack of social feeling, not the fact that someone "hasn't found a linkshell yet."
Edited, Sep 14th 2013 10:09pm by KaneKitty
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