I'm not a social person by nature. Using a term I got from Macro I don't have many "meat space" friends. I typically stay home and keep to myself. Outings with friends are few and far between, but when I'm out I'm mostly with the same one or two guys. At church events where I see most people I tend to stay to my same circle of reliable folks. Somewhere along the way, it looks like I did this to myself online too.
I've got a healthy friends list, perhaps 50 or so folks on there. Why then do I insist on only gaming with the same 3 or 4 dudes? I want to change this in 2012.
Last Friday I met up with SilentStrider, RussTech, and Engineer Seven to play Lost Planet 2, a game I got for Christmas and had never played. It was a thoroughly enjoyable night. Despite having played with all of these guys previously, I hadn't played with them in a few months.
Why? Why don't I play with these (and other) guys despite having them on my list? They're stellar co-op partners. Is it a clash in playing styles? At times, a few got pretty far ahead but I think it was honestly that they're familiar with the game/levels and it was my first turn. I'm notoriously a slower progressing guy in games, so after calling out once or twice this was addressed. Is it getting along with them, is that an issue? Some of my Xbox Live friends are a bit quieter than others, and some are all business once we play. With these three dudes though, we had plenty of great humor moments with many Futurama quotes and numerous GI Joe references flying all night. I really enjoyed myself.
Clearly my list has others like Strider, Russ, and Seven, and yet I don't ever game with them unless one of my regular/clique guys has them already in the party. So, I resolve to actually initiate games more frequently in 2012. With beacons on Live, this should be easy. The meet-up threads here on Co-Optimus are an easy and efficient tool as well. At worse, I'll PM someone via Live when I'm ready to play and say "Hey want to help me through a level on Dead Rising 2?" or "Anyone up for Horde 2.0?" and the worse they'll say is "I'd love to but I have to finish this level first" or "I'm about out for the night, hit me up next time."
I think the problem is feeling like a bother. I used to think I was interrupting guys in the middle of their single-player games, or perhaps already in a party with people they like better (well all have preferences). Yet every time I leave a game, everyone generally says the same thing: "This was great! When do y'all want to continue?" This tells me I'm not alone, and it also lets me think 2012 could be a great year for co-op.