MMOs force us to play with and depend upon people we don’t like that much. We solve this by playing solo, and confining ourselves to guilds to filter out others. We turn off global chat channels and avoid pickup groups, while at the same time bemoaning the loss of community.
Meanwhile people always lift up the golden age of Ultima Online where simply playing an MMO was an act of self-segregation from the greater culture. It was a golden age because the people playing shared similar values, lifestyles, and demographics. As MMOs became more mainstream, those core people were introduced to people they didn’t like and couldn’t understand. The techie college students had to deal with young children, and people who didn’t graduate high school. They flooded in and changed the neat, tidy rational world into a mess, and over time, self-protective measures spawned.
This highlights the fact that we don’t like people different from us that much. Yet games are designed to get us to work together with them. Depending on people we may dislike: the paradox of MMOs.