The Daily Grind: What are the minimum criteria for an online game?

    
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We deserve this.

It’s pretty definite that Second Life is not a game in the strictest sense of the word, and by “the strictest” I of course mean “basically any.” It’s more of a toolbox in which you can make a game, sort of. But then, so is Landmark, and I don’t think anyone would argue that isn’t a game. You might argue whether it succeeds at its goals as a game, but that’s a different discussion.

Of course, Landmark has built-in combat… but Glitch did not, and if you’d like to argue that that wasn’t a game, you’ll have angry fans at your doorstep faster than any Amazon shipment. Clearly, there’s a cut-off point. But where is it? Why is one thing a game while the other is not? What’s the minimum criteria that you use for when something is an online game instead fo just another online tool or chat client or the like?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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Witches
Guest
Witches

Personally i wouldn’t call SecondLife or Landmark games, but a game is just something a significant number of people consider a game, that’s really the only thing that makes anything a game, only someone who never played counting cars or holding your breath or even (insert any weird game ever here) would argue against this.

This argument is just a variation of the “since when is X a sport?” argument, the moment enough people decide it’s a sport and create a set of rules, leagues etc, it IS a sport.

People act like concepts like game or sport are fundamental principles of the universe when they are just social conventions.

ChristopherDavis4
Guest
ChristopherDavis4

There are several things I look at first while auditioning a new game or evaluating continuation in a current game.

1.  Population is first and foremost important.  A game and/or server has to have a decent sized population to support my play schedule often occurring late in the evening or early morning.  If I see only a few and the same characters in small cliques, I am certain to quit the game regardless of duration of character.  Best examples are LOTRO and TSW
2.  How much instancing is involved?  Over instancing of content walls you off from other players while killing multiplayer experience.  Best examples are Warlords of Draenor and Neverwinter.
3.  Community interaction:  Is the community welcoming of new players?  What is the group finder experience like?  Are there wide variety of guilds to choose from?  When seeking out role playing, does it occur mostly behind closed door or in open world?  This is related to population.  When a population in a game steadily declines, you will mostly encounter cliques and a server dominated by only a small number of mega guilds.  In LOTRO, as kinships fell apart, many players were absorbed into a handful of larger kins while rest goes unguilded.  
4.  Content updates:  How often is new content released?  This determines to a large extent how often a character will be played.  SWTOR is a great game until the content simply runs out.  While having the characters for 3 years, they are put on standby for 6 months to a year awaiting new content.  While the game is well populated, the shifting of players causes guilds to close shop.  Upon return to SWTOR, a new guilds is always in order.  
5.  Affordability:  What is the first 6 month cost of entering a game?  As a rule, the first character takes 6 months to produce.  TESO at $60 box price plus 6 months sub puts cost of entry at $140.00.  LOTRO cost $0 for first month then $30.00 per 90 days putting 6 month cost at $60.00.  SWTOR comes $45.00 for 6 month cost (1 month sub + cartel unlocks on primary character).  The $45.00 cost of entry could be extended when playing just one character.  If playing 2 characters, a sub is highly advised.  Star Trek Online is very inexpensive at $15.00 for first month playing with occasional C-Store purchase upon reentry into game.

Grimmtooth
Guest
Grimmtooth

Golden_Girl  You do have to admit that games with most of these features are more popular and also more profitable which is the reason more like them get made this way. Immitation is the sincerist form of flattery.

One of the reasons that stat & math basis dominate in MMO’s is because computers are realy just elabrate number crunching machines. To be able to make them do anything you are actually just using long strings of 1’s & 0’s. 
This means there is an inherant bias to make number crunching soultions part of any computer game.

This however doesn’t answer the question as to why almost every MMO is some form of murder simulator.

Caec
Guest
Caec

I have absolutely no idea why you’d argue Landmark is a game, but argue Second Life isn’t.

Golden_Girl
Guest
Golden_Girl

Zennie Golden_Girl BryanCo 50 shaders of gray? :-p

Zennie
Guest
Zennie

Golden_Girl Have you ever tried to play something else than your apparently beloved themeparks?

Zennie
Guest
Zennie

Golden_Girl BryanCo In case of Second Life mostly about sex and freaks.

Styopa
Guest
Styopa

This smacks of one of those interminable 1st-year Philosophy courses that start arguing about Platonic ideals and shadows.
“What’s a table?”
“A horizontal surface, with 4 legs”
“Does it have to have 4 legs?”
“Well, no, it can have 3, or a single post, really”
“So it’s a horizontal surface, then?”
“Yeah, basically”
“So a floor is a table?”
“No, no.  A table has a horizontal surface raised above the floor.”
“A dais then, or platform?”
“No, raised quite a bit. Say at least 12″”
“So a pavillion is a table”
“No, lower than that.  It has to be reachable”
…..blah blah blah.

I’ve long since stopped bothering to hairsplit definitions, and just call them as I see them.
Second Life: not a game.

mbbrazen
Guest
mbbrazen

CistaCista mbbrazen what you say is true, however for the people in the sim governed by the script, it is still a game for them. True, you cannot change any sim outside of the control of the person scripting, but in a sense, it s sandbox to the extreme.

seventhbeacon
Guest
seventhbeacon

Game or not, the one time I loaded it and logged in, I realized what Second Life definitely is: a freak show.