Global Chat: What can MMORPG devs do to foster community?

    
60

One of the neat aspects of the MMO blogosphere is how writers will often interact and collaborate with each other. Recently, four bloggers ganged up on a shared topic to give their own essays on it. The issue dealt with what developers can do to foster community in MMORPGs.

“What games can do better or worse is set the stage for interaction,” posits Syl. “The games don’t carry themselves; they need to be accompanied by out-of-game resources and interactions,” Mersault noted. “I think that when we discuss ‘community’ in MMOs, what we’re yearning for is that missing ‘organic’ feel,” Aywren said. Wolfy thinks it boils down to two approaches: “Either make content that demands survival or strength in numbers, or foster places where social interaction is grown and encouraged.”

After you digest their thoughts and perhaps add your own in the comments, check out these other interesting articles from the MMO blogging community!

Superior Realities: Overwatch beta impressions

“On the whole, Overwatch has disappointed me. There’s so much potential in this game, but it’s just so over-caffeinated, hard to learn, and unforgiving of any kind of mistake or weakness. It’s a very repetitive game, too, with nowhere near enough variety in its game modes. I long for a single-player campaign, but even a decent co-op mode would work wonders.”

Gamer By Design: “Classic Blizzard-run servers? Code, logistics, marketshare point to ‘no'”

“Assuming Blizzard could actually get the correct code, get the hardware, and get everything set up for the modern internet and modern systems, they could probably make a neat profit. But because there’s little to no room for growth after that layout, I don’t see them making a huge investment here. It just doesn’t seem worth it in the grand scheme of things. At the end of the day, Blizzard — and all video game companies — are still a business.”

Inventory Full: Too much to dream

“Even in these days of game-hopping, when few new MMOs even scrape the three-month attention barrier, there seems to be some trauma involved in stopping playing any given MMO. When they decide to move from one game to another, people feel they have to make excuses, come up with a reason, explain themselves.”

GamingSF: The freedom to roam

“It was a pretty magical and immersive moment to stand and look around at the ships in the bay, the coast and the sea off in the horizon. This kind of moment is a reason why I love Lord of the Rings Online specifically: The world is very expansive and contiguous. Ignoring dungeons and the gates leading in and out of Moria, the explorable world is one space. People do crazy-cool stuff like swimming the navigable length of the Anduin river in game or running half-way across the world transformed into a chicken.”

Ectmmo.com: EverQuesting!

EverQuest hit the 17-year mark recently! Happy birthday to EQ! We made a couple of beastlords, Dire and I. It was fun to go back and check some old haunts, like unrest. I think the reason I still play to this day is because I know how much he loves the game still. We don’t play nearly enough though. Still trying to get him to return to EQ2… sigh.”

Ald Shot First: Make my MMO

“I’m sure everyone has already heard the term virtual world before, but this is what game worlds used to be like. A living and breathing world filled with danger around every turn, yet encouraging exploration. This is a tough balancing act, but I feel players are up for the challenge. Zones used to be multi-leveled with a wide range of levels within them. I’d like to see that make a comeback at some point. I understand why the change happened, due to questing and story elements forcing players down a linear path. I just don’t agree with the change.”

In An Age: Pirate communities

“If you played on Nostalrius, you automatically had a whole lot in common with everyone you happened to encounter. One, you’re all filthy pirates. Two, you’re capable and willing to download cracked versions of MMOs and play them. Three, you are extremely invested in the vanilla World of Warcraft experience. And fourth, you are a member of a self-perceived persecuted group: one that Blizzard doesn’t cater to any longer.”

Every day there are tons of terrific, insightful, and unusual articles posted across the MMO gaming blogosphere — and every day, Justin reads as many as he can. Global Chat is a sampling of noteworthy essays, rants, and guides from the past few weeks of MMO discourse.
Advertisement

No posts to display

newest oldest most liked
Subscribe to:
Nuzan
Guest
Nuzan

solaralune Personally I would love to play a mmorpg where a player community can build “community infrastructure” together, such as a bridge over a canyon, a well in a desert town or a building for npc vendors. Of course such “community infrastructure” needs to decay over time. Infrastructure decay would need to be balanced with player population.

Nuzan
Guest
Nuzan

solaralune Absolutely agree on that. In an mmorpg it needs people who know how to build and sustain a community. GMs can do part of the job but it needs to go farther. People who know how to implement and encourage interaction in game design and quest design. Public relation and marketing managers are experts for external communication and monetarization mostly.

Nanulak
Guest
Nanulak

In the past I played beta’s where GM’s were online and announced their presence.  People then asked questions and pointed out flaws.  It was very interactive and fun. The GM’s hosted tests in specific areas for testing.  This ended up super interactive for the entire community and we all got to know each other better.  But once the game launched the GM’s vanished.

So what games can try is GM’s online after the game launches and have them interact with the community.  They can stage and lead events even if it is as simple as a suicide run against an impossible enemy.  Many people who play these games are just a bit shy and what they need is a personality to lead them like a GM to do things they would not normally do like group up and accomplish a mission.  Once they see how easy it is in a group they may participate more once they are on their own.

Vaeris
Guest
Vaeris

The most connected I’ve felt was in SWG. PvE and PvP are nice, but I think that in order to stimulate and grow community ties a developer needs to have features and systems that allow players to make a portion of the game world their own. When you let players do that it creates a sense of ownership and plucks a personal heartstring for them to remain engaged. 
Giving them just a pre-placed fort or castle to defend is not enough. Actually, it’s too much. Giving them the tools/features to create said structures, as well as structures of “peace” and exploration, is the way.

BrandywineFred
Guest
BrandywineFred

I think the #1 thing they can do is to play their own games, and play them visibly.

DPandaren
Guest
DPandaren

I don’t know. The most connected I’ve felt in an MMO community was probably FFXIV 1.0. After all the MMO hoppers left because the game was in shambles. But that game, I still chat with those people regularly. Before that, maybe AC and EQ when everything was new and we didn’t have wikis.

solaralune
Guest
solaralune

Take a risk and hire folks with degrees in any of the various social studies – sociology, or psychology for example. Let them figure out what makes communities in MMOs tick, and what’s helping foster inclusive and active communities VS what isn’t.

Robert80
Guest
Robert80

Loopstah Robert80  True, probably great for a few friends here and there… but for a larger overall community?  Not so great.

Loopstah
Guest
Loopstah

Robert80 Loopstah My evidence is anecdotal obviously, but i’ve met more people that i call friends during these short grouping stints than in any other activity in an MMO. So i’m basing my opinions on personal experiences.

crackfox
Guest
crackfox

Build villages instead of cities. Forget megaservers. I’ve never encountered a good community that wasn’t on a rp server. That’s not to say that only roleplayers create good communities, but that a sense of community is more likely to form among players with similar or compatible outlooks. Encourage grouping for social events; don’t make dungeons and other combat-centric activities the only occasions when players get together. Deal with anti-social activity firmly and promptly. Don’t chase whales.