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Casual Thoughts from a Semi-Retired Philosopher

I play MMOs as an alternative to TV. Sometimes it even turns into quality time with the wife and daughter. Most of the time it's a distraction from doing something productive or meaningful.

Author: Hluill

MMO Community and PvP

Posted by Hluill Sunday May 15 2011 at 9:51AM
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I am currently reading Ian Mortimer's A Time Traveler's Guide to Medieval England.  I am a bit of an amateur historian and I am really enjoying his take on the Fourteenth Century. One thing that he continues to stress is the community.  He writes about everyone "belonging" some where, a town or a village where they are looked after and protected.

I live in a rural area so I understand a bit of it.  I have also watched "The Waltons" a few times. 

Community.  They grew up together.  They farmed together, raised barns together, intermarried.  Heck, West Virginia jokes aside, they're practically family.  Our modern neighborhoods don't even come close. 

Just like we have little concept of the skills and training of a Medieval Knight, we simply have no sense of that warrior's home town.  Community crosses class boundries. Knights had a deep relationship with their peasents, though not always compassionate.

Now compare this with all the articles that have been written about the anomynity of the internets.  Spend any time here and you will see your share of trolls, blathering insane ignorance just to get attention.  Spend any time in an open-pvp MMO and expect to get ganked, robbed and violated in all kinds of obnoxious ways. 

Yep, I am specifically thinking about Mortal Online, but I have vivid memories of open PvP in several other games.  It's interesting to juxtapose medieval MMOs with the real medieval world.  It's a frustrating waste of time, as well.

I am debating to how deep to go here.

I could talk about the ganking, murder and how it works in the real and medieval worlds...

~shakes his head~

Suffice to say that PvP will never be "realistic" in an MMO because a game cannot simulate what it is to be a contributing member of a community.

Enough philosophy and reflection, time to log in.

Dengar writes:

I disagree, in that players are getting the communities they want. Don't want to chip in and help the guild grow? It dies. Joined a dying guild where the leaders are their own clique and only their friends can be leaders? Joined the wrong guild.

Players ask for simplicity, but the simple guilds are run by tyrants and dictators. I know people say "gaming shouldn't be a job," and they're correct in a sense, but the problem is that you do need to work in order to form a community. Why don't people in cities usually know their neighbors? Because they don't need help from them. They go to grocery stores with rotating employees. Their police don't live locally. Representatives are only accessible when their job is on the line.

Guilds tend to be similar. Players get their items from auction houses, solo content, and dungeons run with randoms, not usually players from their guild (until the upper tiers of dungeons/raids). Guild officers are part of major clique in the guild, and rarely need to speak with anyone not on their friends unless removing them from the guild. Except for guilds based on community, when metagaming strikes in PvP games (and it always does), players jump ship because nothing ties them together.

I haven't played Mortal since beta, but I'd take a guess that those guilds are leaps and bounds better than your average WoW guild, simply because the players have to band together for a very real purpose. With no safe zones, you need community to survive, as opposed to WoW where, for almost anything but raiding, the game takes care of you.

Sun May 15 2011 2:00PM Report
Jumdor writes:

Unlike for most others that I've read. I've played the Mortal Online trial and enjoyed it quite a bit. I would have subscribed if my computer allowed for more than a walk then pause type of movement within the game world.

I found the style and structure refreshing. The pure fear of going outside the walls was beyond what I expected. It was awesome. I'm not going to gush on the game cause I know plenty of flaws are there, but simply it was what I was looking for and if I can get a newer rig soon I hope to jump back in and forge my way into danger regularly.

On community. I find with that the same as other games it all depends on the mindset of your players going into it. I was going in with the idea the game would be less hand holding and that's what I got, and I am pleased. Others go in expecting bells and whistles with superiority first and penalty second are going to be dissapointed. Given any situation as a player within a game I would feel threatened by a large number of bandits or PvPers looking for an easy kill on my own, but it wouldn't stop me from being friendly toward any of them later as a person. Mainly because I realize it's a game, and part of that game deals with penalty in death. Not liking their actions you have to not like that part of the game, and I like the challenge and the fear. If I find friends who help with protection along the way then all the better.

Sun May 15 2011 10:11PM Report writes:
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