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The staff of gets together to bring you some behind the scenes insights on stories, the industry and the site itself.

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Contributors: BillMurphy,MikeB,garrett,SBFord,Grakulen,

Community Spotlight: The Virtual World

Posted by MikeB Monday July 22 2013 at 12:48AM
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In this week's Community Spotlight, we focus o nthe thread, "The virtual world feeling" by Lord.Bachus. Lord.Bacchus poses a simple question to the community:

What MMo feels most like a virtual world and least like a game, and why do you think so?

Read on for a couple of highlights from the thread!

bcbully picks Age of Wushu:


Everything you do effects the NPCs around you, for good or for bad.

The terran doesn't change but the landscape does through guild territory control.

Players become NPCs when offline and do 100's of different jobs around the cities and country side.

17 or 18 professions ranging from, fisher man, to musician, to calligrapher. You might run up a hill and see a person transcribing poems or playing music 

Everything is playable from roof tops to bottoms of lakes, this creates so many nooks and crannies. 98% of the time if you see it, you can go there.

Grass moving, trees blowing, leaves falling, bird flying, and come augast 8th day/night/weather cycles and seasons that effect crops, gathering and skills.

Terranah offers a great explanation for their pick of Star Wars Galaxies:

When I typically think of a virtual world, I think of ambient noises, weather changes, elements of landscape movement like swaying trees or flowers and grass.  Also, long view distances with the ability to explore unhindered by loading screens and free or mostly free of instancing.

But the game that most had me immersed was Precu SWG for it's gameplay elements and features.  The ability to level something up by doing it, mix and match interests to create hybrid classes, interdependency and crafting depth, as well as the freedom to build, design and grow player cities really made it feel like a world to me.

I guess that goes to the heart of what the word 'virtual' means and it's really a subjective thing.  Precu SWG felt like a very immersive or virtual world because it had the ability to suspend my sense of reality and invest and immerse myself in character.

fl0w makes his first post on our forums with his pick of Neocron 1.0 (welcome fl0w!):

This is going to be my first post on, even though I created the account back in 2004 :).

To me it's a combination of two. When the world is consistent (art, style, quests, [what have you], ... ) and where there's rules not paths. By that I mean, I like it when I get to decide how I want to play the game myself.

I had an epic time playing Neocron 1.0. I was a crafter. Standing in my dark alley and crafting my ass off, getting money and recognition.

For me, the obvious choice would be Star Wars Galaxies. I wasn't playing MMOs during the heyday of Ultima Online, so I can't offer much there, but SOE really put a significant emphasis on creating a believable Star Wars galaxy with SWG. It was a game where your play options essentially ranged from moisture farmer to Jedi Knight, to star pilot. It felt like you could do almost anything and be almost anyone in Star Wars Galaxies and this helped cultivate an extremely vibrant and diverse community of players that further cemented that feeling of being part of a virtual world.

What are your picks? Share 'em with us and tell us why in the comments below!

Reklaw writes:

Yup........Star Wars Galaxies for sure...

The 4 to 10, 12 classes tends to become pretty boring after a short period. The diversity in SWG's (mainly pre-cu) classes where so large you didn't see many clones (apart from the time everyone wanted trooper armor) Even though I saw that as a military thing, just like the real life military where rank would improve your outfit but everyone in the same rank wears the same. But regardless SWG was the closest thing I felt as being a virtual world instead of being one of the ionic characters...I was so sure this genre would expand on that type of experiance....boy was I wrong instead we got a very limited version of what MMORPG's could have me personaly

Mon Jul 22 2013 6:47AM Report
Maquiame writes: The Saga of Ryzom, the animals alone had their own migration patterns, predators would stalk and react and track animals. No mmo to this day has had such convincing animal AI which is an absoulute shame. Mon Jul 22 2013 8:59AM Report
lostscout5 writes:

SWG for me as well. It had it's flaws {rubber banding was funny to watch but it sure broke immersion} . But it had so many things going on, that it really felt like a living world. Cantina crawls, hunting PUG's, and the spontaneous battles between Bestine and Anchorhead. Those and too many others to name. In it's heyday there was always something going on.

Mon Jul 22 2013 9:28PM Report writes:
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