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News & Features Discussion  » General: Successful Communities = Successful MMOs

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47 posts found
  SBFord

Associate Editor - News Manager

Joined: 6/28/10
Posts: 14207

 
OP  4/26/11 10:58:35 AM#1

In today's Guild's Eye View, MMORPG.com's Sean Stalzer continues his look at the theory that successful gaming communities lead to long term success for MMOs. Check out Sean's thoughts from his unique perspective as leader of a successful online gaming community and then weigh in with your thoughts in the comments.

Continuing along with the premise that "Successful communities are the lifeblood of a successful MMORPG", I want to explore a common problem some MMO gamers have and provide a possible solution. The problem is the dreaded issue of having a significant other that does not play games. Or better said, a significant other who doesn't believe they play games or who does not view what they do on Facebook as playing games.

Read more of Sean Stalzer's Guild's Eye View: Successful Communities = Successful MMOs.

Associate Editor: MMORPG.com
Follow me on Twitter: @MMORPGMom

  User Deleted
4/26/11 11:30:30 AM#2

My wife plays MMO's so I guess I'm off the hook. She hates rading/instancing though. If I want pvp action, she's the one I team up with first. That being said, I can see some big upside from what you're suggesting......for the the developers/publishers. 


The idea of using social media to involve more people in a game is probably not totally new but I can see some of it's potential from the game makers side. Flash game on facebook affecting Aion? More publicity. Guild in EQ playing EQ2 and affecting both games? More sales subs. That's probably just the tip of the iceberg. If you thought WoW brought the genre too the massess, you ain't seen nothing yet!


  kosmicfrog

Apprentice Member

Joined: 4/26/11
Posts: 3

4/26/11 11:36:07 AM#3

Sean, you are definately on the right track. Relationships have a huge bearing on gameplay, and it's rather surprising to see that for the most part, it's an issue that remains unaddressed in most MMO's. 


I believe that the only way for new MMO's to become truely successful are to have significantly enhanced abilities geared towards promoting beneficial social interaction, period. Simply put, the presence of 'guilds', 'clans'' or superficial 'who's online lists'  etc in games just isn't enough to grab the attraction of those people within the gamer's RL friendship/relationship circle. When those people aren't included, it hurts both the gamer and the game itself.


Human beings by nature want to be included on the activities of another. When you are in a game that simply doesn't have anything compelling to interest the someone you know well, there's always that thought that nags 'what could I be doing else that could bring them into my world'.


This is a large reason why people eventually get tired of any one particular game.

  Palebane

Novice Member

Joined: 10/18/04
Posts: 3247

4/26/11 11:38:24 AM#4

In my opinion, the trend seems to be going the other direction. Pretty soon, most of your "community" will be NPCs.

Vault-Tec analysts have concluded that the odds of worldwide nuclear armaggeddon this decade are 17,143,762... to 1.

  Elikal

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 2/09/06
Posts: 8067

“No path is darker then when your eyes are shut.” -Flemeth

4/26/11 12:01:18 PM#5
Originally posted by Palebane

In my opinion, the trend seems to be going the other direction. Pretty soon, most of your "community" will be NPCs.

Well if they get artificial intelligence one day, they'll have more than most real humans. *shrug*

With a good desinged chatter bot you might have a better conversation than with 50% of the jerks out there, eh? And what's that saying about "human company"... I'd always dreamed they advance robots so far as Mr. Data, and then we'd all got out personal perfect partners, and no more human issues, haha. Of course humanity is doomed then, but what do I care...

A forum is a place where people can discuss about different opinions. So what I don't get is, how people react offended when they come to a forum and then find... well different opinions. If a different opinion offends you, what are you even doing here?

  hardicon

Novice Member

Joined: 11/23/10
Posts: 363

4/26/11 12:03:48 PM#6

might work with my wife, her biggest complaint is she feels im isolated from the family while im playing and i spend way more time playing than she spends on facebook and bejeweled.  if something could allow her to build her city or plant her crops and help me or the guild out while allowing her to talk to us in guild chat and stuff that might help. 


most of the time though, our women consider us children and want nothing to do with it.

  ideation

Novice Member

Joined: 4/26/11
Posts: 19

"Believe in the me who believes in you" - Kaimina from Gurren Lagann

4/26/11 12:13:05 PM#7

Modern MMORPGs tend to lean towards the power gamer experience, where PvP, PvM and grinding are the norm. These games don't open avenues to recruit unexperienced gamers into the market thus is the reason outsiders may not be able to relate or understand their spouses addiction to the gameplay.


First of all though, compromising with your spouse about playing your game is the number one thing you should do if you're in a situation that's causing problems with your gaming experience. I've seen people quit for various reasons such as moving on to newer games, family responsibilities, life emergencies etc., but I haven't yet encountered someone I've personally talked too who has quit because their spouse demanded it (I'm sure they exist but it's ridiculous).


Secondly, publishing companies need to start tailoring games to suit a wider variety of gamers. Like I mentioned before, modern MMORPGs are currently tailored to the power gamers. It would be nice to see them incorporate new, fresh experiences to unexperienced gamers such as alternative game play styles. For example, Ultima Online has a plethora of professions one can take to alter their experience from tailoring, blacksmithing, fighting etc. If modern games could adopt a similar approach, for instance if your spouse likes crafting new, unobtainable through other means items on a daily basis, it not only creates an avenue for them to explore but an economic market for them to emerge in. Meaning they have a profession, a demand for their profession and a way to profit from it.


The problem I'd wager in most cases isn't the spouse, but like you mentioned the lack of shared experiences. If you can't relate to something because it doesn't suit your interestes, then you're probably not going to like doing it regardless of the circumstances. However if the market begins expanding and adhering to these flaws, we'd see a much larger market of gamers and more interesting, alternative playstyles in current/new games.


  djazzy

Novice Member

Joined: 6/20/05
Posts: 3623

4/26/11 12:16:47 PM#8

MMOs are all about the community. As a pure gameplay experience they fall well short of single player games. The entire point of an mmo is to be in a world with other real players. This doesn't mean you have to group up with them just that it means that the community affects the game world around them. Without this and mmos are a hollow experience.

  erictlewis

Advanced Member

Joined: 11/08/08
Posts: 3059

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results.

4/26/11 12:32:43 PM#9

Well I read all that and well that is not the way things wok for me and my wife.  We make sure that we always sign up for the same raid and the do the same groups. When were not in the same groups were off doing something that we enjoy. You cant always be in the same group or the same raid all the time.

While it might be true of some couples it is not true of all couples

This thing is not up to the guild leader,  its up to the couple and should rest on them.

 

  kado2

Novice Member

Joined: 12/21/06
Posts: 80

4/26/11 1:22:39 PM#10

A very good read, I couldn't agree more with what you said here.


Retired: EVE, SWG, STO, EQ2, Ryzom, AO, LotRO, FFXI
Currently Awaiting: SWTOR, TSW, ArcheAge

  Requiamer

Novice Member

Joined: 5/20/05
Posts: 2054

4/26/11 1:28:34 PM#11

My wife don't play a lot even with the kids, she is the kind of serious person. I'm the opposite and playing is something i do all the time, or at least i try to see everything as a game. She don't really understand socialisation through computer either. She show some interest in things like facebook, but its just because everyone around her talk about it and she feel excluded, but she actually never even bothered sitting in front of the computer desk without me.

 

Also i don't think every activity must be shared, sometime it is best to keep some distance. I might later play with the kids when they grow a bit, but i'll rather not even get her involved anymore, she wouldn't even want it anyway.

 

So maybe if your wife have other taste just accept them for what they are.

 

Also i personally love farming, fishing or whatever non combat activity you can find in an mmo. I play almost exclusivlely sandbox because they actually offer me that kind of experience without making them shallow. Also sandbox are pretty rare, so sometime i had to wait few years in between some good titles. I always though sandbox is the key of success of mmo in general, but it seam the industry don't really share my views.

 

Also i agree with you the community can break or make a game, i already left some mmos because my best ingame friends left, and the game had nothing else to offer. But this is where i think you are going too far, game should offer more than its community. Community is just a small part of it, it can come and goes, sometime it will make you stop, sometime not and you might find other friends later on. It remind me, the "imagination is all about rping" statement, but in fact its too easy to say that, you need quiet more to have a good rp, like good rules, good story, good GM... I think its the same with community and mmo, its a key point, but not the alpha-omega of it.

  kzaske

Apprentice Member

Joined: 9/28/09
Posts: 515

4/26/11 2:52:07 PM#12
Originally posted by Palebane

In my opinion, the trend seems to be going the other direction. Pretty soon, most of your "community" will be NPCs.

 From my observations, you are correct.  Many MMOs are introducing solo-able content which is exactly opposite of what an MMO is by defination.  My wife plays a lot more games than I do, she even got me to try Runes of Magic before she quit.

  tordurbar

Advanced Member

Joined: 5/02/10
Posts: 412

4/26/11 3:13:44 PM#13

Crap. Yes I said it. Multiplayer is just one letter of MMORPG. Yes, a good community is a wonderful thing in an MMO but the reality is that most people play solo. That is correct. Yes most of us (especially here)  belong to a guild, but how many of us are with guild members all the time? For all the opprobrium leveled against WOW it was the game that brought the solo players into the MMO universe - and with them their wallets.  I am sure that the hard-core will agree that previous to WOW most MMO games discouraged solo players. "Everyone should belong to a group". Ugh. Now I hear the same cry. Facebook, Twitter. Social gaming. If you want to socialize go to those sites. Yes, it is fun questing/raiding/pvping with others but the fun is the game AND camraderie not the socializing.  Flame away!


  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13796

4/26/11 3:23:21 PM#14

Egad, where to begin.

You correctly identify a problem that games make it difficult for people to play together.  Unfortunately, the article was all downhill from there.  Your proposed fix not only would not help the problem, but would make it much, much worse.

Let's start with the obvious:  linking FarmVille to WoW (or substitute any other pair of dissimilar games) would be a disaster, for both games.

Raiding guilds are notorious for telling members, you have to reach the max level, and get this gear, and show up on this day, at this time.  Many people cannot schedule their life around a computer game, and most of those who can, will not--and should not.  This is perhaps the biggest reason why most gamers hate raiding.  Any method to make raiding more accessible must get rid of those restrictions, and let people just log on whenever they feel like it and play.

And indeed, there has been some movement in that direction.  City of Heroes introduced sidekicking, which has since been implemented into some other games.  Guild Wars introduced henchmen and heroes, so you could take however many players you have, and fill out the rest of the group with AI party members.  Guild Wars 2 is going to scale events up and down to however many players happen to be around, so that you can grab whoever is available and just play the game.  I'm not aware of any movement in the direction of making raiding accessible, but that's what needs to happen if you want it to involve more people.

Yet your proposal moves things in the opposite direction.  If raiding guilds have no qualms about telling their own members how to play, do you think they'll be hesitant to try to tell people who play other games linked to their own what they have to do and when?  Plant these crops instead of those, as the raiders need this bonus and not that one.  Now, not only are you playing WoW without your wife, but you're not letting her play FarmVille, either.  You think she'll regard that as an improvement?

There's not much in it for the raiders, either.  Members of raid guilds are a self-selecting population of people willing to put up with being bossed around, in order to get epics.  FarmVille players are not.  For raid guilds to try to organize what the FarmVille players do and when is going to be like herding cats.  They're not going to do what you tell them, and you can't make them.  If trying to organize a raid guild is already an exercise in frustration, then trying to organize casual gamers is going to be an order of magnitude worse.

Even if you do pick up on some FarmVille players who are willing to cooperate with the raiders, it goes both ways.  What happens if the casuals say, we need this buff for our crops, so we want you to raid this instance and not that one.  Or we want you to move your raid to a different time, or a different day.  Are raiders going to accept that, and raid an instance that doesn't drop loot that you can use?

Furthermore, if you want to link two dissimilar games, what happens if they have radically different player base sizes?  If the bonuses that get passed back and forth assume that both games have equal player base sizes, what reason is there to believe that that will happen?  Before a game launches, we really have no idea whether it will have 100K subscribers or 1 million a year after launch.  For casual games that are a dime a dozen, the player base uncertainty is much larger yet.  We have some idea of which AAA MMORPGs are coming, but who predicted the runaway success of Angry Birds before it released?

What happens if the two games that need roughly equal playerbases to work end up with one game having ten times as many as the other?  By way of comparison, how well would a raiding game work if only 1% of players were tanks, or only 1% were healers?  The answer to the latter question is also the answer to the former.

But the problem isn't merely that your one particular proposal to link games is bad.  It's that the whole thrust of what you propose is in the wrong direction entirely.  You seem to have the idea that the raiders will do what they do, and organize the casual gamers into doing something that feeds into the raids.  The problem is, the casual gamers don't want to be organized into having to do this or that activity at such and such a time.  That's why they're casual gamers, and not raiding already. 

The reason raiding inspires so much antipathy is that games that involve raiding already do this to far too great an extent.  Sure, you don't have to raid, but you won't be able to get good gear, won't be able to PvP without that gear, etc.  People who don't like raiding but are faced with that dilemma are likely to discover that they don't have to play the game at all, and will go find some other game.  If some other game that doesn't even have raiding itself likewise has everything distorted by raiding, then the other game is a non-starter, too.

Your basic proposal is to take the things that people don't like about raiding, and implement them into other games.  That is, you're trying to kill off the alternatives to raiding that people do like.  That's not a good thing to do. 

  Ceridith

Novice Member

Joined: 11/24/09
Posts: 3001

The more you hype an upcoming game in your mind, the more it will fail to meet your expectations.

4/26/11 3:30:14 PM#15
Originally posted by tordurbar

Crap. Yes I said it. Multiplayer is just one letter of MMORPG. Yes, a good community is a wonderful thing in an MMO but the reality is that most people play solo. That is correct. Yes most of us (especially here)  belong to a guild, but how many of us are with guild members all the time? For all the opprobrium leveled against WOW it was the game that brought the solo players into the MMO universe - and with them their wallets.  I am sure that the hard-core will agree that previous to WOW most MMO games discouraged solo players. "Everyone should belong to a group". Ugh. Now I hear the same cry. Facebook, Twitter. Social gaming. If you want to socialize go to those sites. Yes, it is fun questing/raiding/pvping with others but the fun is the game AND camraderie not the socializing.  Flame away!

The whole purpose behind MMORPGs initial incarnation was community. Sure the game mechanics and content had some sway, but at the end of the day you were playing an MMORPG because you interacted with many other players in one or more  online communities set in a virtual world.

These days there are legions of MMO gamers who kick and scream at the very notion of needing to interact with or rely upon another player. Which perplexes me as to why many of them even bother to play these very games. It seems to me that most of them would be far happier to just play a single player game with MSN or Yahoo messanger, yet they insist on playing an MMO.

Really, MMORPGs have turned into nothing more than Massive Online Games, where social interaction is completely optional, and in many cases even discouraged due to overly pro-soloist game design.

  simmihi

Advanced Member

Joined: 6/11/10
Posts: 527

4/26/11 4:46:47 PM#16
Originally posted by tordurbar

 For all the opprobrium leveled against WOW it was the game that brought the solo players into the MMO universe - and with them their wallets. 

Yea actually that was the thing which changed everything. Solo gamers came in en masse, other companies wanted a piece of the pie, now every new game can be soloed to cap level. So we got solo games till max level but (even if only at max level) we expect to have "communities", people playing together because they actually enjoy it, and not only for their own benefit? What are the odds for that to happen? It's like someone lives alone for his first 18 years then he's suddenly thrown in a big city: "now you have to be nice to those people". He will continue to do what he does best, which is surviving alone.

  Unlight

Novice Member

Joined: 12/10/08
Posts: 2586

4/26/11 5:16:11 PM#17
Originally posted by Ceridith
Originally posted by tordurbar

Crap. Yes I said it. Multiplayer is just one letter of MMORPG. Yes, a good community is a wonderful thing in an MMO but the reality is that most people play solo. That is correct. Yes most of us (especially here)  belong to a guild, but how many of us are with guild members all the time? For all the opprobrium leveled against WOW it was the game that brought the solo players into the MMO universe - and with them their wallets.  I am sure that the hard-core will agree that previous to WOW most MMO games discouraged solo players. "Everyone should belong to a group". Ugh. Now I hear the same cry. Facebook, Twitter. Social gaming. If you want to socialize go to those sites. Yes, it is fun questing/raiding/pvping with others but the fun is the game AND camraderie not the socializing.  Flame away!

The whole purpose behind MMORPGs initial incarnation was community. Sure the game mechanics and content had some sway, but at the end of the day you were playing an MMORPG because you interacted with many other players in one or more  online communities set in a virtual world.

These days there are legions of MMO gamers who kick and scream at the very notion of needing to interact with or rely upon another player. Which perplexes me as to why many of them even bother to play these very games. It seems to me that most of them would be far happier to just play a single player game with MSN or Yahoo messanger, yet they insist on playing an MMO.

Really, MMORPGs have turned into nothing more than Massive Online Games, where social interaction is completely optional, and in many cases even discouraged due to overly pro-soloist game design.

Why solo?

It's no problem if you don't want to follow the link.  I just can't be bothered to repeat it again.

  ghstwolf

Novice Member

Joined: 3/21/08
Posts: 386

4/26/11 5:32:23 PM#18

Originally posted by Quizzical



Egad, where to begin.


You correctly identify a problem that games make it difficult for people to play together.  Unfortunately, the article was all downhill from there.  Your proposed fix not only would not help the problem, but would make it much, much worse.


Let's start with the obvious:  linking FarmVille to WoW (or substitute any other pair of dissimilar games) would be a disaster, for both games.



 




Yup, awful combination you've made there.  But just because flute and cowbell don't work together, it doesn't mean that pipes and drums don't work.


A colonization game, with most/all crafting in facebook form would probably work. 


  Drakiis

Novice Member

Joined: 9/21/07
Posts: 48

4/26/11 5:58:27 PM#19
This article is superficial garbage, and common knowledge, please inform us not bore us with the trials of everyday life
  Vinterkrig

Novice Member

Joined: 1/22/07
Posts: 1717

4/26/11 6:09:53 PM#20

this crap is bs, good content = successful mmos

what complaints do you hear most often

 

lack of content, lack of new content, lack of new ideas, sick of repeating , sick of collect this and that, sick of run this item to this other guy

 

community? you are in a community of millions of "me me me" attitudes, rightfully so.. you are paying for YOUR entertainment

 

pvp sucks without reason, pve sucks without reason, content after years and years is stagnant... rift = wow clone right? (not my opinion) , "we want something new, not another clone" 

 

take a step back, you don't hear a lot of "i want to find my new bff in my next game", granted having a few in game friends is definately more fun than not, but generally speaking

 

its me me me, or us (guild) and that is it.. gaming communities within the gaming community has always been segregated, all the way back from its start

 

and frankly, when we were all logging into BBS systems via DOS, playing solo 1 at a time, it wasn't "community" that kept us logging into that BBS, or mulitple to play games like L.O.R.D. it was the fun gameplay.

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