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A World Without Words

Posted May 28, 2010 by Jon Wood

A World Without Words's Player Perspectives columnist Jaime Skelton explores the idea of alternate forms of communication in MMOs.

Jaime Skelton

There's a small movement in the MMO gaming community that wants to move away from text-based communication in gaming. Text is "antiquated" in modern gaming; yet MMOs are incredibly text-heavy, particularly when it comes to communicating with other people. Multiple chat channels clog the airways with sensory overload as dozens and sometimes hundreds of people take part in conversations at once. There's a lot to read; for an instant mass communication medium, text almost seems ineffectual, requiring more effort than worth its results. But can MMOs evolve to a text-less communication medium?

Being completely deprived of text chat is an interesting thing. In The Endless Forest (TEF), an online world from Tale of Tales, players take the role of a deer. The player's character has no name; their identity is instead represented by a symbol. Stranger, however, is there is no traditional way to talk to players in the world. There is no text chat and no voice chat. Instead, players can only interact with selected emotes, taking actions like bowing, dancing, nuzzling, and showing various emotions to other deer. You can only find other players by exploration and "sniffing" for their scent, the latter of which will direct you to nearby players based on direction and distance.

Read A World Without Words.


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