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In the second in a series of articles spotlighting the importance of community in MMOs, we take a look at why we believe it's in developers' best interest to encourage roleplay. See why we think so before letting us know if you agree or not in the comments.
In part one, I explored some of the reasons roleplayers have either become nearly invisible, dwindled in number, or have even quit altogether in the modern MMO. This time, I want to propose some things that work, as well as why investing in social infrastructure in MMORPGs is a good thing. The shifts that have happened to RP aren’t limited to sandbox or themepark, and they’re certainly not the result of one thing over another. The result is that the life of an MMORPG has become quite short for many people, instead of thinking longer-term. MMO “tourism” is a real thing, and with so many games competing for players’ attention, retention is probably more important—and more elusive—than ever. Studios claim “social” is important, but implementation is another story. Developers must invest in the sometimes intangible and sometimes virtually invisible social features that go beyond a friends’ list and achievements.
Read more of Christina Gonzalez's The Social Hub: Promoting RP is Good for Community.