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Community/Social stuff's importance in MMOs.

YakkinYakkin irvine, CAPosts: 919Member

I see a lot of posts about what current MMOs are lacking: Sandbox stuff, "deep" economy/crafting/whatever the hell I don't really care about at the moment, etc.

But one sticks out to me: community.

My question that is bugging me is: If community is so important in an MMO, and if it is so lacking right now, what exactly (or what combination of things) creates that communication/social aspect in the first place?

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Comments

  • LoktofeitLoktofeit Stone Mountain, GAPosts: 13,643Member Uncommon

    Here's my take on it:

    I intended to add more to that last one, but the past few years of MMOs have been pretty stagnant when it comes to community and communication innovations. Other than games having Facebook/YouTube/Twitter buttons to push information, there really hasn't been much else added. Any new tools for social interaction seem to have been releagted to group finders and little else.

    There isn't a "right" or "wrong" way to play, if you want to use a screwdriver to put nails into wood, have at it, simply don't complain when the guy next to you with the hammer is doing it much better and easier. - Allein
    "Graphics are often supplied by Engines that (some) MMORPG's are built in" - Spuffyre

  • UsualSuspectUsualSuspect CardiffPosts: 1,243Member
    Originally posted by Enigmatus

    My question that is bugging me is: If community is so important in an MMO, and if it is so lacking right now, what exactly (or what combination of things) creates that communication/social aspect in the first place?

    Reliance on other people, which is sorely lacking in modern MMO's. Think about it - let's say you have a car, a solo experience, you jump in your car and you drive to work. Done, no reliance on other people. Taking a bus, you end up standing around with other people waiting for the bus, the old person might talk to you while you're waiting, you might see someone you know and have a chat, you jump on the bus when it arrives and interact with the bus driver so you can reach your destination. This is a community in action, people coming together over a sole purpose, one as simple as going to work.

    What we have at the moment in the MMO world are games that are 'driven', so you can do it all yourself, solo this, solo that, the ability to craft everything alone, racing forward, completing quest after quest with barely a glance at the person nearby. That is you and your car. A community inside an MMO would bring people together, have them rely on each other, interact with each other and reach the destination together. That's the bus journey.

    MMO's like EverQuest had community, modern MMO's such as SW:TOR throw all that out and let you drive yourself to work.

  • soulmirrorsoulmirror Jax, FLPosts: 112Member

    The big thing is more than an xp grind, which is what most modern MMO's have devolved into from previous iterations.

     

      In MMO's past if I am not grinding, I could explore, work on the house, craft  or assist a guildie / guild with the same thing.  Corpse runs, aid stations, weddings, funerals, city invasions, dragon zerging or in the case of my last guild, sitting on the grassy knoll chatting and waiting for one of the above.  

     

      Forced grouping  aka "the trinity" fostered communication, crafting that required other professions for materials fostered communication / teamwork.  Pick up Groups at that time were not reviled, run over by the forum bus and become a punch line for MMO's, that fostered communication and teamwork.  Working on guild status ---> which improved your ability to grind, etc, that fostered communication and teamwork.  

    Active Guide / Developer participation in world events, not as players, but as event coordinators.  For example, a player complained to a Developer that a certain zone was just plain boring, the Dev, seeking to rectify the situation, released a large number of low level "monsters" in the zone.  There was a server wide response for the ensuing Aiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee and calls for assistance, fun was had by almost all...

    All in all there are a lot of things that have been stripped away from modern MMO's that allowed ealier ones be more than an xp grind.  ( and the fact that classes today can self heal, travel) When this happened, the community went out the window, because there was no need for assistance to get to the "End Game".

     

     

     

    PS before the flames ignite trinity and pug, I am using them as examples, I do not necessarily support the trinity, but I do have a problem with Jack of all trades classes.

  • maplestonemaplestone Ottawa, ONPosts: 3,099Member
    Like elements, players have different criteria for bonding.
  • AeliousAelious Portland, ORPosts: 2,853Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Enigmatus

    I see a lot of posts about what current MMOs are lacking: Sandbox stuff, "deep" economy/crafting/whatever the hell I don't really care about at the moment, etc.

    But one sticks out to me: community.

    My question that is bugging me is: If community is so important in an MMO, and if it is so lacking right now, what exactly (or what combination of things) creates that communication/social aspect in the first place?

     

    It's been my thought that the next batch of MMOs will feature more social based tools.  If anything to gain a huge chunk of online pie in the form social games themselves which is bigger than the MMORPG group if I'm not mistaken.

     

    Until another title pops up look for EQN to have some social innovations.  They already have proximity (outside group or guild) voice chat enabled for PS2, SoEMote for EQ2 and a more refined version for EQN.  The idea that players who are strangers could walk up to eachother and have their avatar show live facial and voice chat communications with one another is certainly something not seen anywhere else.  I think that would constitute as a social innovation in MMOs.  We'll have to see.

  • eye_meye_m Notta Chance, ABPosts: 3,133Member Uncommon
    lack of challenge is one of the things that detracts from social aspects in games.  If they could just make the games hard enough that you needed the social interaction for the hard parts of the game to succeed.  I'm talking so hard that you can't complete it unless you are a practiced coordinated group. I don't mean all content though either, just some.I woudl think it would  be best if 50% of content was too difficult to solo and 15% was too difficult to pug.

    All of my posts are either intelligent, thought provoking, funny, satirical, sarcastic or intentionally disrespectful. Take your pick.

    I get banned in the forums for games I love, so lets see if I do better in the forums for games I hate.

    I enjoy the serenity of not caring what your opinion is.

  • XAPKenXAPKen Northwest, INPosts: 4,912Member Uncommon

    Creates community: Interaction through economy.

     

    If you have it, and I need it, and I have to talk with you to get it, then I'll talk with you.

     

    In finding others to interact with, one method is to join an in-game community, namely a guild.  They are, or at least used to be, a club of people who cooperate looking to further the common good.

     

    Replace the personal economy with a faceless auction house UI, and replace the guild community with people who are only in the guild to get gameplay bonuses, and interaction via commerce dies.

     


    Ken Fisher - Semi retired old fart Network Administrator, now turned Amateur Game Developer.  I don't Forum PVP.  If you feel I've attacked you, it was probably by accident.  Realm Lords 2 on MMORPG.com
  • RimmersmanRimmersman MonacoPosts: 885Member

    I think some of you really need to read this http://massively.joystiq.com/2012/12/18/first-impressions-from-the-age-of-wushu-beta/

    And look here http://www.mmorpg.com/gamelist.cfm/game/749/view/forums/forum/1250/General-Discussion.html

    And download this http://www.ageofwushu.com/account/signup/

    You wont get anywhere in this game without other players whether it's PVP or PVE.

    Come join us, it takes some getting use to but once you do you wont look back.

    image
  • QuirhidQuirhid TamperePosts: 5,969Member Common
    All games gather a community. They don't have any specific features in them. Its just elitist to pick which is a "real community".

    I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been -Wayne Gretzky

  • DauzqulDauzqul Detroit, MIPosts: 1,402Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Loktofeit

    Here's my take on it:

    I intended to add more to that last one, but the past few years of MMOs have been pretty stagnant when it comes to community and communication innovations. Other than games having Facebook/YouTube/Twitter buttons to push information, there really hasn't been much else added. Any new tools for social interaction seem to have been releagted to group finders and little else.

    Social features need to feel like part of the game....  not some cheap add-on just to say you have it.

  • tupodawg999tupodawg999 LondonPosts: 724Member Uncommon

    Mindlessly killing mobs is fun up to a point but i think most people want *something else* to do when they're bored of it and if a game doesn't have their preferred something else they quit. There's a list of something elses: crafting, collecting, housing etc but for a lot of people socializing is their something else so how do you create it?

     

    Guild functionality is one way and guild-based group activities but i do think the main way is through need i.e. players are inter-connected and need to be social to achieve their goals. As players will only get on with some others there's an incentive to find the people you like the same way there is irl and that pressure to find people you like leads to players playing with people they like which by definition will lead to game "stickiness".

     

    However not everyone is social and / or not all the time so how do you have forced grouping and not forced grouping at the same time? One way would be to have group classes and solo classes and for the different classes to level differently. The group classes could be generally pointed at large collections of their settlement's enemies like the nearby goblin caves to fight mobs in a big open dungeon like EQ while the solo classes have a completely different levelling path unique to that class e.g. a druid class could have a lot of quests scattered about in forest areas around the game world which they have to find and a necromancer class might have the same thing but all their quests are scattered around in tombs and ruins etc.

     

     

  • nariusseldonnariusseldon santa clara, CAPosts: 22,441Member
    Originally posted by Quirhid
    All games gather a community. They don't have any specific features in them. Its just elitist to pick which is a "real community".

    And there is no mystery to it ... community is just a bunch of people .. whom you may or may not play with.

     

  • LoktofeitLoktofeit Stone Mountain, GAPosts: 13,643Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by mmoDAD
    Originally posted by Loktofeit

    Here's my take on it:

    I intended to add more to that last one, but the past few years of MMOs have been pretty stagnant when it comes to community and communication innovations. Other than games having Facebook/YouTube/Twitter buttons to push information, there really hasn't been much else added. Any new tools for social interaction seem to have been relegated to group finders and little else.

    Social features need to feel like part of the game....  not some cheap add-on just to say you have it.

    I can't tell if you are agreeing they needed better social features or saying the features I suggested were still cheap add-ons.

    There isn't a "right" or "wrong" way to play, if you want to use a screwdriver to put nails into wood, have at it, simply don't complain when the guy next to you with the hammer is doing it much better and easier. - Allein
    "Graphics are often supplied by Engines that (some) MMORPG's are built in" - Spuffyre

  • Beatnik59Beatnik59 Chicago, ILPosts: 2,225Member Uncommon

    Voice chat, to me, was the greatest blow to community in MMORPGs.

    It made the teamspeak/vent server the locus of community, rather than the game server as the locus of community.  As a result, you were more likely to see your social group as your voice chat group, which included people who were logged on to play, people who weren't logged on to play (but logged on to chat), and even people who were logged on to a wholly different game.

    I can't tell you how many games I played where guilds were, quite literally, split in two when voice chat was adopted.  You had those who adopted the new technology and those who didn't; those who did tended to communicate only with those who did, and those who didn't tended to only game with those who didn't.

    Voice chat gave rise to the big, professionalized gaming clans we see today: the Goons, the Syndicate, For Great Justice, et al.  The need to host the voice chat server caused players to organize around the voice chat provider, rather than organize around the game.  This caused players to indentify their community with their TS/Vent hosting guild or, in the cases of those who don't like voice chat, to communities who wouldn't demand it of them.

    And, you know, I can hardly blame anyone.  Communication is fundamental.  Unless you are willing and able to communicate with another person, there's no use having a community with another person.

    __________________________
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    --Arcken

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  • CalmOceansCalmOceans BergenPosts: 2,273Member
     what exactly (or what combination of things) creates that communication/social aspect in the first place?

    my list

    -Dependency on others

    -A good written chat system that discourages everyone using their little closed-off vent server

    -No cross-server grouping which allows people to be douchebags and get away with it

    -Slow enough gameplay that allows chatting

    -Class synergy and gameplay that encourages communication

    -No AH which encourages player trading

    -General server channels that allow everyone to talk to each other

    -Death penalties in some form which encourage dependency on others

    -Allow for buffs to be cast on others and allow MGB in towns to encourage communication

    -Give cities buffs and encourage people to spend time in them

    -No Guild halls, no better way to kill a community than to let people close themselves off

    -etc

  • CalmOceansCalmOceans BergenPosts: 2,273Member
    Originally posted by Quirhid
    All games gather a community. They don't have any specific features in them. Its just elitist to pick which is a "real community".

    This is totally 100 percent false.

    Going from a game like EQ which was a community marvel where everyone literally sat around and talked to each other, to games like WoW where no one bothered to say a word to another person was like night and day difference. And it's much worse in current games even.

    I couldn't believe when I played Guild Wars how literally no one talked, the reason I uninstalled the game was for that reason only. The game had no community whatsoever.

    The way a community, or lack thereof, acts, is very dependent on the game mechanics.

     

     

    This is Everquest where people literally sat their character down to talk to others. People sitting down on that picture and many standing, are not AFK but they are there to chat to others. It's a shame you can't see the UI or you would see people talking.

    Tell me again how it doesn't depend on the game. In current games people don't say a word to strangers.

     

    Seriously, if you want to know what makes a community in a game a real community, ask any EQ player who played EQ anywhere from the beginning to where they introduced the guild lobby. They know.

    EQ was a community marvel, saying it doesn't depend on the game is false. I have played enough MMO to know not every game has a real community. A few strangers walking around never talking to each other is not a community.

    This is a community:

  • QuailmanQuailman marlborough, MAPosts: 165Member
    Originally posted by Rimmersman

    I think some of you really need to read this http://massively.joystiq.com/2012/12/18/first-impressions-from-the-age-of-wushu-beta/

    And look here http://www.mmorpg.com/gamelist.cfm/game/749/view/forums/forum/1250/General-Discussion.html

    And download this http://www.ageofwushu.com/account/signup/

    You wont get anywhere in this game without other players whether it's PVP or PVE.

    Come join us, it takes some getting use to but once you do you wont look back.

    Hmm that definitely sounds interesting. Gonna have to check that out.

    Consume. Be silent. Die.

  • VengeSunsoarVengeSunsoar Posts: 5,314Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by CalmOceans
    Originally posted by Quirhid
    All games gather a community. They don't have any specific features in them. Its just elitist to pick which is a "real community".

    This is totally 100 percent false.

    Going from a game like EQ which was a community marvel where everyone literally sat around and talked to each other, to games like WoW where no one bothered to say a word to another person was like night and day difference. And it's much worse in current games even.

    I couldn't believe when I played Guild Wars how literally no one talked, the reason I uninstalled the game was for that reason only. The game had no community whatsoever.

    The way a community, or lack thereof, acts, is very dependent on the game mechanics.

     

     

    This is Everquest where people literally sat their character down to talk to others. People sitting down on that picture and many standing, are not AFK but they are there to chat to others. It's a shame you can't see the UI or you would see people talking.

    Tell me again how it doesn't depend on the game. In current games people don't say a word to strangers.

     

    Seriously, if you want to know what makes a community in a game a real community, ask any EQ player who played EQ anywhere from the beginning to where they introduced the guild lobby. They know.

    EQ was a community marvel, saying it doesn't depend on the game is false.

    That is just a community that is either a.  not a good one.  or b. you don't like.

    It is however still a community.  So in that essence he is 100% right.

    edit - and in current games those exact same things happen.  People still talk, people still roleplay, people still meet up to shoot the breeze, true possibly a smaller percentage but all the same things still happen.

     

    Quit worrying about other players in a game and just play.

  • CalmOceansCalmOceans BergenPosts: 2,273Member
    Originally posted by VengeSunsoar

    That is just a community that is either a.  not a good one.  or b. you don't like.

    It is however still a community.  So in that essence he is 100% right.

    Don't even know what you mean. You seem to love to disagree with me just to disagree, so I won't even bother this time sorry.

  • Ramonski7Ramonski7 Aurora, ILPosts: 2,656Member Uncommon

    Those of you that think dependancy or hard content (aka limited solo play) build a strong community are dead wrong. Oh it builds community alright....a GATED community. Dependancy in the form of combat oriented content will lead to nothing but elitisim as it always has since the dawn of themepark mmos. A strong community can only be built if ALL players are seen as equal and helpful. The only time you'd want to alienate someone is because they are acting like an asshole, NOT because they cannot dps fast enough, tank good enough or heal the right way.

     

    In a combat driven community even a player with the personality of a asshole can become king if he keeps his mouth shut and does his job correctly. But this is NOT the way things worked in UO. In UO if you wanted to be self reliant that was cool. The community part came when players were able to be creative when it came to designing shops, homes and roles for themselves. A game like FFXI works back then because of the draw to the name FINAL FANTASY. The only way you could live in that universe was to conform to it's rules and that included accepting the hardcore dependancy. But it also limited FFXI's growth as well. It did well, but if it was good enough they wouldn't have attempted to make another one.

     

    No I think community and social aspects of gaming need to take a page from the real world. We are connected to others NOT because we need to fight for our lives, but because of common connections we share. I'd like to see a a mmo that take things like drinking, farming dancing, crafting, taming, cooking, music playing, etc. and turn them into a kinda social aura around your character. If a player gets into the aura of someone else with the same interest then they both get a boost to their ability or exp gains. Once players start hanging out with one another, they'll make their own connections if they see fit.

     

    Dunno maybe that doesn't make sense to you guys but combat shouldn't be the main reason we want to be around others.

    image
    "Small minds talk about people, average minds talk about events, great minds talk about ideas."

  • VengeSunsoarVengeSunsoar Posts: 5,314Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by CalmOceans
    Originally posted by VengeSunsoar

    That is just a community that is either a.  not a good one.  or b. you don't like.

    It is however still a community.  So in that essence he is 100% right.

    Don't even know what you mean. You seem to love to disagree with me just to disagree, so I won't even bother this time sorry.

    He stated, "All games gather a community. They don't have any specific features in them. Its just elitist to pick which is a "real community".

    Your stated, "This is totally 100 percent false."

    I stated he is right, all games gather a community. Stating one is real, the other is just elitist.  All that implies is your particular preference for one over the other, not the legitimacy of one over the other. 

    edit - having been there, most of the people in that pic were likely afk, and 1/3 were probably waiting for an mgb.

    Quit worrying about other players in a game and just play.

  • CalmOceansCalmOceans BergenPosts: 2,273Member
    Originally posted by Ramonski7

    Those of you that think dependancy or hard content (aka limited solo play) build a strong community are dead wrong. Oh it builds community alright....a GATED community. Dependancy in the form of combat oriented content will lead to nothing but elitisim as it always has since the dawn of themepark mmos. A strong community can only be built if ALL players are seen as equal and helpful. The only time you'd want to alienate someone is because they are acting like an asshole, NOT because they cannot dps fast enough, tank good enough or heal the right way.

    Not sure if who you are referring to, but since I wrote down dependency I feel I need to clarfiy something after your statement.

    For me dependency and hard content are not the same thing.

    Dependency requires synergy between players, it requires the help of others to accomplish something, it requires you to engage with other people.

    I do not put dependency and difficulty in the same bracket. There are a lot of team sports that are played with many people but can still be played casually. The fact you depend on others doesn't make the gameplay any harder, it does require you to engage with others and be social, but it doesn't have a direct impact on the difficulty of the group content.

    It also does not limit solo play directly, EQ for example had a lot of group play that required groups, but a lot of solo play also. The group play in EQ was also not that hard, the penalties were harsh, but the group play itself was at times (depending on the era) relatively casual, EQ had a lot of casuals.

  • AeliousAelious Portland, ORPosts: 2,853Member Uncommon
    I think the better question is how important a GOOD community is. Forced grouping through hard content may not sound warm and fuzzy but it worked. With the plethora of newer solo centric themeparks how many have showed the same signs as EQ did?
  • VengeSunsoarVengeSunsoar Posts: 5,314Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Aelious
    I think the better question is how important a GOOD community is. Forced grouping through hard content may not sound warm and fuzzy but it worked. With the plethora of newer solo centric themeparks how many have showed the same signs as EQ did?

    I'm wondering if it actually did  though.

    We do know that having people work together to accomplish a task can create a good community.  No doubt.

    But in EQ's case what was the biggest factor. 

    a.  The content was harder?

    b.  That grouping was the most effective means of progressing?

    c. That the community was smaller and more like-minded than today's games?

    Personally I think if you want a game with good community you will need to tackle all three, unfortunately that means a smaller audience (as is needed for c).

    Quit worrying about other players in a game and just play.

  • LawlmonsterLawlmonster Dallas, TXPosts: 953Member Uncommon

    Community isn't something you can design features to inspire, or mechanize to produce results. If developers really wanted or cared about strong communities in their games, there would be no group finders, instant world questing, or auction houses, however controversial it may be to say. The only way a community can exist and be created is by the direct actions and interactions of players with one another, particularly through expressed thought. Much like in real life, the creation of Facebook or MySpace doesn't make the community of the world any stronger or more viable, it actually takes away from real human interaction, in an absolute and physical sense. Much like a dungeon finder allows players to hop between groups without interaction to discover the pacing or lackthereof they're seeking, so do electronic social networks allow individuals to simplify their relationships in such a manner that makes them less attached.

     

    In stark contrast to the recent trend in video gaming, community isn't an easy or time efficient variable to become engaged, and I'm unsure it was ever intended to be, if one could prove intent existed.

    "This is life! We suffer and slave and expire. That's it!" -Bernard Black (Dylan Moran)

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