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[Column] General: What Makes a 'Good' Community?

BillMurphyBillMurphy Managing EditorBerea, OHPosts: 2,376MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

In the inaugural edition of The Social Hub column, Christina Gonzalez muses on what makes a good MMO community? That answer might depend on who you're asking. 

It’s no secret that many of us who have been playing MMOs for a long time don’t often find anything that quite resembles the feeling and overall experience of one of our earliest games. That one when everything clicked into place – the newness of it all, the gameplay, the content, the goals, and the community. Everyone has that experience that brought personal attention to this genre. Probably central to your time there was a “good community”.  We keep coming back to the power of community. MMORPGs and the variants that have developed through the years rely on people, no matter the genre, the economic model, or the IP. So what is a “good community” and what might we be dismissing?

Read the rest of Christina Gonzalez' What Makes a Good Community?

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Comments

  • AutemOxAutemOx Fullerton, CAPosts: 1,704Member

     

    Social gameplay mechanics; see: SWG.  Also player driven content, such as PotBS allowing 3D modellers to create and submit ships and flags, leads to a more mature community.  

    Further, giving players the same tools developers have to create new quests and content seems outrageous, but if they have player boards, such as the 7-man shipwright board of players in PotBS, to oversee player created content before it is submitted to the game developer, you can get quality of content that even developers cannot provide while also encouraging maturity and intelligence in the community.  It not only plays to a more mature audience, but it gives immature players something to work towards so they do not fall back on their standard shenanigans.

    Play as your fav retro characters: cnd-online.net. My site: www.lysle.net. Blog: creatingaworld.blogspot.com.

  • XcomVicXcomVic San Diego, CAPosts: 50Member
    Who is the girl in the pic, that's all I want to know!
  • DauzqulDauzqul Detroit, MIPosts: 1,409Member Uncommon

    Social Professions / Skills: Musicians, Dancers, Gamblers, Architects, Beauticians, Politicians, Criminal-Crafting (fake IDs, fencing, drugs) etc. Moreover, player-generated content, e.g., player cities and outlets.

     

    There were 4+ year veterans in SWG that had never held a single weapon.

     

    As an ex-SWG player, I played as an adventurer. It was always so much more fulfilling when visiting town and experiencing all the real-player hustle 'n bustle. The games of today don't offer that, which is why they all feel so lifeless and cheap.

     
     
  • MightyChasmMightyChasm londonPosts: 298Member
    I think boredom creates a bad community.  When people are standing around a hub or plain bored of what the game is offering they usually have to make their own entertainment, and that often means trolling.  
  • MikeBMikeB MMORPG.com Community Manager Queens, NYPosts: 5,724Administrator Uncommon
    Originally posted by XcomVic
    Who is the girl in the pic, that's all I want to know!

    Just some random girl! No, it's the writer. :P

    Michael "MikeB" Bitton
    Community Manager
    Twitter: @eMikeB

  • uller30uller30 MILWAUKEE, WIPosts: 114Member
    Community needs trolls, drunks, crazies, the come at me bro, not smart girl. O wait that's where I live. It's hard I personal FBI k you just need people to help new people and not a hunch of mean old folks. Guess its why I play non major standard games due to helpful friendly competitive people. Not sure on some cool communities sides eve, SWG, and the mwo crowd
  • Jerek_Jerek_ tulsa, OKPosts: 409Member

    My favorite example of community in a game was Shadowbane, because the community was the game in a very real way.  It had every kind of player and guild and they all had an impact on how you played the game.  You helped the people you were friendly with, went of of the way to kill your enemies, formed alliances of neccessity with guilds you didn't trust because you had no other options.  Every player on the server could potentially impact your game experience wether you liked it or not.

    When I see complaints about community in games like wow, I just don't get it.  What community?  The only people that have any effect on my game experience in wow or games like it are the ones I choose to interact with, the other 2000 people I have nothing in common with except a server name.  Thats not a community.

  • AutemOxAutemOx Fullerton, CAPosts: 1,704Member
    Originally posted by Jerek_

    When I see complaints about community in games like wow, I just don't get it.  What community?  The only people that have any effect on my game experience in wow or games like it are the ones I choose to interact with, the other 2000 people I have nothing in common with except a server name.  Thats not a community.

    Really good point Jerek.  This goes for many games, not just wow.  The gameplay needs to weave in and out of the lives and experience of other players so that there are real interactions.

    I played WoW for a couple months when it first came out, but most of my experience with it comes from watching my brother play (an avid player).  There is some community in wow that is driven by PvP.  The only people my brother knows from his own faction are those in his guild (who he mostly sees as tools to help him grind gear).  Funny enough, the interactions that are more meaningful to him are those he has with the opposite faction.  Since he plays on a PvP server and is very into world PvP, he has gotten to know the enemy world PvPers well.  Also on the servers forum, people talk about world PvP, and really that is one of the very few gameplay features in wow driving any sort of community.   Especially sad since PvP is not for everyone and world PvP in wow is rather terrible these days.

    Play as your fav retro characters: cnd-online.net. My site: www.lysle.net. Blog: creatingaworld.blogspot.com.

  • DragnogDragnog Kennett, MOPosts: 54Member
    I will watch this column with interest....
  • RossbossRossboss Runes of Magic, TXPosts: 240Member

    I think it's really all based on the amount of End-game players to Troll ratio. These are the two ends of the spectrum, although they are not mutually exclusive, show the extremes of each game. End-game players are generally the most serious and focused of the players, they often plan out their time in their game. Trolls are the exact opposite, they spend the least amount of time being serious and often have their lives scheduled out for them. Also, definition of a community is significantly different if you add in the Forum community.

     

    I'm a part of the Runes of Magic Community, not a manager or moderator but just a user, and it is probably one of the better ones I have seen. If you want to see the most brutal and vile community, I suggest you take a look at Heroes of Newerth (Notably their past when they had to take action against players).

     

    I really look forward to seeing more of this column.

    I played WoW up until WotLK, played RoM for 2 years and now Rift.
    I am F2P player. I support games when I feel they deserve my money and I want the items enough.
    I don't troll, and I don't take kindly to trolls.

  • BattlerockBattlerock Youngstown, OHPosts: 1,393Member
    Real life friends playing with you
  • infiniti70infiniti70 Huntington Beach, CAPosts: 61Member

    Difficulty breeds community. When you have a game like WOW, where you can solo most of the content, easily procure mats, and have nothing communal to achieve or protect. Why expect a community to develop? Most will agree the earlier MMOs (EQ, AC, UO) were much more challenging than what we see today, and the result was players working together to achieve personal goals.

    Now we have auction house, then we had trade chat. Now we have dungeon finder, then we had guilds, or towns where we would meet to join for an adventure. Now we have the ability to run dungeons 50 times in a day, then we had CDs and a careful selected band of heros.

     

     

  • ZyllosZyllos Oklahoma City, OKPosts: 537Member Uncommon

    Really, isn't a lot of the beauty of communities is how the individual players make of it?

    It seems 100% on each player's prespective. If you want something specific out of a game, you just have to find the community that looks at the same prespective you personally look at it. Once you find that cliche, you will start to begin to feel like your part of something.

    MMOs Played: I can no longer list them all in the 500 character limit.

  • KyleranKyleran Tampa, FLPosts: 20,008Member Uncommon

    Gameplay mechanics that create opportunities to interact are what build communities, trick is to find the right ones that won't annoy the heck out of a large portion of the modern gaming audience.

    Many players won't tolerate long waits between fights, overly long travel mechanics, or most anything that takes them out of the game as it were.  While I tend to be more patient and willing to use some of the above, its pretty obvious a majority aren't interested so we need to figure out new ways to engage the community into more social activities and yet keep it fun.

    Not going to say I have a lot of great ideas, I'm too firmly stuck in the past to really relate to the more modern audience, but I'm assuming they need to be activties with a clear benefit, are participatory rather than exlusionary, and keep players busy and entertained.

     

     

    In my day MMORPG's were so hard we fought our way through dungeons in the snow, uphill both ways.
    "I don't have one life, I have many lives" - Grunty
    Still currently "subscribed" to EVE, and only EVE!!!
    "This is the most intelligent, well qualified and articulate response to a post I have ever seen on these forums. It's a shame most people here won't have the attention span to read past the second line." - Anon

  • AutemOxAutemOx Fullerton, CAPosts: 1,704Member
    Originally posted by Rossboss

    ...End-game players are generally the most serious and focused of the players, they often plan out their time in their game. Trolls are the exact opposite, they spend the least amount of time being serious and often have their lives scheduled out for them. ...

    So people who have to log in certain hours for pre-planned raids = good players.  Players who spontaneously play when they feel like it and don't care about grinding dungeons = trolls...?

     

    Play as your fav retro characters: cnd-online.net. My site: www.lysle.net. Blog: creatingaworld.blogspot.com.

  • mmosrdumbmmosrdumb LasVegasPosts: 4Member

    Are you implying Nazis were a "bad" community?

     

  • Eir_SEir_S Argyle, NYPosts: 4,623Member
    Originally posted by mmosrdumb

    Are you implying Nazis were a "bad" community?

    Now who would do such a thing?  They were very inviting to all races and colors I heard.  The history books lie.  Neighborly bundt cakes for all!

  • mmosrdumbmmosrdumb LasVegasPosts: 4Member

    Exclusions from certain communities does not make the  community  "bad."

    Gated communities work well.

  • defector1968defector1968 Nar ShaddaaPosts: 393Member Common
    Originally posted by mmosrdumb

    Are you implying Nazis were a "bad" community?

     

    yes they were bad, but the OP forget to add the badier and the badest community photos

  • Eir_SEir_S Argyle, NYPosts: 4,623Member
    Originally posted by mmosrdumb

    Exclusions from certain communities does not make the  community  "bad."

    Gated communities work well.

    Yeah except they killed people they didn't want in their community.  Other than that, they had great fashion sense.

  • MaephistoMaephisto somewhere, DCPosts: 632Member
    Is it possible to hire more assistants for Bill Murphy so he could have time to write more, instead of a bi-weekly article about MMO communities?  What is there to say about MMO communities, twice a week no less?  IMO, have Mr. Murphy write more or get the Coyote back.

    image

  • bingbongbrosbingbongbros Vista, CAPosts: 650Member Uncommon

    My first community experience in an mmo was in Nexus: Kingdom of the Winds.  This was back in 1998 and overall everyone was pretty helpful and respectful towards each other.  There were a few bad seeds but they had a system in game that would send players who broke the rules to court then to jail to serve out a term based on their crime.

     

    Which made the few bad apples in the game actually pretty infamous, I can still remember the most popular criminal, his name was Slime.  In this game you also had a "legend" which was a viewable chart of your accomplishments in game that everyone could inspect.  Bad accomplishments like jail terms were marked in red, Slime's legend was as red as... well a very red object!

     

    Then I jumped to EQ1 and the community there was about the exact same as Nexus just without the in game judicial system.  For me I never really saw the shift from decent normal mmo community to the Hitler picture bad community until WoW launched.  Even DAoC had a pretty tight knit community.

     

    Once WoW hit the scene the flood gates opened and the scumdogs of the universe poored in.

    Playing: Smite, Marvel Heroes
    Played: Nexus:Kingdom of the Winds, Everquest, DAoC, Everquest 2, WoW, Matrix Online, Vangaurd, SWG, DDO, EVE, Fallen Earth, LoTRo, CoX, Champions Online, WAR, Darkfall, Mortal Online, Guild Wars, Rift, Tera, Aion, AoC, Gods and Heroes, DCUO, FF14, TSW, SWTOR, GW2, Wildstar, ESO, ArcheAge
    Waiting On: Nothing. Mmorpg's are dead.

  • maplestonemaplestone Ottawa, ONPosts: 3,099Member
    A good community is one where I am happy to encounter another player.
  • mmoguy43mmoguy43 , CAPosts: 2,447Member Uncommon
    Once you switch to F2P the community of your low level population is going to turn to crap. It is pretty much guaranteed. Over time it might not be as bad.
  • IcewhiteIcewhite Elmhurst, ILPosts: 6,403Member
    Originally posted by Sijjistoryus

    There were 4+ year veterans in SWG that had never held a single weapon.

    This is the largest failing of the MMO format (in my opinion only, of course).

    Encouraging a mindset that the only things worthwhile to do are things with rewards, or it's complement; unless it Gets Stuff, it is not worth my time.

    Self-pity imprisons us in the walls of our own self-absorption. The whole world shrinks down to the size of our problem, and the more we dwell on it, the smaller we are and the larger the problem seems to grow.

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