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

24

Comments

  • mchattiemchattie Austin, TXPosts: 3Member

    Gaming communities suffer now days because players enter with the intent to maximize their players level/complete the game as fast as possible and I think this has a lot to do with the linearity of the games now days. 

    Take for example a game like Ultima Online, as old as it is, it's a good example because there was no storyline or quest to linearize the game and to this day I still believe the community felt the best. With a quest line to follow, you instantly make the game so anyone not on the same stage as you serves you no purpose to interact with. You have a goal to find people on the same step so you can get to the next. Of course removing quests from a RPG makes little sense so it’s up to the developers to think of ways of incorporating players in quests they have no real stake in.

    Another thing that makes for a poor community is having a level system where the maximum level player can squish the lowest level like an insignificant bug. This is counter intuitive to creating a game in which you want to have as many players as possible interacting with each other. With a system like this you are not only dividing your players but you are also creating zones in your world, divided by levels, which become obsolete once the majority of the population progress to the next and in result making a wasteland of a community for new players to the game. Who wants to start playing a game and believe that no one else is playing the game because in reality no one goes to the starting zones because there is no reason to go back? Taking Ultima Online as example again, I can still remember to this day players of all skill levels interacting together as you could serve some purpose even if you weren’t maxed out in melee or magery whether it be casting a low level spell to deactivate someone magic reflect or throwing some explosion potions.

    Finally I think games need to do a better job of implementing interfaces for communication. Chat boxes are what they are and for me conversations often times go overlooked, but I could imagine a game with a text based application similar to a phone for notification and message sending. On receipt of a text you can hear a notification via sound or visual aid. In addition visual and audible notifications of events in the world could be clearer. Some games are better than others at this but for the most part I have played games where I’m often left in the dark on what’s going on and the last thing to help build a in game community is giving your player a sense of loneliness. 

     
     
     
  • mmosrdumbmmosrdumb LasVegasPosts: 4Member

    I actually wish these "communities" were more friendly towards mmo gamers, anything to keep you glued to an electronic device in your homes for 4+ hours a day/night gives me a slightly less clogged road and/or sidewalk. And I don't have to look around mammoths at the pub to catch the eye of a good looking woman.

     

    Please be more friendly to these people.

  • MightyChasmMightyChasm londonPosts: 298Member
    [mod edit]
  • BattlerockBattlerock Youngstown, OHPosts: 1,393Member

    lol what  the heck dude?

    At any rate, I have found finding a good community in wow pretty easy, same with rift and same with swtor believe it or not.

    GW2 could use some serious help in this dept.

    I know I said irl friends, but it doesn't stop there, right now I have no irl friends in my main game (WoW) and the community I am involved in couldnt be much better. I attribute it to the various leaders and the passion players for both factions are playing with.

  • FARGIN_WARFARGIN_WAR New York, NYPosts: 166Member
    Well I'm not quite sure what exactly makes a good online community. I do know however I see little perecentage in discussing such a topic with a person who would use a regime known for its systematic murder of millions of innocents as a comedy exmaple of a bad one.

    image

    If you don’t do stupid things while you’re young, you’ll have nothing to smile about when you’re old.

  • craftseekercraftseeker kynetonPosts: 848Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by FARGIN_WAR
    Well I'm not quite sure what exactly makes a good online community. I do know however I see little perecentage in discussing such a topic with a person who would use a regime known for its systematic murder of millions of innocents as a comedy exmaple of a bad one.

    A little harsh perhaps but you have a point.  

    The problem anyone is going to have in discussing this issue is the divide between "Carebears" and "PK scum".

    If you believe an MMORPG is all about competition, adrenaline rush and ego you will have no common ground with someone that believes an MMORPG is about cooperation and friendly shared "role play" .

    An inherently fluffy piece like this will in no way bridge this divide or even subtantially  assist any group of MMO players in forming communities.

  • SeshatSeshat New York, NYPosts: 5Member

    Hello,

    This was kind of an introduction. I think community is a term that gets tossed around and we judge rather quickly these days. Some might feel MMOs today are becoming single-player oriented and thus community isn't relevant. Some might claim it's more relevant for 'lacking'. There will be other topics down the line, so I did hope to get input as to what you guys might feel is missing in this particular discussion. I started in DAoC but still love playing today and I'll admit that, like many here, I have a sense of nostalgia that can affect my POV in modern MMOs.

    As far as the images for this piece, I didn't select them.

    Kyleran -

    My site was indeed hacked over the weekend, but I'm working on restoring it.

     

  • waynejr2waynejr2 West Toluca Lake, CAPosts: 4,481Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Icewhite
    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.

     I don't think that is the games fault.  I believe it is player mindset which comes from society.  It a time when people are pushed to their working limits for less money and others are getting paid tons of bonus money to buyout and breakup companies, I think greed has affect everyone to some degree.

    You see it in the little things like travel times and down times.  To people bitching about a boss drop should be for their character rather than ANYONE else.  People want to be productive and anything that takes away from it is a negative.

    I don't think it's a problem that a game can fix as it comes from outside.

  • LJonteLJonte Portland Metro, ORPosts: 29Member
    Originally posted by Maephisto
    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.

    Bi-weekly means every other week, not twice in one week.  

    And community is a tricky concept. There are communities within communties online, so who knows where this column might take us? Let's wait and find out, shall we?

     

    -Lisa Jont

  • LJonteLJonte Portland Metro, ORPosts: 29Member
    [mod edit]

    -Lisa Jont

  • KyleranKyleran Tampa, FLPosts: 20,008Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Seshat

    Hello,

    This was kind of an introduction. I think community is a term that gets tossed around and we judge rather quickly these days. Some might feel MMOs today are becoming single-player oriented and thus community isn't relevant. Some might claim it's more relevant for 'lacking'. There will be other topics down the line, so I did hope to get input as to what you guys might feel is missing in this particular discussion. I started in DAoC but still love playing today and I'll admit that, like many here, I have a sense of nostalgia that can affect my POV in modern MMOs.

    As far as the images for this piece, I didn't select them.

    Kyleran -

    My site was indeed hacked over the weekend, but I'm working on restoring it.

     

    I'm sorry that happened to you, and I hope it wasn't due to your affiliation with this site. image  (what in the world is wrong with people like that?)

    Interesting that you started in DAOC, that title IMO had a perfect storm of game design elements that really fostered a strong community, more so than any title I played before or since.

    For those who weren't there during it's heyday, they really have no concept of what it was all about, and of course, not everyone felt the same way as I did apparently.

    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

  • GyrusGyrus Lost City of ZPosts: 2,329Member Uncommon

    What makes a good community?

    Standards.

    And it isn't simply in game.  In MMOs in particular "Communities" begin forming from the instant a game is announced.

    The start (often) on developer forums and on fan forums - and it's the standards set there, right from the very beginning, that shape your community.

    Dev Comments and Moderator actions create good or bad commmunities sometimes years before a game even gets to Beta.

     

    Examples:

    Pirates of the Burning Sea by Flying lab Software:

    I joined that community more than a year before the Beta and it was already pretty horrible.  Fanbois were running amok and the phases "teh DEVs no best" and "STFU and go back to WOW" were common.

    When the SOE deal was announced a Mod called Danicia appeared who was a complete idiot and was both played (and openly sided with) several Fanbois.

    From then on the technique of "Fanboi Flame and Lock" was perfected buy the 'community' there.  Any thread that dared to question any element of design would get a post from a Fanboi saying "this thread should be locked." which was then followed by Fanbois subtly flaming the OP until the OP would be goaded to respond... at which point the tread would be locked.

    It was a technique that they attempted to bring to the mmorpg.com boards too - but failed here because the moderator staff (at that time) were better and didn't fall for it.

    At the same time some of the Dev blogs were very short sighted and supported the general tone.

    The end result was a Beta where actual problems with the game design were suppressed by "Fanboi Forum Ganking" and a community was created where this was an acceptable standard. 

    So when the game went live... guess what?  The same standards prevailed in game becuse the community had come to believe this was acceptable.

     

    The PotBS community moved on to another community with a bad reputation at the time... Darkfall... and again a lack of standards there certainly didn't help.

     

    WAR at the time made a classic mistake of not having Dev forums (IIRC?) and allowing fans to create the comminity for them... another gankfest IIRC?

     

    I also play a Browser based MMO at the moment where the Devs have lost interest and the game is pretty much run by a "Super-Moderator" who is openly biased in favour of a few friends... it is destroying the community and the game.

     

     

    On the positive side a well run community with high standards can be a pleasure.  WWIIoL community as an example.

    There is a hardcore RvR game - but with very little 'hate' simply because that attitude was not accepted by the Developers, the moderators and hence the community.  So you had an RvR game where players would have friendly discussions about what was good for the game with their 'enemies'.

     

    You tend to find IMHO that standards filter down.  If Devs accept (or create) rifts in the community, by siding with 'old timers' and friends, allowing double standards or favouring "premium" accounts for example.   Allowing flaming, trolling, spamming (posting cat memes is a classic example) and outright internet bullying then the Mods will allow it... and the community will grow to accept it as normal behaviour.

    Locking threads and banning users is not always the answer either.  That doesn't really help shape anything. 

     

    Incidently, you find the same things in forum communities without games too (such as mmorpg.com forums).  A dizzy modererator or two can really do some damage in the long term.

    Nothing says irony like spelling ideot wrong.

  • XarnthalXarnthal Landenberg, PAPosts: 130Member

    I do think your definition of a bad community is off. I've been PC gaming since Quake 1 was released and the best communities I've been apart of are the PvP oriented ones. Planetside 1, EQ1, DAoC, WAR, and Darkfall. Certainly it's a different civility in EQ1 than in Darkfall, but the community itself was more or less the same. There's respect for the incredibly good a-holes while also respect for the best crafter in PvP games. 

     

    For me, community comes straight down to the people and the game is mostly not important. I'd argue that Quake2 xCTF was the best community of any game I've ever played because of the people, and 15 years later I have more contact with those individuals than any game I've played. I also think that age plays a major factor in community, and for me this may be more of a personal opinion. The reason I dislike the WoW community because they tend to be younger(under 20) and very full of themselves. They all seem to think they're the best, meanwhile have no means to prove it. That's also why I believe the best years of WoW were pre-BC when it still contained the former players of DAoC, UO, EQ, etc. I think the same reason is why people feel the EVE community has turned for the worst, because the game is now flooded with the casual younger crowd. I think PvP games, or even 'Hard-core' games tend to attract a more mature crowd because they require more thought generally.  With the mature crowd comes the community of intellect, IMO.

     

    If this is going to be about specific games, then I'd probably put DAoC at the top. It's the only game that I've played throughout the years that created a community by design. It created factions that mattered and the people you played with were all you knew at the start. Later on with transfers and such it lost a bit of the community part of the game, but the communities stuck together because of the game design. You needed your allies, whereas most other games solo was a viable option and you could simply 'tag-a-long' to continue playing the game.

     

    I think you should write an article on why recent games have failed so miserably to create these communities. A particular game has staying power only if the community behind it is strong. 

     

    Sennheiser
    Assist
    Thage

  • McGamerMcGamer Fairfield Bay, ARPosts: 1,012Member

    A good topic for an article. Unfortunately the OP doesn't seem to understand the meaning of a community. 

    If he did, he would know it takes communication to make a community work. Positive communication that is. Games like Rift and GW2 promote teamwork yes, but they do not however promote communication. I played both games for extended periods of time and more times than not, players rush in to join in on the XP, but then vanish just as quickly as they arrived without a single word exchanged.

    Early online gaming communities were not like this because devs did not cater to the type of gamer that demanded "instant reward" for less time spent to achieve it. As a result back then, gamers knew in order to accomplish achievements that required more time to accomplish, one had to use a certain ammount of social skill.

    These days, since most games allow for little time spent to grant rewards, many gamers don't feel obligated to use little if any amount of social skills. 

     

  • VichusSmithVichusSmith Flushing, NYPosts: 32Member Uncommon
    I was seriously going to make a Dan Harmon joke. Oh well!

    There's nothing more gratifying than playing an MMO for free.

  • Beatnik59Beatnik59 Chicago, ILPosts: 2,238Member Uncommon

    I've given a lot of thought to these issues of community.  To tell you the truth, I honestly don't think we're going to have a game community the likes of the early games any time soon.

    Teamspeak/Ventrillo/Skype killed the concept of the cosmopolitan MMO.  The metrics are rather stable in this regard: one third of gamers won't team without access to voice, one third of gamers refuse to use voice apps, and the remaining third doesn't care.  It's hard to have a community if you refuse to communicate in the way that someone else does.

    This has caused people to think of their community as centered around the guild over the game.  The guild's social hubs, forums and voice server (if applicable), are all the social hubs today's player seems to want or need.  It used to be that players would start a game as individuals, and then form guilds naturally in the course of play.  These days, however, the players come to games already in a guild.  Why care about anyone else when you already have everyone--and everything--you need?

    In fact, guilds establish themselves in games even before the games launch.  Players have self-selected their community, and the goal seems to be to get in a position where the guild can function as a community unto itself. 

    This has a lot to do with the games themselves.  These days, the games gate group slots, gate content, and put a high premium on hard to acquire loot.  None of the features in a game like World of Warcraft are amicable to gaming with strangers who are entitled to make mistakes.  These days, the games promote efficiency over community; there is just too much to risk when you work outside your comfort zone, with people you don't know well.

    Now the best community I found in an MMO was City of Heroes.  The key to its success, in my opinion, was that it didn't penalize players from taking chances.  You could group with anyone, regardless of level, and do pretty much any activity, regardless of setup.  It was the easiest--simply the best--grouping system I found.  People grouped with you--regardless of guild, voice chat use, or playstyle. 

    And not only that, but it allowed people a ton of opportunities for self-expression: from costumes, to player written content, to playstyles, to player architecture.  It encouraged diversity which, to me, is an important aspect of community as well.  There's no sense of being in a cosmopolitan community if we can't create something unique from ourselves, and there's no point in being ourselves if we have to bury our preferences for the sake of efficiency.

     

    __________________________
    "Its sad when people use religion to feel superior, its even worse to see people using a video game to do it."
    --Arcken

    "...when it comes to pimping EVE I have little restraints."
    --Hellmar, CEO of CCP.

    "It's like they took a gun, put it to their nugget sack and pulled the trigger over and over again, each time telling us how great it was that they were shooting themselves in the balls."
    --Exar_Kun on SWG's NGE

  • Matticus75Matticus75 Posts: 396Member Uncommon
    What makes a good community are huuuugs, and "you can do it!" and "hi we are all happy your back!" and more huuuugs, yeah!
  • RossbossRossboss Runes of Magic, TXPosts: 240Member
    Originally posted by wormywyrm
    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...?

     

    You missed the part where I said they were not mutually exclusive. I was just laying out what I thought to be the two extremes of MMORPG players. I think to have a good community, it takes both good players and bad players to make a level playing field for all to enjoy. Trolls and End-gamers are not so simply described as being good and bad players. I know players who are well geared and know their classes like no one else does that are also the biggest and most annoying trolls. I also know players who are kind souls and have awful gear and know nothing of their class. I've met people from every bit of the spectrum in-between the two as well.

     

    You can think of MMORPGs as a game like Baseball. Players are ranked on their stats and skill levels, the best ones make it to the Big League and the rest fall off the radar. The Big League players are the end-game players. The trolls and people not as committed usually fall off the radar. The most notable players are always the ones with the most skill or the most public exposure. I'm not saying these are always going to happen or that I want this to happen, but this is what I have observed.

    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.

  • VolenibbletsVolenibblets London, LAPosts: 212Member Uncommon

     After playing a number of games over the years where either a) you need other people and the community was made up of venomous, entitled, spoiled rodents (wow) or b) games where the community didn't matter a toss to progress and other players might as well be NPCs in an offline game (GW2), I think I'm starting to understand what makes a good community. IMO, It's best seen in LOTRO (I can only speak for the Snowbourne server).

    1. Respect, humour and basic human kindness - Higher levels giving up a lot of their time to help randomer non-kinnies is the norm. Virtually ever time I group, it's packed full of funny, intelligent people who are considerate about loot and quest items and it is the norm for people to stay far longer than they need to be there so you can finish your stuff and rarely bitch when there's a careless wipe. Obviously, you get the odd nobhead who has temporarily borrowed/stolen his older brothers login ID until he gets it banned or finds out it's not like wow and ragequits, however, absolute gents are the standard in my experience.

    2. Maturity - part of point one. Whilst, in general, LOTRO undoubtedly has an older audience (as it's slower, more cerebral pace doesn't cater for the MTV generation of 'gimme, gimme, gimme, now, now, now!'), I have learned it's not an age thing but a maturity thing as even younger peeps seem to understand point one. 

    3. A game that is not predicated on or rewarded for vicious one-up-man-ship and gear hoarding - obviously it does have an end game tier grind but for some reason (with a few exceptions) the people I come across are more concerned with enjoying the world and getting on with/helping others that spending their time doing that.  

    It's not the best coded game in the world (buggy, long load times, awkward animations) and some of the questing structure leaves a lot to be desired but it's the community that keeps me there and grouping is a pleasure rather than a necessary chore. And, I think the structure/nature of the game both attracts and cultivates these features in players. Lot to be learned in that imo. My only complaint about LOTRO is that it only allows a 50 person friends list which was maxed out in a the first month and I keep having to delate older gents to make way for newer nice people.  

     
  • TenebrionTenebrion Hallandale, FLPosts: 179Member

    This female appears to be much less attention-starved than pokket, and is much kinder on the eyes.

    Tenebrion is pleased.

    image
    Content Writer for RTSGuru.com
    And overall bitter old man.

  • FARGIN_WARFARGIN_WAR New York, NYPosts: 166Member
    Originally posted by Seshat

    Hello,

    This was kind of an introduction. I think community is a term that gets tossed around and we judge rather quickly these days. Some might feel MMOs today are becoming single-player oriented and thus community isn't relevant. Some might claim it's more relevant for 'lacking'. There will be other topics down the line, so I did hope to get input as to what you guys might feel is missing in this particular discussion. I started in DAoC but still love playing today and I'll admit that, like many here, I have a sense of nostalgia that can affect my POV in modern MMOs.

    As far as the images for this piece, I didn't select them.

    Kyleran -

    My site was indeed hacked over the weekend, but I'm working on restoring it.

     

    Well then I'd like to offer my apologies for being a dick to you Christina. However I still hold the position that whomever on this site thought that using a picture of such cold blooded murderers as a bit of humor was ok, could use a swift kick in the butt.

    image

    If you don’t do stupid things while you’re young, you’ll have nothing to smile about when you’re old.

  • firefly2003firefly2003 Los Angeles, CAPosts: 2,555Member
    [mod edit]

    image

  • daemondaemon TimisoaraPosts: 680Member Common
    Originally posted by MikeB
    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

    beautiful writer :p

  • KyleranKyleran Tampa, FLPosts: 20,008Member Uncommon
    [mod edit]

    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

  • jpnzjpnz SydneyPosts: 3,529Member

    A good 'MMO' community is one that exists outside of the MMO community rather than formed within that single MMO.

    Gives people other ways to connect and a desire to stay within that community; less drama.

    Gdemami -
    Informing people about your thoughts and impressions is not a review, it's a blog.

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