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What makes MMO social?

GrahorGrahor aaaPosts: 828Member

There is a lot of demand for MMOs to be more social, "like in the good old times". But what makess MMO more social?

 

I don't have statistical data and fancy graphs, but I have my own experience with "good old" mmos and relatively modern ones. It was, indeed, a lot more social in the old MMOs, but why?

 

The answer is, because in old mmos I had a lot more time to socialize. When I'm sitting camping a mob, and my teammates seat nearby and camping it too, some random guy nearby is sitting waiting for health restore (small amount per tick) because he doesn't have a dedicated healer, and my guildmates are sitting and waiting for their own short period of actual playing activity, we have plenty of time to discuss anything, to roleplay, to make plans and exchange experience.

 

When I'm moving from one action sequence to another, when group is built in minutes with modern tools, when a new group instance is born whenever we all are ready, we are too busy actually playing to be social! You can't type and fight at the same time. You can't even speak properly through voice chat, because you can't spare attention.

 

EVE is a social game, and was so even more in the past. Jumping through 20 gates on the way to Jita will cost you 30-40 minutes of pretty much inactivity - and your mate jumping out of Jita into his solar system has his 20 minutes of boring time, so what else can you do but socialize? Add a couple of guild miners, who's whole life is watching a rock and changing the target when it pops, and you have a lively discussion about anything and everything. Bonding and friendship and stuff.

 

So the main reason for socializing in the old MMOs, as I remember, was the lack of gameplay and general boredom. Are you sure, people, that you want a game that throws out the actual gameplay and replaces it with idle waiting? Because it's the only way to make mmorpgs more social. 

 

Me, I'm not. I mean, I'm nostalgic, yes. But I can't even stand the temps of modern Eve, seriously increased compared to old times, in my busy life; anything slower and it's instant uninstall. And I'm pretty sure most of you would do the same, no matter what you say about wanting more socializing.

 

After all, there is Wurm Online, which is a haven of socializing and sandboxing... and it's struggling enormously, because, it turns out, people actually don't like it all that much.

 

So, what do you want? Are you for gameplay or for socializing, because you can't have both? Or do you think you can combine the two? Can you describe, how would you do it? 

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Comments

  • Zaxx99Zaxx99 Somewhere IN, INPosts: 1,761Member

    A game doesn't have to be slow and boring to be social.

    The reason we play MMOs I would certainly think would be because of the other players. The player interactions. The social aspect of the game.

    It's not only that older games had more time between mob spawns and health regenerations etc to socialize, but the older games were made and programmed to be played on much older, slower computers and many with a dial up connection. So the technology was a big reason why older mmos were so much slower.

    You can have a fast paced mmo and still choose to spend 90% of your time socializing if you choose to in almost any mmo. It's simply the choice of the more modern themepark mmo players to not spend time socializing. They consider it a 'slow-down' they don't wish to partake in. Energy wasted and time spent when they could be leveling up. And since most mmo players today don't take a moment to even admire the beauty and the splendor in the fancy graphics of modern mmos, it's really no surprise that they don't take time to have any meaningful conversation either.

    I do find it ironic that as the mmo worlds we live and breath in with our avatars has gotten exponentially better, the communication has went from good conversations out hunting to "My l00t U n00b!" type of intellect.

    Bring back the old school mmos with depth but with modern graphics I always say. We can chat anytime and with anyone who we so choose. The end game rushers and k3wl d00dz will still play their own way.

    - Zaxx

    image

  • jesadjesad Posts: 753Member Uncommon
    Chicks! Cause guys don't talk to each other unless they want something.

    image
  • jesadjesad Posts: 753Member Uncommon

    Sorry, serious answer now.

    You don't have to slow it down, you just have constantly create some sense of mystery beyond the basic mechanics of the game.  There are games out there doing this right now, but I have mentioned them so many times now that I feel like it's getting out of hand.  Still, in these games, that shall remain nameless, there is an almost constant need to communicate just to figure out what you should be doing next.

    I know it sounds like a bad plan, but coining a phrase from Iron Man, that's how EQ did it, that's how AoW is doing it, and it's worked out pretty well so far.

    No game is more social than it is in the first few months of play, and that's because in the first few months of play no one knows what the heck they are doing.

    Why did this response feel like I was teaching you guys about relationships?  But yeah, the same thing works in those too.

    image
  • LanfeaLanfea EssenPosts: 219Member Uncommon

    well, as others mentioned before, eve online may be the most social interactive game out there and a good example in many ways. but first of all, lets be clear, it all comes down to communication.

    it starts small with new players looking for help from veterans, because even the ~5 hr tutorial only shows a glimps of eves complexity. and at this point most new players realize that playing eve with others is essential. within corporations (guilds) they have to hook up to fly missions of all kind or to gather raw material from asteroids. a very boring thing sitting in a mining barge, but with your mates, beer and snacks it can be a very funny evening. and then there is the moloch of eves politics created by players and supported by eves gameplay mechanics. every day thousands of players are shaping the politics with leadership meetings, diplomacy, secret dealing, espionage, propaganda, developing military and financial concepts and much more. all this effects even more people and everything has to be done with communication and not only with your handful of mates, even with people youve never met before, people from all over the world. eve online delivers the mechanics to play with, but the players create their content themself.

    most of the mmogs in the last decade failed to deliver this kind of social tools. a chat and a standard guild feature is everything they came up with. no wonder why mmogs tend to be more and more solo-games and the majority of players stop playing after they hit max-lvl.

  • apocolusterapocoluster newport news, VAPosts: 1,321Member Uncommon
    Didn't read the wall of text but I would imagine social people make Mmo's social

    No matter how cynical you become, its never enough to keep up - Lily Tomlin

  • TaliaraTaliara GalwayPosts: 6Member

    I think the drop in MMOs being as social as they were has a lot to do with the way the gaming community has been developing over the past few years. I personally have been put off playing a few MMOs (and other online games) due to the poor/toxic behaviour of said communities.

    I look back at the days of WoW/Runescape where making friends seemed so easy and now I seldom speak to anyone in region chats from fear of someone trying to make a funny/rude comment at your expense for some cheap laughs that I personally just don't have time for anymore.

    In addition I feel that a lot of the newer and highly marketed games attract a lot of the wrong people who stay for a few weeks/months before moving on, where as the quieter and more specialized MMOs tend to have a better community as those players are there for the long run. However, once the "herd" moves on and the "core" remains the community generally tends to become a better place overall, take for example The Secret World, SWTOR and Guild Wars 2 (purely based off my own opinion of course).

    It seems that a lot of developers for MMOs are always trying to hit the big subscriber numbers and ultimately become the next WoW, but many forget that WoW wasn't an overnight success and that the community grew over a period of time. It was during the quieter periods (Vanilla/TBC) that I personally found had the best community and overall better social experience. 

     

    Obviously this is all just based off opinion so take from it what you will :)

     

    Edit: Typo!

    image

  • GrahorGrahor aaaPosts: 828Member
    Originally posted by zaxtor99

    A game doesn't have to be slow and boring to be social.

    It seems that it does. We don't socialize unless we choose to, and if we have something else to do other than socialize, we don't choose it.

     

    You can have a fast paced mmo and still choose to spend 90% of your time socializing if you choose to in almost any mmo. It's simply the choice of the more modern themepark mmo players to not spend time socializing. They consider it a 'slow-down' they don't wish to partake in. 

    Exactly. Only it's not "them". It's "us". It's us who don't choose to spend time socializing if we have something else to do. That's exactly my point - in old games we had no choice; now we have, and we have chosen not to socialize.

     

    Bring back the old school mmos with depth but with modern graphics I always say. We can chat anytime and with anyone who we so choose. The end game rushers and k3wl d00dz will still play their own way.

    What does that "depth" have to do with anything? There was no depth in those old games; I know, I've played them. Certainly no more than in new ones. We simply had no choice. Now we have choice, and you see what we've chosen.

  • nariusseldonnariusseldon santa clara, CAPosts: 22,441Member
    Originally posted by Grahor
    Originally posted by zaxtor99

    A game doesn't have to be slow and boring to be social.

    It seems that it does. We don't socialize unless we choose to, and if we have something else to do other than socialize, we don't choose it.

     

    If that is the case, i would question the value of socializing in games.

    If it is always the least picked choice (hence less fun value) than other elements, and people won't engage in it unless they are forced to, what is the point of having it at all?

    Now since preferences are different to different people, there may be some who really love social in games and constantly rant about there is not enough. But think about it. Do you really want to force others to pick an action they don't have a priority on .. just for your fun?

     

  • FoomerangFoomerang Portland, ORPosts: 5,565Member Uncommon


    Originally posted by Grahor
    There is a lot of demand for MMOs to be more social, "like in the good old times". But what makess MMO more social?

     

    I don't have statistical data and fancy graphs, but I have my own experience with "good old" mmos and relatively modern ones. It was, indeed, a lot more social in the old MMOs, but why?

     

    The answer is, because in old mmos I had a lot more time to socialize. When I'm sitting camping a mob, and my teammates seat nearby and camping it too, some random guy nearby is sitting waiting for health restore (small amount per tick) because he doesn't have a dedicated healer, and my guildmates are sitting and waiting for their own short period of actual playing activity, we have plenty of time to discuss anything, to roleplay, to make plans and exchange experience.

     

    When I'm moving from one action sequence to another, when group is built in minutes with modern tools, when a new group instance is born whenever we all are ready, we are too busy actually playing to be social! You can't type and fight at the same time. You can't even speak properly through voice chat, because you can't spare attention.

     

    EVE is a social game, and was so even more in the past. Jumping through 20 gates on the way to Jita will cost you 30-40 minutes of pretty much inactivity - and your mate jumping out of Jita into his solar system has his 20 minutes of boring time, so what else can you do but socialize? Add a couple of guild miners, who's whole life is watching a rock and changing the target when it pops, and you have a lively discussion about anything and everything. Bonding and friendship and stuff.

     

    So the main reason for socializing in the old MMOs, as I remember, was the lack of gameplay and general boredom. Are you sure, people, that you want a game that throws out the actual gameplay and replaces it with idle waiting? Because it's the only way to make mmorpgs more social. 

     

    Me, I'm not. I mean, I'm nostalgic, yes. But I can't even stand the temps of modern Eve, seriously increased compared to old times, in my busy life; anything slower and it's instant uninstall. And I'm pretty sure most of you would do the same, no matter what you say about wanting more socializing.

     

    After all, there is Wurm Online, which is a haven of socializing and sandboxing... and it's struggling enormously, because, it turns out, people actually don't like it all that much.

     

    So, what do you want? Are you for gameplay or for socializing, because you can't have both? Or do you think you can combine the two? Can you describe, how would you do it? 


    I think if you give people interesting things to discuss within the context of the game's various systems, then you encourage socialization. In other words; give your community something worth talking about and it'll happen.
  • Cephus404Cephus404 Redlands, CAPosts: 3,675Member

    You can be social any time you want to be, the game doesn't have to force it on  you, you can just stop and be social.  This is such a complete non-issue, it's like saying you don't care enough about being social to stop you from playing the game.

    Make a choice!

    Played: UO, EQ, WoW, DDO, SWG, AO, CoH, EvE, TR, AoC, GW, GA, Aion, Allods, lots more
    Relatively Recently (Re)Played: HL2 (all), Halo (PC, all), Batman:AA; AC, ME, BS, DA, FO3, DS, Doom (all), LFD1&2, KOTOR, Portal 1&2, Blink, Elder Scrolls (all), lots more
    Now Playing: None
    Hope: None

  • Cephus404Cephus404 Redlands, CAPosts: 3,675Member
    Originally posted by Grahor
    Originally posted by zaxtor99

    A game doesn't have to be slow and boring to be social.

    It seems that it does. We don't socialize unless we choose to, and if we have something else to do other than socialize, we don't choose it.

    Then that's your fault, not the game's fault.

     

    You can have a fast paced mmo and still choose to spend 90% of your time socializing if you choose to in almost any mmo. It's simply the choice of the more modern themepark mmo players to not spend time socializing. They consider it a 'slow-down' they don't wish to partake in. 

    Exactly. Only it's not "them". It's "us". It's us who don't choose to spend time socializing if we have something else to do. That's exactly my point - in old games we had no choice; now we have, and we have chosen not to socialize.

    And whose fault is that?

     

    Bring back the old school mmos with depth but with modern graphics I always say. We can chat anytime and with anyone who we so choose. The end game rushers and k3wl d00dz will still play their own way.

    What does that "depth" have to do with anything? There was no depth in those old games; I know, I've played them. Certainly no more than in new ones. We simply had no choice. Now we have choice, and you see what we've chosen.

    And isn't it better that people have the ability to choose what they want instead of being forced to do something they don't?  People sit around and talk about the "good old days" when they were forced to do  things they really didn't want to do, yet they pretend they did?  If you want to socialize, do it, but do it because you want to do it, not because the game is so badly written that it forces you to.

    Played: UO, EQ, WoW, DDO, SWG, AO, CoH, EvE, TR, AoC, GW, GA, Aion, Allods, lots more
    Relatively Recently (Re)Played: HL2 (all), Halo (PC, all), Batman:AA; AC, ME, BS, DA, FO3, DS, Doom (all), LFD1&2, KOTOR, Portal 1&2, Blink, Elder Scrolls (all), lots more
    Now Playing: None
    Hope: None

  • nariusseldonnariusseldon santa clara, CAPosts: 22,441Member
    Originally posted by Cephus404

    You can be social any time you want to be, the game doesn't have to force it on  you, you can just stop and be social.  This is such a complete non-issue, it's like saying you don't care enough about being social to stop you from playing the game.

    Make a choice!

    And if people don't want to social, and want to play the game. Let them. What is the problem if players think that playing is more entertaining than socializing?

  • VengeSunsoarVengeSunsoar Posts: 5,316Member Uncommon

    IMO the biggest thing that makes anything social is like-minded individuals, not the only thing but the biggest thing.

    When people have things in common they allready have a bond.

    Best the devs can do to make their games social is target a specific group and tailor the game to that groups preferences. 

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

  • WereLlamaWereLlama Lubbock, TXPosts: 243Member
    Originally posted by Taliara

    I think the drop in MMOs being as social as they were has a lot to do with the way the gaming community has been developing over the past few years. I personally have been put off playing a few MMOs (and other online games) due to the poor/toxic behaviour of said communities.

    I look back at the days of WoW/Runescape where making friends seemed so easy and now I seldom speak to anyone in region chats from fear of someone trying to make a funny/rude comment at your expense for some cheap laughs that I personally just don't have time for anymore.

    In addition I feel that a lot of the newer and highly marketed games attract a lot of the wrong people who stay for a few weeks/months before moving on, where as the quieter and more specialized MMOs tend to have a better community as those players are there for the long run. However, once the "herd" moves on and the "core" remains the community generally tends to become a better place overall, take for example The Secret World, SWTOR and Guild Wars 2 (purely based off my own opinion of course).

    It seems that a lot of developers for MMOs are always trying to hit the big subscriber numbers and ultimately become the next WoW, but many forget that WoW wasn't an overnight success and that the community grew over a period of time. It was during the quieter periods (Vanilla/TBC) that I personally found had the best community and overall better social experience. 

    I think the current types of interactions between players can be changed by adding game features in the game that actually encourages fun interaction.

    Some players want to chase each other and keep away from spectators who they can't attack. Allow them.

    Some players want to roleplay and keep away from those that don't. Allow them.

    Some players want to rescue other players, or capture them.  Let them.

    All of this can be coded into a game.  I think its important we give players the tools to create emergent gameplay which definitely includes emergent player + player interaction (I call P+P).

    -WL

  • nariusseldonnariusseldon santa clara, CAPosts: 22,441Member
    Originally posted by WereLlama
     

    I think the current types of interactions between players can be changed by adding game features in the game that actually encourages fun interaction.

    Some players want to chase each other and keep away from spectators who they can't attack. Allow them.

    Some players want to roleplay and keep away from those that don't. Allow them.

    Some players want to rescue other players, or capture them.  Let them.

    All of this can be coded into a game.  I think its important we give players the tools to create emergent gameplay which definitely includes emergent player + player interaction (I call P+P).

    -WL

    Choices are always good ... except when your choice infringe on some others' choice.

    In your example "Some players want to rescue other players, or capture them.  Let them." .. that only works if it is consensual.

    If i don't want to be captured, don't put me in that position.

  • GrahorGrahor aaaPosts: 828Member
    Originally posted by Foomerang

     

    I think if you give people interesting things to discuss within the context of the game's various systems, then you encourage socialization. In other words; give your community something worth talking about and it'll happen.

     

    *quietly crying* such innocence! Such a precious, beautiful flower... Such a rarity in our cynical times!

  • GrahorGrahor aaaPosts: 828Member
    Originally posted by Cephus404
    Originally posted by Grahor
    Originally posted by zaxtor99

    A game doesn't have to be slow and boring to be social.

    It seems that it does. We don't socialize unless we choose to, and if we have something else to do other than socialize, we don't choose it.

    Then that's your fault, not the game's fault.

    Kind of, that's the point. My point.

  • sirphobossirphobos Ames, IAPosts: 614Member Common

    In my experience with EQ1, a number of things made the game more "social" than any MMORPG I've played since then:

    1. Forced grouping for most classes.  You have to group so it helps to make friends.

    2. Groups last longer than the 30 minutes required to complete a dungeon or do a quest.  Groups can last for hours.

    3. Combat was slower paced which actually gave you the ability to communicate while doing stuff.

    4. No instances.

    5. No cross server.

    6. Most quests can't be soloed which requires and promotes cooperation.

  • GrahorGrahor aaaPosts: 828Member
    Originally posted by nariusseldon

    And if people don't want to social, and want to play the game. Let them. What is the problem if players think that playing is more entertaining than socializing?

    I don't have a problem with that. I'm perfectly content with socialization in modern games. But as I've indicated in my post, many people want to make games more socializing. I'm asking them: how?

  • GrahorGrahor aaaPosts: 828Member
    Originally posted by VengeSunsoar

    Best the devs can do to make their games social is target a specific group and tailor the game to that groups preferences. 

    That's limiting your game to a niche. Hardly a choice for AAA games.

  • WereLlamaWereLlama Lubbock, TXPosts: 243Member
    Originally posted by nariusseldo

    Choices are always good ... except when your choice infringe on some others' choice.

    In your example "Some players want to rescue other players, or capture them.  Let them." .. that only works if it is consensual.

    If i don't want to be captured, don't put me in that position.

    Sure, it would be voluntary.  As in you wanted to play a villain to someone else's hero.

    Also, maybe you were captured by an NPC during Quest X, and another player later on Quest X finds you in a cage and rescues you.   Some might like that, like many females I know.

    My argument is, the whole "Players kinda work together to kill NPCs" has been done.

  • maccarthur2004maccarthur2004 SPosts: 510Member

    A recent thread with the same discussion:

    http://www.mmorpg.com/discussion2.cfm/thread/386546/page/1

    "What we are aiming in ArcheAge is to let the players feel the true fun of MMORPG by forming a community like real life by interacting with other players, whether it be conflict or cooperation." (Jake Song)

    image
  • ArclanArclan Chicago, ILPosts: 1,494Member Uncommon

    This is the second thread I've read that is masquerading one position while promoting another. The OP prefers gameplay that moves quickly which leaves little time for socialization. Why not just say that? Why all the masqueradding about how you used to like socializing but that was only because gameplay sucked.


    Lame.


    What makes humans social is either the opportunity and time, such as down-time, to be social; or the requirement (game-difficulty) to be social. This isn't rocket science. Today's games have neither, and it is no surprise the communities are cesspools.

    Luckily, i don't need you to like me to enjoy video games. -nariusseldon.
    In F2P I think it's more a case of the game's trying to play the player's. -laserit

  • IcewhiteIcewhite Elmhurst, ILPosts: 6,403Member
    Originally posted by apocoluster
    Didn't read the wall of text but I would imagine social people make Mmo's social

    Ding!

    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.

  • mmoguy43mmoguy43 , CAPosts: 2,442Member Uncommon
    I'M TRYING SO HARD TO SOCIALIZE WITH THE FOOTBALL TEAM WHILE THE CROWD IS SCREAMING BUT I JUST CAN'T. THEY MUST BE ANTISOCIAL OR THE GAME IS PREVENTING ME FROM BEING SOCIAL.
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