This is a spin-off to the previous article I pasted on the forum.
PvP builds community.
It’s not just that. The PvE how is structured in WoW helps to build the social aspect a lot. The level differences produce smaller groups of players sharing a location (zone) and a problem (quest). So you can meet in places and group with other players because you share the goal.
Open ended games like UO, SWG and Eve-Online don’t have the focus of WoW. It’s harder to find a common shared purpose and it’s harder to get together.
As I wrote many times those games are designed for the socialization. But socialization in groups that existed before the game itself. It’s not easy to play together with peoples that you haven’t met before.
And this is something that WoW does very well.
Raph commented that this type of socialization is about “weak-ties”, because you can meet, group for a few minutes, reach the goal and disband. This is true but I strongly disagree with his conclusion.
It isn’t the game to transform a weak-tie in a strong-tie. That’s something that is about the player and his choice. It’s not something that needs to be designed. So the result is that WoW “does it right”. It makes creating the “weak-ties” easy and common. Peoples don’t glare at you if you offer your help or ask to group. Then it’s up to you (if you want) to transform those weak-ties into something more stable.
The point is that there’s an even better way to deal with all this. The design actually can improve over WoW’s model but without forcing the socialization by exploiting gameplay limits (like SWG). And this (better) model is about creating goals that are shared between different players.
My idea is to detach the goal from the character. In WoW the goal is in common because you have groups of players about the same level that need to gain experience. I want to bring the achievement *outside* the character and into the world. A good and deep PvP system does this when you don’t kill opponents for Realm Points, but you do that to build a domain, defend your territory, gain control. On a level trascending your single character.
Yes, this builds ties. And it’s the better you can aspire to reach and develop. It has breadth. But an healthy type of breadth that doesn’t mess or loose the other important elements.
In the past I strogly criticized how Raph defines the “socialization”:
Civilization exists for egoistic goals.
For him you’ll socialize only when you are forced in a dependence. So you want to be a crafter but you’ll need to socialize and get your tools from other players, or you won’t go anywhere.
This is *horrible*, imho. An horrible model and ideal of “civilization” and cold and boring to play.
This is what I answered:
This because you didn’t get the real difference between my idea and those you list.
EQ raids are communal goals but to reach egocentric purposes (loot). Perhaps there are a lot of players doing that just because it’s cool but the mechanic of the loot is still *strongly* deep-rooted in a personal-only purpose. THIS is what I criticize: this isn’t a real communal goal. This is an egoistic goal with a COMMUNAL PROCESS.
What I imagined is a game with communal goals and communal/singular processes. In my example of “building a town” the goal is obviously communal. The process may vary because if “wood” is a requirement a single player could go alone to gather it.
You see? EQ raids are egoistic goals and communal processes.
What I suggest is communal goals and processes that may be both communal and singular.
It’s the exact opposite.
About the rest:
– Guilds aren’t purposes, they are structures needing “content”. I don’t fit them as a communal goal easily
– Business is the exact example I criticized. The fact that you need to depend on others only fakes this communal aspect. The world is kept together on forced restrictions. It’s not “healthily” commonal, it’s a dependence process that you have to suffer to go anywhere. The goal is still completely egoistic but you are forced to interact to reach it. I consider this plainly wrong and negative.
About the title of the thread we go off topic, it isn’t about games and I’ll write about it soon (perhaps).