Why build mechanics to affect everyone and not just the single?

Follow-up to a previous disquisition. Bringing it to more general terms. I was also thinking about building a page with the most brilliant quotes from blogs and forums, considering how I always need to spend time to track the old links and how I keep reusing wonderfully written (by others, like this one from Lum) passages.

Look, my point is rather simple. This is a wonderful piece from Lum that I already discussed here among many other occasions:

And now we come back to MMOs, where their particular form of pattern involves other people being involved. If you ask any dozen MMO enthusiasts which MMO they prefer the most (or, depending on how jaded, despise the least) and you will get a dozen different answers. Because the dirty little secret that designers don’t want to admit is that the actual game is completely irrelevant! No one cares, really, how well the pattern is crafted. Because what brings people back to MMOs isn’t the game, but the people within. No computer can come up with AI unpredictable enough to emulate your average bazaar shopper. Which is why, if you ask those dozen people which MMO they prefer, you get a dozen different answers. Because it’s where they are from.

So what does all this have to do with anything? Well, reading the links I started with, I read a great deal about the minutae of design theory. Gamers want their games to be hard! No, they want them to be easier! More casual friendly! More aimed at the core!

No, gamers are going to be bored. Because these things run on computers, and no matter how many pixels you cram into the pixel people, they’re still just pixels. Now, the community behind the games – they’re not quite as pixilated. And maybe perhaps that’s where we should be focusing.

I believe we can ALL agree that these games are more about the community than the content itself. The content is just an excuse, an hook so we can play together and have fun together.

It’s the accomplishment as a group that makes these games successful and not the solo quest you take from an NPC, go kill 10 mobs and come back for your sword+1. Then rinse and repeat.

So the point is: how can we focus the development on what matters and *support* the community so that it becomes the *center* of the game?

This is the reason why the mechanics should be aware that a guild exists and should involve it directly with dedicated content that is truly communal. I say this because I believe it’s the BEST way to support the community and let it thrive in a positive way. My idea is just an attempt to give the community more tools to have impact on the gameplay and make each member more involved into something that affects everyone and not just the single.

Why build mechanics to affect everyone and not just the single? Because if we agree that the community is what drives these game further and in the long term, we also agree that the game should put that community at the center and focus on it.

I don’t believe that WoW is an horrible game to trash and forget. But I do believe that on this aspect it is weak and lacking. So it’s a part of the game that has still a huge potential completely untapped.

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