Thursday, April 3, 2008

Community: Social Design in Online Games

I just read this pretty interesting piece on social behavior in online games and how it can be controlled. There is a bit of bad language in there, but it's well worth the read. The guy in question had his hand in modifying some of Shadowrun's systems to lessen possibilities for grieving. Some of these methods involved how players are kicked from parties as well as how credit for kills is distributed. The former more than the latter seems to still be a bit of an issue with some PSU players.

The real issue at hand is how the current state of some games (think more FPSes rather than RPGs) is negatively affecting sales and the online play of the majority of potential customers. This is of course attributed to the way a more hardcore gamer may treat a more casual gamer. He gives some interesting examples on how you can modify a person's behavior just by tweaking their perspective a bit.

If we're going to try and get more people into the game, it may be futile if we don't first look at trying to change the way a certain small group of players act as well as attempting to change the play styles of the community at large (i.e. more group play as opposed to solo/friends only). Of course, these things can only happen in a certain order for some, so there's sure to be some difficulty involved. The best way to go about this might be even transparently to most. Mega community help plans and such are often put down and I've generally seen them faulter. Ideally you want to find a way to get people to realize things for themselves and have them bring out the best in each other.

Gamasutra Article

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