Similarly, cooperation works better when we do it willingly. Being forced to cooperate makes us aware that we are cooperating which makes us critique cooperation. There is a huge difference between willingly grouping with another player to make my time spent more efficient and effective and being forced to group with another player to produce the same results. As with immersion, we become aware of cooperation as a problem rather than a solution. We use it to further divide us from the ‘baddies’ or the ‘filthy casuals’ or the ‘elitist assholes.’ When forced, cooperation becomes a barrier to community rather than a means to promote it.
C.T Murphy @ http://murfvs.net/2014/02/27/new-mmorpgs-are-complicated-not-complex-and-its-increasingly-problematic/
Wow. I’ve been exchanging some post dialogue with Murf and just when I thought I was done with him forever, he brings me right back in. So where to begin? First off the selected quote was one of the major issues I had with post. Specifically that last line. When forced cooperation becomes a barrier eh? To answer him, the natural feeling in EverQuest of needing a group to accomplish things made perfect sense. We don’t send soldiers off to war without medics and surgeons. Just like EverQuest didn’t expect you to go out into the battlefield by your lonesome. Many would attribute the feeling EverQuest brought out in its players to the fact that players had very real needs in the game to group up with their peers. While some might call that “forced”, I’d call it providing a reason to be social in a massively multiplayer online game.
It’s hard to know exactly what Murphy feels, because to be honest, the talk of complicated systems literally put me to sleep. The science of a game is less important to me then the outcomes. What I know from my experiences in over two dozen MMOs is games last based on a players attachment to other players. Games that last the longest tend to have a meaningful depth to their social interaction structure. In a game like World of Warcraft we have a very real necessity to group up if you want to experience a significant amount of the content in the game. Just like in EverQuest, we too have a very real need (albeit its not spelled out for us in a group finder) to group up with our friends. Neither of these games could really be called out as having “barriers to community” formation. In fact, many attribute the difficulty and grouping necessity as one of the core reasons why the EverQuest community was as strong as it still remains to this day.
The notion that a forced grouping structure forces players to assign a value to a players skill, occurs in any game. Call of Duty is the polar opposite of “community forming gameplay” that I can think of. Yet, players are still called ‘baddies’ and ‘filthy casuals’ (or whatever godforsaken terminology the kiddies are using today). Players aren’t forced to group or even to cooperate in a title like Call of Duty and the same ‘asshole spewing’ behavior occurs. What Murphy has missed is what I call ‘Anonymous Internet Asshole Syndrome’; which is a quick term for any half-wit who discovers he can use bad language and rude behaviors cloaked in the anonymity that the internet provides us all (sort of … Edward Snowden).
More importantly, A.I.A.S. is actually present MORE SO in games without a game provided need for grouping up. In EverQuest, assholes were ostracized and minimized by the community very quickly by merely ignoring them. If you were a dickhead in EQ, you couldn’t find groups. Many a tale could be told of one of these poor reputed characters selling their account merely to get away from a bad reputation. So is there really any hope? Casualisation of MMOs have clearly led to the wrong trend. Even in one of my examples, WoW, the raid-finder and party-finder tools have actually had an inverse affect on community in the game. Is it any surprise that since their introduction players have largely run away from the game? Community has always been a bullet point in modern MMO features list, but its a hollow one when the developers insert systems that run contrary to community creation. Thats an article in itself though….
#mmo #community #anonymousinternetassholesyndrome