Its not often i get to sit down and even less often do I get struck with a sudden epithany … incidently no apples were involved or harmed in this situation. But I do have a funny story about that, but perhaps another time …. anyway where was I, ah yes epthany. It occured to me that there seems to be a trend in my mmo gaming, and one I’m sure you all have experienced. I join a mmo, start out as an individual, progress a little further in to the game and start looking / forming a small social group of freinds to group with. After more time passes I find that I move (re forced) from the small social circle in to a bigger social circle, guilds by the games itself.
“So are we discussing guilds then …. no and yes”
When you look at the current crop of MMO’s out there you will find 85 % if not more are really designed to be geocentric, that is to say you are the center of your gaimng experience, everything revolves around you and for you to experience the game in its entirity you have to join guilds. Ie. the game is dictating how you as an individual have to act to satisfy your want to experience the game.
Where as, and I hate to borrow astronomical phrases, but I have so far so what the hell, the minority of MMO’s are heliocentric games. That is to say the guild you are in revolves around the game concept itself, and through this ‘exploration’ of the game concept you interact, bump into, and effect other social groups with in the game, esssentailly creating your own content in the game through these interactions
“So we talking about raidng vs player created content and not guilds, iam confused …”
Well as a player and an armchair dev I would say that of all the things a game has to have it would be nothing with out a community and to me only one of the two models really has the ability to allow the community to really play with the game itself, be apart of the game and foster community growth, would be the heliocentric model.
Or to put it another way (i here cheering) when i play wow i play as an individual and one that is forced by the game itself to join a guild to expereince the game in its enitirty, where as if i play Eve I play as part of a corp to explore the game and end up creating content myself through the actions of the corp, which in itself fosters a community experience and helps further to build a community.
“So what is your point …”
Well if community is the driving force behind any mmo success, why do designers follow a geocentric path ? Is a large disgruntled community better business than a smaller happier community, more people = more money? Just look at the wow forums … or is it, we as players are happier / conditioned to play on rails as opposed to the more free form community centric model ? …. who knows but it is fun to speculate and a tough to be a community manger