Tobold's Blog
Thursday, February 17, 2011
 
A game of consequences

So we've been discussing this week the advantages and disadvantages of games either being hard/tedious or easy/convenient. And Hirvox is asking a good question: "To be more generic, do you think that it's even possible to have a good community in a MMO without the "tedious hardship"? And if not, can we at least disentangle hardship from tediousness?"

What I think is that it is impossible to have a good community, both in terms of people treating each other with a minimum of respect, and in terms of people at least trying to play reasonably well, if your actions in the game do not have significant consequences.

While some people some of the time will be nice to each other just because they can, and try to play well, just because that is the game, it is utopian to believe that all the players all of the time will naturally behave that way. So why do veterans remember people in Everquest being generally more cooperative and better players than in World of Warcraft? Because in Everquest the harsh game would just smack you down if you weren't. Play badly in EQ, and you lose levels. Get a reputation for playing badly or being a jerk, and you'll end up on a "black list" of people not to invite into a group, and you can't progress any more. Because the game *requires* people to cooperate and play reasonably well to advance at all, the people not able to do so are quickly weeded out. And yes, that involves hard punishment by the game, and that will be perceived as being "tedious hardship" by those who fail to live up to the standards.

In World of Warcraft on the other side, your actions don't matter. As I was trying to explain earlier, people don't stand in the fire because they are intellectually incapable of getting out of it, but because they simply don't care. There are no negative consequences of your actions. Repair cost are a joke, there is no xp loss, and the huge number of players combined with the option of changing your name and/or server means you can't be blacklisted. Especially as a DPS class, where there are always at least two other players fulfilling the same role as you in the group, you might even get away with playing horribly, standing in the fire, and *still* end up with a justice point reward for killing the boss. You can behave like a terrible jerk to other players, and make inane "anal" jokes in trade chat, and there simply are no negative consequences. It is a fool's paradise. And yet that sort of game is also extremely convenient. As there is no risk, no consequences, you can play how ever you want. Fishing in Northrend at level 7? Can be done! Leveling a gnome without ever killing a mob? Why not? Raiding undergeared? Nothing there to stop you.

In a game with no consequences, there simply is no right or wrong way to play the game. I *know* why I play World of Warcraft instead of Everquest: I am looking for a fun and relaxing game for the evening, and not for a huge responsability and a second job. And as long as you aware which game is which, any choice is valid.

But what you can't do is have the best of both worlds. If you find Everquest too tedious and hard, and do not want to have negative consequences for your actions, then you must live with everybody else also not suffering these consequences. Whatever insult you use to describe them, the guys standing in the fire made exactly the same choice as you did with exactly the same justification. The convenience of jumping in and out the game, a guild, or a group at any time with no consequences cannot be separated from the "the quality of the community". If you want certain standards of behavior, or a certain minimum level of efficiency, you need to accept the "tedious hardship" of being punished for not meeting those standards. Either there are consequences for everybody, or for nobody. You can't have a game where you have complete freedom, but everybody else has to do as you want.
Comments:
I think the community in LotRO shows that there is perhaps more to it than simply the lack of 'hardship'. In fact it's an interesting case study, because the pleasant community there seems to have declined since the game went F2P. Perhaps this suggests it is more to do with population size?
 
and so Tobold articulates a new version of GIFT, with which i fully concur: the fewer the consequences, the greater the freedom of action.

population size is just another hardship: i've played lots of small population MMOs (and am a LOTRO lifer and daily player), and the lower the population, the more you rely on other people for *something* - the trade you haven't got yet, the rare item you want and can't get, the instance you need to find a group for.

i play on EU-Gilrain, which for a very long time was the smallest server around (now, the biggest english-language server on either side of the pond) and life on Gilrain meant being nice: if you pissed ppl off, there'd be no-one to group with when you needed it. i know of several people who have either transferred server or find themselves kin-less and unable to progress at the end-game because their behaviour has pissed off enough people to have in-game consequences.

quite possibly, from a WoW point of view, LFD really *is* the problem that some people think it is: by making cross-server grouping so easy, not only have Blizz expanded the population, thus allowing more GIFT-like behaviour (more people you have to annoy before your actions have consequences) but they've also indicated that there *are* no consequences - grouping with people from another server, what does it matter if you piss them off? they want to finish the instance too, so they'll carry you whether they want to or not (if they can't kick you).

but both Penny Arcade and Tobold are correct: the easier it is for people to act like wankers, the greater proportion of people who WILL.
 
You can't have a game where you have complete freedom, but everybody else has to do as you want.

Unless you write one yourself :) But then it's possible that everybody = NULL.
 
Perhaps you could do a reversal of the WoW difficulty curve. Instead of 200 hours of super easy leveling to get to the cap, make it 200 hours of super tedious, super harsh, EQ-style grouping only. After you have "passed the test," the game opens up more play styles.
 
I don't even remotely believe for a second that the community was any better.

I've not played EQ, but I've had my share of MUDs, some with harsher penalties (permadeath) than just "losing a level". The community has always been the same: there are good people and there are assholes. I haven't seen it change whatever the difficulty of the game.

If WoW "looks worse", it's because most people have played it and seen with their own eyes, while for other games they rely on "rose-tinted" filtered blog posts. Also, WoW has a lot of players: if you selectively remember then it's easy to see what you want.

On progression: if you count normal mode dungeons "progression", then anyone can progress. For HM raids, you have the same rules as in "hard" games: don't think you'll get invited a second time if you mess up, the guild you have applied to will nicely close your application, leaving you back to your normal mode dungeons.

Overall, what I get from this discussion is old-timers reminiscing about great and wonderful games that they won't play anymore and complaining about new games that they don't play.

Or, to put it more harshly: in the old games they could spend their life ingame and feel superior, now in order to be ahead they would be forced to actually BE GOOD, so instead of playing they whine and cry.
 
'there are good people and there are assholes'

Well - that is the underlying definition of the word 'community': the existence of both, and the ability to recognise and act on the difference.

The point about WoW (outside raiding, which is pretty much EQ1.5) is that you have neither good people nor assholes, just strangers rarely met twice.
 
It is simply a reflection of society. Today there is only tje shallow community where the Ego goes first.
It is everywhere. Have a job longer than 5 years, you are an old fart. Stuck with the same telcom provider for more than 1 yeat, you are insane. What are the great communities all about (facebook, twitter, zynga games) ? How awesome you are!
Penalties? Could work 10 years, now they will move to a game without penalties
 
for some of them it is too hard. (a very small minority i think). soem of them have nevre learned the content. And some of them are 8 years old.

Some of them are parents trying ot watch theirh baby while playing, some of them are teenager flirting and playin their own game while playing. Someof them are checking email and talking to 20 people in game while playing.

NO easy tag for bad people or players.

Its a shame they offered server transfers. there was some communty built when the only way off was to reroll.
 
I see everyone would like a player to treat the game like 'The Game', not just 'a game', and be serious about playing. Unfortunately, this won't happen, as there are too many games and too much freedom. Nobody cares for anything anymore. Things are less important, and this is in games as in life. What Mafti said - globalization and capitalism make people care less for other people and teach, that 'I' and my needs come first. If I piss someone off I can just move to another part of the world, get a new job and start over again. Quite easily compared to 20 years ago. It's even worse in games due to lack of consequences.

Tobold writes of respect and responsiblities for other players, but seriously - today's human (and player) is simply less altruistic and attached to both people and games. Hardly anyone bielieves in things sacred, there is no rule that cannot be broken and so on. People don't care. The older players whine for a reason, today is worse, because the devaluation does affect the game design as well as players and the games are designed enforcing lack of respect and care from the players.

I am aware that the above was quite a whiny post, but these are what I bielieve to be true.
 
As I said yesterday, there can be a happy medium between a game being WoW-EQ hardness. I like the fact that many of the mobs got a little harder in LotRO. You may have killed an on-level mob rather quickly with very little damage taken at level 20, but it might take you longer to kill a mob on-level at 50 or 60. It would be almost unheard of for a full group to wipe on content 10+ levels below them in WoW, but I've experienced this in LotRO. And I enjoy the game.

Another example would be DCUO. You don't need to group for anything to level. Even for bounty kills, if you get enough damage on the mob, you get credit regardless of if you are grouped. I've seen more people ninja-npc and quest objects and even had someone in the same guild doing this to me(yes, I quit that one).

Maybe this is why the LotRO community was annoyed they made all of the first book soloable. If group content can be used as a means of screening your fellow players and their attitudes, Turbine removed this ability.
 
So what happened to EQ and it's much vaunted 'community'?

EQ was the epitome of hard. That did not stop its 'community' from abandoning it as soon as the relatively non-hard WoW came along.

I played EQ for 5 years. About 250 days played. Second tier raider for most of that time. Was pretty well involved in the 'community' - participating in and reading many of the EQ-centric boards and websites on a regular basis.

As far as I was concerned, EQ's 'community' was the relatively small group of people in the top guilds on the servers. The vocal minority. THOSE people had a strong community. THOSE people loved the game. They treated EACH OTHER with respect, and looked down on everyone else.

I complained about the fact that the opinion of the average player was being mis-represented often on the various EQ message boards, and John Smedly himself poo-pooed the notion in a reply to one of my posts. (Shortly before that blackout where the devs and producers simply stopped talking to everyone about anything.)

The great majority of the rest of player base, the silent majority, was simply not heard from, and were ignored. They were the players I talked to every day in game. And they were not happy - the game was too hard for the average player have fun.

The silent majority left the game, abandoned that great 'community', the second WoW came out.

And, of course, the vocal minority is at it again in WoW.

A game of consequences does NOT build a great community on its own. If that were the case, EQ would still be going strong. (Watch how fast the new servers bleed players when reality hits them.)
 
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tonyp51 said...
"A game of consequences does NOT build a great community on its own. If that were the case, EQ would still be going strong."

Great community and big community are not the same thing. People left EQ because WoW was offering a better game. They didn't "abandon EQ", they picked up their community and brought it with. I remember that community from my early days in WoW, when there were a whole lot of former EQ people around.
 
EQ had 2 communities, the one inside the game and the one outside the game. Tobold is primarily talking about the one INSIDE the game here. You recognized the same people day in and day out. Your reputation on your server mattered. Forums weren’t widely utilized yet and as said before voice chat didn’t exist yet. (We eventually got Roger Wilco but that was sometime in SoL)

People left EQ because they were tired of it and wanted to try something new. Guess what, people leave WoW every couple months when a new MMO comes out. Nothing has changed there, the only difference is WoW was good enough and our expectations low enough back then that we accepted bugs and a lack of polish. Today that isn’t the case, we demand a perfect MMO at launch.

EQ didn’t have a great community JUST because it was hard. Look at the people who were playing MMOs back in 1999. It was a very different type of person than what you find in WoW. Most had been hardcore nerds their whole life, coming from D&D and MUDs. Most more middle aged men and women, very few kids played. These people wanted to be a part of a world, not just play a game. Yes the fact that it was difficult weeded out the bad players. However the small community and the types of players that were attracted to EQ were also huge factors.

@Helistar
I wasn’t very active in the MUD community so I won’t pretend to know what they were like. I would hope you could show the same respect to the past EQ community and not assume something about us when you were never a part of it.
 
EQ had 2 communities, the one inside the game and the one outside the game. Tobold is primarily talking about the one INSIDE the game here. You recognized the same people day in and day out. Your reputation on your server mattered. Forums weren’t widely utilized yet and as said before voice chat didn’t exist yet. (We eventually got Roger Wilco but that was sometime in SoL)

People left EQ because they were tired of it and wanted to try something new. Guess what, people leave WoW every couple months when a new MMO comes out. Nothing has changed there, the only difference is WoW was good enough and our expectations low enough back then that we accepted bugs and a lack of polish. Today that isn’t the case, we demand a perfect MMO at launch.

EQ didn’t have a great community JUST because it was hard. Look at the people who were playing MMOs back in 1999. It was a very different type of person than what you find in WoW. Most had been hardcore nerds their whole life, coming from D&D and MUDs. Most more middle aged men and women, very few kids played. These people wanted to be a part of a world, not just play a game. Yes the fact that it was difficult weeded out the bad players. However the small community and the types of players that were attracted to EQ were also huge factors.

@Helistar
I wasn’t very active in the MUD community so I won’t pretend to know what they were like. I would hope you could show the same respect to the past EQ community and not assume something about us when you were never a part of it.
 
Tobold said " If you want certain standards of behavior, or a certain minimum level of efficiency, you need to accept the "tedious hardship" of being punished for not meeting those standards. Either there are consequences for everybody, or for nobody. You can't have a game where you have complete freedom, but everybody else has to do as you want."

I disagree. Better game play and game design can over these obstacles. It has yet to be done.

Punishing players for (human) misbehaving and theme park MMO design are dieing a slow death.

Game developers (Blizzard) beating you over the head isn't the only solution.
 
@Dink
I don't think it's fair to say you disagree and cite that better game play and design simply haven't been done yet as your justification without giving examples. I agree, better game play is possible, but unless you can come up with a few ideas of HOW I think it makes for a pretty weak base to stand on.

Also where is the proof that Theme Park MMOs are dying? While I agree there seems to be a lack of punishment in MMOs it seems that Theme Park MMOs are still going strong.
 
This is coming at the issue from the wrong direction, imo. You're essentially suggesting that good community comes from being able to punish people for bad behavior, being able to hurt people for hurting others.

That's too ruthless and painful for a leisure activity. To get a better community, remove the ability of players to grief each other. If people aren't afraid of or annoyed by each other, there are more possibilities for positive interaction.

One failure of mmo's is that too often we're made to compete with each other for enjoyment. For example, why on earth do we still have to divide up loot? Why not simply give each player a random drop from the loot table. We'd still gear up at the same rate, as most of the time you'd get an item you aren't interested in. It would still take X amount of runs to get a high probability to get your item. The difference is that you'll never feel like you didn't get something because someone else took it.

Why do people have to compete for herbs/veins, instead of having an archaeology-type system that gives you an intended herbs per time? Why do people have to compete for mob tags instead of phasing camps so that people not in your party won't get in your way?

When you see another player and you don't have to worry about what that player is going to do that might make you unhappy, then there will be an opportunity for a good community.
 
@Epiny: I was not targeting the EQ people, but a specific type of players, which is found everywhere. It's the same people saying that "Wow is going downhill, now it's not like in vanilla where epic meant something, now it's too easy"... said while chain-wiping on the 2nd boss of an instance.....
 
@Michael
Everyone gets Justice points already from instances. What you are suggesting isn't much different. It still doesn't encourage someone to move out of the fire or try harder.

As for the Herb/Ore idea that would hurt the economy, supply and demand my friend.

@Hellistar
I'm sort of lost as to what your point is. Did we have crappy people in EQ communities 10 years ago? Yea. However we were able to regulate them through black listing. WoW has the same crappy people but no means to control them.
 
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Tobold has hit on something big here. The way a game is designed IMPOSES a relative self-regulation on the player.

In other words, you don't guild hop or stand in fire or act like an a--hole in a game like EQ because you wouldn't last long and wouldn't progress. I'm sure there are other game designs that also force choices on players.

Obviously, WoW has these choices too. For example, you can't clear a 5-man dungeon without at least one more person (and typically--at least in heroics--they are tuned to require at least 4). The major problem I can see with WoW's community is that you have a bunch of leftover WotLK-esque players that *could* stand in fire and *could* act like an a--hole and *could* guild hop for any imagined slight. These players are left-over remnants of a relatively "easy" game. Now, faced with significant challenges , Cataclysm baddies are unable to perform at the requisite level for many dungeons (much less raids), all the while thinking it should be handed to them on a silver platter because the significant challenges are not met with significant risk, as Tobold so aptly put it.
 
In any case, the EQ server that has just opened is already filled to capacity and they are having to open another. I'd say that is a success on it's own since the demand outstripped the supply almost immediately.

I'm not sure why it matters in the end if people want to play this way or not? Why is it even a point of argument. Not everyone likes bleu cheese on their steaks (or at all for that matter). Does that mean that bleu cheese sucks? Or doesn't it just mean we all like different things?
 
"If you want certain standards of behavior, or a certain minimum level of efficiency, you need to accept the "tedious hardship" of being punished for not meeting those standards. Either there are consequences for everybody, or for nobody. You can't have a game where you have complete freedom, but everybody else has to do as you want."

I don't think so.
I'd propose the following changes to WoW:
- No more X-Server-LFGs, only LFG-Tool for your own Server
- Unlimited Ignore List
- Ignore a player and the whole account gets ignored
- Any player that is on a huge number of ignore lists gets screened by GMs and might get banned

That should do the trick..
The interesting thing is just: Would the game just lose assholes or would it retain more good players because of better community? I suspect the latter..
 
@Me
SOE also gave a free trial to anyone who had an expired account. If we are going to gauge success let's wait until people have to pay.

@Kiseran
Decent ideas. Name changes and server transfer still allow people to "flee" their reputation. I like the idea of ignore's applying to an entire account. To follow that up why not have everyone be listed by a unique aster account name (not their login one). That way even if someone name changes the rest of the server can know it was X guy who ninja'd or whatever.

In a way Blizzard's real id on the forums was on to something. They wanted to remove anonymity from their game. The idea is still valid, just allow us to pick our online name and have that stick with us. You essentially reach the same goal without affecting anyone’s reputation in the real world… and regardless of how big of a tool someone may act online I don’t want their real life to suffer for it.
 
I'm going to take it another way. I didn't play EQ but did play DAoC, but was kinda a middle group to WoW. You could lose hours of exp on a death but could not delevel or lose your gear. But gear did degrade and eventually would become unrepairable.

Anyway, I blame: Too much information, groups of limited size.

Limited groups sizes and instances force WoW players to pick and choose whom comes and who doesn’t. This cause the player base to be separate by skill level. You can only take 25 to a raid, you don’t want to bring a 5kdps. In DAoC I think a group was 6 people, but there were no raids. Players made there own raids. If you want to raid a boss with 20 people that was fine. If you wanted to bring 100 that was fine. So, you didn’t have to worry about filtering. Anyone can come. It was common to see a guild host a raid and invite anyone that wants to come to show up at a certain time.

Too much information. There weren’t really any spell rotations or talk of such in DAoC. There were no damage meters or add-ons. I once was a mending shaman and cast renew on someone in DAoC and they were “What the heck did you cast on me” Spell lists weren’t even available on the web for a long time. You pretty much had no idea what spells did unless you were that class. So you really couldn’t tell another player they were doing something wrong.

DAoC was also a PvP game with three factions so most factions felt united against the others. Also, in PvP even a horrible player was still a target (once again not size limits).

So being able to determine what “wrong is” and only having a limited number of slots in groups, cause the WoW population to separate based on skill and thus creates many “Us and Them,” which destroys the community.
 
I wonder, how bad is the WoW community in your eyes? I personally rarely interact with others outside of my guild, but each and every guild I've been in (about 1 guild per expansion) has been pretty good.

Then again, I've always been in pretty serious raiding guilds. So I suppose that speaks as well to Tobold's main point: you can't have a respectful community without consequences.

I don't know, however, if you can do it by game design alone. I mean, I don't think making a game hard will result in better players. Take a lot of competitive team games like HoN, DoTA, even L4D. People will lambast you for not knowing enough or not being good enough, and I think it actually even increases the amount of bad social actions that we are looking to reduce. This is because there actually exists such a thing as "bad", and having someone "bad" on your team negatively affects you, possibly to the point of rage and anger.

I don't think that game design can necessarily foster a respectful community. I think only a close tight-knit community with social consequences can do that. I think WoW, pre-server transfers, pre-name changes, and pre-cross server battlefields/dungeon finder, did a pretty good job of it.

But then again, I don't know how scary it is out there today since I rarely venture out there anymore, so I can't really compare then and now.
 
There's certainly some truth to the fact that hardships bring people together. Having to emotionally connect to people to further mutual survival. Whether it's an mmo or a natural disaster.

At the same time, in a system that's inherently impersonal: afford people lack of social consequences for behaviour and more will behave "badly". Dating sites suffer the same problem.

MMOs have the additional problem of lack of social consequences and public behaviours. Which is how riots start in real life.

You can't have a riot in an MMO but undesirable behaviours seeming the norm will cause even more people to do them.

I don't think companies have yet wised up to the fact that MMOs have their own distinct form of "crowd psychology". What people want and what's good for them aren't necessarily the same things.
 
I forgot to add: another clear example of why people shouldn't be allowed too much "freedom" is the story in the news of a website called littlegossip.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1353513/Little-Gossip-website-Pupils-defy-ban-site-spread-rumours.html
 
Harder = better community is so wrong. Look at DotA/HoN/LoL communities where the game is quite competitive and a single bad player can ruin the game for your whole team. Definitely one of the worst communities out there.

Then look at Arena players in WoW for example, the community there is terrible in general. The average PvP'er is far more likely to trash your for your skills than the average person out there, since the Arena gameplay is extremely unforgiving for any mistakes you make.

Only way to "encourage" some semblance of a community would be to force people to tolerate each other for an extended amount of time, e.g. raiding guilds, or server community without any name changes/faction change/xfers/etc. Basically, meaning whatever you do actually has social consequences.

But as soon as you add in those services, and people can retain anonymity again and the general community will disintegrate, since there are no permanent consequences for poor behaviour.
 
"Either there are consequences for everybody, or for nobody. You can't have a game where you have complete freedom, but everybody else has to do as you want."

*hides from impending internet rage*
 
Everquest's approach to consequences is inherently pessimistic: You are guilty until proven innocent by your ability to befriend people.

With the larger ignore lists and the ignore-by-account features suggested here, it should be possible to reverse that equation: You have access to the full battlegroup community via the LFG tool until you piss them off. Personally, I'd add sharable friends/ignore lists or some type of player-towards-player reputation inheritance to the mix. And because the community size is rather large, it's difficult if not impossible for a single entity to game the reputation.
 
@Epiny: Got rushed while writing that post, so some of my ideas got missing ;)
I'd like to add:
- No server transfers
- Absolutely no name changes (Do those get used for ANYTHING other than escaping consequences?)
- Slowing down leveling instances a bit

About the last thing: In my experience, as soon as things get a bit slower people start talking to each other again. That already worked somewhat fine in todays heroics (not sure if that still applys). Leveling instances don't need to be harder, something artificial that forces them to take a break now and then works fine too.
 
a lot of what you're saying makes sense tobald, what you are ignoring is the fact that WoW used to be "semi-harsh" aswell. You needed to do hc dungeons in order to progress, you could only get into those following a long grind, and you only had /trade to form groups. If you sucked / were bad etc. you were excluded just the same. WoW has moved away from that since wrath, and is moving away from that further. I made the choice to play wow based on the landscape and the lower system demands for it compared to alternatives. The community was fine in those days. All the casual players that didn't want to spend too much time on the game, couldn't be bothered reading up tactics would be filtered out in the higher tier content. Simply because of the effort involved to get acces to it. With no more rep grinding to unlock dungeons. And now with Cata and lfd not even having to bother discovering the dungeon at all to enter it. ANY effort required to enter such a group is removed. That is NOT the game i chose to play. And stating that i should just accept mister "don't stand in the fire? CBA !" from an lfd group to be able to join with me is quite bold indeed.

I have other options to group, and that behaviour leads to me not queing in lfd. On the other hand you claim in other posts that it is my social responsibility to que being a healer, to help speed up the que's.
I think its the social responsibility of any player to put in his best effort when he groups up with other players. The game might not punish me for failing, but its a lot of wasted time, and that is still a cost. Next to that i don't enjoy wiping for no reason so that time is not only wasted its spent wrongly double as it wasn't an enjoyable experience.

Being casual and not reading up on tactics or EJ is not an issue at all here, but failing to bring mana drinks, not using buff foods when you're lowest performing in a group. Standing in fire because moving out of it is too much of a hassle, these are all things that strain the resources on other players. Its the social responsibility of everyone in a group to make the experience as smooth and painless as possible, failure to do so should exclude you from that content.

For me that means i can't force anyone to read up everything about their spec & class. For someone else that means he has to be aware of his spellbook at least. And applied some logic to what he's doing spec wise and rotation wise.

Just as i won't roll on a +hit itemn when it drops unless no dps needs it, they should not be rolling on an item with 225 spirit on it. even though it might mean 5 more intellect then their current gear.

Avoiding damage is a requirement for a dd player. Just as healing them is a requirement for me. Technically i'm only there to heal the tank and unavoidable damage from aura's on the group. Any excess damage a dps takes is because of his own failure to move out of stuff, throttle his aggro, or basically just play as he should. If a dd can stand in the fire for as much as he likes is it then ok for me not to heal them at all anymore? After all, thats the same logic applied.
 
@Epiny: If AoC or WoW offered me a free month to go back, I would likely ignore it. The fact that so many people were willing to go back means that they didn't mind the penaltys and difficulties, which is what has sparked this entire debate! Whether this is long-term success or not isn't for you or even me to decide. but in the short-term, yes, it is a success.
 
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@William
You are completely missing a HUGE factor in this discussion; accountability. Have you been ignoring the discussions about black listing people? If you sucks, you get a bad reputation and no one will group with you. In EQ you were never FORCED to group with any specific person. You had the ability to pick and choose. Furthermore if someone became too big of an elitist asshole the community could regulate it’s self. They would black list that person.

Guild reputation mattered in EQ. If someone in your guild was an asshole, trained, ninja looted then your entire guild would get black listed. The community enforced strict social rules on its self. Games like LoL/DoTa/HoN don’t offer the community this kind of control. EQ had a good community because it was hard AND the community could punish you for being bad or an ass.

@Me
I don't want to say it isn't a success but I still think it's too early to start patting SOE on the back. If AoC offered me a free trial I would probably go back, simply to see how the game changed.
 
What gevlon says here is quite true. Even in WoW there are consequences. But what Gevlon seems ot to comrehend is the difference between consequences in EQ and WoW. In EQ the effect of your bad play was punished by the game itself, while in WoW the consequences Gevlon describes come solely from other players.

@Gevlon - figure out how this affects the community.
 
Bezier—
"In EQ the effect of your bad play was punished by the game itself, while in WoW the consequences Gevlon describes come solely from other players."

In WotLK, there were little or no consequences for being a bad player, because the content that people chose to do (because it gave 'current' rewards) was easy enough to be facerolled even with bad players, and the effort to separate all but the most egregious cases of incompetence were not an efficient use of a raid leader or group's time.

Currently in Cata, the penalty from the game for bad play is failure to complete content, and the community attitudes have only arisen as a response to that consequence encoded into the game. The difference between current WoW and original (or progression-server) EQ is that in WoW, there is little or no way for these consequences to be reflected in the character to be evaluated by other players, while in EQ (maybe due to progressively increasing time needed to recover EXP from a death at higher levels, or maybe the effect of the community in grouping) bad play prevented someone from being present in a huge range of upper levels for characters, and for an extended amount of time. You could maybe say that anyone higher than a certain level X during the first Y years of EQ was equivalent to someone with any Heroic mode raid gear in WoW for the first Z months after the start of a new expansion.


Anyyyway that's not why I'm commenting.

From original article—
"If you find Everquest too tedious and hard, and do not want to have negative consequences for your actions, then you must live with everybody else also not suffering these consequences."

Anecdotal evidence suggests that the reason more people play WoW than Everquest right now is that WoW is more polished, both graphically and game mechanics or other elements that are seen as more attractive in WoW; not because WoW is any 'easier' than EQ. (Anecdotal evidence = no one asked me to play EQ, the way they asked me to play WoW)

For those who want a game with "a good community" as defined in the original post, simply introducing "hard punishment by the game" is asking the wrong question. Being hit by a 'train' of mobs in EQ and incurring EXP loss and laborious recovery of gear had nothing to do with the skill of the player, only whether one was willing to do whatever actions necessary to avoid that side effect of game mechanics once they became aware of it.

The only question you need to ask is how to encourage behavior that leads to a good community and good players to stay, which is entirely one of attitude and goals. As Tobold mentioned in a previous post, the easiest way to do this is to identify the motivations for playing of both the perceived good, and bad elements of a community of players surrounding a game. Which is entirely separate from in-game performance.

As mentioned on another site: according to recent polls on the WoW forums, the proportion of players who dislike PvP in EU and NA regions varies between 6~13%. Is PvP . . . "hard"?
 
This comment has been removed by the author.
 
I'm doing my anthropology PhD on WoW and this is an issue I've spent quite a bit of time looking at, largely because as a player negative PUG experiences are something I've encountered a lot of.

My current theory is that because WoW is fairly easy, by which I mean that it's easy to get rewards, it's a relatively easy for a player to feel good about themselves. But this whole premise is challenged if everyone in the game can get the same rewards just as easily so players have looked for another way to demonstrate superiority - by assuming that most other players are bad players and acting on that assumption in PUGs by being assholes - whether that's being offenseive - pointing out what other players errors, often snarkily or by slacking.

I don't think it's necessarily that there aren't consequences, it's just that those consequences don't affect the gameplay as they should. Wasted time is a consequence of leaving prematurely, but it's obviously perceived by many players as the less painful option than a seemingly dubious PUG.But this doesn't penalise anti-social play, it almost encourages it.

One option would be a feature that rated players in PUGs (players, not characters) so that repeatedly badly rated players would struggle to get into groups. But I have no doubt that it would end up being abused!
 
@Epiny

Uh.. you completely missed half my post, because that's exactly what I said....... Nice one.
 
@ Nick - Anthro opinion desired!

Ok so here is my soapbox opinion on current player behavior.

Wow with Cata is a game of end game scarcity. That is 340+ (heroic) gear is way harder to get than in Wrath.

This spawns a "survival" mentality in players where "only the strong survive and weak noobs are punished". So the crucible of "hard" content breeds an elite "Illusion of Superiority" where the better geared player gets ego status boosts.

But once such gear is gained the chosen few want to keep the status as long as possible. This keeping up with the Jones' issue is turned on it's ear when the Jones DON'T want to be caught up with. ( so in essence they self select other elites to join them in LFD with zero patience for the weaker player)

Add to this the PVP aspect of actually being able to stomp lesser geared people FOR MORE rewards all leads to one behavior.

The more established, geared, guilded playerbase preying on the weak.

Blizzard has designed a nice little "Lord of the Flies" game where there is no incentive to help anyone but people who can help you prey on the weak.

This is why the wow community stinks right now. Blizzard wanted to make things "harder" with the goal of making rewards have more meaning.

All they got was rewards being used for meanness.
 
HERE is an idea...

What about making epic+ gear REALLY REALLY hard to get.

I mean REALLY hard like Shadowmourne hard!


AND force these EJ's to ONLY GET ACCESS to "heroic 365" (or tier +6-13 point purple) level gear by successfully completion of a BIG (50-100?) number of random LFG heroics!!!!

Oh AND you get bonus points by how many NON GUILDIES you take on these LFD grinds.

You think your a good leet player Mr. EJ? Ok now CARRY an LFG yourself and be rewarded by THEIR success as well as your own.!!!!

Yep we can separate the EJ men from the fanbois real quickly with this idea.

Call them Patience Kill Points (PKP)

player booted from your group -50PKP
player leaves your group -25PKP
player successfully completed random +50PKP
player successfully gets heroic achievement 1st time clear +100PKP

Lose cool when someone gets tail whipped into the whelps -500PKP!!!
(just kidding with that one)

Oh and the rewards are named for the help they provide.
Title: Guardian of Noobs
Battlegear of Patience

The EJs say they are uber players that feel put upon for "carrying lessers" lets get all that ego rage working for the community instead of against it.
 
isn't the real reason people remember EQ having a "good" community just a combination of nostalgia coloring memory and the game being played by a very small, geekier segment of the gaming population with its roots in D&D and other online roleplaying backgrounds? WoW's like the Madden of MMOs.
 
I think solution would be to give more accountability . For example having all same last name for all characters on the account and account wide friend/ignore would be a start

Next I would of course get rid of cross server LFD. LFD is kinda fine as long you can track who is who. With x server you always get strangers , and even if you like them(or hate em) you will likely never meet them again.

Rating systems by players themselves certainly have the potential to be abused (both in rating up and down). But I wouldnt give up on this just yet. I think with some safeguards it could be efficient system

Make accounts (not toons) a point of accountability. Make ratings tied to account. Make it more likely you would queue with someone you marked a friend, or someone who is friend of your friend first before grouping with total stranger.

So when you roll an alt it might be pleasant surprise that some of your friends also rolled alt and you can run same dungeon while leveling.

Accountability+ social networking=win

anonymity+LFD =wow assholes
 
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