MMORPG Grouping Done Right

Today makes our first full dozen entries into the series, and quite a ride it has been! A lot of topics covered thus far, and countless more to uncover and explore. Our adventurer has dwindling business in Silverpine, but the ending has a twist…

A Worthy Plug

I knew how important it would be to extensively research which emu server to call home, and am immensely thankful that I did. As mentioned in comments here and here, this past week has seen some internet storming that has been extremely violent in DDoS attacking with targets of GoDaddy and the emu-sphere confirmed. Part of the reason why I chose Rebirth was because of legality (not all emus are created equal), but that’s a topic for a future post. The reason I’m grateful today is that in the middle of a weeklong DDoS storm with flooding exceeding 50gb/s, the server administration still got a tri-located server up and running with limited interruption.

It’s important for the continuation of this project to have a home that is legal (read: longevity), high-integrity to 1.12.1 (read: pathfinding, NO donate-to-win), and online and open for business (read: so I can play and record, duh!).

Food: It Brings People Together

Put a meal out, and your children will come in from outside. This works in real life, but how does one bring people together in a virtual world? Well, again, taking a cue from real life, we can learn how and why MMORPGs work.

Nils, a while back, proposed an easy way to bring people together, and I’ll start with his example, then go a little more into detail.

In his post (this blog entry to be updated with link once I find it), he says that you shouldn’t need to go looking for a group, nor be forced into one, but instead allow a natural, organic group to manifest.

Let’s say I’m out grinding mobs in an area. The reasons for this could be endless: for a quest, for a drop, to up my skills etc. But for whatever reason I’m called to be there, at that spot. And someone else is too, for whatever reasons they have. Now, over time, the repetition of being in the same place, perhaps even competing for spawns, will lightly nudge the gamers to at least make contact. Perhaps even, group up, should interests be aligned. And then the natural occurring thing then is to perhaps friend each other.

The reason why this works, just like food, is that you have an item of shared interest. This item could be anything: something material, a status, a club… anything. By offering access, those seeking access will naturally convene for its acquisition. The more obscure the entry point, the taller the buy-in, the more activity that will be generated in those seeking entry. The less difficult, the less activity, the less grouping, the less interaction, the less interest, the loss of population (which we are finally witnessing today).

Location, Location, Location

Real estate is the driving force behind organic grouping. It’s also the driving force behind concepts such as world PvP. In fact, if you want anything to be organic, a ‘world’ needs to be involved. This is why so many voices of the genre keep pushing, pushing for more sandbox elements inside of themeparks.

The design DNA of a successful game will actively combat crutches such as LFG tools, or cross-faction/server (aka cross-boundary) assistance. These are bandaids, and that’s not a slope worth scaling.

The Play Session

Success! I figured I might need to skip my remaining Elite quest in the zone and return to it at a later date. But the beauty of MMORPGs is that other people are what make content. This isn’t a soloing genre. This is a genre about others, and bringing people together through challenge. This very thing I was privy to witness during the play session.

Death Count: (+1) 10

Ugh. I was forced to rest amongst these Tauren. My slumber has not been peaceful. Their ground is so hard, and grass is everywhere. My bones ache and my flesh itches. Why isn’t the Horde more accommodating with sleeping arrangements? Is it that hard to produce beds of mushroom and fungi? There’s no softer nor sweeter smelling resting place. MMmmm, add a little cockroach chatter- that’s the best- and you fall right asleep! I dislike being far from my lands.

I traveled through the nether back to Silverpine. My imbued Hearthstone my most prized possession. It’s odd, really, this Hearthstone. The Dark Lady gifted me its ownership while welcoming me into undeath… my first possession, and yet, more powerful than anything else I’ve come to acquire.

Back in the forest, I met another who was decided far from home. An Orc somehow found himself in the forest today. Doing what? I do not know. But I spoke to this Orc, promising adventure and journey that exist on Fenris Isle. Like a hound foaming at the mouth, frenzied for action, he insisted I take him there. To the keep, then, we marched. We laid waste to its guards and pillaged its gold. Arriving in the hold, I tried to warn this Orc of the dangers of one inside, but my earlier whispers of promised honor and fame controlled him now. The keep’s master was slain, but so too this Orc. Insolent greenskin, your fate you wrote.

Oh, unwitting pawn. A task, admittedly too daunting for myself alone, completed through your sacrifice. Why put myself in harm’s way, when I can summon minions to enact my bidding? And if these blasted demons don’t suffice, I now know to turn to my fellow Horde. They want honor? I’ll give them honor, and so much more: I’ll invite them to sacrifice.

mmMMWAAHAHAA. Oh, let them have their honor, such peons! I will have my power.


Series: Vanilla Preservation Project

About Ahtchu

Jock. Nerd. Holistic. Game theoretician. Can recite the alphabet backwards.
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