[MUD-Dev] Methods to Foster Relationships?

Richard A. Bartle richard at mud.co.uk
Tue Jun 11 13:55:23 New Zealand Standard Time 2002


On 10th August 2001, Nick Yee wrote:

> The desire to form meaningful relationships and the number of
> meaningful relationships a player has formed was found to be a
> strong predictor of hours of play per week in the Facets study
> (www.nickyee.com/facets/home.html) mentioned here before.

Not wishing to be controversial, but isn't it the case that with a
predictor like that any causality it implies could run in either
direction?

In other words, it may be that playing a game for 3 hours a night
causes people to want to form meaningful relationships, rather than
the other way round.

> I come from a psych background, so my question is whether there
> are accepted methods used in the industry to foster these
> relationships in MMORPG's.

That's a valid question, but it assumes:

  1) Designers want to encourage people to spend 12 hours a week in
  the game, burning up bandwidth but paying just the same as people
  who play 2 hours a week.

  2) That persuading people to play more isn't one way of
  encouraging relationships to form.

Personally, I'm in favour of both getting people to spend long
periods in virtual worlds (because, assuming some level of
competence from the world's designers, I believe virtual worlds are
positive things) and in encouraging them to form relationships
(because then they won't leave and play someone else's game quite so
readily).

Then again, I see the threat of PD as a major way of starting and
strengthening relationships, so what do I know? <grin>

		Richard

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