[MUD-Dev] FW: Socialization in Online Games

Christopher Allen ChristopherA at skotos.net
Tue Dec 23 10:55:50 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003


Shannon Appelcline's column "Trials, Triumphs & Trivialities"
<http://www.skotos.net/articles/TTnT_.shtml> in the Skotos
Articles section <http://www.skotos.net/articles/> recently
featured a trilogy of articles about stretching the bounds
of socialization in online games:

SOCIAL GAMING INTERACTIONS, PART ONE: A HISTORY OF FORM
http://www.skotos.net/articles/TTnT_136.phtml

The first article outlines the problem by looking out how social
interaction has traditionally been handled in online games, and by
considering how limiting these interactions typically have been. It
also outlines how to expand traditional social interactions by
describing three main categories of social interaction: competition,
cooperation, and freeform.

   > That the majority of MMORPGs, MUDs, and other multiplayer
   > games ultimately support achiever players over socializers,
   > or even killers, I think begins to outline how poorly we
   > understand--and support--true social interactions in
   > today's multiplayer games.

SOCIAL GAMING INTERACTIONS, PART TWO: COMPETITION
http://www.skotos.net/articles/TTnT_137.phtml

The second article expands upon the competitive category of social
interaction. Besides touching upon traditional direct competition, it
also considers resource competition, economic competition, and the
role of bluffing in competition. A number of examples are drawn from
tabletop board games.

   > In looking at competitive interaction I intend to first
   > consider some forms of competitive interaction that we've
   > sort of covered--direct competition and resource competition--
   > but will show how even in these "well known" interactions
   > we've just scratched the surface. Afterward we'll get into
   > some less explored possibilities: economic competition and
   > bluffing. The end result? More variability in competition,
   > more viability and for the players, ultimately, more fun.

SOCIAL GAMING INTERACTIONS, PART THREE: COOPERATION & FREEFORM
http://www.skotos.net/articles/TTnT_138.phtml

The third and final article expands upon the other two categories of
social interaction: cooperation and freeform. Within cooperative
interaction we find a spectrum of possibilities varied by the immediacy
of the cooperators. Freeform interaction is given a more generalized
overview, covering some of the reasons it appears and how to encourage
it.

   > In Richard Bartle's categorization of multiplayer gamers, he
   > very broadly touches upon "socializers"--players who are there
   > because they want to interact not just with the game system, but
   > also with other people. I actually believe there's a lot more
   > granularity to the category of socializers than just its simple
   > name. The biggest subset of socializers is, I believe, the
   > cooperative players--those who are working together within the
   > game system toward a specific goal. A few different MMORPGs have
   > tried to appeal to this group, but as with competitive gamers
   > there's also more we can learn from the word of tabletop games.

-- Christopher Allen

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