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From: "Paul McInnes" <paulmc at syd.microforte.com.au>
To: "Discussion of MUD system design, development,
	and implementation" <mud-dev at kanga.nu>
References: <42A589A1.8010504 at plex.nl> <42A6D30B.5010605 at worldmaker.net>
Subject: Re: [MUD-Dev] Blog about GDC implies changes to MMORPG population
Date: Fri, 10 Jun 2005 10:39:22 +1000
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"Max Battcher" <me at worldmaker.net> wrote:

> In some of the heavy social roleplaying MU* (particularly in the
> MUSH/MUCK spectrum, like Amber MUSH as an example) families play
> important roles and are never decided upon lightly.  It creates
> bonds between players who might not have met before, and can often
> provide a good set of mentors to draw the new players into the
> game (in the case of Amber MUSH, family backbiting is an entire
> game in itself). Connected to permanent character deaths, families
> add a sense of history and continuity to the world.

> I would like to see the graphical MMO* that takes on families.

I have long argued that MMOs have great potential to tap into a
great deal of our often under-utilised "village instincts". This is
certainly the case for MUSHes and the more social MUDs. However, the
commercial nature and scale of most commercial MMOs seems to
undermine the social processes that make this work. Fiends lists and
a shared hobby are no substitute for real community. Powerplaying
clans and player-driven economies can help, but they barely scratch
the surface.

Can it be done for a large-scale, "mainstream" commercial MMO? Quite
possibly, but it will take some artful design and careful social
engineering to create groups with meaningful shared interests,
shared destiny, regular associations between members and a strong
sense of corporate identity (in the anthropological sense of
"corporate").

A related question is whether the "mainstream" MMO audience care
about this kind of investment in a community. The success of WoW (as
a fairly solo-playing oriented MMO) might suggest otherwise but I
think that as the commercial graphical MMO medium matures, we will
see players hungry for a deeper social involvement.

Time will tell.

Paul
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