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Reader Comments (10)

Posted: Feb 12th 2009 10:34AM (Unverified) said

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I'd be interested in seeing how that "good behaviour" on the forums translated into the game world.

In my experience, people who post on game-specific forums are generally the helpful ones, not the ones who'll tap kills from underneath you or keep trying to duel you...

Posted: Feb 12th 2009 10:45AM (Unverified) said

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I don't think WoW is social enough to extract any relevant data from. You never NEED to group until you want to do instances, you never NEED to be polite, and really the scope of the game doesn't lend itself to what a real world is(good and bad). I think Eve would be the better choice for such discussion.

Posted: Feb 12th 2009 10:52AM Sephirah said

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The journalist probably hasn't ever heard of "barren chat", is a fan of Chuck Norris or thinks that "anal fireball" is a funny joke...

Posted: Feb 12th 2009 1:23PM (Unverified) said

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Exactly my first thought. Anyone who has ever listen to Barrens Chat would never consider a WoW player to be a Superior Citizen.
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Posted: Feb 12th 2009 10:55AM Snow Leopard said

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I’m a little mixed on this one. To me, WoW has always been a reflection of how people treat others in real-life. Because of its large and diverse player base, it’s filled with both absolute jerks and friendly do-gooders. That being said, I run into people everyday in game that to me represent the worst kind of citizen possible. I also have a hard time believing 86% of what is on the forums is anything other than complaining and hateful remarks.
However, I do think there is something to the statement that the mmo genre altogether is about creative and cooperative activity. People generally have to team up if they want to improve their character to the best they can be. You can’t get the best gear in the game without being in an arena team or working with 24 other people in a coordinated raid. True, I’m generally a solo player myself, but I still understand that in order to be successful in a mmo, you need to understand how to interact with other people; be they enemies, allies or neither.

Posted: Feb 12th 2009 11:19AM (Unverified) said

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Personally I find grouping a poor substitute for in-game social interaction. That sounds mad but let me explain.

I'm sure we've all had the situation where you're in the process of killing X of Y orcs for a quest and another player arrives and begins doing the same. They ask if they can group with you, do so and then the pair of you kill - pretty much in silence, as you're busy - before the other player declares "done c ya" and quits the group.

That's not a social interaction and I don't think questing should be the core of a game's player-to-player interaction.

Rather, I prefer to see more hub-based activity, where players can chat without worrying about an orc killing them or if they're stabbing the right buttons. As I've mentioned before SWG did this brilliantly with the cantinas/med centres.

Or there's the example of player dependency, where Player A can make an item but to do so, he needs an item Player B can craft. This sort of cross-polination of crafting (especially when crafting is important and customisable) makes for excellent levels of player interaction. Again, SWG did this well. I'd often find people asking for specific items or engaging in conversation about items I could manufacture, placing bespoke orders and so on.

This is where social interaction TRULY flourishes. Not on the battlefield but away from the action, where players are not forced to group to overcome an obstacle but rather they interact willingly to reach their own personal goals.
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Posted: Feb 12th 2009 11:48AM Scopique said

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I agree with Dethgar that EVE would be better, personally.

MMOs give players more of an opportunity to meet like-minded individuals, to work out problems (in game and inter-personal), and to manage both time and resources. Because of the persistent nature of MMOs, players have more opportunities to interact on an on-going basis, unlike FPS, RTS or other online matches, which only last minutes at a time.

An MMO is like getting a new job: you show up to a new MMO, and don't know anyone (possibly). You meet some co-workers and join their lunch group (guild). As time goes on, you hang out together, get to know one another, work together, etc. When you need to work on something together, you're more cohesive because you've all honed your skills together. Kinda.

Posted: Feb 12th 2009 11:39AM (Unverified) said

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Spot on Iok!

At the other end of the gamut, I've personally experienced how one person with a gripe towards a guild leader rounded up 9 other players from 2 top guilds in order to clean an instance that we (him + 9 innocent guildies) had cleared halfway through on instance reset night, and Blizzard was not inclined to help us find the culprit at all.

Needless to say, the lust to remain a returning customer dropped below zero and even after we caught the miscreant it never rose again. I would be surprised if my tale turned out to be an exception to the rule...

Posted: Feb 12th 2009 1:48PM Rive said

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WoW really is the best MMO out there for this kind of study. It has the widest range of people playing it, which means its a more accurate representation of society, and, much like real life, you can choose to be social or keep to yourself. In WoW, you actively choose to participate as much as you want to as opposed to most other games where it is essentially forced.

In my mind, citizenship is about how you interact with the community. I would argue that some of the best ways to have an impact on your community in RL, such as voting or writing a letter to your legislators, don't require you to have a group of people with you. I'm not sure why so many people in this thread are insisting that the only way you can interact with the community is by raiding.

Iok is spot on when he says that the best and highest quality player interaction happens away from instances and the battle field. Thats exactly why this particular study included the forums, because, I would argue, the most constructive discussions relating to the games community occur on the forums.

The forums are like voting or writing your local representative. They give you a chance to say, "hey I think this is going very well," or " We really need to do something to address this problem." I typically find the forums to be constructive and I think that figure found in the study is probably fairly accurate.

EVE would be a horrible game for this type of study because there are no rules and people are expected to be as nasty as possible. Its also game that appeals to a very niche group of people which means your sample group isn't going to represent RL society very well. I agree that EVE could be an interesting game for some studies but certainly not for this one.

Posted: Feb 13th 2009 7:02AM (Unverified) said

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Iok is spot on when he says that the best and highest quality player interaction happens away from instances and the battle field. Thats exactly why this particular study included the forums, because, I would argue, the most constructive discussions relating to the games community occur on the forums.

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I think the forum discussions may skew it though. What percentage of players post on the official forums, for example? And I know myself the experiences are different - many people may post in "spare time" at work (such as during their lunch break) when they're unable to play, meaning they're more likely to give the time to answer questions or help when compared to the time they'd give if they were in-game.

It's certainly an interesting piece and I know from my own experience that the majority of MMO-ers are good people who will help you out. It's just you do get the occasional dick who makes no distinction between players and NPCs and just assumes you're there to facilitate their play or that your gaming experience is less-valuable than theirs.

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