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Reader Comments (30)

Posted: Jun 2nd 2009 8:14AM (Unverified) said

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Absolutely! One of the most exciting things about EQ1 was that occasionally servers would experience GM events. SOE had a quest troupe that would run random events to add some flair to the usual grind. There would even be some pretty large story line events too.

That is something I really miss.

Posted: Jun 2nd 2009 8:26AM (Unverified) said

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I think all games would benefit from much more GM interaction. It breaks the cycle of the same old crap. GM run events where the player can control the outcome and help write game history is something that would keep people feeling the game has some kind of direction and purpose.

Posted: Jun 2nd 2009 8:35AM (Unverified) said

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Have to agree with the prior comments.

Knowing my comments on any game are falling on deaf ears is frustrating, especially (on the odd occasion) when I or any other player is making a constructive comment.

How can the genre (or the specific game) expect to grow and progress without player/developer and or player/GM interaction!

Good article, more please!

Posted: Jun 2nd 2009 8:37AM TheJackman said

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Yes! GM run events

Posted: Jun 2nd 2009 8:40AM (Unverified) said

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The only game's that I've seen that have "proper" GM interaction are SOE games. Such as in Planetside, when you used to get GM's logging in and making meteor showers or earthquakes, and just general stuff like that.

It's bloody impossible to even get a GM to answer a ticket in WoW, let alone interact.

Posted: Jun 2nd 2009 8:44AM Aganazer said

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For a long time now I was thinking that there should be content-only GM's that play as gods in the game world. They would be encouraged to interact with players, answer prayers, acquire worshipers, and all that stuff that gods do.

Posted: Jun 2nd 2009 8:49AM (Unverified) said

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One of the best ideas I've heard... Now... If we could just get a GM or Dev to listen...
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Posted: Jun 2nd 2009 9:04AM MrGutts said

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When was the last time anyone has seen a WoW GM in game? Aside from test servers and banning people in person.

Posted: Jun 2nd 2009 9:44AM Nottom said

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I played WoW from (real) beta until about 9 months ago, and I never once saw a GM with an in-game avatar.

I played EQ for 2.5 years, and saw GM's on a regular basis.

Some of my more memorable experiences in EQ were GM run events.

Drunken nekkid newb Wood Elf race across the tree city of Kelethin... oh the elfmanity.

Drunken nekkid race from Queynos to Freeport... the lions of West Karana fed well on those days.
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Posted: Jun 2nd 2009 3:49PM Angelworks said

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Not once, although a friend saw one summon a dragon on top of that tower in grom-grol (in stv) because the alliance wouldn't move off the top (I heard thats a no-no?) anyhow it wiped out everyone there including the npc's.

This was on Arthas a good while ago.
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Posted: Jun 2nd 2009 9:24AM (Unverified) said

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Nope.

Not unless they hire GM's specifically for the job. GM's are not hardcore gamers that got promoted to the lofts of god-hood. They are dudes that can work a program and know the difference between .exe and .mp3. They read a manual and know how to follow the chain of command.

They are customer service representatives, not rp'ing acting school professionals chosen because of their creativity

Posted: Jun 2nd 2009 9:34AM (Unverified) said

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Yes and YES! Live events are freaking awesome, even if they are just GM's play acting a mob or appearing to pass on information.
I'm always curious as to why there aren't more live events in game...are they that hard to plan and do?

Beau Turkey

Posted: Jun 2nd 2009 10:15AM fzzzt said

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Yes, there must be for MMOGs to evolve. Either indirectly through GM-created events (spawning mobs, for instance) or directly. This was probably THE best thing about EQ when I started, and it was sadly largely discontinued. A shame.

Posted: Jun 2nd 2009 10:19AM FrostPaw said

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I'd say no. The idea of GM's or Grand Masters comes from a story teller like Dungeons and Dragons Pen & paper rpgs but in an mmo sense GM is more about an in game police force so the terminoligy is skewed, an MMO GM should not be socialising they are there to ensure fair play and investigate issues in game and as such should remain impartial.

I think its important "authority" remains at arms length. There is too much room for abuse or the implication/appearence of favouritism of GMs when they interact with the community. It already happens on the fringes in games such as EvE where GMs have been caught giving rare stuff to their corp members and no doubt some GMs give hints to beat raids and such in other games the only reason we arn't all screaming and paranoid about this on a daily basis is because for the vast majority of us we simply don't know its happening because its not obvious.

By staying out of the social network of players while using their GM powers (lets not forget many GMs play when not working anonymously) They retain that power and respect from the community. Once you know a GM they lose some of that authority and respect the tag brings to any situation they appear in game.

Everyone has the opportunity to befriend a GM its just they don't appear as a GM, the very fact people try to be friends with people with a GM tag suggests its more about the power and potential future knowledge they could gain from the person than purely a social interaction because without the GM tag most people don't give you a second glance when you're out and about in a game world.

Posted: Jun 2nd 2009 10:50AM (Unverified) said

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In LOTRO's festivals they often have a "fashionista" GM-driven NPC who'll critique your outfit and - if it's suitably good/bad - bestow a title upon you. A little odd but fun.

Posted: Jun 2nd 2009 11:12AM (Unverified) said

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Many F2P MMO's offer smaller scale "GM run events" but they usually boil down to more of a daily occurence(like Runes of Magic's game controlled "Attack of Sergarth" daily or-from what I hear, Warhammers daily occurences) and the GM's usually duel a few people, buff a few, and chat a bit-maybe an hour then the event ends.

I really like what @Aganazer suggested about content-only run GM events.

If this were played right, a company could do it with employees they already have, it would be random, unique, and could potentially add a large amount of realism into the game and the game world lore.

How cool would it be to have a GM get on as a high lvl dragon, with a army of critters following him?

Games will have random mobs-attacking-city day, but again, I find them to be rather bland in their execution, and repetitive. A GM could take hold of one of those ideas and breathe a lot of random, unique freshness into it, plus in some games you'd have added real time dialogue.

Posted: Jun 2nd 2009 11:12AM Brendan Drain said

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I think it's important to acknowledge the difference between Game Masters (the guys that run events) and Customer Service Representatives (the guys that answer support tickets). The convention today is to use the term GM to refer to CSRs because very few games have active events but it wasn't always this way. Creating and running events that all players can get involved in is expensive but if someone does pull it off, regular events and a living storyline could be the defining competitive factor of the next generation of MMOs. Now there's an exciting thought.

Posted: Jun 2nd 2009 1:22PM (Unverified) said

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The couple times I've had the experience of a GM-actor were enjoyable and interesting. I'd really love to see more of it.

There's just so many problems involved. The number one thing that happened in everquest 1 that I saw is any time there was an event, every nub jerk moron would swarm the GM and beg for free items and money. It got to the point that the GM would have to threaten to instakill people if they didn't get out of the way. It ruined everything completely.

If you take a game like WOW... with however many servers there are and the 11 million players or whatever the number is these days, how many GMs do you think it would take to involve even 1 percent of the players in the course of a month? Too many for Blizz to hire and train.

I think in the end these kinds of things are best left to other games simply because of logistics and the type of player that mmos attract. A game like Neverwinter Nights 2 or possibly something like Left 4 Dead but instead of the AI controlled "GM" have a player able to do things.

Or, in some cases, allowing the players to do such things for their friends. Setting up a story, leading them through with the ability to set up the challenges. City of Heroes has obviously taken the first step.

Posted: Jun 2nd 2009 1:40PM WSCopic said

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Tabula Rasa did great with this. The developers and GMs and such were in the game quite often and had a blast with it. When it is done well, and the people that are the GMs really like what they do, then it is a great time. Had some fun events with GMs and Community Managers, etc in SWG, as well.

Posted: Jun 2nd 2009 1:54PM (Unverified) said

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I will provide the obligatory "Be careful what you wish for."

As a (currently) former EVE player (I may very well return someday), I will point out that GM interaction (events and other sorts) is rife with the potential for charges of bias, favoritism, and corruption. Players will be suspicious the first time another player gets something that they don't, and if there's a charge that has some sort of provable truth to it, the player base (or at least the loud parts that frequent the game's forums) will certainly go insane.

It's not a problem that can't be handled, but game companies do need to anticipate the sorts of problems that GM interaction via events can create and come up with procedures for dealing with them before allowing them to happen.

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