The Social Niceties Of MMOs

MMOs are a lot of things – but notably, they’re a unique social space. Nothing quite like a WoW guild has ever existed before, and we’re still figuring out the social mores and niceties of this new world.

Today, three bloggers have been debating various aspects of the social side of MMOs – from the difficulty of sitting on the bench in a raid group to the tricky question of whether it’s beneficial for developers to offer incentives for good behaviour…

  • Minstrel at Holy Word Delicious has been pondering why she rarely joins a group for more than one dungeon, and realises it’s because of the surprising social pressure“The longer the time spent with a group of people I don’t know, where at any moment I may be called upon to interact, the more the toll. … When you add in the knowledge that anyone in the party could be a griefer or that the first adversity (or any random event, really, from your point of view) could turn one or more people into raging jerks, that adds to the cost.”
  • Pugnacious Priest ponders the tricky question of how to persuade people to volunteer as benchwarmers for a raid team“Bench warming is also where good guild leadership comes in. You also need to keep your bench warmers warm. Keep them interested. Keep them committed, to the point that there are no bench warmers per se. “
  • And Stubborn is considering psychology and sociology to answer the surprisingly tricky question of whether game dev incentives for good behaviour are a good idea“If you get a reward for helping a newbie every time you help a newbie, it’s entirely possible that as soon as you “cap” whatever the reward is, whether it be having enough money, a high enough social score, or some social currency, then the behavior will vanish.”

All interesting stuff, and I’ll be interested to hear what you have to say!

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