Monday, July 7, 2008

MMO Players - An Underutilized Resource

We are passionate about our MMO hobby. We blog about it; we sign on with gaming sites and volunteer our services; we create mods and maps to help other players. We spend gaming-related hours outside of actually gaming. And we do it for free.

Different gaming companies here and there have programs that take some small advantage of this. EQ2 has a guide program; however, you aren't permitted to do it on your own server and are randomly assigned another server. I had considered applying at one time, but I want to make my own server a better place, not someone elses. SWG took on player volunteers to silence the gold spammers. But so much more could be done to put players to use that would enrich the gaming community, create a reputation that brings in more players, and retain the ones you have. You can create a good game, but you need a community to build it up.

One idea would be someone leading weekly dungeon groups with an emphasis that those who never grouped before would be welcome and given guidance. I have come across so many who avoid grouping because they are afraid of doing something wrong. While players could undertake this task and start this up without developer involvement, odds are slim they will. Give them a special title while on duty, make them feel like they are part of your company, and give an occasional pat on the back and you'd be amazed how many would step forward to fill roles. And likewise, when players see an official representative getting that group together, they feel a bit more safe joining up.

The same goes for raiding. Many would love to try it once in awhile but do not wish to join a raiding guild. Why not company-sanctioned events and "hiring" on volunteers for the job? Or what about roleplay for beginners groups, particularly on the roleplay servers which can be intimidating when new. Or how about tours through zones, pointing out little-known lore and locations. These are just a few thoughts and I'm sure there are great ones I haven't thought of yet. Just like the guide program, there would need to be some accountability to be certain volunteers remain courteous and helpful. Expand on that guide program but please don't send them to other servers. We're more likely to volunteer and work hard for you when it benefits our own server and community.

This would also be a way to get guild leaders more involved in the community. The majority of players don't read forums or pay attention to official notices. So when your fancy titled group leader wants to lead a heritage quest group next week, how does that information get out to the community? Either the guild leaders can sign up for a mailing list to be notified of events which they then message to the guild, or make it their responsibility to keep up with a section of the forums for these events.

Now here's an example of how not to handle your company-sanctioned events. Recently, EQ2 advertised having a Guild Recruitment Fair. Guild leaders were asked to sign up, which I did, and we were told it was taking place at the Claymore Monument. So what was it I signed up for? Nothing. We were basically just given a time and date and told to show up. As I said, the majority of players don't read forums and didn't even know about it, and there was nothing there to signify any event. I showed up prime time evening on a Saturday night and here was the fair:


So much can be done to take advantage of our MMO passion and benefit all of us all the way around.

5 comments:

Openedge1 said...

OMG

That is too funny.

I remember seeing this advertised. I saw several guilds noting this faire. But, I wish I had known more, as I had been looking to transfer one of my characters to a new guild.
But, I had other objectives and just moved on.

Ah well, your idea is most definitely a good one, but Devs seem to be so caught up in their own worlds, that input from players seems low at this point.

RPG's were based on interaction (D&D...yup, I was there), yet as MMO's have grown, they were built around social aspects, yet every new release loses sight of this (LOTRO, Tabula Rasa, AoC).

Wonder if this can ever be changed...
Which MMO was it that kept discussing player created content?

Cheers on your blog, adding to my hotlist, glad I found you!

Ryzom...RIP!

Aspendawn said...

Oooh a blogger around my age! Your user name is very familiar...think from mmorpg.com maybe?

Never played Ryzom but always heard good things about the community.

Will be visiting your blog as well!

Anakh said...

I went to the Claymore on Saturday afternoon and found a pretty lively scene - representatives from about ten guilds talking to newcomers, setting up channels and posting them in zone /ooc to discuss their guild, etc. I thought it was a pretty good event, though I agree that much more could have been done.

Aspendawn said...

I'm guessing that may have been the Antonia Bayle server? That was the only one I heard had a turn-out, at least from forum responses.

On our server I visited first in the morning when there was no one but me. I went back in the afternoon and saw two people from the same guild. I returned in the evening and there were three people from the same guild.

But to be honest I think most guilds felt it wasn't necessary. EQ2 has an excellent guild recruitment system, and it's worked very well for us. I just thought this might be something fun to do with tents and banners....or something.

Openedge1 said...

@aspendawn

Yea, that is me...from MMORPG, but do not hold that against me, as I am slightly controversial (I have an outspoken hatred of LOTRO that has gotten me banned several times)

But, as bloggers, we have more of a chance to air our opinions there, so I have been more "streamlined" on MMORPG.com.

Ryzom had the right setup, with cool crafting, gathering. But, combat was too similar, it was mainly skills based (with class not being such a requirement), and before it finally shutdown, they had a push for user created content.
This helped them get over the fact they had NO developers to speak of.

But, in the end it died.

Lately I have moved to Guild Wars, due to it's super Guild Focus, I can always see adverts for members, with one guild noting 400+ members..
Thats huge!!

All events are more guild oriented as well, with live events supporting teamwork to collect objectives.
Overall very cool stuff.

But, I love my MMO, so EQ2 keeps me occupied, but I am almost ready for some change!

Glad to meet ya! Will be watching your site..
Cheers