(See my intro here for the first part of this series!)
“Community” is interaction between players within the game, interaction between players outside the game, and the overall feeling of social interaction within the game.
What makes for a good community in a video game?
- Reasons to group
- I like games that create reasons for me to group with other players for higher, or better, rewards (like dungeons or raids) and I like it even more when these can be optional. Not necessarily that I could get dungeon or raid quality gear in other ways, but that I don’t NEED to participate in dungeons or raids if I didn’t want to.
- Never see another player as an enemy/rival in PvE content
- I hate it when I’m playing a game, I get to the area I want to be in, and I think “Oh, great. Someone else is already here.” I don’t like seeing other players as competition for resources or monsters, especially when they’re of the same faction as me (for example: both of us are playing Alliance characters in World of Warcraft, etc). Guild Wars 2 did an amazing job with this aspect. Players could share experience and loot from monsters if they both participated in the kill, even if they weren’t grouped. There were even incentives (in the form of experience gain) to revive a fallen player. It created a sort of camaraderie and willingness to help that I really enjoyed.
- I really like games that create accountability at a player-level for the actions you choose. Sometimes this can take the form of being a “known” player to others, and having a reputation that could be on the line if you acted selfishly or mean. I’ve also played games where the AI “knew” how you chose to act and reacted to you accordingly, be this by objects you were wearing or holding, or reputation gains or losses. Either way, I’ve always enjoyed a gaming community more when players were nicer, friendlier, and more willing to help others, and NPCs reacted to the choices you’ve made. I appreciate games that foster a sense of community.
- Public quests
- Public quests are really fun, especially if they can be made meaningful. For example, EverQuest Next has boasted that in their game they will have “rallying calls” that can be completed and advance or change the area permanently. I really like it when players can work together even when they don’t know each other and don’t necessarily have to form a group or raid to do so. They can just simply work together.
- It’s always nice to be able to form lasting groups with other players in video games. I especially like games with guild rewards, but find a lot of games cater too much to larger guilds and leave small guilds behind in the dust. I would like to see games where smaller guilds could form together into alliances or coalitions that could work together for rewards, but still keep their individuality.
Want to keep reading on this topic? Click the links below to navigate to the different sections of this series: