Would WoW have a better community if it wasn't a MMO?

| Wednesday, October 6, 2010
I really have to hand it to Blizzard, they know the long haul and they are in for it.

Single-player games are not inhabited by raging sociopaths, loot whores, and idiots. Or if they are I haven't played with them yet. Clearly single-players games have better communities, as seen here in this graph, which you should note is entirely blank.

Could WoW tap into this? Yes, and it's a work in progress. You see, there's actually an inflection point in the graph of the community; there it becomes so degraded that it actually becomes better. We saw this strategy executed in EverQuest in which a whole lot of anti-social nerds managed to work together in huge groups and even manage to think of it as a fun experience, as opposed to their usual reaction to other people: running in screaming terror.

As you can see, the graph shows that losers who play EQ will normally form a really awful community, getting worse as there are more, until eventually there is a critical mass of nerds in which social reactions can begin, resulting in a rapid increase in community.

Blizzard has a long tradition of taking what everyone else does well and doing it better. So they've added tools and ideas to utterly destroy all sense of being a multi-player game, eventually resulting in peace and harmony among the community. Sure, in the short term we might not like the extreme alienation caused by facerolling randoms with random people who we will never see again. But in the long term we'll stop caring and just think of them as NPCs. Some people already do. Those are the previously mentioned sociopaths. They're ahead of the game, literally.

But Blizzard doesn't go halfway. They go all the way, and then halfway further. Never try to go on a trip with them in the direction of water, desert, mountains, or really just about any vertical and/or horizontal object, because they will smash right into it at very high speed. Which is of course their plan. So they've added such incredible gear inflation that simply having good gear isn't good enough, now you need [arbitrary number], plus 500. This combined with easily trivialized mechanics to make instances so easy that all you ever need to ask anyone is is why they are so retarded to spec fury with that hit rating. Or whatever it is that a fury warrior should have.

So as you can see here, the changes are quickly destroying the WoW community. But at the point where it becomes a single-player game, it actually gets better.

So do your part to form a better community: Solo as much as possible and avoid thinking of other players as people but instead as poorly-written AI. If you insist on dynamic interaction or the 'players' try to talk to you, be rude, offensive, degrading, inflammatory. They might think you're a total asshole, but in reality you're just saving the community from itself. It's how we won Vietnam: by destroying the village to save the village, since as we all know "better dead than Red" is best applied to other people without their consent, since they might dissent.

Thank you, America. Europe, uh... bon jor we we?


Stabs said...

Thank you for explaining all this with graphs. I've long suspected this to be the case, it's good to see it mathematically proven.

Anonymous said...

What Stabs said, plus now we know why you write in such an offensive, sarcastic fashion. It's to build community. Yay!

Glyph, the Architect said...

For some reason, I was expecting the graphs to form a progression, the last of which would be a graph of a penis.

Anonymous said...

Very very nice post! Keep it up Klepsacovic.
Your Friendly Anonymous

Klepsacovic said...

@Stabs: Please note that these are lines of best fit and do not exactly represent the data that I made up in my head.

@Anonymous: Exactly.

@Glyph: Uh. I'm goingg to go ahead and guess you're one of the people who was really interested in reading my post about naked draenei in fan art.

@Anonymous: I find your positivity disturbing.

Lujanera said...

It would be helpful if the two axes were labeled here. What do they measure? As best I can tell, x is "number of players" and y is "goodness of the game", but these don't quite seem right.

Glyph, the Architect said...

No, but when talking about communities degrading into a massive suckhole, or even alluding to it as part of some other discussion, that just seems like the obvious joke most people go for. I am glad you didn't go there.

Anonymous said...

@Lujanera, the vertical axis is cake and the horizontal is sarcasm.

Klepsacovic said...

The vertical is quality of community and the horizontal is quality of community. Notice how they fit the trend detailed in my post: as the community gets worse, it gets worse, until it gets better.

@Glyph: You can't make a sarcastic graph without breaking some penis jokes? Or was that an omlete?

@Anonymous: I find your claim of cake to be speculation at best, untuthful at worst.

Nikola Begedin said...

Graphs make everything clearer. You should use them more often, your posts would confuse me less.

Syl said...

great post! and what i take from it too is, that I'm not the only one that failed at creating pretty graphs back during math lessons!! =D

sam said...

To me most MMO communities suffer from the DEVs disconnect from reality. They don't want to code any negative consequences into thier games to combat the negative behavior that a relatively few people start.

The end result is no different than the real world. Why do we not speed more? Why are traffic deaths down in the US? Because of Laws, that punish drivers for speeding and laws that punish companies for not meeting safety regulations. Go to somolia and you'll see a real world example of the WOW community.
No laws, no negative consequence for behavior = modern MMO community. No wonder they all turn into messes over time.

THe reason WOW was a bit better in Vanilla at least on some servers was because without facton, name and server changes if you did something stupid and pissed off the Guild leaders they'd black list you and your only chance to raid was to reroll and start over.

But then blizzard took that tool from them and now we have a social structure reminiscient of a dieing third world nation. The only surprise to me is that the developers really believe that its possible to build a better game world without thier being negative consequences for undesired behavior.

Klepsacovic said...

@Nikola: Your feedback has been noted. At this time I cannot say what the final decision will be on further graph integration but it's an idea that is being given a lot of thought.

@Syl: No one ever told me that freehand in MS Paint wasn't the correct way.

@sam: They do seem to have tried to combat negative behavior, but it's been a case by case prevention of behavior rather than overall discouragement. Or example, the need roll changes address some ninjaing, but cannot prvent all ninjaing or other antisocial behavior in random groups, since there's no community to keep people in check.

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