Response to "The Evolution of MMO Politics"

I went over to virginworlds.com today as I usually do and found this article about politics in MMO’s. I found this to be very interesting, and started to consider the issue myself. What I came to realize is that, while the author, Collin, states that “there’s more to success than just warring,” I believe that in an MMO, there won’t be any sense of politics without PvP. If you are not willing to fight against other characters for certains beliefs or items, then there will be very little sense of politics.

Harkening back to my days in Asheron’s Call, on the full PvP server even today I remember how intense the sense of politics were. There was one guild which far and away dominated all the others and for the vast majority of dungeons and mobs of any importance, they would block the entrances to dungeons or constantly farm certain mobs, preventing the weaker guilds from ever having the chance to get such things. This creates two different mindsets. One, you can join them (if they will let you) and reap the benefits, while alienating yourself from all the others and making yourself a target for everyone else, or you can stick with a smaller guild and “fight the good fight” making it extremely difficult to experience the game to the fullest.

As you will see in a lot of my future posts, I am an advocate for the Chronicles of Spellborn. Collin mentioned that there needs to be a scarcity of goods in order for there to be a real sense of politics. In Chronicles of Spellborn, this will be a very large aspect of the game. As there will be five houses, each with different beliefs and benefits, they will have the ability to gain control of “shards” which are land masses. These shards will contain certain goods that can only be found in specific areas (or so I have come to understand) forcing you to choose a side to fight for, and hopefully gain control over these goods, as you will be able to sell them to others or keep them for your house/guild to make and use for yourselves. With the way these houses work, it sounds as though guilds will be able to form strong alliances with other guilds of the same house and work together towards a common objective. As for the “rights, freedoms, and beliefs” you also talked about, this will all be bundled up within the house idea.

As for other games headed our way, I have very little idea how they plan to incorporate a stronger feeling of politics and its importance, but I know that if Chronicles of Spellborn comes through on their plans and pulls it off successfully, I believe that it will have the strongest political system we have seen to date. That said, I have not played Dark Age of Camelot, which looked like it had an impressive Realm vs. Realm system set up. Anyways, that’s my two gold on the topic.

~Kanthalos

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2 comments so far

  1. Collin on

    Kanthalos,

    You’re more than right on that matter.

    First, I’m excited that Spellborn is going to help forge the path toward the next gen.

    I also agree that PvP is essential to creating this environment. If we can have an MMO world that supports “layers” of involvement and consequence, we will see that fusion of casual and hardcore. It would be great to have a heavy base of users that all function under the same game and lore, but can really progress in other ways as a primary means. Our current MMOs force us to think of alternate progression as just that, and “alternate”.

  2. Joshua Auriemma on

    I know this is a really old post, but I’m doing some research for a law review comment and I had to throw in my $0.02 here. I think your thesis is entirely off-base. Everquest was the grand-daddy of all politics in MMOs and it was mostly derived from limited mobs, the slow pace of leveling, and the necessity of grouping.

    My EQ server actually had a “shit list,” and everyone avoided players on the shit list to the extend that they sometimes had to abandon characters all together. Most guilds tried to play nice with each other to work around a calendar system for mobs. If you went behind the back of another guild that had scheduled a raid on X mob, you’d find yourself racing for the mobs in the future. Of course, that was perfectly okay for some guilds. My guild, in particular, liked the race.

    Really though, I don’t think politics in games will ever reach the level of the original Everquest, and it had nothing to do with PvP.

    Cheers.


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