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Community Commentary - Part 1: Who Matters?

Discussion in 'UHall' started by imported_Coldren, Mar 25, 2008.

  1. This the first post in what I hope will be a series of posts. It's long, wordy, but hopefully sparks some interesting discussion.

    I realize some may view what follows as a general topic. However, I feel this is a good place to discuss it, because if it's one thing that UO always prided itself over the competition, it was it's community. So while I may stray into discussions about other MMO's, please keep in mind everything said, I believe, directly applies to UO. And I promise, towards the end and in subsequent posts, it will focus intensely on UO. Scouts honor! [​IMG]

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Community Commentary - Part 1: Who matters?

    I came across an article that showed and discussed the following image (For the life of me, I can't find the original link to it - I just remembered the poster):

    <center>[​IMG]</center>

    For those of you who don't know, this is from a game called EVE Online - It's a single world MMO (Think of it as being a one-shard game that EVERYONE inhabits).

    Goonswarm is one of the more.. infamous?.. guilds, known for their cutthroat approach to domination at all costs, their dedication to victory, and an all-bets-are-off approach to success. Some of the accounts of their victories read like Cliff Notes for some sci-fi novel inspired by individuals steeped in Machiavelli or Sun Tzu.

    From what I've read, EVE is a game where players can actually control "areas" of space. I'm not sure if this control gives them access to resources, choke points for PvP combat, trading routes, etc., but I know it plays some key role. Single guilds, such as Goonswarm, can conceivably control vast/multiple areas indefinitely. From what I understand, this directly influences the games economy, how and where others travel depending on their relationships within the community, and creates some interesting, if not sometimes brutal conflicts.

    ...Not to mention a metric ton of political and social drama, backstabbing, coercion, treachery, and social maneuvering. However, out of this quagmire of what can be boiled down to a-typical human interaction, communities, comradery, friendships, and bonds flourish, thrive, and grow.

    One could argue that common interests and goals does not a community make - it takes a common foe to truly solidify and focus the inherently mismatched energies, dynamics, and circumstances of individuals - A central objective that all strive to not only achieve, but to maintain in perpetuity.

    All this and the ad got me to thinking.. If there's one thing this sort of language and imagery does, is accentuate the role of the individual - how everyone plays a role in some way, shape, or form, that can have a larger impact than they realize.

    This heightened sense of purpose is part of the appeal of MMO's in general. If you think about it, if you wanted to be "THE" Hero, an MMO is not the ideal place to spend your time - a console would much better suited for that mindset, where you can, with effort, power through your enemies and massacre them in glorious combat. MMO's are a place where your actions, interactions, and distinctive nature are supposed to have an impact that affects others and the world around you, for better or worse.

    This also made me somewhat crestfallen - If you really think about it, what and who really matters in a virtual world where for the sake of common experiences and "fair play", any and all accomplishments are only significant on an individual level, leave absolutely no lasting impact, and are almost entirely transient?

    True, every virtual world is almost by definition temporary (Virtual), even if it's for very long periods of time - There's no guarantee they will last past sunrise.

    And it's also true that if there's one thing that Trammel, as well as WoW and other successful MMO's have shown time and time again, is that people don't LIKE consequences in a game. They don't to risk losing something of value under any circumstances - Even on an opt-in basis (No insurance, stay in Fel, Siege., etc.), most chose to opt-out of loss. I suppose that's human nature, and for most, a very safe and proven horse to bet on.

    But, to quote Theodore Roosevelt:

    “Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checked by failure...than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”

    It always seems to me, far more are happy in the twilight.. I'm not. Even if it's a small part, I want to take a shot at being part of something spectacular.

    I imagine for those of us who pine for the "Old Days" before Trammel, the feeling many of us can't shake in UO, and really any MMO, is that feeling of being of no consequence. The feeling that no matter what we do, on the whole, nothing we do truly matters in the virtual world.

    Keep in mind, this isn't to say that's entirely the truth, or that there was really ever a time where what individuals did mattered.

    I'm sure this whole spiel is subjective to the individual.

    I'm sure you can list a thousand examples of how individuals impact the lives of others every day, and therefore, matter. And you wouldn't be wrong.

    But the thing I'm missing, that I don't think any game will really ever do, is give you that feeling of involvement in an EPIC, or GLOBAL, struggle, shared by many to unite them under a common cause, on one side or another.

    EVE comes pretty close to what I mean, from what I understand. There's an impact felt by all in the game world as a whole by holding, protecting, patrolling, politicizing, and intelligence-gathering - A tangible, persistent sense of accomplishment and responsibility and effort that's enjoyable.

    What games really have that?

    Where's the game that has the one time event, where there's a MASSIVE DRAGON setting a major city on fire, which will require the participation of hundreds of players to take him down, hours upon hours and days of sieging and coordination and effort? And once he's down, he's not coming back! Whatever he drops, that's the last you'll see of it, if he drops anything at all!

    And if you DON'T stop him, that town's gonna be a charcoal briquette, for ever and ever, until it's either rebuilt by players or the world ends! He may even move on to another town!

    And yes, the town CAN be rebuilt, reshaped, improved - if the community wants to. It always and forever has the OPTION to do so. It can be done in small increments. Every brick, stone, and board harvested by the player, every monsters or player slain in order to permit it's reconstruction, no matter how small or how large, plays it's part. And in the end, it's something EVERYONE can take pride in either accomplishing, or preventing others from accomplishing (If you're on the "Other" side of the town for some reason.. which isn't the same as being "The Bad Guy"). Or even... destroying again!

    And if it's NOT rebuilt, then valuable training, resources, quest-givers, plot-elements, beautiful structures, EVERYTHING is gone for good! A rare resource that was only found in a now collapsed mine under the city means some things will never be made again, unless by chance it's found somewhere else! A rare statue of a fallen God has been destroyed! A brilliant smith there will no longer be able to enhance your armor with his specialized, secret spell!

    Where is THAT game?!

    It's not in WAR, where all your accomplishments can only lead to the sacking of a city in an instance that never goes away. Some entertaining PvP combat and good mechanics, but nothing lasting.

    It's not in DAoC, where yes, you can control structures potentially forever, but doing so has almost no real impact on the economy or other players, save to help keep relics, which add a small amount of damage in RvR, also with no lasting impact.

    It's not in WoW, where everything and it's mother is an instance that's reset in 15 minutes, and control of anything NOT in an instance is always given up without much of a fight, because one you have the items you need, why bother? It doesn't affect anything else.

    It's not in UO, with factions... and that's really the only shard-wide struggle that's possible within the bounds of the system! Sigils.. what do they do for you again? Random PvP for nothing but insurance money (Or sometimes, if your lucky, a carelessly un-insured item) that can be safely harvested in Trammel? It's all well and great that you enjoy it, but really, what does it ACCOMPLISH or AFFECT in the game world?

    Some say enjoy the journey.. The game, any game, LIFE, is a journey, not a destination. This is the mantra of those who live in the twilight. Those who can't see that even though the journey DOES matter, and yes, a destination isn't REQUIRED, a journey is best enjoyed when you occasionally set and reach mile marker.

    It's a good thing if the road stretches on forever, and people come and go, adding to your individual experience, for better or worse. It's good that you enjoy taking your own steps, that you make your own path.

    But I think the voyage itself is much more fulfilling if along the way, if only once in a great while, a group, a community, a nation, a people come together to accomplish something of such impact that future travelers who's paths happen to cross their wake can't help but stop and marvel at what was done before them. That it inspires them to take their own great strides that, without that impact, would have seemed daunting or fruitless, or worst of all, inconsequential. That instills in them a sense of duty to carry on what others had started, and will strive to continue, because for whatever reason, real or imagined, it was something they believed in.

    Make us all believers. Make us part of the flood, even if we're only raindrops.
     
  2. Guest

    Guest Guest

    <blockquote><hr>

    From what I've read, EVE is a game where players can actually control "areas" of space. I'm not sure if this control gives them access to resources, choke points for PvP combat, trading routes, etc., but I know it plays some key role. Single guilds, such as Goonswarm, can conceivably control vast/multiple areas indefinitely. From what I understand, this directly influences the games economy, how and where others travel depending on their relationships within the community, and creates some interesting, if not sometimes brutal conflicts.

    [/ QUOTE ]
    Yes controlling space by far is the most profitable way to make a living, earning what would add up to billions and billions of UO gold per month. PVP combat is nothing but one huge choke point with system to system travel points being the only means of transportation. Players complain about getting ganked in UO, but is nothing compared to getting ganked in EVE.

    EVE got it right by creating vast protected areas (guard zones, but you can still fight monsters and stuff) and even larger areas of complete lawlessness. UO took the exact opposite approach and look where we are today.
     
  3. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Oww.

    Nice picture tho.
     
  4. eolsunder1

    eolsunder1 Guest

    Well thats all nice and good, but there are many problems with "those" sort of games.

    New players and most of the time young players have no chance at what the big galactic super evil membership party of death controls. Because they have held it so long, and only a select few are in power to actually do what they want, it leads to many players simply being pawns and tools.

    In UO terms, you want to join a guild to have fun, to pvp, to do champs. So you try and join a fel guild. They tell you that sure you can join, for such and such amount of gold which the leaders get and do with what they want. Then you can spar and fight in champs, but any reward you get (PS, stat scrolls) go to the boss's, you don't get to keep them since you are new. So you play, you join, you help out, and you get mmm nothing out of it really because you are a new person. Maybe down the road you might, then again, you might not because those in power like to stay in power. I know many fel guilds who work this way. It might pay off in the long run because you get good and become one of those leaders, but until then, you are road kill and not worth anything.

    Many new players don't want this. Its good for long time vets, but for newer players they dont' want to give others all their work. They don't want to work for years to "prove" themselves. They want to have fun. They want a chance at power scrolls, arties, etc. There are alot of good guilds that do this, but they are smaller, nicer guilds. Anyone ever try and get into one of the big UO champ guilds? yea right, good luck actually getting anything out of it for a while.
     
  5. Guest

    Guest Guest

    "A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of colored ribbon." - Napoleon Bonaparte (an event designer ahead of his time)

    "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." - Mohandas Gandhi (Trammie of India)
     
  6. <blockquote><hr>

    Well thats all nice and good, but there are many problems with "those" sort of games.

    New players and most of the time young players have no chance at what the big galactic super evil membership party of death controls. Because they have held it so long, and only a select few are in power to actually do what they want, it leads to many players simply being pawns and tools.

    In UO terms, you want to join a guild to have fun, to pvp, to do champs. So you try and join a fel guild. They tell you that sure you can join, for such and such amount of gold which the leaders get and do with what they want. Then you can spar and fight in champs, but any reward you get (PS, stat scrolls) go to the boss's, you don't get to keep them since you are new. So you play, you join, you help out, and you get mmm nothing out of it really because you are a new person. Maybe down the road you might, then again, you might not because those in power like to stay in power. I know many fel guilds who work this way. It might pay off in the long run because you get good and become one of those leaders, but until then, you are road kill and not worth anything.

    Many new players don't want this. Its good for long time vets, but for newer players they dont' want to give others all their work. They don't want to work for years to "prove" themselves. They want to have fun. They want a chance at power scrolls, arties, etc. There are alot of good guilds that do this, but they are smaller, nicer guilds. Anyone ever try and get into one of the big UO champ guilds? yea right, good luck actually getting anything out of it for a while.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    I think you're missing a fundamental point. You're arguing about activities. I'm making a case for OBJECTIVES.

    Why do you want to get the PS/Stat scrolls?
    Why do you want to do champs?
    Why do you want to PvP to begin with?
    Why do you want to obtain gold at all?
    Why do you want to join a guild?

    If the answer is:

    "Because doing these activities is intrinsically fun for me.", or
    "Because I like the sense of progression.", or
    "I like having a maxed-out character.", or
    "I like crushing undergeared noobs.", or
    "I like the people.", then that's fine. Absolutely NOTHING wrong with any of these answers. It's a good thing!

    But you're missing a bigger issue. And my point was, what do all these things LEAD to? If the answer is "Nothing.", and you're fine with that, then again, that's an absolutely fitting response.

    But I'd like to see a game with bigger ambitions - Like my dragon example. True, new players, at first wouldn't be able to contribute MUCH if they're just arriving or underdeveloped at the time. But the next time a dragon rolls around, or another town is being invaded by a guild or an NPC force to take over the town for SOME over-arching reason, they'll be able to contribute MORE.

    The point is though, they can always contribute SOMETHING that can be understood by all! Maybe they deliver some boards or ingots to a smith who's repairing a wall. Maybe they work up their healing or magery by healing and helping other players, or doing small amounts of damage.

    That way, they can say, with PRIDE and a sense of accomplishment:

    "I helped to slay that dragon that nearly destroyed Trinsic by healing other players/doing damage"

    "I helped rebuild that wall over there by assisting a GM smith/carpenter" or "I WAS the GM smith/carpenter who rebuilt that wall".

    "It's because of MY efforts the city was not lost, and the mine beneath it with the high Valorite spawn rate is still available to players."

    "It's because of MY efforts our rival guild didn't capture the city and devalue Valorite sales by restrict access to the mine and farming it 24/7 to be able to sell it at lower prices."

    "It's because of MY siege engine that the wall behind the bank came down, allowing us to sneak in and capture the city, releasing us from the deathgrip that big guild held on the Valorite market."

    "See that guy over there? He was a smith during the invasion and helped build all the siege engines and repaired everyone's armor in the field. We couldn't have saved the city without him!"

    Do you see what I mean?

    There's a difference between these things and "Hey, I got a maxed out template in every character slot of every character type, more gold than I could ever spend, a castle, and I'm in the uber guild!".

    There's nothing WRONG, but there's a DIFFERENCE.
     
  7. <blockquote><hr>

    In UO terms, you want to join a guild to have fun, to pvp, to do champs. So you try and join a fel guild. They tell you that sure you can join, for such and such amount of gold which the leaders get and do with what they want.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Any guild that charges to join isn't worth its weight in gold.

    <blockquote><hr>

    Then you can spar and fight in champs, but any reward you get (PS, stat scrolls) go to the boss's, you don't get to keep them since you are new.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    One hundred percent positive this statement is untrue.

    <blockquote><hr>

    ... alot of good guilds that do this, but they are smaller, nicer guilds. Anyone ever try and get into one of the big UO champ guilds?

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Indeed, since P16 ...
     
  8. eolsunder1

    eolsunder1 Guest

    One hundred percent positive this statement is untrue.


    Well your mistaken, i'm 100% positive this IS true. I've put characters into many fel champ/pvp guilds, and as a new member I never got to partake in the spoils. First many times Your set as cannon fodder and early warning in case other guilds raid. Your door meat. The big guys do the spawn and get the scrolls. Many times in group hunts your told that only so and so guild elder/leader/big wiggie gets the scrolls and they will be sorted out later.

    I don't want to list the guilds in question, we pretty much know which ones are which, and some that aren't about anymore, or changed. I can say that the latest 6 characters in 6 different big guilds stayed in them for a few months, and after seeing how they were run, i quickly exited my characters out of them. Once in a while I was actually in the spawn fighting the champ stuff, but quickly afterwards the leaders gathered everyone up "ok everyone if you got PS hand them over to so and so evil red pvp killer leet lord. " Good ones were taken by the leaders, junk ones were given out to the rest. I never saw anything over a 110 handed out to the drabble.

    Of course I could just buy them, no biggie, but its fun to just see how certain things work. On many of their websites all you have to do is go look in the forums and most of the time they list the "rules" of guild hunts, champs, etc. Don't believe me, just read THEIR rules.
     
  9. Belmarduk

    Belmarduk Guest

    Death to all Goons !
    After Bob is wiped out Goon are the next !

    Never liked them even if our corp had positive standing to them a short while.
    Its a big alliance with thousands of members but 2 things piss me off about them:

    Making fun of an ingame enemy when a member of that ingame enemy was killed by a bus in RL.

    Their current campeign is called Jihad -swarm... (Massive suicide-ganking campeign of miners/industrial ships on traderoutes)

    Both things were never condemend by Goonswarm High-Command...

    These are 2 things which have no place in a game/mmorpg - I respect my enemy if he plays fair but not like this.
     
  10. Guest

    Guest Guest

    <blockquote><hr>

    I don't want to list the guilds in question, we pretty much know which ones are which, and some that aren't about anymore, or changed. I can say that the latest 6 characters in 6 different big guilds stayed in them for a few months, and after seeing how they were run, i quickly exited my characters out of them. Once in a while I was actually in the spawn fighting the champ stuff, but quickly afterwards the leaders gathered everyone up "ok everyone if you got PS hand them over to so and so evil red pvp killer leet lord. " Good ones were taken by the leaders, junk ones were given out to the rest. I never saw anything over a 110 handed out to the drabble.

    [/ QUOTE ]
    A lot of guilds seemed to revolve around this type of scroll distribution system. Our guild has a completely different one (blues keep what they get) and has always worked out extremely well. It is unfortunate that no guild on your shard took a different approach. Perhaps you should have tried to get one started.
     
  11. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Oh god, bees.