Account of Sociability for Warhammer Online

Conversation

As with most mmo’s this aspect of the game is one of the single most important elements.  Playing with others is what makes this type of game so popular, if this element did not exist then you might as well be playing a single player game.  Conversation takes place in a number of ways through an in game chat system and a mail system.  The mail system allows for offline messages and packages to be sent while the more important chat system allows players to talk to people around them or send a tell to a specific person.  This element is the root of coordination and awareness for this type of game and lets players chat and relax while playing or simply allows for bragging rights in an online world.

Coordination

The conversation allows for coordination in an online world and without either of these two most tasks would be doomed to failure outside of the solo content.  A great and somewhat unique example to this game lies in the public quests.  These are quests that run constantly and require people to participate to complete.  You often need your typical tanks, your healers, and of course your dps.  Parts are easy to do, say such as lighting kindling to burn the villagers alive in (yes, Destruction is actually evil unlike the emo forsaken and blood elves) while others need coordinated effort to live through like when the protectors of said town come in to try to save the day.  Of course this goes into everything else such as the RvR scenarios when we need players to fight in a certain area or focus fire the healers down first.

Awareness

Awareness is a key factor in the game play.  Awareness of what other people are doing and how to react to them.  This is important as coordination in an online anonymous world frequently fails, miserably.  So for example in a RvR scenario you frequently need to gauge what your team mates are doing.  The ones faltering on the front line are they going to hold or are they going to leave you to die instead of sticking it out long enough for our side to do damage.  People do not like to die even if the penalty is light and cowardice is one of few aspects you need to be aware of.  Beyond that you would need to watch what the npcs are doing, is it safe to walk past that wolves’ den or should you take the scenic route?  All of these social aspects play a significant role in the game and is really the reason I believe most people play this type of game.  Why play against a computer that has to cheat to win when you can play with other people varied in skill and reactions.

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2 Responses to “Account of Sociability for Warhammer Online”

  1. lynndombrowski Says:

    I would agree that other-character awareness is a big part of the game, a part that Blizzard did quite well.

    How does conversation assist with the game play coordination?

    Also, what do you mean by this statement: “Why play against a computer that has to cheat to win when you can play with other people varied in skill and reactions.”

  2. Corey Says:

    Simply, without conversation group work is impossible. Avatars are not that easy to read intents from so conversation is really the only reliable way to communicate reliably in an mmo. It can be needed for something as simple as the healer telling the tank he has an add on him for instance.

    As for my statement, well that is just some of by dislike for playing against computers seeping through. Computers are not peolpe and do not play by the same rules, why play a game where a computer can micro organize every unit in an rts when that is simply not possible for a human to ever do as things stand. I find little joy in beating a computer when in the end you can actually talk to the human opponent.


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