2003 DiGRA '03 - Proceedings of the 2003 DiGRA International Conference: Level Up
Communities get formed almost automatically in multiplayer games, but in some games they seem to be stronger and more active than in others. In order to find out why it is so, We study in this paper what kind of game design makes game community formation and maintenance easier in Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPG). Three MMORPGs are used as examples: Ultima Online, Anarchy Online and Toontown Online. The communication methods, game mechanics and environments of the three MMORPGs are compared and their effects on the game community are analyzed. Communities do not exist without communication. Game mechanics affects how important it is for the players to co-operate and compete with others and how useful it is to form different kinds of sub-communities, such as guilds. If the game supports player created content it typically strengthens the game community. The game environment provides settings for player-to-player interaction and can encourage collaboration and inspire the players to create their own stories around the sub-communities.