Why Players Should Be the Ultimate Content for MMOs

In every game and sport since the dawn of time, human participants have been their existential lifeblood.  The test of skill, athletics, teamwork and stamina as participants go head to head with each other has always been the fundamental building block of gaming competitions. Sports provides us with the joys and challenges of working with teammates and against opponents.

With the arrival of video games came a revolution where teammates and opponents were no longer needed. Sure there are FPS games and varying degrees of PVP in many MMOs where players actually face each other but the typical video game experience is largely a variant of the card game Solitaire.

Virtual worlds have become so incredibly detailed and immersive that the primacy of the player in the grand scheme of things has been eroded. As MMOs become more like movies we’ve become spectators instead of participants. Is the tennis court more important than the players? Is the stadium more significant than the athletes? Has the beauty and majesty of $50 million virtual worlds blinded us?

Have players have taken a backseat to the content?

When the Player Was King

There was a time when players were the focus of virtual worlds. Social bonding and group interdependency were considered a primary design tenet and goal of the MMO company. The basic activity of MMOs patterned itself after human activity in the real world where those that faced adversity would band together and cooperate with each other. Players in virtual worlds soon realized that the only way to advance and grow was to participate in communal combat. We did things together in those days — the army of one mentality was the exception and not the rule

Being a player was vitally important in those MMOs such as EverQuest. You needed both player skill and social skill to prosper. Back then players realized and understood that cooperation was essential to survival. Most of them didn’t complain instead they forged ahead with the task at hand. Without those unselfish players everything would have collapsed — there would be no character progression, no guilds, no dragons or gods slain, no tales and deeds of bravery.

There was value in being a player back then. Players were the true engine of  the MMO. There was social, strategic and practical value in knowing and cultivating a relationship with your fellow players and team mates.

Despite the exotic treasures we would uncover, we soon began to realize that the bonds of friendship and camaraderie were the real treasure. When people would band together from all over the world and put aside their egos in order to accomplish something greater than the sum of the parts — well that was the true magic of MMOs.

Then it all changed…

The Devaluation of Players

As MMO companies like Blizzard came on the scene they strived to attract more subscribers by expanding their demographics by allowing players to experience their MMO in shorter bursts. De-emphasizing group and raid content and providing solo content in a massive and unprecedented scale was the easiest way to achieve this.

The problem is that solo content has the unintended effect of marginalizing the need for players to have social contact with other players. When this happens other players become nothing more than animated NPCs and props — other players become trivial and incidental. While grouping and raiding does still exists in many MMOs as a relic of days gone by the new focus on solo content also has the side effect of ill-preparing players for transition to the endgame of many MMOs which of course is: grouping and raiding.

When players no longer value other players the caliber of the community on all levels suffers. Avatars rarely acknowledge each other in passing in the wilderness. Chat channels are debased. Forums are rife with nastiness. Players clamor for more skills that make them even more powerful and independent. It’s all about me me me. All of these symptoms have come to constitute the malady of the modern MMO.

WoW marked a major shift in MMO design philosophy as the primacy of the player began to fade and the ascendancy of the game designer began.

How Content and Artistry Has Distracted Us

People who play MMOs are largely inconsequential compared to the grandeur of these new virtual worlds. The chessboard has become the star of the show — not the chess players. Since all of this beautifully polished content is the star then it stands to reason that a star needs a good script. This is where the storyline enters into the new MMO equation.

lead designers

MMOs have become all about the egos of the designers and the quest writers. They are the drummers and you the player must march to their beat. Lurking in the shadows, they are the puppeteers that tell you where to go and when. Initially you love it and are awestruck because you are in their version of Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean — but it’s all a distraction that prevents you from contemplating why you really came here in the first place — to be part of a virtual world with other people.

Putting the Focus Back on the Player

Players should be the stars not the world — not the designers and not the storyline. The only way this can ever happen again is if designers allow players to tell their own stories and make their own history within these worlds. I mentioned the concept of player history in an article I wrote back in August of 2008:

More importantly the real treasure we came back with was that we created our own story and history.

Richard Bartle also amplified the notion of player history in MMOs in his recent Indepdendent MMO GDC presentation Pleasing the Teller. From his slides:

• There are three kinds of story in mmos
– Indeed, in all games
• Backstory describes what happened
before the mmo went live
– How the elves came to Middle-earth
• Narrative is what the designers
arrange to happen
– Quests to help the fellowship of the ring
• History is what actually happened
– Cool! I fell off weathertop!

Of these, history is the most important
• History is the player’s retelling of
interesting events
• This means there must have been some
interesting events
• No history means nothing interesting
happened
– Where’s the fun in that?

With everything so heavily scripted and infused with storylines there is no opportunity for random events and the player memories that naturally result from them. Nobody will ever remember the 20 boars they killed to complete a quest in a MMO.

on rails

Nothing is left to chance and it’s all because of an intolerant and protective design philosophy that puts all of the control in the hands of the game designer.

How do we reverse this trend and how do we put the emphasis back on the player again?

Solutions on How to Empower Players

Developers need to start respecting and trusting their players and allow for emergent gameplay to flourish.

We deserve some real alternatives to the quest centric amusement park ride that MMOs have been reduced to. Here are a few free suggestions (go ahead steal them Blizzard) to put the power back in the hands of players again:

  • Make Socializing Rewarding – Good game design revolves around ensuring that cohesion exists between other game mechanics notably achievement mechanics:
    • Create special unique quests and item rewards only available for groups and friends
    • Reward achievers for making friends which would encourage conversations and communication
    • Have various levels of friendship and accord prestige and status to higher levels of friendship
  • Create a Player Reputation System – Let players rate other players and police their own servers with a vote up and vote down system. Good players will rise in reputation, evil players will lose reputation. Create actual consequences  by awarding benefits and meting out punishments for different levels of reputation.
  • Encourage Emotes – Give players something meaningful to do while they are walking and running around:
    • Bring back the Hail command — Reward and encourage players to hail NPCs and use other emotes to illicit responses and actions from NPCs such as buffs and even attacks
    • Encourage civility among players by rewarding  emotes like /wave by granting small buffs and bonuses
  • Encourage Player Freedom — Allow players to attack friendly faction NPCs at a cost of reputation and let those players be attacked by same faction players during those times
  • Bring Back Trains – Yes you heard me! Stop leashing NPCs.
  • Improve NPC A.I. – No more Stepford Wives NPCs
  • Bring Cities and Towns to Life – this would entice players to congregate more. Here are a few suggestions:
    • have agroing drunks, pickpockets, courtesans and criminal NPC’s come out at night
    • have bar fights breaking out in inns and taverns
    • have food scarcity fights breaking out in cities
    • create real jails for chat violators and other offenses, let other players visit them and throw rotten vegetables at them for sport
    • have public executions of chat violators and griefers each day — execute their avatars whether they are online or not
    • have the good city and townsfolk NPC come out during the day
  • Create Random and Triggered Events that actually affect players and bring them together in common cause (as in the real world) such as:
    • invasions
    • plagues
    • famines
    • earthquakes
    • revolts
    • uprisings
    • riots
  • Allow Players and Guilds to Create their own special Events – Let them rent out NPCs like caterers, jugglers, guards, priests and give them serious tools and items to create:
    • treasure hunts
    • birthdays
    • anniversaries
    • parties
    • weddings
    • funerals
  • Fewer Scripted Quests and Storylines - Designers it’s not all about *you* it’s about the player.
  • Create Interactive Buildings — Allow players to impact the world by creating new mechanics that allow players to build and destroy infrastructure.

Conclusion

Players could be the highest form of content in MMOs if only the social engineers masquerading as MMO developers would put their trust in them. God gave more freewill to humanity than MMO developers have ever given to their players. A handful of good players who invest themselves into a virtual world with abandon and passion are worth much more than millions of dollars of handcrafted content.

Players are the greatest single resource that a MMO company has. Only players can truly inject *life* into a virtual world but regrettably their potential is not being utilized. The problem is that players can only do so much given the lack of in-game opportunities and mechanics.

To the MMO CEO’s out there I say this on behalf of players: we are tired of chasing your yellow exclamation marks. We want to be players not actors in the world you have created for us — remember it’s our world too. We the players have much to contribute if you would only show us some respect and reciprocate the trust we have placed in you. Have the courage give us the tools to let us make our own destiny.

-Wolfshead

After writing this piece I came across a link to a thoughtful article which may be of interest and deserves mention. It’s by Muckbest entitled Players ARE Content. Really good read!

45 thoughts on “Why Players Should Be the Ultimate Content for MMOs

  1. A great point about players being the ultimate content for MMOs.

    But you bring up EQ as an example? not UO? heck even SWG had better player driven content than EQ

    I personally see the only way player generated content will flourish is when players are given tools to do so.
    One great way is conflict – massive factions conflict with huge battles , influencing the world instead of instanced BGs which are just bad version of FPS.

    Fight for ownership of territories , resources. Ambush caravans , raid enemy cities.

    Gain political power in your own faction by being successful on battlefield (or ,alternatively, elections) and govern with taxes and laws.

    Maintain your shop or even build a trade empire and support your faction

    Another way – which I think would cater to more PvE oriented people is dungeon master driven gameplay. Allow players who elect to control the dungeon and or mobs . – Allow them Make their own content out of prefabs. Have other players rate their encounter so top DMs raise to the top

    • I didn’t hold up EverQuest as a shining paragon of player created content — it was most certainly not that. I just wanted to use it as an example of an MMO where your fellow players mattered with regard to player interdependency.

      I do agree that UO and SWG were good examples of virtual worlds that encouraged more emergent gameplay and had more opportunities for player driven content. I didn’t play SWG because of my distaste for anything Star Wars but from the stories I’ve heard it had quite an impact on a lot of people.

      All I’m hoping is that we can turn things around and start going in the direction of the sandbox again with more player generated content.

  2. I always promote Ultima Online, but Wolfshead has a point that EverQuest even more than UO created strong social bonds/guilds. UO has some advantages when it comes to items and housing, I also think the item decay and crafting system would be a very good addition to contemporary MMOs. It makes crafting meaningful and might combat the “gear greed” mentality somewhat.

    Guilds are nowadays often just groups of item hunters that banded together, this is a mere shadow of former oldstyle guilds who often went beyond that and created even friendships occasionally.

    MMOs will always feel clumsy and limited if they try to surpass a single-player MMO with finite story or a good fantasy novel in terms of pure storytelling. But MMOs can offer interaction with other humans, let them write “history” themselves. That is the right way to tell an engaging story in MMOs. The very linear railroad-questarcs just cannot do that, even if they feature fun and engaging stories.

    I like the disasters idea. I recently read a novel where the gods are mere mortals that somehow got divine power by accident – and if they are in a bad mood and the stars are aligned in a certain fashion, whole continents can surface or drown, volcanoes erupt and all that. A locust plague would also be nice. Modern MMOs are so freaking safe, nothing can break, nothing can be lost.

    Caution regarding Dungeon Master content. I just want to remember what happened to City of Heroes and their player generated content. Right, it was used for farming, interesting and well designed missions are rather the exception.

    I think dynamic quests that influence the world around (repair a bridge, repair a mill, drive off some bandits, escort (yes, escort quest…^^) someone) could also be a nice alternative to raiding. E.g. instead of gathering people for a raid, you look for players to escort a trek safely through a very dangerous zone.

  3. What I’m still missing from the list of things which can empower players (and I know, I’ve spammed your and Tesh’s comment with that a couple of times already): a meaningful regional economy which you can influence.

    What I’m looking for is a way for players to influence the economy of a region through trade and gathering. If the city Vorshal offers iron-based weaponry, players have to supply iron, for a price which fluctuates based on availability. Nearby iron mines may deplete, or may suddenly get occupied by a band of cave G’shmurgs, giving rise to the opportunity to trade iron from far-away regions, but at a cost – the supply and demand weakening or strengthening the economies of the involved cities.

    If one city starts getting on hard times, that should become visible, as buildings start to get into disrepair, and shops offer lower quality goods, crime rises, people start to emigrate, creating caravans of people which may then lead to bandits ambushes on the road… and players free to opt for defending the populace or joining the bandits.

    The options with this kind of dynamic worlds are near limitless, and help creating that History Bartle is describing

    • I agree. Having an actual economy that is based on the scarcity of resources, supply and demand would be a great way to introduce a more organic dynamism into a virtual world.

      Look at the hardship, turmoil and drama that the current economic woes of the real world have introduced into daily life. Foreign policy is often determined by the abundance and scarcity of natural resources — why don’t game designers build these kinds of situations into their virtual worlds too?

    • There already is an MMO with a fully funtional Multi-region economy, EVE-Online.

      With Low and highs of demand, its a completly player driven economy, they mine/refine/sell all materials and componants for everything in EVE.

  4. Basically, have people fight for iron, coal, other resources, so that their crafters can craft them better gear to fight for more resources.

    I like the idea, Gwaendar. This could also be a way to incorporate PvP in MMOs in a more meaningful way. Nowadays it is often rather restricted and just superfluous or even annoying.

  5. Absolutely. Another side-effect is to make NPC equipment shops worthwile compared to WoW (which are used only for the rare quest, to reequip a toon which has been hacked, or because you need something to level up enchanting on). Crafters could sell to NPC shops as an alternative to the AH, so the shops can resell these to other players – however, a city with a failing economy may not have shops able to afford buying top notch crafted gear.
    And shops in an area with a steady input of materials and customers could offer some decent non-crafted equipment as well.
    Beyond the PvP impact, there’s also the RvR aspect: If you’re not into fighting massive PvP battles, you could try commissioning caravans and start ruining the economy of the opposing realm.

    All these things offer so many more opportunities to offer gameplay beyond hack & slash with a dash of crafting, and a wide potential for players to write history.

  6. This post sort of connects with random things my brain has been kicking around lately.

    Despite having played WoW for 3 years before quitting, I cannot remember a single epic weapon name. Even though I ground like mad for quite a few. Yet off the top of my head, I can name you at least 4 weapons from LegendMUD (8 years played, no longer playing), and I didn’t ‘grind’ for any of them. Additionally, I still know what their properties are. I have no idea what the WoW weapons were other than ‘that was a good tank sword’. Ask me if I remember the skin, the stats, or WHAT I ground for it other than – I know it was annoying!… and I come up blank. Scary, since WoW took a lot more of my time in terms of carrot chasing than LegendMUD ever did.

    I have made lifelong friends from LegendMUD. There is only one casual acquaintance I still have from 3 years of WoW, and we have almost nothing in common, now that I have quit.

    Now, more relevantly on topic to your post ;) :

    Back on LegendMUD, I tried and failed to get a system implemented which would encourage interaction between high and low levels.

    Basically, worldwide ‘treasure hunts’ that didn’t actually involve finding ‘treasure’, so much as finding a moving mob that was ONLY visible if two players of vastly differing levels were in the same group in the same area (in MUD terms, in the same room).
    It also included a lot of detailed controls and settings and whatnots specific to LegendMUD or MUDs in general, so I won’t go into that there.

    I didn’t manage to get it implemented, but your post reminded me of it… because it seemed then, and even more so now, that MMOs are devaluing the connections that people make with each other.

    What I was trying to encourage with my silly little system was a certain kind of ‘natural’ mentoring. A sense that, if a lowbie comes up to a max level character to talk to them, then the max level character does not ?need? to automatically assume that the lowbie is a useless beggar. Of course, some people will never hit it off, but if they want the reward, they might find another lowbie. ~_o

    Part of the idea was also that it would (hopefully) teach high level characters, by doing, how to take care of newbies – in MUDs, with their much smaller communities, the sense that newbies MATTER is a lot more alive. Or it was – and I’m not just referring to LegendMUD. I do not currently MUD though, so I can’t comment on the situation right now.

    I find that one of the things most MUDs implement to some degree, but MMOs don’t seem to, is that it is against the rules to use any of your characters to benefit any of your OTHER characters.

    Of course, it starts to bend at the edges when you say ‘but I already as a player KNOW how this mechanic for this mob/fight works’… and maybe you log on your healer to help your friend kill a mob, so your friend can give you the gear from that mob…

    However, what it does do, and what seems woefully underappreciated, is that it keeps the entry level a lot fresher for newbies. Veteran players already HAVE a serious advantage from just knowing the system. And if you can’t derive any help from your max level characters, that means you need to do the low level stuff again as it was planned… it makes balancing low levels easier.
    And it means you’re not so far above the new player that you just… ignore them. At the very most basic level, I believe it encourages the building of social bonds.

    Of course, these observations are all from playing many, many MUDs (at least half of those on themudconnector)… and I am well aware that the economics of scale can and does change things. A lot of the points you’ve brought up, I’ve seen implemented in one way or another in some MUD or another. I’m not saying that they’re bad, or that they cannot work – but each has its own associated pitfalls and shinies once you bring in !woohoo! players!

    In some ways, when I look at MMOs in general, I get the feeling that for me at least, they’ve taken out almost everything I loved about MUDs, and instead replaced it with spatial combat and shiny graphics. Don’t get me wrong, I *like* spatial combat and shiny graphics…but I really miss the richness of a good MUD.

    Two rambling nugget (non) cents!

    • Thanks for your nice post and observations!

      Great point about the need for mentors. I think this is a great idea. Players could adopt another player and “sponsor” them. I think Asheron’s Call had some kind of system like this where players could sign-up players like a multi-level marketing pyramid scheme. I’m not sure how well it worked.

      Still I think that mentoring has potential. There is a great divide between newbie players and veteran players with no incentives for both groups to ever mingle. Finding ways and giving incentives for veterans to teach newer players would be a good thing.

      We had a volunteer Guide program in EverQuest where experienced players had an official outlet where they could give back to the community by helping out players. This element of public service has really fallen by the wayside in MMOs like WoW.

      Back to the mentoring. I’d like to take it even further and have high level players act as “trainers” for low to mid level players. Instead of players running to NPC trainers all the time they could seek out highly skilled players and train from them.

      Anything that encourages players to take an active interest in other players and their server community is a good thing.

  7. Get your buffs out of my socialising !
    Honestly, if there are rewards for the slightest action, people will game the system. They always do. They will find and do the actions that will enable them to go faster to “the endgame”.
    Or, have non-consequential/fluffy buffs, like gaining little planteoids when hailing someone, a golden one for PCs, silver one for NPCs, and a dark one for monsters. Which disappear after a time.

    As for the reputation system, I saw it in a F2P game. And? It was played… In the first 15 minutes I spent in the game, I was offered money to rate someone up. 5 times. It would need to be limited perhaps in levle/time played, so only players (and not tourists) can use it.

    I’m all for trains, destructible/constructible environments and encouraging people’s freedom. Just… Remember griefers. Some people like it only when they hurt others.
    Some jail time could be interesting: something like one real hour per crime? But again, how do you identify a real crime from someone who was scammed in doing it? Griefers that leave the game because they were jailed, I have no problem losing. Genuine players who were played into griefers’ hands (I’m thinking Darkfall, about the ones who run to a player of their faction while said player is in combat, getting hit by said player so said player becomes red)

    Player created-content… Remember City of Heroes, as Longasc is saying. If you can’t have someone review this content beforehand, then perhaps it should be separated from the main game, like some kind of dream zone where your player doesn’t gain anything that can affect the real world.

    But, having an impact on the world, like building a bridge or something, I’d like that…

    I like the disasters idea. Or world event, even. I know some players will object, to which I answer this: http://www.brokentoys.org/2008/10/28/a-message-from-your-lich-king/#comments.

    I like Gwaendar’s idea of a meaningful economy. Isn’t that something EVE offers? As said, perhaps it would lead to some meaningful PvP as well :p. Mmmh, I smell Darkfall …
    And we know many people do not like Darkfall. Is it the open-ended PvP/win everything/lose everything that is the deterrent?

  8. I think the key idea here is to give interesting gameplay to Socializers. I think that we should focus on gameplay for users beyond the Achievers in games. Related to this, Spinks recently pointed out that role-playing has opportunity costs, so it’s not necessarily the the best use of game time. One thing the GMs at Simutronics do is flag people they see who are role-playing, giving the role-players a boost in xp earning ability to counteract this.

    One problem is that you have to be careful about installing any systems like these for socializers, because other people will (ab)use them. As Modran points out above, any sort of benefit will throughly exploited by achievers looking to level up. Just because a wave emote gives a buff doesn’t mean that the person waving cares about me; it’s like the fake smile you get at the fast food counter from the person who really just wants their shift to end.

    On the other hand, a “reputation system” would be abused by griefers faster than you could blink. The now defunct Sims Online had a system of voting people up or down as a source of reputation, and a “shadow mafia” of people would band together to vote up people they liked and vote down people they didn’t. Kinda sucks when you’re the vicitim of that just because someone doesn’t like your name or something equally trivial.

    I think what is needed is to look at what type of gameplay Socializers like and encourage people to work with them. This is part of the motivation behind SWG’s original Doctors and Entertainers. They were supposed to provide a social element to the game, but they just ended up being something that people could AFK macro. The trick is to give some interesting gameplay for the Socializer that can’t just be automated away by other players who see socialization as an obstacle to achieving as fast as possible. Not an easy design goal, unfortunately, even if people want to do it.

    • I think the key idea here is to give interesting gameplay to Socializers. I think that we should focus on gameplay for users beyond the Achievers in games. Related to this, Spinks recently pointed out that role-playing has opportunity costs, so it’s not necessarily the the best use of game time. One thing the GMs at Simutronics do is flag people they see who are role-playing, giving the role-players a boost in xp earning ability to counteract this.

      As Bartle mentioned recently war has been declared on socializers in recent years in some of the MUDs and definitely in today’s MMOs. Everyone wins when there are diverse player types in a virtual world. A world full of the same achiever archetype is very monotone. So yes, we need to create more in-game activities and mechanics for socializers.

      One problem is that you have to be careful about installing any systems like these for socializers, because other people will (ab)use them. As Modran points out above, any sort of benefit will throughly exploited by achievers looking to level up. Just because a wave emote gives a buff doesn’t mean that the person waving cares about me; it’s like the fake smile you get at the fast food counter from the person who really just wants their shift to end.

      I’d rather be in a world of fake civility then a world where everyone has a frown on their face or they just plain ignore you. I lived in Canada for many years. When I moved to the USA I was always blown away by how people in America seem to smile and are positive when you talk to them (except for New York City) — they seem happy to see you and are appreciative of your business — unlike in Canada where people scowl at you when you order fast food or a coffee.

      As a young child I was taught to say “please” and “thank you”. Although many times I didn’t actually mean it, having manners and civility has served me quite well in my life. Common courtesy is the social lubrication that keeps the wheels of society moving.

      I think if more players /wave, /bow and /smile more often it would be a much better gaming experience. I believe that LotRO actually gives some kind of title or reward if you do this enough.

      On the other hand, a “reputation system” would be abused by griefers faster than you could blink. The now defunct Sims Online had a system of voting people up or down as a source of reputation, and a “shadow mafia” of people would band together to vote up people they liked and vote down people they didn’t. Kinda sucks when you’re the victim of that just because someone doesn’t like your name or something equally trivial.

      Fair point. I was just throwing that idea out there. I think we should be examining ways to let players police their own servers. Lots of message boards use a vote up/down system. If we could apply it to the idiots who spam in Trade channel in WoW and have players use it to regulate who can speak and who can’t it would be interesting.

      I think what is needed is to look at what type of gameplay Socializers like and encourage people to work with them. This is part of the motivation behind SWG’s original Doctors and Entertainers. They were supposed to provide a social element to the game, but they just ended up being something that people could AFK macro. The trick is to give some interesting gameplay for the Socializer that can’t just be automated away by other players who see socialization as an obstacle to achieving as fast as possible. Not an easy design goal, unfortunately, even if people want to do it.

      Achievers will always exploit systems designer for explorers and socializers — that’s pretty much a given. But if we can convert a few achievers into socializers by having them /wave and /cheer and who knows maybe they’ll make some friends along they way and contribute something positive. :)

  9. Problem with Darkfall is that it is horrible abortion of a game, with brainless designers behind every single system in it . Laggy and crashing servers, unpolished UI, non existing content are just annoyances compared to every single other in- game system .

    In short everything in that game in unrewarding , brainless , boring repetitive grind, unkind to any real life obligation and rewarding you with nothing (as combat in this game is horrible abortion as well)

    Sandbox is not a game devoid of absolutely anything. Sandbox is a game which provides rich set of tools to build your experience with, when it provides none it become a dirty cat litter box where everyone takes a dump. Thats exactly what DF is.

    p.s. And I am “hardcore” pvper not turned off by minor annoyances like spawn camping , griefing , scamming or such – I saw that all since AC:DT and it never bothered me. Heck I stayed with shadowbane despite all its enormous faults for a while.

    But with time I am growing increasingly impatient with retarded brain dead design decisions

  10. I fail to see any positive benefits from trains. They lead to intentional griefing and unintentional disruption, but don’t significantly improve socializing. Trains were terribly aggravating and aren’t part of modern games for a good reason.

    • I expected my suggestion of bringing back trains to be somewhat controversial. Trains for me are really a metaphor for allowing players to exercise more control over the world.

      Trains bring in an element of randomness and chaos into a predictable world.

      Let me go off on a small tanjent and tell you a little story about when I was a Senior Guide in EverQuest. We used to run invasions quite frequently on my server– I was very much interested in live events and quests and authored quite a few of the live quest and events that the GMs and Guides would perform.

      One such invasion that I created was the Drolvargs (a werewolf type race) were “re-taking” Karnor’s Castle. Usually I would recruit a couple of guides on my server (once the petition queue had been dealt with) and I would lead the invasion.

      I would choose a monk character (that I would transform into a Drolvarg) and I would purposely go out and agro about 40 NPC drolvargs and have them chase me. Meanwhile I would be making all kinds of /emotezones about how the drolvargs were going to retake their castle etc. and make the interlopers “pay”.

      Then I would run toward the assembling throng of players that were waiting for the invasion just outside Karnors. I would feign death and then the Drolvarg would attack the players — making them my own personal army.

      Given the limited commands that even a Senior Guide had (since we could not insta-spawn NPCs like actual GMs could) I did all I could to simulate a Drolvarg invasion and it worked very well giving the players on my server entertaining and fun live events whenever possible.

      Another good aspect to trains is that just knowing a train could happen at any time kept players on a constant state of alert. That’s one thing I really miss when I play MMOs like WoW or LotRO. :)

      • I miss those events. What server were you a senior on? I was on Emarr myself and eventually joined the Quest Troupe to engage in more activities like this.

  11. I love your solutions. I think Blizzard has harmed the socialising aspect of MMORPGs by the way they have introduced ‘casual’ gaming. I’m a strong believer in casual gaming but I think it can be accomplished whilst still encouraging socialising.

    Being casual, doesn’t need to mean soloing all of the time! Grouping should definitely be encouraged and social etiquette rewarded.

    I think it’s a sad state of affairs when hardcore gamers are blaming “social” players for nerfing their games and casual players are exiled into lonely solo questing.

  12. We used to love live events. I know they were a hassle to setup and people always grouched about not being able to see them, but we did love them.

    I’m hoping to chat to some of the guys on my server who are really active about organising RP events about what devs could do to help them. I know when I was more RPish what we really loved was that the DaoC team would help out with decorations and ‘fluff’ for RP events. I remember a player-organised ball where the community reps had helped decorate one of the great halls in Camelot and provided some NPC musicians and fire eaters. We loved that sort of stuff.

  13. I don’t think I could have articulated this any better. This subject has been one I’ve been talking about a while. The problem in doing so is that the “don’t nerf soloing” crowd will often try to shout you down.

    There are additional reasons why we’re in this state. It stems from the reduction of group content primarily but you also have the side effects from “zero down time.”

    In EQ1 you would have plenty of time to chat between pulls while you were waiting on mana. Most games don’t require that you “med” anymore. When there is no down time there is less of a chance to chat. Everything has to be fast paced, “Michael Bay” action or it isn’t interesting (I don’t actually believe this I’m just making a point).

    There are just too many players out there who’ve simply never experienced anything other than solo-focused games. They don’t like the idea of being dependent on others even though they haven’t tried it. I personally miss that dependency. The lack of it has weakened guilds.

    Guilds just aren’t important anymore. If you don’t like what your guild does you move to the next and the next. The social ties just aren’t there and the team suffers. It amazes me at how hard it is to find decent members for Sodality. Our core has been together 5+ years and is from the EQ culture. It never changes and we never lose anyone. New players just come and go.

    I hope developers take your article (and the others written on this subject) to heart and return the focus to the players and their organizations.

  14. I’ll inject a note of caution: I’m all for providing *means* for socialization, but forcing people to socialize in order to make progress in the game is an idea that is rightfully being discredited. Likewise, I’m all for optional tangential raiding dungeons (or other group content) at *all* levels of play in an MMO, since yes, playing with other people can be fun.

    Still, if the main game content is gated by grouping mechanics, it’s a game that I’m not going to buy or play. Likewise, if I play for a while and get cockblocked by a group quest, I’m going to be very angry. (It’s not unlike being deeply annoyed at the torture quest in WoW; if you don’t want to play their dumb little game, your progress is blocked. That’s bad game design.) I want the *option* of playing with others, and I want that play to be fun, but I will never accept being forced to group up.

    If you want your game to be fun to play socially, don’t force players to play together, give them tools and fun rewards for doing so.

    Actually, that’s what I thought these MMO things would be in the first place. I’m all for games that are built around having a blast playing with other people; that’s the strength of these games, and what they really should be playing to. It just can’t be a block to progress for those times when I don’t feel like playing with others.

  15. Guild Wars gives players the option to play alone and pick henchmen/heroes as AI companions instead of other players.

    Right now it is discussed how it could happen that players PREFER to play with them instead of other human players.

    It is a longish debate right now on GWGuru and I do not want to reduce it to a few words here, but it shows the other extreme:

    You are not forced to group, you can perfectly play solo -> good.
    But the system right now is actively discouraging playing with other players, and this is cause for concern.

    Good, many people do not consider GW a classical MMO at all, and for sure it is not.. . still I am a bit upset about this.

    • Oh, aye, you don’t want to actively discourage players playing with others, but I don’t see soloers as a cause for concern. That’s just how some people play the game, and trying to force players to group up is misguided. As I said, give them good reasons and tools to group, but don’t make it a roadblock to progress, and stand back and let players decide what to do. Make playing with others fun, and people will do it. Make it a job or roadblock, and the cry to make the game soloable will increase. Life’s too short to deal with other people if it’s not fun to do so.

  16. I am quite used to soloplay in all MMOs I played myself. I have nothing against soloers, and I do not want to force them at all.

    Grouping with other humans in GW turned into increasing the risk of failing the mission, while success with your own hero/henchmen team is almost guaranteed.

    As you said, people do not want to deal with other people if this is the case. But it is an online game, after all, and while grouping should not be forced upon players, game design that discourages players from grouping strikes me as quite odd.

    IMO the problem is rooted in the ability to fail by having the whole party killed in the “missions”, or the party getting kicked from the instance by getting the maximum 60% death penalty. Compare it to WoW instances, you just re-enter after are shorter or longer walk from the graveyard. In GW, you start from scratch.

    Oh boy. I got into detail. Sorry. :)

    • Hmm… interesting thought. The harsher penalty in GW making for less incentive to group? I can see that… but at the same time, what about those calls for stiffer non-Carebear content? How do you approach that spectrum from both ends?

      I’m increasingly convinced that you don’t try to find a happy medium, you create a spectrum for players to self sort themselves along according to their own risk/reward tolerance.

      • Tesh and Nugget, I think they already tried to address this issue somewhat, intentionally or by coincidence or for other reasons actually does not matter that much:

        1.) Only players can use the extra powerful “PvE-only” skills
        -> this makes human players more valuable
        2.) The general difficulty level got lowered a lot, with the latest expansion EOTN (Eye of the North) being a notable exception. It was really made for more veteran players and takes in account what happened so far.

        (I really like that some dungeons ARE really hard in hard mode, but they are doable for everyone in normal mode. The 60% fail-kick only applies to hard mode, and they are not like “missions” where party death means start over. There are also EOTN missions where you can die, but you still cannot do it that often, otherwise the target you have to defend/escort/whatever will perish. But you at least no longer get kicked because the whole party screwed up at once.)

        Power creep ensued. Quite simple, people had more “chapters/campaigns” and a lot more of skill choices, so their 8 skill bars now contain in general more powerful per se or a better mix of skills. Then Heroes were added. Then the PvE skills.

        The Tengu Warriors in Nebo Terrace were once frightening opponents that really demanded me to take care, otherwise they would hand me my butt on a platter.
        A newer player at max level still has minor issues if he does not have all heroes yet and not all heroes unlocked, or not all chapters… in HARD MODE.

        Normal Mode became the easy mode, and ArenaNet unfortunately added the many “consumable” items that give extreme buffs to make… right, hard mode easier and normal mode a veritable joke.

        I think this is counter-productive, as it allows players to progress with really bad skillbar and team setups, until they hit a brick wall in some notorious missions. Why? Because they never had an incentive to become better, if people fail they might get annoyed and desperate, but they also start to think.

        I personally think this is even necessary, as Guild Wars lives from thinking about your skill selection and applying it most efficiently. This aspect gets totally lost if you have a progression style MMO in mind and think every “new” skill you get must be better than your old ones. The easy difficulty without progressive challenges then allows players to have the same skill bar for ages and succeed, sometimes “since Ascalon” (=very start of the game).

        Nightfall offered the first true solo mission, the Tihark Orchard mission. Muckbeast might have loved it, it featured 5 more or less well done optional minigames as bonus objectives. EOTN moved the dungeons and missions somewhat away from instant fail upon group death.

        Still there is a paradox to overcome. Easier content makes it easier to group for it, but also unnecessary, as Heroes than can do it better anyways. It also starts a downward spiral of not educating the player about the possibilities of the game, gives him no idea that he could do better and should try a bit harder.

        Harder content on the other hand is not that solo-friendly, if it is really hard, heroes and henchmen will have a hard time. But try to find people who dare to do it when they have grown up in the easy peasy world and are neither used to fail nor to adjust and try harder.

        I wonder if they will go for the “spectrum” idea you just mentioned, Tesh. It is already there to some extent in EOTN hard mode.
        Then there is the WoW route, the sometimes ridiculous things you have to do to kill a boss in a very odd way to get an extra achievement awarded, while the general difficulty is rather low. The usual example is doing Sartharion while leaving the 3 supporting dragons alive, there are some worse examples where you are told to do much sillier stuff and it is again bound to the achievement mentality that abounds nowadays.

        There is unfortunately a very sad trend common for most MMOs nowadays: Dumbing down content. This is especially true for non-max-level content in WoW, not only got all player classes more powerful in 3.x, they also nerfed the mobs considerably. The result is that many classes can pull the whole Hellfire Peninsula and survive it without breaking a sweat. (Death Knights and Paladins are especially suited for that atm.)

        This is also visible in WOTLK, which also has very easy instances and does not really become challenging before Ulduar. Players who played through TBC / Karazhan and all that before were used to much more difficult gameplay and I guess they make up a large portion of the crowd that is veritably bored by now, not to speak of veterans who fought already C’thun.

        On the other hand WOTLK is a much better intro for new players, who by now supposedly get levelled up to level 68 (and then gaining access to the latest content, WOTLK) in ever smaller fractions of the time it used to take.

        The next patch introduces mounts at level 20, it was not so long ago when they lowered it to 30. Slow Flying is now possible at level 60. They also added a portal to the Dark Portal (snickers) in major cities, especially good for horde players, except that now nobody really bothers to go to TBC anymore at all anyways.

        I wonder what happens to WoW next expansion. The whole expansion seems to become the new low level training ground at release, VERY easy… and add some more difficult content later, for the raiders and those who want to hunt for better items.

        I guess the next step is that they make all players start out at level 78 or 80 e.g., right at the start of the next expansion. Not only the “hero class” like the DK. Maybe not this time, but for the next expansion maybe…

        Whew. From GW to WoW to the general and back. I hope it at least contained some food for thought. I deviated a bit from the players are content topic, sorry for that.

    • Hrm.

      I love that you can fail. TBH, that was one of the things that really caught me *along with the fact that I love the gameplay*, when it comes to GW. For me, the possibility of actual failure means sweeter, happier bouncies when I complete the thing – even if I have to try a few times.

      This goes hand in hand with heroes and henchies though, because I know that I’m not annoying 7 other people to death as I try out dozens of variations in skills and whatnot to unlock what is, to me, essentially a strategy puzzle with realtime aspects.

      However, I do agree with the statement:
      “Grouping with other humans in GW turned into increasing the risk of failing the mission, while success with your own hero/henchmen team is almost guaranteed.”

      The difference to me is in GW, I have a choice. I can decide I feel like meeting people right now, and toss the failure into the equation, and sometimes come out on the side of people, sometimes not. Granted, I do almost all missions (hm or not) for the first time, with h/h, and NOT with people.

      But for me, it’s not so much ‘people will make this suck’ as – I want to learn this at my own pace, and fail at my own pace, before I join a group with people, so that I can hopefully be useful in a group.

      Some of my friends are saying I should go back to WoW – but the lack of h/h AI types is just one of the things that make me declare – no way! In GW at least I have a choice. In WoW I have none. It’s not about ‘other people suck’ for me. Though skill levels are notoriously varied lol. It’s more that ‘not having a choice sucks’.

      • Oh! Additionally!

        As a holy priest way back in vanilla WoW, I used to joke that the number one thing I could do to massively lower my life expectancy was…

        …join a group.

        It’s not the AI’s fault that their average is better/more reliable than some of the… interesting things… humans can come up with.

  17. http://www.psychochild.org/?p=729#comment-407035

    I just had an idea – scale the dungeon to the number of players.

    No more need for AI henchmen or too many additional players.
    Brian “Psychochild” Green described some typical situations in the life of a MMO player like solo quests turning into group quests and problems with party composition for certain bosses and so on.

    I just wondered if the MMO could not adapt the dungeon to suit the party, as a human DM would do it.

    • This is a good idea which has a lot of merit. Too often when trying to complete a dungeon you get the following problems:
      – it’s hard to find enough players to complete the dungeon
      -sometimes you have too many players which has the result that there is no challenge

      At least if the challenge scaled itself to the number of players these problems could be solved.

      Also I think it’s important to have special bonuses (better and more loot) for bigger groups to encourage grouping and socialization.

  18. The real Problem with WOW is that it has no history. If you log out, it’s like you’ve never been there. All your heroic deeds are gone with the wind, and the dragon you killed is there again. WOW is as static as a book, and once you’re through, you put it back on the shelf.
    The designers write new chapters once in a while, but they can only delay the inevitable. A game which keeps interesting long-term must be able to change by player’s actions in ways unforeseen by the designers.

    • Agreed. This is the fatal flaw of all MMOs to date. Every day is like the movie Groundhog Day — nothing ever changes and what ever small impact a player has made is gone with the wind.

      As you said, new content is really not the answer because all it does is perpetuates the big lie for a few more weeks. It’s like the abusive husband that brings his wife roses and chocolates in an effort to make things up to her — despite his temporary change of heart you know that he’ll be back beating his wife in no time.

      MMO developers don’t seem to want to make that leap of faith and trust players to change the world. Until we get a company with the courage to do this we’re going to see the same old variant of EverQuest and WoW offered as a “new” MMO.

      • To be fair, giving players power is scary. I *do* think it’s the only way to really make MMOs matter and to take advantage of the medium, but players can be so… messed up.

        The trick is to give them power to change the world, but not power to grief other players. It’s a lot easier to build treadmills.

  19. On scaling dungeons: City of Heroes does this, and it works out quite well. Unfortunately, it’s a definite tradeoff. It’s difficult to scale without being in an instance, which in itself impedes socialization.

    I think you have very different memories of EQ than I do. My epitome of EQ “socializing” was kill stealers, camp conflicts, and intentional trains. I started a major political incident when I, as a shaman, refused a dwarf who ran up to me and said “SOW ME”.

    I think this whole thing is a little misplaced. MMO players were given the freedom you’re asking for here, and they blew it. EQ tromped on UO largely because it restricted what the asshats could do to everyone else. Everyone watched them get more creative in EQ so they could keep being asshats, and WoW took steps to fix their levels of creativity. Largely successfully, I think, which is a big part of why it has the mass appeal it does.

    I can certainly agree, to a certain extent, that the opportunity for greater socializing in MMOs holds potential enjoyment. But so does handing a baby a loaded gun. I think that at the point that the MMO community shows that it can handle such options without bankrupting the company trying to make a profit on it, they’ll have another shot at it. Until then, they can congregate in EVE Online.

    • I think this whole thing is a little misplaced. MMO players were given the freedom you’re asking for here, and they blew it. EQ tromped on UO largely because it restricted what the asshats could do to everyone else. Everyone watched them get more creative in EQ so they could keep being asshats, and WoW took steps to fix their levels of creativity. Largely successfully, I think, which is a big part of why it has the mass appeal it does.

      You’ve made some excellent points. I’m not advocating for complete freedom like UO which was held hostage to a handful of griefer. Can we agree that something needs to be done reverse the trend where players have almost no freedom to impact other players and the world around them?

      The lack of freedom probably explains why some players are apt to go berserk in chat — it’s probably the only avenue left which they have to make an impact — albeit negative.

      Part of freedom is having choices and knowing you can do something but you don’t because there are consequences. For example in the real world I have freedom to drive my car into a crowd of people. Do I do that? No. The reason is that there is consequences such as human misery, being imprisoned for life, etc.

      WoW is much like a police state. The mechanics are so tightly controlled that you can’t really do anything except engage in tedious repetitive actions like killing NPCs mobs over and over again.

      Blizzard has eliminated the trains, the open dungeons (read the We Fly Spitfires article) by giving us instances, attacking friendly NPCs, unleashed mobs, etc. What’s left is just the illusion of a virtual world.

      • “The lack of freedom probably explains why some players are apt to go berserk in chat — it’s probably the only avenue left which they have to make an impact — albeit negative.”

        Maybe I’m just more cynical about human nature, but I tend to think it’s the opposite. The people going berserk in chat are the ones who would be stealing kills, dropping trains on people, or grief-killing. The limitations don’t cause the behavior, they keep it from being worse.

        To be honest, too, I’m not sure I see why WoW is so restrictive compared to EQ. You obviously had a far difference than I did in EQ, but I never experienced anything persistent in EQ either. Sure there were moments of fun story, but they were almost all painful, and few of them had to do with other players. My most vivid memory of EQ was the time my 5th-level Magician accidentally dropped his elemental into the bottom of Blackburrow, and I discovered what ETS was. Certainly a vivid memory, but hardly the pinnacle of gaming experience.

        The reason MMOs don’t give more freedom is that the consequences you talk about – that keep you from driving your car into a crowd of people – are absent. Permanent banning doesn’t work, because then it isn’t actually allowed, is it? Why code something possible into the game just to penalize or ban people for using it? If the game world sets up some sort of penalty, it’s always easily dodged with separate characters or accounts. Take a look at EVE Online for just how effective that can be.

        It also makes a perfect counterfactual to your theory of why people act out in chat… EVE allows people to be as nasty and brutal as they want, and they’re still just as nasty and brutal in chat, only now they do it while there are six of them blowing your ship up at a gatecamp.

        I understand what you feel is missing, and I don’t disagree… But I’ll say again that the MMO community had its chance, and blew it by showing themselves a to be bunch of immature jerks. I think you’ll need to reform that image before anything but niche titles go down the road you’re looking for again. That will be difficult, given that they’re pretty much just a bunch of immature jerks ;)

        • I don’t think that Wolfshead would ever call for complete anarchy; that way lies madness. You need rules to keep abuse down, and to have grounds for reaction to what abuse still happens.

          It’s just… these MMO things are trying to leverage the notion of having people play together online. Pushing the bulk of game content into a single player tightly directed experience winds up with the worst of both worlds; a non-interactive online “multiplayer” experience that is usually objectively weaker *as a game* and much weaker *in storytelling* than an offline single player game, but that still manages to carry the expense and inconvenience of an online game’s overhead.

          I tend to think that the direction for interesting and meaningful multiplayer play for the future will be far less about the DIKU vertical grind where every player is invested highly in their own self image, and more about level-less cooperative or competitive ventures. More about the *play* and the adventure, less about the metrics, in other words. (More about the “History”.) More like a “round based sport” than a footrace, in other words, or more like a playground than an obstacle course.

          Of course, that means jettisoning the notion of progress as defined by bigger numbers, and making games where the journey is everything. The trick is making the History interesting enough to keep people writing it. The trouble is that I really don’t think that the mainstream game player wants to write their own interesting History, they want to be told they are important to someone else’s story. It’s a fundamental attitude that is deeply tied to the game industry as a vehicle for escapist power fantasies.

          After all, those who tend to have healthier expectations of writing their own Histories are usually engaged in doing so, not playing games.

          • Terrific post Tesh.

            Pushing the bulk of game content into a single player tightly directed experience winds up with the worst of both worlds

            It’s all about Blizzard telling their “story” and the most effective way to do that (according to them) is via the single-player experience reminiscent of God of War. That’s always been the Blizzard way ™. You the player are just a spectator — an actor – that plays the part in a tightly scriped role created by the game designer.

            The problem is that players get mesmerized and seduced by all of this. Then they become soloers because that is the way the game is intended to be played by design.

            What if there was more content that was designed to be experienced together — not necessarily in groups but content that lets players make a difference and contribute to the world?

            What if Stormwind was set on fire and not enough players showed up to put out the fires? Suddenly all of the trainers are dead, the bankers are dead, the merchants are dead. You bet players would get involved and come to the rescue of their city or town if there were actually CONSEQUENCES to inaction and action.

            But this will never happen in our virtual Disneyworld.

          • That’s why I’m leery of SWTOR and storytelling in MMOs in general. I think Bioware should just make KOTOR sequels for tight single player narratives, and let someone else make an MMO that actually lets players matter to the world.

  20. I have a whole different take on solo play in WoW. As an older player I initially had a hell of a time just figuring out how to find a group, or communicate adequately with others in-game. If you’re a noob to the game, and a noob to “chatspeak”, it’s frustrating and nearly impossible to really communicate to learn anything, and people get very annoyed with you. I hear about “mentoring”. There is no way I would go to a starter area and try to explain to someone how to play WoW 2 lines at a time.

    WoW shuttles you through fairly easy content all the way to 80 and then you have to figure out how to group with large numbers of people. I never even did an instance until I could solo one because I either had no idea how to find groups, or was intimidated.

    I finally got the nerve to join a guild and I can sign up for raids which is nice, but just regular group play and running instances is still difficult to find willing people or you sit around waiting to find a healer/tank. I follow guild chat but frankly it’s annoying. I get whispers wanting me to do something for people I have no idea who they are. It’s not a good system, nor is it very fun.

    Raids require me to commit to sitting at my computer for 3 hours. Normal adults with lives can’t do that very often.

    I completely understand why people don’t like group play. It’s not the social aspect, it’s the clunky communication mechanics and boring sitting around waiting for other people to get ready or show up. Somehow that needs to be changed before group play can be marketed to the masses.

    The whole anonymity of MMO’s really encourages M&S (Morons & slackers)as Gevlon would say. Grouping has to be made more “social” in MMO’s with the requisite social pressures and rewarding of social skills in order to be more popular with more customers.

    • In some ways, I think mentoring also has to factor in how you need to care about the world you’re mentoring someone in, in an appreciable degree.

      Mentoring on MUDs (for those that like it, that I could tell), was generally not considered a tedious ‘omg I would never do that, why on earth would I care?!’ because… (I think) those who mentor in MUD environments care about their world. They love their world, and they want the newbies to love it too.

      But – most MUDs are free. And the communities tend to be small. 50 and under online together at any time.

      I do like GW a lot, enough to pimp it at some of my friends… but I don’t love it the way I loved some MUDs, and one MUD in particular. Mentor in GW? Heh… if I’m not too busy, if I’m not doing something else, if I feel like it, and an endless procession of ‘if’s after that. Mentor in WoW (even when I was playing it)? No way! What’s in it for me? Why do I care. I don’t care about your world. I’m paying cash to be entertained not to mentor some newbies! XD

      But in my longest played MUD… I did the mentor thing for at least 5 years, and even wrote a little article/guide thingie on how to mentor newbies *in MUDs*, from my own observations, so I wouldn’t have to keep going through it with each new helper.

      …the short version: For good mentoring (or any mentoring, maybe), your players first need to care about your world, and feel a sense of ownership.

  21. RE: MUDs and Mentoring

    YES. Go check out Iron Realms’ MUDs. Some people hate them, but you gotta admit, they are quite easy to start a new character in. You choose a guild and you are PROVIDED a mentor, who is usually so on the ball that they immediately teleport to your location and offer to walk you through some of the finer points of the game.

    Also, guilds work as societies. If your guild has enmity towards another guild, merely setting foot in their territory without permission can lower your status in the guild. (And not automatically; someone high up in the guild will catch you, and do it on purpose.) So many systems are set up that it becomes really, really easy to roleplay even, relying on your guildmates and higher-ups and hating the evil members of other guilds.

    Guilds even have their own chat channel, on which logons and logoffs of guild members are announced to the whole guild. When you log on, it’s not uncommon to see at least 3-5 “Welcome, !”‘s just for you, actually typed in by real, higher-level players. It’s so edifying that it’s easy to get into the habit yourself as a total noob, greeting guildmates you’ve never met with a cheery “Hello!” when you see them log in. :)

    And of course, I’ve never experienced anything like that in a graphical MMO, not even close.

  22. @savedr

    Hrm.

    I tried iron realms stuff before – that’s Achaea right?

    I didn’t like it then. But that was a couple of years ago (before I got eaten and then spat out by WoW lol.)

    Maybe I’ll have another look. =) Thankees!

  23. Pingback: An Ownership Society « Tish Tosh Tesh

  24. Pingback: Players as Content « Tish Tosh Tesh

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