Conversation Leftovers for January

Well the first month of the year is coming to a close and now I shall do my very first Leftovers post! Conversation Leftovers is a round up of some conversations throughout the blogosphere that I feel are worthy of a bookmark and even of continued discussion into the foreseeable future. At the end of the year — time willing — I’ll do an analysis of how much more mileage we got out of these topics for the year.

Are we (bloggers) a community?

Belghast isn’t convinced that we really have a blogging community, Rowan disagrees, and Stubborn determines this is a good opportunity for a group hug. I think we are clearly a community, clearly a family and Belghast is the estranged uncle. Clearly.

On the other side, Azuriel made a passionate and resonating argument for why socialization in video games isn’t something that can be controlled with features, because players circumvent them. The article was really a response to Keen’s assertion that character specialization is the superior route because he believes it helps support socialization. I have to agree with Azuriel: character specialization isn’t really part of the equation when we’re trying to piece together player interdependency. Sure, it plays a role, but its the structure of the game that will make or break socialization. I think there’s enough MMO’s out there to make this the apparent truth. Games without communities, and especially MMOs, are a matter of two things: players having their social needs already fulfilled (thus inspiring the 3-monther trend) and games having poor structure to encourage socialization with strangers.

Azuriel and I don’t always agree, but when we do it’s like a bad romance.

Game features we love to love?

Multi-classing is clearly something MMO gamers are passionate about. I brought this discussion home  because I think less is more. This feature ultimately comes down to adding meaningful choice to gameplay and devs are rather schizophrenic about player choice. Some days they think it’s the new black and others they feel we must be forced into a lack of choices.

In other news, 40-man raids are making a come back in Wildstar and every MMO veteran worth 5 copper is chiming in on whether this is indeed the 2nd lap of the Pale horse or the Second ComingClockwork of Out of Beta seems firmly in the doom camp. This link goes to the list of reasons why and they range from the social pains to …well, they’re all social pains. Which makes the whole doom party seem over-dramatized since the size of the raid can’t really be blamed for player behavior, can it? Still, they are valid concerns that Carbine may or may not know how to address, but they want to try. I applaud them. I think the 40-man can make a comeback and, in that, Tobold and I might agree (that there is certainly a sign of The End); he seems to think that these social aspects are exactly the reason to have a guild in the first place. If a guild’s members can’t deal with their own amicably and enjoy each others company, then those members are slightly missing the point and raiding can’t be blamed for it.

Murf’s didn’t know what to think, but he’s not so sure 40-mans are a great thing. You can follow his confusion here. Liore appears to be on the same ship, as she argues that Wildstar‘s implementation of the feature won’t necessarily have the same success or failure as World of Warcraft‘s did.

I’m going to conclude that January was a month of intense debate on the social aspects of gaming and it’s community. I’m also not surprised. Bloggers are unsurprisingly concerned about community. As avid gamers, we are unsurprisingly concerned about who we play with. What is surprising is that the topic never gets old. It’s always interesting and passionate because these are gamers who burn for games and the connections they deliver.

Scree Tags: #conversationleftovers #gamertalk #raiding