November 16, 2004

An inoccuously started thread on the MMOG commentary page Corpnews.com evolved about a week ago into a running commentary across several sites about Massive game design and what players are looking for in their online games.

The Original Corpnews Thread is interesting to read, but not essential to following the argument.

The argument continues off the thread via personal sites:

If you’re not willing to slog through the pages of text (and you should, it’s an interesting read), the jist of the discussion is this: What exactly is content in a Massively Multiplayer Game? Futhermore, what’s the difference between content and systems? Which is more key to the success of a game? Are other players content?

My take on this is that while content and systems are both equally important if I had to pick one that draws me to a game it would be content hands down. What keeps me there, though, is the systems that are in place to utilize the content. World of Warcraft’s backstory is amazing, but if the questing system hadn’t been up to the task of getting me involved in the story I would never have enjoyed the game as much as I have.

On the player note, I believe that players are indeed content…just not content that you can lean on. In other words, don’t make less content because there will be people to talk to. Take the existance of other people into account when you make your game, and warm bodies will become a related form of content. FFXI has quests where you have to group up with a certain number or type of other player in order to finish a quest. Getting folks together and in one place (herding cats) is indeed a form of content. FFXI is teh win because that’s not all you do in the game. They use players as a supporting mechanism for the content and systems they have in place.

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