4/30/2013

The Game Environment - 6

Ground connecting different parts of the game world, either via portal or change of the actual environment is intersecting ground.

Players: Some of the most important ground intersections different areas. This often provides: safety (in the case of an instanced game worlds where players escape threats by going to another instance); a method of ambush (players coming into an area are often defenseless against attack); and once obtained, defense for a small group when large numbers must funnel into a smaller area. Watch these areas at all times.

4/29/2013

Four Personalities That Hurt Guilds (And How to Fix Them!)

This post will present four personality types that generally wreak havoc on a gaming guilds, along with a starting point for fixing problem members. Some members may fit into multiple personality types, so treat each person as an individual and give special attention towards their wants and  desires versus guild goals. In the end, the guild needs to win, not the individual.

The Motivated Ghost

Key phrase to listen for:
I haven’t seen <insert name here> since joining, where did they go?

Qualities:
  • Gives good ideas but isn’t around to, or doesn’t want to implement them
  • Excited when joining the guild, but doesn’t participate in guild activities
Why they are a problem: Motivated ghosts are generally great people, but when push comes to shove they are taking up space in the guild – space that could be supported by people who actually participate.

The fix: Encourage motivated ghosts to participate in guild activities and give them chances to excel. Often it just takes a little nudge to motivate these people. If they still do not participate, gently show them the door with the advice they find a guild more suited to their participation goals.

The Dictator

Key phrase to listen for:
You are going to do things my way, or you’ll be kicked out of the guild (removed from the group, etc.).

Qualities:
  • Often raises voice to get point across
  • Uses threats and ultimatums
  • Unwilling to listen or consider other points of view
  • Resorts to personal attacks when directions aren’t implemented
Why they are a problem: Dictators range from leaders to members. Anyone who shows these qualities shows a key inability to listen to others, and can’t reason through an argument without resulting towards a defensive tone. This brings down the general morale of membership because they eventually succumb to the dictator and lead an unhappy life as a guild member, or leave the guild entirely.

The fix: Dictators are best dealt with in a one-on-one setting, rather than with a group to avoid the feeling of being “piled on.” Explain to the dictator that their demeanor is a detriment to the guild, and they need to “listen first, talk second.” If a dictator is unwilling to change, it is best this personality type is removed from the guild entirely. If this is a guild leader, it is best for players to avoid the guild.

The Ego Monster

Key phrase to listen for:
This guild wouldn't be anything without me.

Qualities:
  • Attempts to change discussions into arguments
  • Uses threats and ultimatums
  • Requires that others consider their point of view
  • Discussions revolve around unhappiness with guild
Why they are a problem: Ego Monsters are one of the drama-creators guilds fail to resolve because they are often very charismatic and loved by the general guild population, while despised by leadership. Guilds are inherently a collaborative environment, and a person who consistently puts their needs and desires above the rest of the guild, bogs down that environment. Their rhetoric is consistently aimed towards changing a guild to fit personal desires, not for the betterment of the guild as a whole. Ego Monsters see the guild as a piece of their equipment, not as something they take part in.

The fix: Ego Monsters need to be brought down to Earth. No guild requires an Ego Monster to survive or flourish. They are best dealt with by a neutral negotiator (ideally someone good at conflict resolution) with both sides present in the discussion. The negotiator needs to be able to address both sides of an issue objectively and without bias, which will make the Ego Monster more comfortable and less defensive. Negotiations give the Ego Monster a sense that the guild wants to keep them, which isn’t always the case, and the point must be made that lack of resolution is not an option.

Along with “listen first, talk second” the Ego Monster needs to be able to understand guilds are about many people, from many backgrounds, all working towards common goals, with a collective desire to be part of something bigger than themselves. If an Ego Monster will not change and is a continuing problem, removal is the final option and should be done swiftly (see The Disintegrator below).

The Disintegrator

Key phrase to listen for:
I’m going to destroy/bring down this guild.

Qualities:
  • Subversive in attempts to undermine guild leadership
  • Attempts to change discussions into arguments
  • Discussions revolve around unhappiness with guild
  • Maliciously attacks guild through media
  • Refuses to interact with guild leadership
Why they are a problem: This personality is attempting to destroy a guild by any means possible. They are often very subversive in attempts to do so and can be hard to weed out. If mixed as an Ego Monster, they are much more apparent.

The fix: Immediate removal. This personality’s goal is simple, and the best fix is to remove their ability to  attack the guild on the guild’s turf (normally a forum or voice chat). Once removed, they may continue to  attack from other venues, but these attacks usually backfire because the larger community sees someone complaining. Once removed, ignore further attacks and attempts to “troll” guild members.

Conclusion

Did you find yourself falling into one or more of these categories? If you do, then perhaps it is time you  reevaluate what it is you want out of gaming. Is it a hobby, or is it a means to justify an ego? A little secret -  gaming is meant to be fun. It is OK to be motivated, and to be competitive. But it is not OK to ruin gaming for others, and to put self-interest above the goals of a guild. They should be complementary, and gamers who truly enjoy their experience with others have realized fun comes with a sense of community, and social interaction.

4/26/2013

The Chat Box

How many players feel the need to chat? Almost all of us have the urge to put our two cents into the chat box. Especially when a heated argument is taking place between players. A verse from the Bible strangely comes to mind, Proverbs 17:28:

"Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues."

Why does this matter when it comes to strategy? Simply put, when a player is quick to anger, and is easily aroused in the chat room, they have already lost. A leader is brought down to the dirt when a temper is flaring. Group members are embarrassed, and guilds are shunned. To display a weakness makes a player a fool in front of everyone.

The Developer's Mind

In today's world, the interaction between players and developers is much more frequent across the spectrum of social media. Because of this, in the last 10 years, players have become much more brazen in requesting of developers what they want out of the game based on their likes and dislikes.

This is mind of a failed player.

MMOs are unique in the world of gaming because they are updated regularly, often to fix an imbalance that was unforeseen by the developers, through the the actions of the players. Players jump on this opportunity to make suggestions without thinking about second and third order effects that will occur if their requested change is made.

So, one should ask oneself when playing a game, "how would the developer play this game?"

Using this question is to the advantage of the player. It allows them to have all the rules and constructs built into the game at their fingertips from the beginning. It removes a bias of the statement, "this is how I want to play this game," and changes the statement to, "this is how the game should be played."

Only after subjecting oneself to this line of thinking, can a player begin to see the subtlety going into the game play. Only then can a player begin to see how a change, if made or needed, will begin to affect the rest of the game, from the point of view of the developer.

4/22/2013

The Game Environment - 5

Ground that allows freedom of movement on all sides is open ground.

Players: This type of ground while allowing freedom of movement for players, often allows a clear picture of the battle from any side. Any movement that may seem to gain an advantage can be easily defended due to the lack of cover, and very few feints may succeed without early recognition. It is over best to move quickly over this type of ground to one where the advantage can be obtained. Because of how games are designed, any ability to gain line-of-sight is an advantage, while the inability to move to cover is a great disadvantage.

4/19/2013

The Game Environment - 4

When territory allows the advantage to either side, it is argumentative ground.

Players: This type of territory is argumentative such that those who possess it can assume they will be continually attacked. Because of the great advantage afforded to those who hold the ground it will always be in contention. This is often the case in “capture the flag” style engagements, where holding the territory gives points to the holding players. The advantages may include large line-of-sight, extra power to the holder for either attack or defense, or quicker resource production. Once captured this territory must be continually defended for the advantage it gives.

4/16/2013

The Game Environment - 3

When a guild has penetrated into enemy territory, but only a short distance, it is mastered ground.

Players: Territory taken just outside of the home territory can be seen as an extension of the home territory. Because there is a safe territory just behind, players can take advantage of a quick escape route. This is especially important when the route for escape is always present. If the escape route is not easily defended, players must ensure a continued watch for the route or they may succumb to flanking or ambush.

4/12/2013

The Game Environment - 2

When a guild is fighting in its own territory, it is scattering ground.

Players: When playing in their own territory, players are most likely to be very educated on routes of entry and escape as well as the best attacking and defending points. For this reason, players are often scattered across the territory. Because of this, help in a fight may require more time to reach a player in need of assistance.

In many games, territories are guarded by non-player characters (NPCs) of great strength that cannot be defeated by enemy players. Additionally, these NPCs can give warning when enemies are present. Use of these NPCs can be of great value when forces are spread out.

4/09/2013

The Game Environment - 1

The art of MMORPG war recognizes nine types of environment (e.g., ground, territory) in the game world: (1) scattering; (2) mastered; (3) argumentative; (4) open; (5) intersecting; (6) serious; (7) difficult; (8) enclosed; (9) desperate.