Addicting Games - Miniature Worldwide Communities

online worlds in addicting games
By RA Pickett and Jeremy B Saunders

 

 As it is found in the real world, online addicting games are filled with cities, towns, religious orders, churches, and social clubs (often referred to as clans) and even family lines that can occupy a player’s need for social interaction as well as learning opportunities. Many articles have been written to introduce readers to the concept of text games and how they function, how to play and to become part of an online world, but the purpose of this article is to show how a player is never alone unless he or she chooses.

 

 Cities and towns provide a sense of civic pride and community. Many have laws, a city belief system, and generally follow a way of life which the player chooses upon entering the online game. Since text games are usually based in fictional worlds, the cities are aligned as evil, neutral, good, peaceful, or nature. What remains important is that a player picks the city that best represents the character he or she creates. Of course a citizen may choose to leave his or her birth city for a new land; there is no law that prohibits the citizenship changes because a character may change his or her outlook, but these changes can come with some ease or some stress depending on your first choice of city-state to reside.

 

Choosing a City in Text Games

 Some may wonder why would choosing to leave the original homeland causes stress. It is nothing but a text game. Like any other move in life that is made in the real world offline, a move online will affect friendships, may divide families, and force the character to adapt to a new set of city laws and codes that do not reflect the birth city. All moves, though, do require some research and before a person decides to leave his or her homeland, it should be taken into consideration what losses and gains they will make. Some cities may no allow certain religious orders to live within their walls. Is the character willing to give up his or her religious order for the new life? Sometimes marrying another character will require a move if the player decides to live with his or her spouse in a new city. Yet, there are many successful marriages in the game and yes, in-game marriages are can be either opposite sex or same sex marriages, where spouses live in allied cities, but follow separate lives. However, the travel between cities to see one another can cause added stress when family may be needed close.

 

 Truly, no one player can dictate how another chooses to live as long as he or she follows the rules of the organizations chosen. This is why many players are city-less or houseless, also considered rogue players, because they can move between all cities without any hindrance. That is to say the can move from city to city without a problem as long as they are not an enemy to a specific city or town. If the are an enemy, usually they will be hunted and killed. However, the rogue player is sometimes older and wiser and has lived in a few cities before embarking on his or her own. The rogue player will have already established ties in a house, order, family, clan, and have a base number of friends to keep from feeling lonely. It’s usually advised to wait until the character is established enough before embarking on a life of wandering city to city.

 

 Religious orders may appeal to some players. If this is what a player seeks they can find evil, good, neutral, and nature based orders to join. Again, like a city, orders may have prohibitions or rules that require you to live in a certain city or the god followed may patron a city and require followers to reside in the patron city. Often players will discover that most divine orders are rather neutral and they can move between city to city with no problem. Likewise, a character may discover that serving as a member in an order is prohibited from entering cities that have laws which contradict the divine order laws. It is always best to educate the character if one has to leave a religious order as it may not be pleasing to his or her Divine patron. Moreover, a religious order becomes like a family. Sometimes a departure causes anxiety because a player is bound to the laws and the oaths made to the order. Again, like any big change found in the outside world, such as a move or change of job, the same feelings of loss, remorse and healing which follows with the change will be experienced in game.

 

Finding Family in Addicting Games

 There is an often used quote that states, “You cannot choose your family, but you can choose your friends”. This is not always true in an addicting game. A wise player will take time before joining a family. In the MUD world, a player can choose who he or she wishes to have as a mother or father. Sometimes the parents are discovered in an instant. Of course, others may wait many years searching for a family that feels right. Moreover, there are others who feel that starting their own family tree and bloodline may be a wise choice and embark on that life choice. This allows for newer families to flourish and to connect with established families if a player chooses. As in the real world, a character may choose to marry or not marry. He or she may choose to have children or to never have children. The choices are entirely up to how the character and player evolve over time and game experience. No matter which choice is made, the player will experience the same sibling issues, fights, rivalries, camaraderie, that is found in the real world.

 

 Social clubs or clans are another part of the online experience. These clans may be divided by family name, racial choice, sex, sexual preference, interests, hobbies, or even for OOC (Out of Character) chat concerning game issues. Interaction with one another in these clans sometimes takes a cool head and patience as they may be very large and active, or very quiet and reserved for a select number of persons. As any other social club you may find in the real world, a player can quit a clan or never choose to join any other than house required clans. Sometimes players can be kicked out and made an enemy to a clan for bringing shame or not following the clan rules. Clans, like houses and cities, will often have a set of rules to follow and some are stricter than others. Those clans that are considered OOC have less rule and regulation, but still each player is deserving of respect. The key in any clan or organizational community is that self-respect and respect for the other go a long way.

 

 The fundamental issue here is to remember that how life is experienced outside in the ‘real world’ is often reflected in the online game world. While the addicting game may be a place of escape or a diversion, it is a world where players must learn the same life lessons they would learn while growing up outside of the game. While it may sound scary or even exciting, the reader is encouraged to learn, to grown, and to try creating an online persona and to learn how a life online really is just a miniature worldwide community. Furthermore, a player will discover is that self-respect and respect for the other go a long way. Know yourself and know that differences in player outlook and background will be different from yours. Understand that many friends online may come from other regions of a country within yours, from other continents, and even live in countries you never heard of before entering the game. What remains important is that while in-game you become citizens of the MUD world, and allow the differences to disappear as you learn from one another.

 

If you like what you have read, try out some great text adventure games.

RA Pickett is an avid text game enthusiast and currently enjoys games from www.IronRealms.com.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=RA_Pickett

Comments

Cyrene's always been home for my character. It's like her extended family. Good friends that I've made in the city have become good real life friends- even if they live far away. There's always going to be someone that wants to dictate how you act and what you do, but that is for YOU to figure out how your character to react to it. Same for Houses and Orders. If you pick the right Divine- They'll be a neutral ground and you can meet people from different cities that have different ideas about the world. All of the different aspects of things in the world will give you an idea on if you'd join something else in the future- planned RP. But the more fun RPs have to do with unplanned events. Fun is what you want when you're playing a game and that's what you'll get with the unplanned events. With the different Houses and Cities you can learn all about combat, classes, races, weapons in an environment where you won't worry too much about how other places could have an enemy in the midst.
I honestly think anyone would rather join an Order than anything else. The Divine interaction is the best thing ever.

Compared to other MUD's, I personally find that organizations are a way to softly enforce character cooperation and encourage roleplay amongst individuals. The game sets the guidelines of what the organization is about, such as the very common concept of the "Light". Sometimes, just giving this one word explanation of an organization can allow a multitude of individuals to make their own viewpoint on what the organization on a whole is about. My guild and Order may also make a difference as well. Even though I may be a part of Enorian, my view on the "Light" as a Sentinel is dramatically different than that of a Luminary Priest's, yet at the end of the day we are still allies and maintain tight cooperation to pursue a similar goal. I feel that the article here touches upon this briefly, but goes into great detail pertaining to the social interactions between characters and how they can so dramatically differ just based on laws, differing orders within the same city, differing guilds within the same city and so forth. The comparison between real life and the game hits home. We sometimes make our characters as a virtual representation of ourselves, and while we're not out there murdering everything that we can see for money, we use many of our principles and inner personality to mold and shape what we ultimately choose our characters to become.

As a long-time player of Imperian, I have had characters in every city, council, and just about every organization (religious Orders being the exception). I have found that I often surround myself with the same players on different characters, as we find our niche together in Khandava or Ithaqua or even Stavenn. These are the true miniature worlds that I believe exist within IRE's Imperian; friendship communities that travel from location to location (through various characters).

As somebody who has "jumped" circles (alliances) on multiple characters and multiple times, I can agree with the statement that the decision can be troublesome depending on how seriously you take the game. Sometimes it's in the best interest of your character, and sometimes it's in your best interest as a player. Those lines drawn that may prevent a character from serving a certain Deity while being a citizen of a specific city create an intricate web that only further serves to define your character's personality and history. New opportunities arise with each change, and a player should never allow it to become stressful out of character; it is a game that is meant to be fun.

In my view, cities provide an environment that encourages, yes, roleplay and cooperation among players. But, and I feel that this is more important, they also give players drive. For example, when I first joined Achaea I elected to remain cityless. After a short time, I found myself bewildered and left, only to return soon after. The second time, I decided that I would take advantage of the opportunities that were laid before me and take a more active part in the world than hunting in a mine in Lodi. This decision lead me to joining Ashtan, and later the Warlock house. Without the drive of the city’s ethos, management and ever-helpful adventurers, I strongly suspect that I would have once again been subsumed in Achaea’s complexity and left. In more recent times, participating in raid defences alongside rather better combatants has driven me to become a more effective fighter myself. Without the intercity warfare and my allegiance, I would not have been involved in combat and would have had no reason to improve.

My other reason for supporting the idea of cities, ect, is that they bring together different types of players with a common goal. Whilst this may seem counter-intuitive, I am aware that in Ashtan there are classes from both the ‘Good’ and ‘Evil’ ends of the spectrum. This has, however, been adequately discussed in the above post, and I feel I have nothing to add to Sier’s statement.

While many people might elect to go rogue, I could never really survive that way myself. In Lusternia, being part of a commune gives one a number of advantages both role-playing-wise and in terms of game mechanics. You have somewhere safe to teleport to when you get lost or find yourself in a tight knot, and you also have access to power which allows you to perform feats that you need to survive.

A guild is just as important because they allow you to learn useful survival and combat skills. Furthermore, both structures, guild and commune group players with other players of similar interest. Guild and commune members are expected to assist each other, and if you're ever in a tough spot, you can count on someone pulling you out of it.

I've only ever been in one clan, and it was OOC. It was affiliated with my guild and allows me to ask specific questions to do with game mechanics that I would have trouble asking in-character. I can also ask for help with coding and systems as it relates to combat.

I would really advise players, as stated in the article, to start off first with these sorts of affiliations. Once you've made enough allies and are familiar enough with the world, you may be able to safely cut these sort of ties. But it's a bit reckless to jump headfirst into a new world where you are really and truly alone.

Just my 2 cents.

What I like about communities such as city, guild and order is that they help shape a character in a way you do not fully control, but may still have an effect upon. Laws, habits and customs may seem established, far grander than a (young) individual could hope to change until he or she reaches a position of power through hard work and patience. But there is always the butterfly effect. From offering trade skill service to hunting enemies, every action has a reaction. Might not always be of large impact and immediately noticeable, but someday in the future your action might have been what started a large wave.

Online communities are special because you can do more than choose, as the author suggests, your family and your friends, you can also choose your self. The anonymity provided by online communities can often have negative effects wherein individuals feel emboldened to be rude and hurtful without fear of the consequences, but they also allow individuals to be more true to themselves without fear of the consequences as well. In an interesting way, online communities can actually know a person much better than those in "real" life, where a person might not show their true selves without being mocked for failing to follow social conventions.

I would say that Pickett is correct on many points here, but also the exact opposite is also often true, where rather than reflecting "real" families and communities, text-based games allow people to create families and communities that are, in some ways, more "real" because people can really be themselves. The nature of games like Achaea in specific and text-based games in particular create a focus on being "in character" and creating intensely specific and detailed descriptions and background of who you "are." Thus, in some ways, allowing your character to be, in some ways, a more real "you."

I think another important aspect of a MUD game particularly of the Iron Realms quality is the establishment of a mentor-protege relationship. What's good about mentoring is the focus a mentor can give to a protege. New players won't be left wondering what to do because they can seek advice or support (usually basic items) from their mentors. While mentors can take an indefinite number of proteges, I'm a fan of having a protege at a time in order for me to fully tend to him or her.

"Yet, there are many successful marriages in the game and yes, in-game marriages are can be either opposite sex or same sex marriages, where spouses live in allied cities, but follow separate lives."

This is the case in some games, like all the IRE games, which are also in my opinion the best. But not in all of them, some games unfortunately are structured to enforce the personal beliefs of the people who made them, ie Akanbar, a MUD where same sex marriages are not officially recognized. This is probably not the only game like that, but these games are rare, and certainly dying. Mostly however, MUDS are created and ran by more open-minded sorts of people, and maintain atmospheres where creativity is rewarded, and intelligence is appreciated.

Most of us have participated in at least one "worldwide" gaming experience, be it a graphical MMORPG or some action/adventure game on one of the various consoles. One profound upgrade that has brought me back to text based games for the last 14 years is exactly what RA Pickett describes above. At the end of the evening, you may have shed countless pixels of blood with players from all over the world, but they will likely remain faceless, nameless voids and your paths may never cross again. It's pretty difficult to generate any sort of community out of that! Even with the graphical MMORPG's the sense of community is simply lacking, not because of any shortcoming of players but rather the confines of the gaming engine.

Text based adventures, however, remove the harsh limits of whatever game engine and open everything up to the imagination of the players and administrators. Like-minded people will naturally gravitate towards one another and form families, cities, and organizations. Feuds brew and connections strengthen. In Achaea, virtually any type of community you could possibly want is available. If no such organization exists that you find to your liking, no problem, make your own! At the end of the day, it's not the adrenaline from battle or the phat lewt I obtain that makes me want to continue playing into all hours of the night, instead it is the fascinatingly complex and entertaining social interactions that occur because of the established communities that exist in the game that I am enamored with.

Very true

Mhm

Yup yup

Indeed.

 

of community, even between enemies, lets ya know yer doing something right.

make it better

I enjoyed this article.

Cities are all aligned in some direction, with their own strong flavour. Ashtan is a hedonistic haven with heavy undertones of Chaos. Eleusis is about the trees. Cyrene is a retreat of art and culture. Mhaldor is a totalitarian state of militaristic necromancers.

This is good, because it's really easy to know what you're getting into. It's also good because conflict drives this game - from its very smallest level, being able to say, "No, MY city is the best" to some deluded Hashan citizen, to its larger ones, PK and war.

Very interesting!

yes

yes

Nice article

RP

Definitely an integral part of RP

MkO is slowly growing, in my opinion. Though at times, you see the same folks over and over again. But it has a solid following, and this is something that, I think, ties to the new skills. As more and more skills are revealed, more and more folks are attracted, and I can't wait for when MkO rivals Achaea in attendance!

Lots of it!

I went cityless in Achaea and I have to say a lot of the fun went out of the game.  More than I thought it would.  Which is why I tried MKO.

Well, of course?

Being cityless in Lusternia is quite a big deal as many of the most powerful skills are linked to energy from your organisation's nexus. Rogues must miss out on some of the fun that comes from conflict too, wildnodes, village and aetherspace fights etc. I much prefer being part of a community that gives a reason to talk to new people.

I don't think I'd ever go rogue; too many cool things in the cities.

 

Also, I like the picture that goes with this article. Very pretty.

can be fun, if you have access to all things necessary or the artifacts needed to play it.

Why is addicting used as a positive term? Tbh that is not something that would get me to play a game. :s

I tried being cityless once on a chatacter and got lucky. I was inducted into a class based RP clan immediately.v

The community is as much a part of the game as anything for me.

pretty picture indeed.

initially, i thought this article was about scale modeling! man, imagine what it'd be like if IRE started releasing action figures. i'd definitely buy one!

In any of my characters, I've never lasted in a house for more than a few weeks, just never felt right in them. I've been curious to join  an Order, but have yet to decide on a single Divine. There are a few I'm drawn to.  I've never been able to stay rogue, though. As isolated as I keep myself, I enjoy the benefits living in a city. It's my only connection to rest of the world, however minimal it is. I  regret that the news isn't updated very often. Would be nice to have a more informative newsboard.  A newspaper would be nice.

It is quite nice to have a community to belong to...

I don't think I could go rogue I like having connections to a place it just feels right. I may not say to much or get too involved in things but I don't think I could cut myself off.

Thanks to Mr. Picket and Mr. Saunders (Jeremy always delivers).

 

Yes

I agree