I had a sudden thought at the weekend, which ran along the lines of, why when we think of social media do we not include Massively Multi Player Online Role-Playing Games (MMPORGs)?
When we think of social media, we think of online communication, of ppl sharing and working collaboratively across multiple time zones and locations thanks to cheap broadband . Slightly strangely we think of blogs and podcasts when in reality they aren’t actually that collaborative, we also talk of the difficulty of building communities but of how powerful they can be. We tend to define groups of ppl within social media as bloggers, wikipedians, podcasters or twitterers, although obviously it is perfectly possible to belong to more than one of those groups, and many people do just that. I think we should also start including online gamers as they tick off many of the little boxes of social media-ness that we cherish and has a far better monetization model attached to it, for both the game designers and players. In fact, if you think about it, what are MMPORGs but social networks?
The reason for the thought was that someone told me about a recent update to City of Heroes, one of the lesser known games out there but one doing some rather interesting stuff. In its latest update CoH has introduced Mission Architect which allows players to create not just their own missions but story arcs. This is quite cool in lots of different ways, really it is, stick with me on this.
Players can now create their own missions and share up to three of them with all other players, if their mission is deemed good enough it will be admitted to the Hall of Fame and no longer count as one of the three, which means then can develop more. They can also run as many local stories They also get a special badge as well as much kudos from their fellow players. Also as the Hall of Fame inductees are chosen by the developers they also get implicit approval from a higher authority – all of which combine to give players the warm fuzzies towards NSoft who currently own and run the platform. All these tactics, and lots of other stuff NSoft does, come straight from the ‘how to successfully engage your fans online’ PN handbook.
In fact, a lot of what the online games companies offer great examples of what lots of people and brands should be doing online when they are thinking about social media engagement. There is also the odd example to be found of how not to do it coming from the same field.
Captain Dynamic Ep 1
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