Behavior in MMOs

I’ve been reading a book about behavior in Massively Multiplayer Online Games (mostly RPGs). This book will be reviewed on this site as soon I am done reading it.

While reading it, I am reminded of when I first started playing MMORPGs.

The first MMO I played was called Face of Mankind. I only played it for two months or so, but the interactions I experienced in that game stuck with me for the next MMO I played, Final Fantasy XI.

In FoM, I joined the group “Brotherhood of Shadows” I was intrigued by the “evil corporation that has morals” aspect of the BoS. I believe the name I used was “Yugdaba Snamlive.”

The Brotherhood of Shadows creed read as follows:

Honor, Loyalty and Respect

That is what we stand for.

We do not stand for making alt players in other factions to disrupt their missions, steal from their faction pool or to engage in any other lowball tactics.

Not now, not ever.

We will win any conflicts we are in with Honor.
We will show Loyalty to our brothers and sisters on the fields of war and not cheapen their efforts by using alts.
We will show Respect for our enemies even if they don’t.

While FFXI didn’t exactly have factions, that game did have Linkshells. Linkshell groups were kind of like factions or guilds in other games.

Whenever someone saw a character with the light blue Knightshope emblem, they knew that was a certain type of player, though most people couldn’t see mine as I had the dark blue crystal illuminated with a yellow M, the mark of Mentor, someone who willingly helps new people through the game or answers questions for anyone.

When I started FFXI, I tried to play by the “Honor, Loyalty, Respect” mantra. Which I did.

I stayed with the same linkshell for my whole duration. Loyalty. Though I have not played the game since October 2009, I still consider myself a member of Knightshope.

I felt that the best way to show this mantra was to become the embodiment of Honor, Loyalty, and Respect in FFXI: A Paladin. I made that choice two weeks before I bought the game, back when I was in the middle of studying the game world so that when I started I would be a bit more advanced than the normal new player, though, I was still quite new.

While playing, I encountered all types of people. Some you could tell were “younger” than they claimed, some who griefed others just because “it’s a game.”

That last one has stuck with me. Everyone in our shell represented the shell as a whole. If one character yelled at other characters or made other people upset, then it was as if the shell was doing it.

I say “character” but it should go without saying that each “character” was a real live person. Each person paid money to be in-world. It is every person’s right to not be harassed by punk kids.

Of course, such people point to the warning every player must click before getting in-world each time, that you know that even though the ESRB has rated this game “T for Teen,” it can, and most likely will, once you’re in-world.

Some people ask how people can form friendships in such a world. You can’t really see the other person, you can’t hang out with them, you can’t talk to them…

The people who say that have never played FFXI, World of Warcraft, Everquest, or any other MMORPG.

To those people, I ask, how can a penpal be a friend? You don’t know the other person in any real sense. A penpal may as well live in another world.

That’s exactly what an MMORPG is, another world. Be it Azeroth, Vana’diel, Norrath, Middle-Earth, or any other such world.

While reading this book, all I can think is “That’s what we needed in Valefor!” Ostensibly, the book is about the “Alphaville Herald” – a newspaper for the people in the Alphaville Server in The Sims Online.

Of course, it’s not a paper newspaper, it was a website. That would have been cool.

If we had a Valefor Gazette or some other similarly named newspaper for the people who played in our server, it would have turned the whole server into a small community.


One Response to “Behavior in MMOs”

  1. Linkshell leader KnightsHope of Valefor – My dear friend has it on the number. You do make friendship’s (these to some are the same as real life friendship’s) Yes on almost every mmorpg alot of people hide thier misdeeds behind the fact “this is just a game” yes these are games with real people behind each character hence real feelings and such

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