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StaceyPowers

What are politics like in big MMOs?

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I’ve never played a large, modern MMO—just MUDs. In MUDs, politics was often a huge deal. In fact, in the games I played, it was the thing to be involved in. It created and broke relationships, and consumed endless hours of players’ time. Most players who were famous got that way through political clout.

I seldom seem to hear anyone talking about politics in major MMOs. Is it just not a thing in games like WoW?

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I suppose it depends on the game. I believe most games have some form of politics injected into it. Skyrim you do quests for kings or jarls idk. So in a way, doesn't that equate somewhat to politics in games? 

I think a lot of games inject politics in some ways. 

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I remember reading a very long blog post before, from someone who played eve online for a time, and got very tangled up in "space" politics, clan warfare, and pirate griefing.

I must say the whole read was quite enjoyable and read like a sci fi novel. 😉

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Politics or trying to score points from certain people doesn’t belong in gaming, ghost of Tsushima and FF7R were done perfectly without it, they only did their jobs when creating those games as in creating a game that players can play and enjoy.

Sadly it’s not just on the devs or publishers I mostly blame the player base in most cases, since they don’t want gaming to be fun for everyone anymore only a certain few with a specific mindset.

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I think forums and other communities that are made for certain games get somewhat political, but mainly for that game itself, and not in terms of the US government or anything like that. 

When I hear about politics in this instance, I think of squabbles between forums and communities tied to the game itself. 

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On 8/8/2022 at 3:13 AM, Empire said:

Politics or trying to score points from certain people doesn’t belong in gaming, ghost of Tsushima and FF7R were done perfectly without it, they only did their jobs when creating those games as in creating a game that players can play and enjoy.

Sadly it’s not just on the devs or publishers I mostly blame the player base in most cases, since they don’t want gaming to be fun for everyone anymore only a certain few with a specific mindset.

Ah, I think maybe my thread topic was unclear. I meant politics internal to MMO game worlds, like ... players trying to gain in-game political power or use it to create in-game change.

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22 hours ago, StaceyPowers said:

Ah, I think maybe my thread topic was unclear. I meant politics internal to MMO game worlds, like ... players trying to gain in-game political power or use it to create in-game change.

Ah okay, that makes more sense. Yeah a lot of games do this. One that comes to mind right away is the Fable series. They did that fairly well, in that if you're good you can tax the people less, but if you're evil you can tax them a ton. I always thought that was a cool feature. I think it was in Fable 2 or 3, I don't remember. My brother mostly played the series while I watched. But I remember one of the games you'd become the king, and you can then make decisions about the community. I know collecting taxes was one of them, but you may have had other responsibilities like making life or death decisions and so on. 

I know many other games feature some politics, but I don't know of any that are like Fable. I know the civ games probably count too, as you use a lot of politics to fight and or smooth things over. 

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On 8/10/2022 at 2:06 AM, StaceyPowers said:

Ah, I think maybe my thread topic was unclear. I meant politics internal to MMO game worlds, like ... players trying to gain in-game political power or use it to create in-game change.

once upon a time, I used to play text based MMORPG's then I remember fantasizing about a complex merchant-political system...

 

Then I realized how complicated that would be, and I thought that would just remain a pipe dream. 😅 although I think one day something like that could still be implemented in a game of any kind, just maybe not in the way I imagined.

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Guild politicking is a fairly big thing. I've been in numerous scenarios, not as dramatic as I'd like to make them sound from robbing guild banks, staging coups, running guilds and moderating merger efforts.

The thing about most MMO systems is they're not democratic, and do bear with me as most of my experience is with World of Warcraft. Barring vote-kicking (democracy), it's usually meritocracy (rankings/ratings/gear), plutocracies (having the most money), or dictatorships (developers and guild masters) which governs the game's systems.

It was particularly interesting in guilds: you can't outvote a guild master, the game doesn't recognise anyone but them to be the sole authority. Staging a coup won't work because they don't have to step down, and Game Masters (customer support) can't and won't take any action unless it's in very specific cases, usually regarding the guild bank or abuse. Guild Mergers were a fun time too, but 'merger' puts one-in-a-million of such occurances too professionally. As Preach Gaming once put it: "what I have seen work is a guild 'merge' where under the same title, where five people join thirty people and they fucking... join their guild." He goes on to say quite adequately, "just look at the UK right now: we have a co-Prime Minister... nope. Not really. There's only one guy who got to shake the Queen's hand, right?" Ironically that coalition between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats was (unofficially) shortened down to Con-Dem, which if it needs spelling out sounds a lot like 'condemned'. Let that speak to any prospects of guild mergers.

Beyond that, I can't think of many examples of politics coming about in MMOs. It's mostly ramblings in Trade Chat that, let's face it, won't go anywhere because it's happening in a video game chat channel, and guilds tend to have a rule about no politics in chat. And then proceed to ignore it.

On 8/7/2022 at 7:53 AM, Gonassis said:

I remember reading a very long blog post before, from someone who played eve online for a time, and got very tangled up in "space" politics, clan warfare, and pirate griefing.

I must say the whole read was quite enjoyable and read like a sci fi novel. 😉

Sounds a lot like EVE Online.

17 minutes ago, Gonassis said:

once upon a time, I used to play text based MMORPG's then I remember fantasizing about a complex merchant-political system...

 

Then I realized how complicated that would be, and I thought that would just remain a pipe dream. 😅 although I think one day something like that could still be implemented in a game of any kind, just maybe not in the way I imagined.

Yep, that's EVE Online, or "Spreadsheet Simulator" as it's affectionately known! 🤑

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5 minutes ago, Withywarlock said:

Guild politicking is a fairly big thing. I've been in numerous scenarios, not as dramatic as I'd like to make them sound from robbing guild banks, staging coups, running guilds and moderating merger efforts.

The thing about most MMO systems is they're not democratic, and do bear with me as most of my experience is with World of Warcraft. Barring vote-kicking (democracy), it's usually meritocracy (rankings/ratings/gear), plutocracies (having the most money), or dictatorships (developers and guild masters) which governs the game's systems.

It was particularly interesting in guilds: you can't outvote a guild master, the game doesn't recognise anyone but them to be the sole authority. Staging a coup won't work because they don't have to step down, and Game Masters (customer support) can't and won't take any action unless it's in very specific cases, usually regarding the guild bank or abuse. Guild Mergers were a fun time too, but 'merger' puts one-in-a-million of such occurances too professionally. As Preach Gaming once put it: "what I have seen work is a guild 'merge' where under the same title, where five people join thirty people and they fucking... join their guild." He goes on to say quite adequately, "just look at the UK right now: we have a co-Prime Minister... nope. Not really. There's only one guy who got to shake the Queen's hand, right?" Ironically that coalition between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats was (unofficially) shortened down to Con-Dem, which if it needs spelling out sounds a lot like 'condemned'. Let that speak to any prospects of guild mergers.

Beyond that, I can't think of many examples of politics coming about in MMOs. It's mostly ramblings in Trade Chat that, let's face it, won't go anywhere because it's happening in a video game chat channel, and guilds tend to have a rule about no politics in chat. And then proceed to ignore it.

Sounds a lot like EVE Online.

Yep, that's EVE Online, or "Spreadsheet Simulator" as it's affectionately known! 🤑

This was a very interesting read for me. 😉
I have to say, IRL-type politics would be hard to introduce in a MMO type game, just like you said, as it would blow up the complexity to the level that gamedevs/companies would not want to set their foot in that soup. 😅

 

also, why is EVE online "spreadsheet simulator" as I don't play it, just read other people ramble about it. 😅

Edited by Gonassis
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20 minutes ago, Gonassis said:

I have to say, IRL-type politics would be hard to introduce in a MMO type game

Mechanically, yes. If you want to look at the failings of politics in MMOs one needs only look at two systems: vote-kicking and the game's economy. New World was the latest game to screw up the latter, which Josh Strife Hayes has talked about in enough detail to show the worst MMO economy I've ever seen. In other games, and I'm terribly sorry for derailing this subject, but Ben 'Yahtzee' Croshaw did a presentation on factions in video games wherein he discusses how if there's only two they're either fascists or nutters; if there's a third option it falls into what I call Roberts' Trident: when a video game presents a third option, the middle one is the best.

20 minutes ago, Gonassis said:

also, why is EVE online "spreadsheet simulator" as I don't play it, just read other people ramble about it.

Without having really any experience myself, going exclusively off memes, it just seems to be a game where you're spending a lot of time watching the stock market, auction houses, rather than doing spaceship things and getting swallowed up by player-run trade consortiums.

Edited by Withywarlock
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It's just like what they planned to in Skyforge by having the political system of Council of Gods in the game but it wasn't up to gamers standards, so they had to pull it for further reviews before bringing it back in the game. Civilization is another game that's very good when it comes to how good its political system gets you very much involved the game because you want to succeed. 

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19 hours ago, Withywarlock said:

Mechanically, yes. If you want to look at the failings of politics in MMOs one needs only look at two systems: vote-kicking and the game's economy. New World was the latest game to screw up the latter, which Josh Strife Hayes has talked about in enough detail to show the worst MMO economy I've ever seen. In other games, and I'm terribly sorry for derailing this subject, but Ben 'Yahtzee' Croshaw did a presentation on factions in video games wherein he discusses how if there's only two they're either fascists or nutters; if there's a third option it falls into what I call Roberts' Trident: when a video game presents a third option, the middle one is the best.

Without having really any experience myself, going exclusively off memes, it just seems to be a game where you're spending a lot of time watching the stock market, auction houses, rather than doing spaceship things and getting swallowed up by player-run trade consortiums.

Hmmm, I like the trident explanation.

 

Also, you learned all that from EVE online memes? while from what I've gathered it is true then, half the time it's basically a text based mmorpg if you're watching numbers go up and down. 😋

thanks for the insightful explanation.

Edited by Gonassis
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