Articles

MMOG Activity Streams

In Uncategorized on 2009-07-02 by Kyle Maxwell

MMOGs have a lot in common at their roots with social networks, and I firmly believe that gaming and the web can learn a lot from each other. We know that socialization and player connections drive player retention in MMOGs, so what can these games do to foment that?

Activity streams could form the core of this new approach. For example, a feed of your friends’ achievements: collection completions, PVP accomplishments (e.g. kills / victories), leveling progress, quest completion, joining a new guild, etc. Each player could even have a RSS feed, and of course fine-grained control should be a sine qua non since players might not want to publish everything.

Free-form text might attract attention as well, much like Facebook status updates or Twitter. This could fill the gap for things that players want to broadcast but the game system doesn’t recognize directly. As player-generated content grows in importance, so does this.

Some games have started down this path already. Free Realms has something like this on their site, though it hasn’t gotten fully integrated yet with the rest of the world and doesn’t allow for status updates. EVE Online has a system in development (code-named “COSMOS“) that might cover a lot of this ground. And while I don’t have a lot of personal familiarity with World of Warcraft, I believe the WoW Armory includes some of this.

MMOGs really will do their communities and, by extension, their business quite a favor by giving players tools they already understand to connect to each other, including when they can’t log into their game client (e.g. on their mobile phone). It seems like a lot of games just don’t want to acknowledge that players may want to use other tools besides the game client itself in the misguided notion that this will drive retention. But community does that far better than client logins, particularly in an age and market where people want access to their data at any time from any place and focus on their relationships most of all.

Set my data free, let me bring it into Feedly and FriendFeed, and I will repay you by sticking with your game because it will form the real glue of my community.

What social tools does your favorite game include that other communities should integrate?

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