Rough notes for T.L. Taylor — Play

MMOGs have roots in RPGs and MUDs.

Soft­ware and service.

Ulti­ma, EverQuest, Wow…

Social con­texts

MMOGs isn’t anti-social. Social isn’t icing on the cake. Social is the sub­stance of the game. It’s key.

On- and offline con­nec­tions mix.

Emer­gent social activ­i­ty. E.g.: “guilds”; trust, respon­si­bil­i­ty, reputation.

Game devs aren’t giv­ing play­ers the tools to be social. Focus is on arte­fact first.

Rough map of guild — con­nec­tions between play­ers are offline

Tran­script of in game chat. Lots of offline connections.

Friends are the Ulti­mate Exploit”

EULA: shar­ing accounts is not allowed (in EQ).

Col­lab­o­ra­tion and teams:

Com­plex coor­di­nat­ed actions. 

Co-cre­ative culture

Play­ers also pro­duce and design. Emer­gent cul­ture and tech­nolo­gies that change the game…

Play­ers change the prod­uct in deep ways.

Game in box is just part of larg­er game space.

WoW opens up UI for play­ers to change. Big dif­fer­ences between players.

Cheat­ing — mod­i­fi­ca­tion of game is debated.

IP — who should be the design­er, what’s play?

Sell­ing avatars on eBay. Game com­pa­nies own the avatar so it’s not allowed. Embod­i­ment — you don’t own your body!

In EQ there was a lot to do about fanfic. 

WoW in game protests. “Protest­ing in game is not a valid way to give us feedback.”

Are game worlds pub­lic space? Or not because they’re corp. owned?

Com­mod­i­fi­ca­tion of cul­ture. Design­ers want con­trol over play­ers / users. Let go!

Things that are hap­pen­ing in game are exam­ples of big­ger issues such as: UX, IP, mash-ups, P2P, etc.

Book: Play Between Worlds, T.L. Taylor.


What about scale? Do these thoughts apply to small­er games? We need small­er games to exper­i­ment with gov­er­nance and such.

Is there an end to the game? “End” is play­er-defined… Games should be bet­ter at help­ing peo­ple leave.

Can these games become the new plat­forms for pro­duc­tiv­i­ty? There’s a lot of mum­bling, but no-one knows. You pick up valu­able skills while playing.

Does this apply to alter­nate real­i­ty games? E.g. ILove­Bees… She did a piece on Majes­tic. Beta dur­ing 9/11. It was mixed with reality. 

How can we use tra­di­tion­al ethno­graph­ic think­ing? The work isn’t com­par­a­tive enough to make any strong statements.

Published by

Kars Alfrink

Kars is a designer, researcher and educator focused on emerging technologies, social progress and the built environment.

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