TopicWorld Of Warcraft Game Director Says Social Features Aren’t The Main Selling Point Of The Game
Yet another World of Warcraft developer drops his two cents on Blizzard co-founder and ex-president Mike Morhaime’s comment on the classic MMORPG’s current social situation, or lack thereof. According to Game Director Ion Hazzikostas, the game has evolved with the times and has gone a long way from being a game where joining a raid group was usually done by flooding the global chat with LFG messages hoping that someone would reply with an invite.
He also said that the fact that the extremely long time players spent looking for a party or group made them much more likely to be “tolerant” of other party member’s mistakes, unless they wanted to spend another 30 minutes or so looking for a replacement or another group. If a party member did well or was at least nice during the run, more often than not, the other party members would add them to their friends list so they can group up again. Over time, they’d get to know each other better and a friendship would emerge. “There’s an inverse relationship between friction and the strength of bonds that are formed as a result of that friction or to overcome that friction,” said Hazzikostas in an interview with Wired.
But, as the game evolved and became more streamlined, joining a group has also become a whole lot easier at the expense of members becoming more disposable, unless you’re playing with real-life friends which server-hopping and social media has made it easier to do. The upside to making the game more accessible is that more players now get to experience end-game content. Players are also able to beat quests, dungeons, and raids faster because of the abundance of walkthroughs and guides available on the internet.
Hazzikostas also noted game’s social features aren’t necessarily a unique selling point of the game. “Today, almost every multiplayer console or PC game has voice chat, friend lists, social networking systems built into it. They’re almost inescapable.”
When asked about what he looks for in an MMORPG, he said that he would like to see something that surprises him. “One of the biggest things that’s exciting about the concept of an MMO is going into an unexplored, undiscovered world. [. . .] We have an incredibly passionate community we couldn't be more grateful for, but we're still always chasing that mystery, that fantasy of the unexplored and undiscovered.”
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