Defining governance in MMORPGs

Well….it’s taken me FOREVER but I think I may be on to something here. In order to find the true governance of a virtual world, one must look at:

a) The game design aspects

  1. How was the game designed to be played
  2. What are the rules and resources that govern the game play – this has to be looked upon in two ways as well….not sure how yet, but there has to be a difference between the aesthetics and the hardware/software/books/downloads a.s.o. Because the aesthetics are resources as well (in my opinion of course) and….think I’ll discuss this at another venture so I won’t get entirely lost here, BUT!!! I’m gonna shoot in that I’m wondering if this problem can be solved by looking at the rules and resources of the avatar and the rules and resources of the player, we’ll see.
  3. And what is the goals and purposes of these design aspects.

b) Customer support

  1. End User/Terms of Service Agreements (or whatever they’re called these days)
  2. Enforcement of the rules – you know, complain, they ‘investigate’, they play God/police/dictator/Hitler/Stalin (again…which ever word you prefer)
  3. How they regulate and keep the world – wipes, bugs, downloads, new gameplay a.s.o

But to define the true governance of a virtual world we also have to look at:

c) How the game is played

  1. What rules and resources have the players themselves constructed
  2. What goals do they try to attain (thinking very much of Bartle’s player classification here….and of course Nick Yee’s work)
  3. What social rules are generally agreed upon
  4. What hierarchies are formed within the virtual – networks, economy

And then I’m not sure….

I know that these three definately have to be discussed. I really don’t think it’s possible to think of one or the other. I’m very annoyed that I’m sitting with all this information in my head and in notes and I still haven’t been able to figure out what the hell to do with it! I’m quite pleased with this however….and since it’s ONLY a Masters this should be enough, shouldn’t it?

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