“Online games are unique. We ask people to stay for thousands of hours.
That level of commitment comes with an inescapable emotional attachment. We
count on that attachment to stay in business.
That level of attachment causes people set the same kinds of expectations
for us that they would for a spouse or significant other, as opposed to a
dispassionate company that provides a service. We’re a lot more like someone’s
fiancee than the Cable Company”
“”You get a lot of protest in these things, from governance, game
mechanics, political process and griefing,” Reynolds said. “People try to run
virtual worlds as a service, but people playing the game view this as a
MMORPGs are communities and they are services. Which brings us to Hartsman’s very first point:
1) Character or Person – never Player.
– Don’t refer to people as Players when addressing them. Either address something about the Character or have a conversation with a Person.
– Referring to people as “The Players” when addressing them in public reads like mom and dad talking about “The Kids” in front of them, when it should instead come off as if you’re having a conversation with a Person.
– Referring to people as “Our players” when addressing the media is subtly different, as it can be used to present the people who play our games with a certain amount of pride.
So I think MMORPGs are definitely, without a doubt a service – but, they need to be handled like communities. I’m still not sold with the ‘let’s have democratic elections’ argument(well…maybe I was sold once, but I’ve steered in another direction now). I think that’s way too much hassle for the…ehm…customers. But they need a strong customer service which takes their customers seriously and at the same time act authoritatively. There needs to be an active conversation between consumer and producer.
“”We don’t manage expectations well in the online world,” Mulligan
conceded. “World of Warcraft are horrible at customer service, there [are] just
no managed expectations. In 9 out of 10 virtual worlds, there is no meaningful
communication [between the organization and the users]. The community says one
thing, marketing says another. This really comes down to unfulfilled promises.”
(from the same Gamasutra article)
Which is another extremely relevant point. But – this is where I start scratching my head. Why then, is World of Warcraft the most popular MMORPG? Why do people still keep playing if they’ve got such lousy customer service and don’t fulfill expectations? Isn’t this then proving me wrong? Because Blizzard doesn’t really have the best reputation of treating their players fairly and with respect – maybe they do? How can we explain the ongoing success of WoW if all of this is true? Why aren’t there massive amounts of players leaving? Are there and I just haven’t been paying attention?