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January 9, 2006

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Why Are Most Online Games About Genocide?

Raph Koster, one of the designers behind the Star Wars: Galaxies MMORPG, has a really excellent post up on his blog:

We shape the player experience by the verbs we provide. Right now, the only way to interact meaningfully with our fantasy worlds is at the edge of a sword, and through the barrel of a gun.

It’s true. Not that online games should be Sesame Street scenarios… but come on, do they all have to be bloody crusades?

Posted January 9, 2006 at 9:56 | Comments (3) | Permasnark
File under: Briefly Noted, Video Games


Well, they all don't have to be... Take World of Warcraft, for instance. There's nothing to prevent you from learning a trade or craft and doing that for your character class instead of adventuring and/or slaughtering.

That's true, but that activity still takes places in the context of a huge world-spanning conflict between two sides -- two sides, I should add, that cannot even TALK to each other in the game. Bitter, endless struggle is hard-coded into the game.

Now, on some (fairly significant) level I appreciate the design -- Blizzard is just doing their best to set up a situation that is exciting, fun & interesting.

But on another level I do wish there were some alternatives to the "world at war" scenario -- other high-end MMORPGs with different priorities.

Because war is a force that gives us meaning or something, innit?

This is an awesome Raph Koster post. It's long, and I'm totally not into MMORPGs, but I was into this.

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