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Redefining Multiplayer: The Need of Community
Multiplier mode is a huge part of video games. The problem is every new game that comes out follows the same formula. Either players fight together in a co-operative mode, or they fight against each other in some kind of death match battle. In a past post Multiplayer Gets Creative I discussed how games like Dragon’s Dogma and Dead Island were reshaping multiplayer. It’s one part of video games that need some innovation And recently I’ve been playing another game that’s giving a new spin on multiplayer.
It might not be a big part of the game. Actually it’s a really small part. But in Anno 2070 players have the ability to vote on Senate and World Council members from the three different factions. The different faction’s leaders (there is an industrial faction, an eco-friendly faction, and a scientific one) all bring to the table different bonuses for their term if elected. And players can’t always just vote for the faction they usually represent. Even if you always play as the eco-friendly faction the scientific leader might provide you with better bonuses based on your playing style.
It creates a community, even if it isn’t a big or a strong one, that cares about the in-game leaders. If you look at the election turnout of active players compared to the United States election turnout then it’s obvious people care a lot about the bonuses they are getting. Anno 2070 adds other multiplayer functions, just like any other video game. But this small act of community input is important. I feel like I’m the part of something bigger, and that is becoming increasingly more important in the online video game world.
All types of games have online communities, but these are usually player made. If you play an MMO you might be a part of a guild or a faction. But the actual amount of community that this creates is totally dependent on the players within the guild. Some communities have some kind of Ventrilo or TeamSpeak, where players actively are getting online and talking to each other. Some of them also have active websites and forums, and adventure together on a regular basis. But most of them lack all of these components that make a strong video game community.
Other online games have communities built around them as well. FPS games have player made factions that play together on a regular basis, and have some of the features of MMOs like websites and ways to verbally communicate. However, these are even rarer than active MMO guilds.
The multiplayer games that are going to succeed in the upcoming years are going to need to value community. There are upcoming releases like the New SimCity and Halo 4 that look like they’re doing some cool new things to their multiplayer. It’s vital. Players are getting tired of the standard death match kind of multiplayer. And while it will always be fun, gamers need a new way to play together, and a community to keep them interested in new titles.