Social Architectures in MMOs
It is oftentimes not obvious that how, when, and where players can chat with each other is a deliberate game design decision. How far your voice carries in /say and whether you can chat with the entire world are decisions every game has to make. Several respondents commented on how different chat channels influence social interactions.
If I had to add to that list I would say that global broadcast or zone-wide chat channels have been nothing but bad for MMOs. Some of the asinine conversations to be had on there are visual assault that I don't feel like seeing every night. [M, 25]
The relationships between characters were a lot stronger at this point than they were today. Why? Well, there were no global or 'zone channels' at all, so people socialized in towns, gathered in towns to sell their goods (no auction house), and to test game mechanics. This was especially true back when bows' damage was unmarked on the bow, and the only way to figure out how good a bow was, was to test it, preferably on other players. [F, 29]
The inability for communication with an opposing faction was a fascinating one with WOW. It was, i think, one of the most effective means of demonizing the opposing side. [M, 24]
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