Moo Tang Clan: Supporting explorers

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Supporting explorers

Bartle defines explorers as players that seek out information about their world, and share it with others. Part of the reward for explorers is the private delight in discovery, but often an equally important reward is being able to pass on your knowledge to others, or even to share it together.

How to support explorers in an MMOG?

First, obviously, you need lots of content for them to explore. Start with adding quirks to your terrain, to reward the player for pushing through the bushes and exploring an otherwise unimportant gully. Simple things like setting up a picnic blanket and basket, but with skeletons scattered about and nothing more – an unusual sight with an unexplained story.

You could also add hidden mechanisms to your world, like ley lines that affect magical powers. Let the explorers figure out where they run, and what effects they have on the game.

Map making and documentation.

Another neat thing you could do is build into your game UI a means of taking and sharing photos of the world. That way you could not only boast about this tragic picnic in the wilds but show proof to others. I don't just mean allow the player to take a screen shot and upload it to a website, I mean collect and share photos in the game itself. They could share individual photos the same way items are shared in chat or trade, they could pay an NPC or a crafter to take their photo and mount it in their home or guild house, and they could publish collections of images with annotations in guide books.

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