Uplink Analysis: Social Features

Written by David "Scooter" Bass on August 03, 2012

WildStar Uplink is a weekly conversation we hold with our fans about MMO design, philosophy, and news. The main goal of these conversations is to gauge how important certain issues are to the WildStar community. More than just a simple conversation, we ask questions about topics that are important, and we share your responses with the development team directly. Want to participate? Follow @Team_WildStar on Twitter for the weekly question, participate using #WSuplink, and keep an eye on the community team (@CRB_Atreid, CRB_Aether, and @CRB_Scooter) to interact with us throughout the discussions.

This week's topic was on a subject that is very important to the team at Carbine:

What "social" features are a necessary in an MMO? Which features aren't absolutely needed but are still just as enjoyable? Feel free to explain what you believe a "social feature" means to you as well!

The question was intentionally broad, because we wanted to know what people considered a "social feature" to be, and as expected, responses spanned the entirety of MMO features:

andybbtt11: I think social features ARE def needed. It fills in a big gap most games have. housing, sittable chairs, interactive env, etc
Xintia12: Good guild functionality is a must. I don't mean perks, but things like a guild bank, common chat, event calendar.
jleithart: Necessary features would be: guild chat /say chat party chat. Without communication there is no social aspect Enjoyable features would have to include: guild bank, perks, achievements (both guild and personal), channels for specific things
cryanmullen: as much as I know it's not needed, I really love twitter integration. I wish more games had it.
shocktor: The ability to share your characters/achievements out of game. Examples: Rift allows you to Tweet and WoW's armory.
Gazimoff: Allow people to play together wherever possible. Try to remove arbitrary restrictions such as server
rpepper: @Gazimoff Agreed. I was anti-cross-server for a while, but it's important to casual/common players to do groups.
souperfan: I view emotes/object interaction as a social feature. The ability to express yourself visually can benefit communication.
nohelixws: Gathering places that support social interactions. Capital cities are good but give people a reason to be there and interact.
jleithart: There is also the anti-social aspect. I want to love my co-faction players and want to hate my enemy. it breeds togetherness
lethality_mmo: At least basic external access to social features via mobile, tablet & web should launch with the game, not later!
reignguild: We don't want guilds to continue to be a glorified chat channel... give us a reason to BE a guild in your game.

A side discussion branched off about keeping towns lively and social:

Gazimoff: Try and create the potential for social interaction in all things, from trading in Bartertown to world exploration
Gazimoff: Use cloud/clustered chat to show how rich and alive your game is, even if my immediate area is quiet.
nohelixws: You need to be careful with that so that WTT/WTS don't take over the chat channels. Its so annoying.
Gazimoff: @nohelixws I think a more engaging bartertown facility could eliminate the need for WTS/WTT shouts if done well
jleithart: @nohelixws @Gazimoff But that helps people feel like the game is dynamic and alive instead of a ghost town
Gazimoff: @jleithart @rpepper Depends on goal: If you want to create a "one game, one community" feel, maybe not.
nohelixws @Gazimoff Or make it local like a shout in bartertown. But even with BT a good AH is necessary.
Gazimoff: @nohelixws I don't think AH is the only answer - maybe stock-market style buy and sell orders too?

Our favorite discussion started with ideas for social media integration, and went in an unexpected direction:

Arkadies @siegaplays @jleithart It would be cool to see your dynamic events posted oog. X needs help at Y, X invades Y.
siegaplays: @Arkadies @jleithart Like a twitter feed, stay oriented about what happens at a mob near you? lol
bbrown2k: @siegaplays @Arkadies @jleithart we are gonna have the mobs tweeting next! BossX tweets "WOOT! Just wiped out my first raid"
Arkadies: @jleithart @bbrown2k @siegaplays Bosses talking trash gets the community out in force. Twitter/forums/website etc
siegaplays: @Arkadies @jleithart @bbrown2k omg, a boss with its own twitter account 8-O anexxia @Team_WildStar it would be great to tweet out screenshots you've just taken without leaving the game world
Arkadies: @siegaplays @jleithart @bbrown2k Now I'm distracted with ideas of bosses you have to tweet at to distract/debuff.
jleithart: @Arkadies @siegaplays @bbrown2k That might be going a little too far :P

What other social features would you like to see? Let us know on Twitter at @Team_WildStar and keep an eye on the #WSuplink hashtag for a heads up when we begin a new topic on Monday. Thanks to everyone who participated in this week's discussion, and have a great weekend!

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