World of Warcraft (WOW)
According to the World of Warcraft Community Site, World of Warcraft is “a massively multiplayer online game…enabling thousands of players to come together online and battle against the world and each other. Players from across the globe can leave the real world behind and undertake grand quests and heroic exploits in a land of fantastic adventure” (“World of Warcraft Guide“). Although the origins of MMORPGs can be traced to the 1970’s, the release of Ultima Online and Everquest, commonly called UO and EQ respectively, in the late 1990’s brought MMORPGs to a broader PC gaming audience. Since the release of UO and EQ, MMORPGs have become a ...view middle of the document...
It is therefore imperative that good communication exists so customer satisfaction can be kept high. As seen in Figure 1, 63.5% of MMORPG players consider the most important aspect of the game to be influenced or directly controlled by mechanics coded by the developers (“Making friends” and “Pretending to be someone else” are considered to be primarily social rather than mechanical in nature).
Figure 1 - Most Important Aspect of the Game (Yee)
These mechanical issues influence the social players’ enjoyment of the game as well. Though these players do not consider mechanical issues to be the most important aspects of the game, their enjoyment of the game depends on the presence of other players. Obviously if the developers can not retain the “mechanical” players, the “social” players may also leave. Nicholas Yee analyzed the reasons players commonly give for quitting a MMORPG and compiled them in The Daedalus Project. Yee reports that the most common reasons players left were “boredom and repetition…persistent bugs and game-balancing issues…and frustrations that arose from their game relationships.” Yee cites examples of player responses he received when creating The Daedalus Project:
The first reason I stopped playing was terrible customer support. Should something happen regarding your account, in-game, or other reasons there was virtually no assistance.
The atmosphere of the game became such that it was as if they were doing you an enormous favor just by allowing you to pay and play, a privilege they would rescind at their slightest whim without any justification or chance of defense.
Game balance was pathetic. Developer had no idea what the issues were and was making changes that had little or no impact.
I guess I stopped playing it because a lot of my close friends had left the game.
The first three responses demonstrate the feelings of “mechanical” players who left for reasons under the developers’ control, while the fourth response demonstrates the feelings of “social” players. Developers must maintain good communication and relationships with the player base as these areas directly influence player retention.
As of May 2005 the World of Warcraft development team has not yet properly implemented a player representation system, and the need for one is becoming ever more noticeable in the community.
Word of Warcraft currently has five community managers - the same number of community managers working on WoW over a year ago when the game was still undergoing beta testing. At that time the game had only a few thousand players. WoW has since grown to approximately 1.5 million players with 800,000 of them in the United States, but no new community managers have been hired (“World of Warcraft Sets”). The community managers call themselves liaisons between the players and the developers. Each community manager is placed in charge of one class in the game. On the surface this seems like a system that would ensure all players...