Focused Communication and Communities in Games
To me, this article was the most interesting because it looks at alternate methods for players to communicate with one another. A lot of what was mentioned is being implemented into Dota 2 as different forms of communication between players.
“It’s important to explore alternative forms of player communication and interaction more relevant to your game to foster a focused community that preserves the importance of social interactions, interpersonal emotions, and strategies that arise as a result of communication.”
The examples given for this alternate form of communication are Hearthstone, League of Legends, Dark Souls 2, and Journey.
The hearthstone example is an emote system where the player is limited to a few sayings that the competitor can see and hear or choose to squelch. This creates an interesting interaction between the two competitors without affecting the gameplay itself. However, I feel that this does not completely cut out the potential for bad mannered gameplay as the article says. If you are a player of Hearthstone you would know that players take on an alternate method to being bad mannered, not only by spamming the emotes, but also by the way they play the game. In Hearthstone and card games in general there are plays that can be made that would end the game. However, that means there are excessive plays that waste time and a competitor would understand these plays as being bad mannered because they were excessive or unnecessary.
The following video shows one of the more well known Hearthstone players Kripparian being bad mannered through his gameplay
Here we see players overcoming the limitations of the chat wheel to express their frustration or bad manner in an alternate way. We see the player interaction affecting gameplay due to the designed elements limiting what the player can do. Kripparian even makes a sarcastic comment in the video saying that this is a guide on how you are supposed to play Hearthstone in that you should go for the maximum amount of BM (bad manner) when you are playing against someone.
But the positive change in the communication on Heartstone can be seen in the chat wheel as this interaction is limited and communicates relevant information to the game that the player can be feeling. Dota 2 implements a very similar feature in that there is a customizable chat wheel that can be used to communicate common phrases that can be used in the game.
Screenshot placement of chat wheel in Hearthstone
SS of Dota Chat wheel
The point made about League of Legends where there is an honor system as well as alternative pings gives the players an effective way to communicate outside of typing as well as a constructive way of rating one another. Dota 2 utilizes all kinds of pings in order to express what the player is wanting to say as well as a commend system that shows a numerical value of how many times a player has been seen as positive by others. I think that this point is the strongest correlation to how alternative forms of communication can be made. By giving players several ways to communicate with one another, games can create a positive experience if communication can be more accessible to people who may not have a microphone or are a quick typer to bother typing. It is important in a competitive game where teamwork and interaction is imperative to not limit how a player must communicate.
SS of dota Commndations
SS of ping variance
SS of pinging items
The last two cases of Dark Souls 2 and Journey are a bit of a stretch in comparing to competitive games, but I think both examples are excellent in showing the innovation in communication that can create rewarding experiences between players. It is this lack of communication in games such as Journey or Dark Souls that makes the games effective. If too much communication was present, the experience of the game could be ruined. The level of communication necessary in games is always a game specific case. In a game such as Dota 2, a maximum level of communication is essential while a game such as Journey requires a minimal amount because the ultimate goals of these games differ.