Oh boy, here we go!
I’ve recently gotten back into Spiral Knights again. It’s been well over a year since I last played, so naturally quite a bit has changed. (Hey, I’m seeing a pattern here!) The game has always been free to play, with the option to purchase in-game currency with real-life currency. It was actually done pretty well, but now they’ve changed it up and gotten rid of fees for exploring.
Wow that sounds really dumb, but it’s actually really well done.
They’ve done this and that to compensate, but that isn’t really what I want to talk about it. Rather, I want to zoom in on how the player experience for MMOs is mostly built by the players themselves. The MMO provides the basic template for a community (missions, PvP, auction houses, etc.), which is then colored in as the people see fit. They attach value to gear, collectables and different currencies, and in doing so set a price for each item to which it will eventually stabilize.
Measures of player skill, unwritten rules, a “meta”, it will all grow from the players outwards. The game can guide it, sure, but enforcing it is hard and very restricting on the possibilities within the game. Freedom is still an essential part, you shouldn’t choke-hold your players, or even hold their hands.
It’s kind of like how the internet and its communities formed, I suppose?
Does… Does that make sense? …No?