Game Design in Star Wars Galaxies

I went on a bit of a MMO researching kick today. Initially I was looking to spend a few hours playing a MMO, but I wound up being more interested in learning about the history of some interesting MMOs.

It turns out Star Wars Galaxies has a really interesting history; the designers were trying to create a society built around weak ties and interdependence, and chose game mechanics based on that goal.

The former lead designer wrote a series of blog posts discussing the design decisions and intent that went into the game. You can find them here. I found them quite interesting, and it got some of my creative juices going about how to set up online communities in general.

This post on auction houses in video games is really interesting too:

SWG eventually did put in a serverwide auction house, responding to WoW. It made life easier for the buyers. But it created a perfect information economy, and all that complexity and variation that was present in the market earlier fell away. Small shopkeepers were shut out of markets.

If that happens to you in a game, you don’t find another line of work. You quit.

So do auction houses suck? No, not if your game is about getting . It is a better experience for a gamer interesting in getting .

But the fantasy of running a shop, or being a business tycoon, is not just about the getting. It is about the having — of relationships, of an empire, of a well-oiled machine. It is about running things, not about working your way up a chain of gewgaws. The gewgaws are a way to keep score, but you play the game for the sake of the game.

SWG was not a game about getting. After all, everything you could get in the game eventually broke. It was about the having. Having your shops, your town, your supply chain, your loyal customers, your collectible Krayt dragon skull or poster or miniature plush Bantha like in the Christmas Special.

I wonder if we can make SourceCred about “having” (Cred, relationships, reputation) moreso than Getting (more points)?

Would seem that getting-oriented behavior would be good for org because it involves continuous contribution (especially in short term), while having-oriented behavior is more contributor focused, since it involves more protecting or appreciating past contributions.