Well met, crusaders!
Today’s topic will be about the Auction House System in MMORPGs. The Auction House System, or AH for short, is a system that allows players to sell items to other players. The AH is a great way for players to easily access items for sell but at the cost of Social Interaction.
“Lots of MMOs implement it unthinkingly, because they believe it’s a mandatory back-of-the-box feature. Few MMO developers take the time to think about the ramifications of the feature“ (Heimburg).
Auction House Affects Social Interaction
While the AH is a great way for players to find items quickly, it also reduces the interaction between the players. The AH system reduces this Social Interaction by separating the players from each other through a menu system. Instead of the player negotiating the price with the other player that is selling the item, the seller can now ignore the buyer by placing their item for sale on the AH. The buyer can then buy the item from the AH without even talking to the seller.
While some might say that the AH is a great way to reduce the time to search for items, I disagree on the way it is implemented. By eliminating that interaction between the buyer and seller, the Social Interaction in-game is reduced and replaced by an easily accessible system.
How to Improve Social Interaction
Developers need to understand that creating new easily accessible mechanics can also hurt Social Interaction if implemented wrong. The best way to fix this is to find a way to bring back Social Interaction in trading. Let players find ways to trade with players through shops or markets. Create locations or areas where players can find items they want. Let players interact with the merchants and negotiate prices.
Let the economy thrive not on a AH system but by person to person. This can help create relationships between buyers and sellers and can create a healthy trading interaction between them. Players can then add them to their friends list for future purchases or references. By letting players do the talking, the community can start to increase in player interaction.
The AH system comes in handy but if Social Interaction is the cost then it is better to find another way to help players trade items to each other. AH divides players from each other and reduces the interaction between sellers to buyers. This interaction that was eliminated is important for a healthy community. By replacing the AH with a better system that provides this interaction, the players can then build relationships with each other.
The future of MMORPGs needs to be aware of this decline in Social Interaction. It is up to us, crusaders, to spread the word! Ask yourself this;
“Why then have massively multi-player online games become so anti-social?” (Wolfshead)
The truth is in the design!
Join my crusade and together we can find the truth!
For those that have just joined, I go by the name Raistmere. Just like you, I am a MMORPG player. My passion lies in the design of MMORPGs. As a student of video game design, I seek to bring back the roots of what MMORPGs were design for.
Heimburg, E. (2012, September 10). The Case Against Auction Houses. Elder Game. Retrieved from http://www.eldergame.com/2012/09/the-case-against-auction-houses/
Wolfshead. (2011, February 9). MMOs were originally designed to be shared social experiences. Wolfshead Online: MMORPG Design and Commentary. Retrieved from http://www.wolfsheadonline.com/mmos were-originally-designed-to-be-shared-socialexperiences/#a3ac3