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Iron Chef Carnage

Psych Profile for MMO Factions?

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Phantasy Star Online assigned players to categories based on the characters in their name. Different groups got different kinds of items, etc. It encouraged interaction between characters, since that unidentified staff might turn into something better if someone else had it Identified. World of Warcraft has factions that have different races and classes, to typify fundamental differences between the characters. This leads to atmophere and style for each race and community. Would it be worthwhile to assign players to factions based on the outcome of a rudimentary psychological test? Something like the MMPI-2 test given to police officers could be used to group like-minded players into factions. Guys who want to do a lot of fighting and ignore other crap could be pointed toward militant groups. Nurturing players could be sent to ally with other such folks. Might this lead to more role-playing and character-specific behavior? Bear in mind, this is an academic discussion. Using this idea in a partial or voluntary way is certainly possible.

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Morrowind used basically the same thing. Near the beginning of the game, you have the option of taking a short test that can suggest a class for you to undertake. The questions included options like stealing from peasants, fighting instead of negotiating, etc. It worked out pretty well, I think.

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I think if you do this you achieve directing people away from what they don't won't, and towards what they do, which can only be good.

There is some issue with the difference in a psych test between the way you want to be and the way you actually are, though. The Hawthorne Effect (psychological principle that "people observed tend to change behavior") might come into play, so the test might need to be more rigorous than would be deemed acceptable for a game (for a police job, sure, you have to take it to get in).

And in MMOs there's always the griefer. What do you do with the person who intentionally lies just to get into the nurturer community to be a hardcase, or worse yet, misadvise newbies? (Since he exists anyway, you may just handle him as normal, but the test doesn't get rid of him.)

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NecroSen: Just to add some history to the topic, The Elder Scrolls Series has always, to my knowledge, had these questions, I remember playng Arena and answering these questions, some of them are still in Morrowind. Just thought I'd add alittle history.

@Iron Chef Carnage: Sounds like and excellent idea, but if you got a bunch of people together who were all leaders, that might not work out so well, they might end up sitting there arguing the entire time. But if the group was primarily followers, this would work out excellent. Just my 2 cents.

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