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Recently a Twitter friend asked about how video games should use social networking… and I decided I should write a blog post about it, because I have been thinking about this very thing. They say write what you know, so for my example I will use the World of Warcraft.
Warcraft is all about the guild, right? And that is a social network if I ever saw one. I have a group of friends that I play warcraft so much with I actually talk to them more frequently than my real life friends. (Sad, I know, but after a couple of years of playing together I consider them very close friends of mine!) But, in order for us to be able to communicate, etc. We all had to build a forum, run a calendar, and all that other stuff that makes a guild tick.
What the games SHOULD do is provide you with all this, because as long as I am interested in the people playing the game, I am interested in playing the game. The content could be CRAP, and it wouldn’t matter to me at all because I would be able to go in and night after my kid is in bed and chill with my friends, and THAT is why I play the game.
Now, warcraft tried to make an in game voice chat, but failed miserably… and they are coming out with a calendar soon… and thank goodnes… because we NEED that! But, what they need is a forum system. They need a forum with every guild able to have a home page and a place to post their screen shots! They need to make their forum pages so awesomely awesome that I never want to quit playing just because I love the forum capabilities so much. When people join the guild, it auto adds you to the forum page… when you promote users, it gives them different access to different parts of the forums. It could be awesome, and it make warcraft THAT much sweeter.
The other thing… friggin myspace/facebook for my characters! People should be able to come in, leave a comment, write on my wall… grafitti my favorite screen shot. Make it so that people are involved in the game when they aren’t in the game… bring them game to THEM while they are at work! Seriously… this would make a video game be the king of social networks!
And that, my friends, is how I would involve social networking in a video game.