Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Side-Quest: What Causes MMO Tribalism?

Tags:
  • Video Games
Last response: in Video Games
Share
September 9, 2008 6:13:56 PM

Article by Travis Meacham.

Warhammer Online is almost upon us and in its wake will be the usual community in-fighting as it is weighed against the other fantasy MMOs. This week's Side-Quest addresses a theory on why people feel so strongly about their MMO of choice.

http://www.tomsgames.com/us/2008/09/09/sidequest_mmo_tr...

More about : side quest mmo tribalism

September 9, 2008 6:37:58 PM

This "Tribalism" makes no sense what so ever since it's pretty clear that WoW is the only MMO worth playing :p 
September 9, 2008 7:16:30 PM

purplerat said:
This "Tribalism" makes no sense what so ever since it's pretty clear that WoW is the only MMO worth playing :p 


+1
Related resources
September 9, 2008 7:26:30 PM

I will be giving Warhammer Online a try. I doubt very much that it will be as good as WoW, but I'm afraid it is impossible for me to play WoW again for the first time and I'm kind of burnt out on it.

Warhammer looks like it will be quite good though. I won't be making a long term commitment to it however.
September 9, 2008 9:43:27 PM

The article was funny and sadly true about how people react when they feel threatened by another game or system.
September 9, 2008 11:18:56 PM

Most MMORPGs are pretty crappy and repetitive, only decent one i've ever played is EVE Online. Although i do see this tribalism when playing EVE, if someone so much as mentions another MMORPG (Such as WoW) then people get really defensive, even if the aforementioned WoW player is not attacking EVE!

Ridiculous imo.
September 10, 2008 7:55:03 AM

I used to play WoW for quite some time and then quit because it just gets boring after some time. Recently I've started AoC and I must say it's quite a lot of fun; mostly because of the more active fighting system. Now I'm really looking forward to Warhammer and I could imagine that I'll spend some days on that one also. So no tribalism for me; just dedication to MMO's...
September 10, 2008 11:47:32 AM

Tribalism has nothing to do with mmo's its human nature. Its instinctive its basic behaviour. It can be seen in all areas of life and no-one is immune to its effects. Its human instinct to band together behind a common standard and to respond to common threats en masse.

A few examples of tribalism in action Ford vs GM. PC vs Mac. Sports Soccer vs rugby. within sports supporting individual teams is a strong tribal element - People kill over sports teams...

You get cyclists vs motorists. You get patriotism. Really is the US better than xyz country or would the same person born in france be just as patriotic in support of france? Families band together by instinct, we instinctively are drawn to people with similiar ideals. Two guys wearing the same sports top can be the catalyst for a life long friendship. The same guys could be deadly enemies if they met as members of "different tribes" in another aspect fo their life.

Fanboism or ATI or Nvidia or AMD vs Intel is a tribal affect brand name security in general works on the tribal instincts of mankind. Its powerfull stuff and even people aware of its effects can be pulled in.

I can be instantly friendly to someone with an interest in competing in motorsport, as I was big on rallydriving at one time. I could meet the same person on the road whilst cycling and them in their car and be completely at odds with them :D  Me writing them off as a "motorist" and them writing me off as a "cyclist" Steretyping and labels is all part of defining which "tribe" you are placing people in :D  Even labelling someone a "Fan boi" is declaring them a less tribe and placing yourself in the tribe of "informed decisions makers"

Can anyone here say theyve never had a tribal urge like this? never bonded to someone or a group because of a "shared ideal or interest" Here we are all memebers of the tims hardware tribe where we all get together and have a shared interest. someone coming on here telling everyone to go to xyzforum.com because its far better would be shot down in flames, pure tribalism in action. They may in fact be right, but that wouldnt stop the reaction.
September 10, 2008 12:11:10 PM

Did I read the column correct? The author doesn't actually play an MMO. I felt he doesn't like MMOs as he only wrote about negative aspects of them. Forced to play because your paying? Since when. Stop acting as if people will continue playing a game they don't like because they want to be right. Also stop listening to the vocal minority.

@dtq

You nailed it on the head.
September 10, 2008 12:37:26 PM

Pepethebandit said:
Did I read the column correct? The author doesn't actually play an MMO. I felt he doesn't like MMOs as he only wrote about negative aspects of them. Forced to play because your paying? Since when. Stop acting as if people will continue playing a game they don't like because they want to be right. Also stop listening to the vocal minority.


The official forums of every MMO are full of people who are still paying for and playing a game that they consistently complain has a huge list of problems. Whether they are the vocal minority or not, they exist. I'm not a fan of official forums for any MMO I play because they are so negative and don't accurately represent the feelings of a majority of the player base. At the same time I do lurk on them periodically for research. My favorites are the posts where people publicly quit the game and list all their reasons why. They're looking for support and justification behind changing their initial choice. It isn't enough to just stop playing.

The idea behind the column was not to suggest that tribalism is unique to MMOs but that MMOs inspire it where other games don't.
September 10, 2008 1:11:38 PM

tmeacham said:
The official forums of every MMO are full of people who are still paying for and playing a game that they consistently complain has a huge list of problems. Whether they are the vocal minority or not, they exist. I'm not a fan of official forums for any MMO I play because they are so negative and don't accurately represent the feelings of a majority of the player base. At the same time I do lurk on them periodically for research. My favorites are the posts where people publicly quit the game and list all their reasons why. They're looking for support and justification behind changing their initial choice. It isn't enough to just stop playing.

The idea behind the column was not to suggest that tribalism is unique to MMOs but that MMOs inspire it where other games don't.


I would agree that MMORPGS do encourage tribal behaviour by their very nature, lots of personal time \ emotional investment. They can be something that takes up many hours. But I do think that SOME single player games can as well.

Personally I like mmorpgs as a concept, I shift around a lot but I do quit quietly :D  Ive always assumed that loud quitters are just venting rather than looking for support though? Certainly dont seem to get that much support "dont the let door hit you on your way out" being a typical response. Some forums are more negative than others.

As for X is better than Y mmorpgs, very hard to argue entertainment tastes vary from person to person. Personally I hate the blues brothers movie, but its considered a classic. It doesnt make me "wrong" it just says I have different tastes from many :D  Ive seen the WoW vs every other mmorpg threads on countless forums, and have never got involved as far as I am concerned play what you like. Dont play what you dont like. If you see where an improvement can be made in a game though I dont see its wrong to point it out on the game forums the nature of a mmorpg means devs CAN alter the game to improve things. I also dont see whats wrong with complaining and petitioning for change when a change is implemented that detrimentally affects the game you are playing. If something appears to be a temporary problem that you can bypass for a while then sure hang around and wait for them to fix it.

Hanging around forums for so long has convinced me that a good percentage of the worlds computer literate population is stark raving bonkers :lol:  :D 

I think it depends on the level of personal investment in a game as to how attached you become to it, to see tribalism in single player games look for competing titles. X series vs Elite, sure theres some cross over but a mere mention of the x-series of games promts hostility on the elite forums and the slight suggestion of elites points of superiority on the X series forums prompts mass tribal reactions to match anything seen in the primitive world! Imagine how many people would react to a post saying "x-wing was crap" or "the sims sux" Single player games can evoke the same response.

A game you play for a few hours wont attach itself to you a game which you spend weeks playing will. Look to driving games for tribalisation Gran turismo for example has a very tribal following that like to hiss and spit at other car driving games.

Recent games still seem to attract tribal responses as well crysis for example. Just watch a "crysis sucks" thread to see a tribal reaction.

I dont play FPS's much but is there no tribalisation amongst those with "call of duty rocks far cry sucks" and vice versa? Im sure some of those online shooters must inspire similiar rabid loyalty?
September 10, 2008 1:15:21 PM

I forgot the ultimate tribalisation of single player games back in the day sonic or mario. Thats a discussion as tribal any mmorpg forum :D 
September 10, 2008 1:49:55 PM

Quote:
Did I read the column correct?....

No you didn't. There are plenty of articles and discussions on the pros and cons of MMOs. This is not one of them. The topic of tribalism in gaming (yes it occurs in all aspects of life but low and behold this is a gaming forum so guess what we are discussing) is kind of interesting especially when one wants to try to objectively analyze different games.
Go into any thread about a particular MMO and there's always at least one person who feels the need to interject why that particular MMO sucks and is not as good as theirs. I'd also propose another 'Tribe' of 'Non-MMO' players and more specifically 'MMO Haters'. I mean it's perfectly normal not to like all game genres, I for one do not particularly find much enjoyment in playing flight or racing sims. But I also tend to stay away from any discussion of such games because there's nothing there for me. The MMO Hater on the other hand rabidly attacks MMOs even going out of their way to make the point well known as to how much they hate MMOs. I suspect that the psychology behind their attacks is the same as those attacking one MMO in favor of another. The hater feels they've missed the boat on these games and deep down wants to play but know they cannot invest the time and/or money so they feel the need to intensely defend their not-playing of these games.
September 10, 2008 1:55:30 PM

Quote:
I forgot the ultimate tribalisation of single player games back in the day sonic or mario. Thats a discussion as tribal any mmorpg forum

That's really more just Super vs Sega than Mario vs Sonic. I knew lots of people who had an NES and then got a Sega Genesis and happily played both Mario and Sonic games. When the Super NES came out the tribalism between consoles was pretty fierce and Mario and Sonic as characters not the actual games where the face of each console. But I don't think anybody really spent much time arguing which game was actually better purely in terms of the games themselves.
September 10, 2008 2:18:57 PM

I stoped caring after EA canceled Ultima Online 2. WoW wouldn't exist if not for EA's stupidity.
September 10, 2008 2:28:03 PM

You know I thought UO2 looked pretty sweet, too. I wanted to play one of those karate-cat people in the trailer.
September 10, 2008 2:50:42 PM

purplerat said:
Quote:
I forgot the ultimate tribalisation of single player games back in the day sonic or mario. Thats a discussion as tribal any mmorpg forum

That's really more just Super vs Sega than Mario vs Sonic. I knew lots of people who had an NES and then got a Sega Genesis and happily played both Mario and Sonic games. When the Super NES came out the tribalism between consoles was pretty fierce and Mario and Sonic as characters not the actual games where the face of each console. But I don't think anybody really spent much time arguing which game was actually better purely in terms of the games themselves.


They did argue in terms of game play over herein the UK, Personally I was on the side of the technical superiority of sonic along with the (to my eyes) better graphics, I havent looked at either in a long time so thats just going by memory of how the discussions went - I obviously didnt pay attention as I dont remember what the arguements for mario was at all... The speed of the action they managed to get out of the hardware was very impressive.

I considered mario to be a standard platform game no better than alex kidd. With no outstanding features. (As a side note I also hated alex kidd) My mario vs sonic arguments were largelly theoretical and probably less tribal than they could have been as I wasnt a huge sonic fan either. Sadly enough I was busy writing my own software for z80 based systems about the time that was all kicking off :D  I was never a platform game fan :D 

Funnily enough I did like one of the wonderboy games also a pretty standard platformer, but I liked the upgrading armour and weapons.

When it came to the format war itself I liked the segas, based on my favourite 8bit processor the z80... How sad is that :D  Of course the gameboy and gamegear were both based on the z80 as well :D 

Looking back it was very irrational and tribal, the z80 fanboyism based on nothing more than my parents brought spectrums when I was younger, then brought sega, my preferences were dyed by what my parents brought in :D  I set up my tent firmly in the z80 camp and after that the sega camp. to defend against all comers. I have no rational logic on which to hang my z80 fandom Im afraid.

Of course I later went on to review games for the nintendo official magazine :lol:  (CD32 gamer as well - but then I liked Amigas)

[majorly off topic]

Whilst typeing this up I did a quick bit of googling and actually found a reference online to an issue of the magazine which I did nearly entirely by myself being classed as a trend setter :D  We did an issue which was a complete solution to a game called quik the thunder rabbit and the issue included a full copy of the game :D  Im going to selectively ignore the section that says this though :-

Whilst the magazine had never attracted advertising to a great extent, the 4th quarter of 1995 saw a dramatic fall in quality of the magazine as CD32 software began to dry up. Facing stiff competition and a smaller market share, the writers appeared to be unconcerned about the magazine, using pointless features to hide the lack of CD games. The editorial comment during the final issue served only to promote the Saturn and Playstation as gaming platforms. CD32 Gamer had always been written very dryly with random attempts at humour that often missed the mark, patronizing readers regarding their game playing skill.

Dry homour that often missed the mark, ouch, surely not :D . Although I would point out that I quit in the summer of 95 before the major quality downturn :lol: 
September 10, 2008 4:25:49 PM

Further derailing the thread sorry about this but I cant let a possibly false statement stand...

In the interests of history, Ive been trying to find out stuff about my old nintendo title for some reason I remember it as the official nintendo magazine, but the title was "super gamer", which I cant find on a list of titles which have been "official" nintendo sanctioned magazines... :o  The wonders of the internet, I may have to correct my recollections.

Still the fact remains that I preferred sonic over mario and worked for A nintendo magazine...

This was the magazine:-

http://www.retrogames.co.uk/stock/assets/images/Mags_-_...

Im going to have to find my old copies. Probably partially fossilized in the attic somewhere. Its been 13 years, and I dont look back to those days often...

September 10, 2008 4:50:12 PM

There's a difference between have a preference to one game or another and having a blind "Tribalistic" loyalty. To say Mario is better than Sonic is stupid if only from the standpoint that there's literally dozens of games between the two franchises and even some cross overs. To argue that Sonic 3 is better than Super Mario World is a legit argument based on personal preference. But the devout tribalism aspect comes almost entirely (in this case at least) from the different consoles. If the two games coexisted at the time on a single platform the animosity we be almost non-existent. Most people would probably have even owned or played both. Even those who stuck to just one of the titles would not feel so threatened by the other because if they actually wanted to play it they could just buy the other also.
September 10, 2008 5:21:12 PM

purplerat said:
There's a difference between have a preference to one game or another and having a blind "Tribalistic" loyalty. To say Mario is better than Sonic is stupid if only from the standpoint that there's literally dozens of games between the two franchises and even some cross overs. To argue that Sonic 3 is better than Super Mario World is a legit argument based on personal preference. But the devout tribalism aspect comes almost entirely (in this case at least) from the different consoles. If the two games coexisted at the time on a single platform the animosity we be almost non-existent. Most people would probably have even owned or played both. Even those who stuck to just one of the titles would not feel so threatened by the other because if they actually wanted to play it they could just buy the other also.



The time at which I argued sonic over mario there werent so many variations around In fact I think by time sonic 2 was out I had abandoned console gaming :D  Although my arguements were more disinterested than most, I suspect when we we argued in terms of game features it was just a veil for the underlying console tribalism Of which looking back I was fully guilt. Although we TRIED to argue objectivily over the games themselves independant of the consoles. The chosen console probably WAS the drive and the Game related arguments a "front".
September 10, 2008 5:41:22 PM

gamerk316 said:
I stoped caring after EA canceled Ultima Online 2. WoW wouldn't exist if not for EA's stupidity.


It's funny, I wrote a column a couple years ago and imagined what would have happened if EA hadn't cancelled UO2, and I came to a similar conclusion. Check it out:

http://www.tomsgames.com/us/2006/10/16/mmr/
September 10, 2008 6:52:13 PM

And i never cease to remind EA the $$ it threw out the window...

Wanna tick off an EA rep? Just mention Patch v1.19. :D 
(Bonus points to anyone which knows the refrence).

To clear all this up:
WonderBoy > Sonic <> Mario (depends on the games) > Alex Kid
September 10, 2008 7:45:20 PM

gamerk316 said:
Wanna tick off an EA rep? Just mention Patch v1.19. :D 
(Bonus points to anyone which knows the refrence).


Wasn't that the fan patch to Ultima IX that fixed a lot of the problems? I was given the Dragon Edition as a joke when I worked at a game store. The box is as big as a door (almost).
September 11, 2008 8:16:09 PM

MMO tribalism isn't much different from any other kind. Religious tribalism, political tribalism, sports tribalism, car manufacturer tribalism, etc.

people, on average, do this all the time. They make a decision and then they surround themselves with others who have made the same decision and the longer they stick with it, the more their ideals polarize making the decision that they made the 'good one' and any other choices being the 'bad ones'. In most things this is a somewhat bad thing, in others it is an extremely bad thing. Probably the area it is most destructive is political tribalism, but not a whole lot can be done about it.

Anyway, putting away my soap box now, just pointing out the parallels to everything else people do.
September 12, 2008 3:25:51 AM

I personally agree with the author on most points. I believe this happens mainly due to the time investment that is involved with an MMO. Its not like a single player game where if you become disinterested, you put it down and move, no harm no foul. Putting down an MMO is akin to the feeling you would get from being halfway through building a house with your own hands, and then just up and quitting. Most people would feel a sense of loss.

At its core i really believe its a matter of people needing justification for their decisions. Humanity in general does have a tendency towards tribalism, and specifically binary thinking. If you're not part of my group, then you're bad, if you are, you're good. So any WOW player who encounters a AoC player (for example) immediately assumes the person is retarded/an idiot/etc. Essentially, If they choose X or Y MMO, they want to feel that they chose the "best" mmo they could get. Since cost is not a factor, such as with car buying, they can't pull the, "this is the best X i can afford" card, as in the car buying or any other product. Since all MMO's are ~$50USD and ~15USD/mo sub rate, the only thing you have on them is the time investment.

There are so many examples of this style of thought its not even funny. Organized religion is by far the biggest example. I mean ****, look at all the examples of different "flavors" of christianity; calvanists, baptists, catholics, protestants, etc. Or with Islam; Shia, suuni, alawi, etc.

Somebody aboved mentioned it in brand loyalty. Coke vs Pepsi, Sega vs Nintento (if you're old school like me lol), Apple vs Microsoft/IBMPC.

Basically its just how humanity operates on a core level.
!