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Vindictus Rep: 100
Post: 1
edited May 23, 2017 in Off Topic Discussion
Dear All,

I am a student of Media Innovation (MA) in The Netherlands and currently I am busy with a research on
'Player Engagement in Digital Games - Understanding adult male players' perception of social interaction in MMORPG and its influence on the desire to continue playing'.

I know that it can be a fun experience to discuss such a topic with a group international players, because i've already conducted one. I'm in need of five participants for a second group discusion (Video Conference through Skype or Discord) and two participants for individual interview. I would like to start this fase of the data collection as soon as possible.

There are a few more details that we would need to discuss in person if you already fit the requirements below.

Participant Requirements:

Gender: MALE
Age: 19 to 35
Time spent playing MMORPG: Minimum of 10 hours a week

It is very important to reach this specific group, because it will help to gather rich and influential data that will form a solid conclusion of my study.

If you are willing to attend my study, please send me PM or reply in this discussion.

Yours Sincerely,


  • MrGoldMrGold
    Vindictus Rep: 1,490
    Posts: 366
    edited May 29, 2017
    You should probably post this in Reddit, if you need super fast replies.

    In my opinion, it all comes down to pattern recognition over a certain period of time. Though that is subjective, since there are people who can play single player games that repeat the same sequence of events over and over again, to the point of MMORPG login hours, and not be bored. I consider that border line insanity, but that is my personal view.

    I played Black Desert Online on the Japan server via a VPN, because the hype train was over 9000 when that game was being released. I had zero social interaction while I played that game, because I don't know the Japanese language. All I was interested in was fresh content, like visually stunning areas, character control mechanics, epic looking bosses, and visual brutality. I played that game for a few days, till I unlock the whole skill set I wanted for my character. The reason I didn't continue playing Black Desert Online was because I grew tired of the same moveset pattern to kill X creature. I also saw all I wanted to see in the game, as far as areas and creature encounters. I had reached my personal limit of the same pattern recognition that it become stale/stagnant to me. However, if someone who spoke my language was playing the game and needed help with X scenario. That would have made me keep playing a little more to help.

    The point I'm trying to make from my Black Desert Online example is that real people interaction adds a nearly unlimited amount of fresh pattern recognition. It becomes socially fresh content that updates faster than any ingame content update releases, time wise. That pattern recognition number though is based on the person and the amount of people you interact with.

    A good example of this is Bloodborne and the Souls series. When playing offline, it's a single player game. Players would still play it, if it only had single player. However, it would quickly grow stale after you have personally pattern recognized everything in the game. The main draw of the game though was the challenge for it's set difficulty, and the bragging rights for beating a really hard game(in the eyes of most gamers). The game developers though did something brilliant and unique to combat the limited pattern recognition of single player. They added multiplayer on an RNG level of game community encounters that increased player exposure to social interaction.

    What I mean by that, is normal games of that usual makeup would simply let you request a friend to join your game, or the game would randomly send players, from the server, to fill your party when requested. Going from a party loading screen to ingame. The brilliance of the social interaction in Bloodborne and the Souls series, is that you saw online players randomly all the time. As long as the server was packed. You viewed them as ghost images of their final moments before dying. Players could use that visual information as a warning for something up ahead or ect. The other thing they added was player messaging that you could leave and read. That was huge for one way texting social interaction. Many viewed it as a word game, since you had a limit pool of words to choose from to create your short message. Players used it to troll other players into getting killed, they used it to help players avoid a death trap, and others used it to make comedic observations or statements. As far as true gaming social interaction, they added summon signs that randomly appeared. So it usually led to fresh player encounters to form area clearing parties. There was also the brilliant invasion element they added, where you could invade other player's worlds to kill them. This is what made those games a random social interaction powerhouse, that kept players from reaching their pattern recognition limit for a long time.

    For me personally, I reach my pattern recognition limit rather quickly. Probably due to a photographic memory. However, this is the only game I have ever played consistently for 6 years. Other games I finish well under 4 months. I started out playing Vindictus as a single player and fell in love with the smooth combat mechanics and viciously visual brutality of different killing moves and patterns. The main reason I did it as single player, in the beginning, was because of the time consumption and uncertainty of getting an area clearing party started. Making a boat for low level areas, and waiting(while hoping someone sees your boat on the board) just wasn't fun in my opinion.

    Now if Vindictus was a true single player game, then I would have quit well under a year, as soon as I killed all the different 3D creature models. What kept it going for me for so long was the boss raids. Instant team based boss raids is the meat of Vindictus for me, and the potatoes is the level of player avatar customization you can achieve more than any game I have played. The level of clothing combination options is set to the 5 power of X number of armor sets. It's basically high octane for unique player controlled swag.

    So my personal Vindictus social interaction started on team based boss raid boats. At first it was me joining boats, so I'd join the boat and usually socially interact while waiting for the party to fill up. The boat system in Vindictus is really a "water cooler office chat" scenario. At 8 random players to fill the boat, it felt like enough pattern recognition for interaction was always met for me. Now the character I play in Vindictus is also part of why I've played the game so long. Since you can customize your avatar in all kinds of different ways, it makes me feel invested in the game. Because now I'm not playing a 3D character that some 3D model artist created for X game. Now I'm playing a character that I personally modeled into my vision of what I think is epic and awesome, and I did it within a massive selection of ingame options that makes the swag style truly unique for each player. Since you have well over 100+ sets with the option to switch out each individual piece up to 5 gear pieces. Meaning you can wearing one piece of gear from 5 different sets. You start doing the math on that, and the number of armor combinations is massive.

    Now I'm invested in my character(which increased visual appeal), and I had enough random social interaction to break the single player pattern recognition limit. However, these two things wouldn't make me stay around for 6 years, because I'd eventually break the random social pattern recognition. Having a purpose, having free server wide communication, having a fun combat style, and having a good friend are the other four things that made me last up to this point.

    Having a purpose. I found my first purpose through an amazing unique ability I have never seen in anyother MMORPG called "clashing". An epic visual display of brutality shot at many camera angles within a very short time. It was an incredible feeling for me to clash ingame for the first time when playing solo. I had been so used to games that just had you trading blows with bosses and rolling the dice on life and death. Clashing though broke that gameplay mold for me, and made me feel like I was on the same level of physical strength as the boss I was fighting. And when I won the clash, I felt like I was physically stronger than the boss. The meat of it though is the clash winning visuals and the uncertainty of getting a clash. Now that's just the mechanics of it, which in a single player setting would have made me quit after x10 clashes per boss maybe. The purpose I found was getting the clash in a raid party to hold the boss still for 10 seconds. This was very tricky to do as a non-host, due to latency issues, so I rarely got the clash. When I did get the clash though, it added an extra level of stimulated success to the gameplay. I no longer cared about boss drop rewards, or topping DPS charts, my purpose every raid was to try and get that clash so I could see the epic clashing winning visuals. Since they happened so fast, I couldn't register all the frames in my mind. It took me many viewings to finally reach my pattern recognition for it. The other stimulated outcome was having party members praise you for a successful clash, since it wasn't a guaranteed event for most Karoks. So that was another added piece of social interaction that made me enjoy doing it. However, that purpose eventually reached my pattern recognition limit, but not before a new purpose began.

    My new purpose began when I was being kicked from boats for low stats. It was an awful feeling of having an RNG roll on whether a boat host was going to inspect your gear, and decide to not let you participate in the fight when waiting on the boat. I was kicked many many times, and didn't have a good enough PC to host my own boats. Lots of new players were being kicked all the time, and it was a miserable experience to go though ingame. So that is when my new purpose ingame began. I bought a new PC to be able to host my own raid boats, with the main purpose of offering hosting to any player regardless of their stats. I had many players join my boats in shock that they weren't kicked. I also had players join that immediately begged me not to kick them, and were relieved when I told them I didn't care what stats they had. It felt like I was doing an ingame community service to players that didn't have the money to buy a good PC to host their own raid boats. That was a solid positive purpose that I didn't need a pattern recognition limit for. Though as time went on, more hosting capable players were opening up their boats to low stat players. Being kicked became smaller than what it was after a few years. I recognized that it was no longer necessary for me to host, so I started joining other boats to keep things fresh.

    Having free server wide communication. I never heavily invested in megas, so I had no idea how to make ingame money. I knew about the ingame marketplace, but didn't enjoy paying a fee at a 24 hour gamble to sell X item. I eventually figured out how to sell things ingame for free via the forums. I was new to forums at the time, so it took me awhile to figure them out. Ended up making most of my ingame money through forums. Also found alot of entertaining forumers to talk with and entertaining/informative posts to read as well. This enhanced my desire to be involved with Vindictus even more, and added a new layer of pattern recognition that still is nearly limitless to me. The forums were very fun for my first two years, until unfortunate events started to occur. Events that led to many great forumers and good players to be limited in their speech. It became so limited, that they eventually left the game and the forums. Usually by force, but other followed after being a witness to it. This almost made me quit the game as well, but I was too attached to the combat. Now I just sell items, and do rare post replies.

    Having a fun combat style. I used pillar as my weapon for about two years. I had gotten to an extreme point of stale pattern recognition overload of DPS combat rotation visuals that I almost quit the game. All players seemed to able to join raid boats more, I had clashed all bosses well over 100 times, and combat had gotten so stale that it was becoming a breaking point. Before I was going to pull out of Vindictus, I mentioned my pillar grievances to a very skillful player I met ingame. He told me that I should switch to cestus as my weapon. At that time, he was one of a handful of Karoks that used cestus. Reason for this was because cestus, at the time, was much harder to DPS with. It had a very steep skill learning curve compared to pillar. Which made pillar the higher DPS choice for simple gameplay. I never considered using cestus, because I had no idea how it worked. And at the time, there wasn't a very straight forward explanation that Vindictus gave you on how to use it. So this skillful player offered to teach me how to use it. He spent about 3 hours trying to explain everything to me, while we duo'd a boss that stimulated the main playstyle pattern to stay alive and counter DPS. He was very patient and supportive, but it just wasn't clicking for me. So after he had to log off, I stayed online to practice. Practicing cestus took alot of time for me, probably atleast a few months, since it's gameplay had alot of variables to it that I wasn't used too in any game. This added a great amount of new pattern recognition for me, and made me enjoy not only the harder movesets, but also the mini game cestus had of keeping buffs up every 58 seconds or less. It was very mentally engaging for me, much more over pillar gameplay. It made me want to play Vindictus forever at the time, but even with cestus, the pattern recognition limit was being reached for me on the amount of ingame bosses Vindictus had. Now boss fights themselves were getting stale. 4 years had passed, and I started to feel my pattern recognition limit being hit. I was ready to leave the Vindictus.

    I left Vindictus for a few weeks and months at a time, when seeing new games release. New game releases basically became "Vindictus breaks" for me, because I hit my pattern recognition limit on them quickly, due to those games not having the things I loved about Vindictus in them. In fact, those new games would reset my mind when coming back to Vindictus. I played clunky combat game mechanic MMOs like C9 till beaten, and then when I returned to Vindictus, it was an overwhelming breath of fresh air. The smooth gameplay, rewarding visuals, and flavor brutality made me feel like I was home. However, that would only last a few months, and I would eventually reach my pattern recognition limit again.

    Having a good friend. After all the new games releases, that I was personally interested in, had been beaten. I found myself again at a pattern recognition limit with Vindictus's limited content via very slow fresh content updates. However, I still played Vindictus, because I enjoyed raiding with the person that taught me how to use cestus. We would both be clashing bosses and punching them to death. Having funny conversations with players that joined our boat. Ended up getting to know alot of the main consistent players on the server, via random players joining our boats that we hosted. Had a nice small town feeling to it, as in almost everyone mostly knew everyone. This was a huge boost in social pattern recognition that kept the game interesting for a longtime. However, alot of players eventually left the game due to different reasons. Most likely due to pattern recognition limit, other friends leaving, blowing up their only weapon, being limited and pushed around on the game's forum, ect. Boats began to become longer and longer to fill, during the long periods of no fresh content. Though we still enjoyed our raids, and eventually got players to join. One of the interesting things about raiding with him, which added alot of enjoyment to the raid for me, was watching him out DPS players with +15s while using a +10 cestus that was at the bottom of the DPS weapon charts. It proved to me that skill really did beat stats in Vindictus at that time. The great irony though was that alot of very skilled players I met had very bad weapons, and alot of the +15 players I met were not very skillful with them. I felt that skill should have been rewarded more with better weapons, but instead gambling success and extreme money making is what decided who had what. What really bothered me though, was when players with +15s would gloat that they out DPS'd him. It never bothered him, but he never gloated about beating +15 players with his +10 cestus. He also was very friendly with players no matter what their stats were. Just a really standup guy with skills and solid morals. So I made my new purpose ingame to be helping him get the gear I felt he deserved. Ended up making alot of money ingame doing different marketing strategies on multiple levels. Helped him out for about two years, and helped out a few other skillful players(that I knew for a long time) along the way. Overall, it was around 10 billion gold invested. He left the game though recently, due to his pattern recognition limit being hit. I don't regret the investment I made though, he still deserved it in my opinion.

    All that is what has brought me to this current point in time in Vindictus. All I have left is now is x4 Neam a week and then logging off. I'll probably start joining the group of players that only log on during a content update, and then leave after a few weeks. Which means logging on during a handful of certain months. It's been a fun ride ingame, but alot of old players have left and the content slowly trickles in. The future updates and director in his direction makes me envision the end for Vindictus. Not really alot to look forward too any more for me. The new swag avatar sets are some what interesting though, so the swag fashion is still it's own game in limited form. I will say that the Neamhain raid was the most Vindictus fun I have had in years. The only raid I ever felt enjoyment doing, while knowing you would fail it and receiving no reward. The true reward was learning her patterns and successfully beating each stage, and watching players progress as well against beating her. Probably the greatest team effort yet in Vindictus, even over Kraken. Though at 30+ clears, she has reach my pattern recognition limit. I now just do it for the 100 Neam clear reward, but even that starts to look unappealing when looking towards the future.

    I know this was extremely wordy, and went off topic alot. But the overall point was to show my personal example of how my social interaction was ingame, and how it affected my desire to keep playing the game. Human beings are naturally social. Even the loners are social with themselves in their thoughts, or by talking to themselves. A good example of this is Castaway, how Tom Hanks literally made a imaginary person to talk to out of a soccer ball.

    Players are what keep MMORPGs alive. Without players, MMORPGs wouldn't exist. Players add to the pattern recognition and purpose of playing a game. But more importantly is the communication between those players and finding the right group of individuals that you enjoy hanging out with ingame. Give players a the ability to uniquely create(increasing personal/emotional investment), purpose, people they enjoy playing with, engagingly deep epic gameplay with simple controls/sub set mini games, and consistently fresh content. And you'll have a very loyal playerbase for many years. I hope to see future games fully support player driven content via player set designs and fully 3D model creation controlled by the player. Because style is fun form of social interaction as well.