Over at Voodoo Extreme, Principal Lead Systems Designer, Damion Schubert, blogs about MUDs and MMOs, game philosophy, community and player interaction in Star Wars: The Old Republic. Here's an excerpt:

Consider our multiplayer dialogue system. The Old Republic is in every way shape and form an MMO, though if a player desires to, they can solo all the way to max level – they'll be missing some great content, but we don’t want players to feel they have to group. But we really want them to want to. As such, this has been an area of ripe experimentation for us, and has led us down some fruitful paths. Multiplayer conversations, where players can cooperate or compete to respond, has proven to be fun (and often hilariously so), in our playtesting (and no, another player cannot jack your dark side score with his response). But we’re not satisfied with just extrinsic rewards – we’re now experimenting with rewards that are unlocked for helping party members with class quest objectives, and we’re generally pleased with how it’s playing.
Crafting is another area where we’ve talked a lot about community. The systems design team is not satisfied with some other crafting systems that we’ve seen, where many players craft almost exclusively for themselves. We’ve spent quite a bit of time discussing how to ensure that crafters – true dedicated crafters – can make a name for themselves and be important in their community. But that is a discussion for a future letter.
In fact, you’ll probably be hearing a lot more from me and the other systems designers in the coming months as we talk about the systems and features that are getting locked down inside of the game to the degree that we’re comfortable talking about them. Like I said earlier, The Old Republic is an MMO, and it’s these systems and features that really help define that fact. You’ll likely hear a lot of design theory around them. As we do so, you’ll likely see a common theme: us constantly asking ourselves “Is this feature better because it leverages other players and the community?”

Read the whole thing here.

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