A Valuable and Appreciated Role

In massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs), you often see people congealing into guilds and getting very involved in roles like my experience at the Renaissance Faire.

Even if you're not the leader, occupying a valuable and appreciated role can be a powerful Role Induction Technique.

A Story About Bread

I was speaking to a designer of MMOGs who was talking about the roles played in his games by NPCs. He said, "No one would want to play the baker who makes bread." Thus that role, he reasoned, would best be played by an NPC.

I took up the challenge, and suggested he imagine a society in which:

  • Bread offers not just sustenance and health, but, if you eat certain breads, they give you superhuman abilities, at least for a time. For instance, you could gain the ability to see through walls.

  • The Lead Baker controls the flow of bread and decides who gets how much.

  • The Lead Baker is the most respected person in town. He gets more attention even than the Mayor. People offer him free goods and services wherever he goes.

  • Bakers from this and other towns gather for secret ceremonies in which they renew their abilities to make magical breads. No one else knows what goes on in these ceremonies, but everyone is dying to know.

  • The tradition of being a Baker is a long and rich one, and pieces of that story are engraved on the front of City Hall.

  • Bakers, because they can eat their own breads and gain special powers at will, can, when required or when they feel like it, exhibit extraordinary abilities speed, strength, or even wilder abilities like the ability to walk through hills.

The game designer looked at me and nodded. Who wouldn't want to be a baker in that game?

Creating Emotion in Games. The Craft and Art of Emotioneering
Creating Emotion in Games: The Craft and Art of Emotioneering
ISBN: 1592730078
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2003
Pages: 394

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