BioWare: MMO group play is “hardcore”

Monday, 7 March 2011 23:25 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Damion Schubert, lead systems designer on Star Wars: The Old Republic, has commented that the lifeblood of MMO’s – multiplayer gaming – is inherently “hardcore”, and discussed the challenge of getting solo players involved in these vital features.

“One of the things we have to acknowledge as MMO designers is that our magic — our secret sauce, this stuff, the raids — this is hardcore stuff,” Schubert said, speaking at a presentation at GDC, as reported by Massively.

“This is hardcore gameplay. Even a basic raid is incredibly hard for players to grasp and get comfortable with.

“This is hardcore gameplay,” he reiterated, “And we have to figure out how to get the solo player in a position where they want to take part in this, where they feel comfortable with the social circles, where they feel like they can be contributors.”

Schubert went on to categorise and detail ten different reasons MMO players might chose to go it alone, many of which have their roots in the strictures of game design. The designer also commented that loners aren’t necessarily anti-social.

“People don’t imagine being a serial killer, but they certainly imagine being Batman,” he pointed out.

“If you really think about it, being a loner is an inherently social thing. You can’t be a loner in a single-player game because you’re not setting yourself apart from somebody,”