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May 09, 2006



Well the closest we have available is players creating their own videos of in game achievements, and (at least in WoW) these are fairly popular so I don't know why no company out there has put something like this in. Being able to watch as Uber_Guild_X took down Epic_Dragon_Y for the first time through some sort of crystal ball would be kinda cool. Hell, the ability to watch battlegrounds in progress (in WoW) would give players something to do during their 1hr+ queues.


I was watching a giant snail race in SL over the weekend.

Apart from that, going around sandboxes and not building anything, just looking at what other people are doing, is perfectly acceptable as far as I know. Certainly I've never felt embarrassed by it. You can't always be in a creative or even social mood and there's not much else to do in SL apart from be creative or social. Or gamble, or buy shoes.

I've watched a few videos from WoW et al but really, they just end up confusing me given that I don't know the mechanics of what's going on. Maybe that's the editing.


I'm going to agree with Randakor in saying that the opportunity to actually watch the Battlegrounds in WoW would be fantastic.

It'd also be impressive if people managed to co-ordinate a cinemagraphic Machinima piece of these events. Would be more impressive than the current videos floating arround Google Video of PVP spec characters hitting the high quadruple figures over and over again...


Perhaps it is because all of the game design effort is going towards designing a world where you (and your closest 5000 friends) can be the hero? Heros don't watch the show - heros are the show.


Observation mode in Guild Wars is worth consideration; it allows players to watch time-delayed matches between top ranked teams, even providing an observers channel for commentary.


I played a MUD at one time where the max level players (heroes) could challenge each other to duels in an arena area. Such duels were announced to a world channel so that players could place bets on their hero of choice. Then the battle could be watched by seeing the world through the eyes of one of the heroes (with a small delay to curb cheating with a friend).

Since then I've not seen a good example of playing spectator that was really enjoyable. The closest being some of the early SWG days.


> But it intriques me as to why MMOGs are so different
> from the physical world.

Here's a hint: ask yourself why Microsoft Word is so different from a typewriter.


The distribution of personality types in online worlds does not have the same distribution as in the real world, and everyone present in a virtual world is there with intent. These two issues alone can probably account for the discrepency.

If you want to see more 'sightseers' in virtual worlds, we need to make worlds that invite tourism, instead of glorifying conflict. Less agon, more mimicry. It's a hard sell to publishers, though, and there's no firm evidence the expanded audience is ready to pay... yet.


Buhbuhcah wrote
"Perhaps it is because all of the game design effort is going towards designing a world where you (and your closest 5000 friends) can be the hero? Heros don't watch the show - heros are the show."

But if no one can see your heroic exploits, how are you ever going to be a hero in the eyes of the most important people in the virtual world - other players?

Besides, I currently hate the emphasis on "you being the hero". As you pointed out, it's you and 5000 other people at a time trying to do the same things. There's no actual heroism in current MMORPGS, it's an online theme park with a few attractions, some breathtaking visuals, some carnie NPCs, a few sideshows and a side garnish of standard issue plot.


Trin>Then the battle could be watched by seeing the world through the eyes of one of the heroes

The ability to see through the eyes of another player has been in MUDs since the very beginning, where it was called "snooping". You snooped on another player, and all their output was copied to your screen. As a spectator sport, it was fascinating (and if they didn't know they were being snooped on, it was sometimes fascinating for other reasons). For large-scale events, people who were knocked out early would be able to snoop on the remaining competitors to watch the competition unfold.

Graphical worlds have some minor issues in that what one player's client displays will not be the same as what another player's client displays, due to the interaction of latency, lag and predictive algorithms (one reason these games don't generally have a "log incoming data to disc to it can be replayed later using the game engine" facility). I don't believe this would actually be much of a problem in terms of experiencing what's going on when watching someone live, though. Not being attached to the Teamspeak channel, on the other hand, might be...



I think Second Life could be described as a: Spectacle of Simulacra, may people just go to watch.


/me notes that many FPSs have spectator options, totally oblivious to whether it's relevant or not.


The discussion has so far leaned towards the ability to become a spectator in PvP or epic battles. Much like a crowd at a football game or boxing match, where spectatorship is organized and fixed (in a sense). Could an argument be made that there does exist in MMOGs, on an individual level, the "joy of spectatorship" that Dan Hunter has put forth? Say you're running around in an area and you spot another player solo-ing a mob who gives special drops. By stopping to watch are you not assuming the role of spectator? (Healing the guy if he's dying or waiting till he does to finish the mob yourself aside of course).

There have been some events which allow for the "spectator" in MMORPGs, for example FFXI conducted a fireworks festival where there was a quest to be done in pairs to obtain items related to the event such as yukatas, fireworks and fans. In addition during the in-game time cycle, there was a fireworks display in every major city at night. It was common at that time to see small groups of people just sitting together and watching the fireworks.

While certainly not as exciting as watching a PvP battle, IMO that would qualify as a spectator event. It would also open up discussions about the translation and role of cultural events into MMOGs but that would perhaps be for another time.


I understand Microsoft has relatively recently lodged a patent for spectator technology in Xbox Live. The idea being to allow Sports games taking place within Live to have an audience. An example being an Xbox Live World Cup football challenge or something.

I realise it's not an MMORPG or virtual world, but it represents a company moving in an audience direction.

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