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How Romance Inspired Design For Taiwanese MMO Lucent Heart

Mark Quilter of Taiwanese developer Playcoo explains how a couples-based matchmaking system helped drive the long-term social design of Lucent Heart, an anime-inspired MMO.
In today's Gamasutra feature, Mark Quilter of U.S. publisher Gamania explains how a couples-based matchmaking system helped drive the long-term social design of Lucent Heart, an anime-inspired MMO from Taiwanese developer PlayCoo (PCC). Detailing the game's multiplayer systems, Quilter notes how the game's "Cupid System" helps players build in game relationships, and eventually became an incentive for user growth. "The 'Cupid System' is social design at its best. It's an extensive matchmaking system that was implemented with the goal of building new relationships within the community. Players in the game are able to be randomly paired based on level, zodiac sign, and other interests, and once they're matched they can play together as a 'couple,'" writes Quilter. This system pervades nearly every element of Lucent Heart, and allows couples to perform special romantic emotes and items, which further drive home the relationship between the two players. According to Quilter, these extra incentives really helped keep users engaged with the game. "These rewards keep players engaged in the social system and lead to many additional benefits for the game. In this case, players that used the 'Cupid System' were more active, the retention rate was much higher, and it even helped grow the player base due to the community inviting their real life friends or significant others into the game," he says. Eventually, Quilter explains, an in-game couple had become so well acquainted via the game's randomized matchmaking system that they were able to clear one of the game's high-end, six man dungeons on their own. After learning of this feat, PCC built a whole new suite of dungeons based on the Cupid System. "PCC, intent on capitalizing on opportunities that might enhance players' social experience, saw this and developed a 'dating dungeon' feature, a couples-only dungeon that would further encourage interaction and growth between players. PCC followed how players used the initial social system and rewarded them with a specific feature that matched that usage, allowing them to direct future development." The full feature, which delves further into the features and evolution of Lucent Heart, is live now on Gamasutra.

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