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Kabam: MMO and social cross-pollination is complete

In Gamasutra's latest feature, Kabam VP Matt Ricchetti argues that the casual social and hardcore social mechanics of Facebook games and MMOs have gelled toge
In Gamasutra's latest feature, Kabam VP Matt Ricchetti argues that the casual social and hardcore social mechanics of Facebook games and MMOs have gelled together into one toolbox. "As the online game landscape becomes less black and white, social innovation requires more work," writes Ricchetti. "When we established Kingdoms of Camelot as an early hardcore MMO on Facebook, we had a clear point of differentiation from previous games. Since then, the Facebook landscape has become more MMO-oriented, and there are more PvP games available. Even heretofore strictly casual game developers like Digital Chocolate and Zynga have joined in with titles like Army Attack and Empires & Allies." But that's not the only way things are evolving -- they're flowing the other direction, too, he argues. "At the same time, the non-Facebook landscape has become more 'casual' (or at least more broadly social). Players now expect ALL online games to offer full multiplayer functionality and interactive support features. This is evidenced in recent developments in AAA MMO social mechanics." "For example, World of Warcraft made major updates to its raiding features with Cataclysm to make group PvE less onerous and more accessible. Star Wars: The Old Republic, the latest and greatest MMO on the block, allows players to work on their personal class quests even while adventuring in mixed-class parties. This is an important concession to social accessibility, as class story quests are a key differentiator in SWTOR." In the full feature, Ricchetti offers a set of heuristics that allow designers to measure the strength and depth of their game's social interactions. It's live now on Gamasutra.

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