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Why players love the parenting gameplay in MMO games?

In this article, I will analyze the following aspects of the MMO game's parenting gameplay.

Yongcheng Liu, Blogger

July 11, 2022

7 Min Read

In real life, there are enormous complaints about "raising children" on the Internet: working during the day and parenting at night is too tiring, tutoring children makes people pissed off and so on. These complaints invariably make some people feel very stressed about "parenting".

However, contrary to reality, "raising children in game" has been well received and favored by many players. In many MMORPGs, in order to promote players' social interaction, the game will strengthen the emotional bonds between players through the marriage/love bonding system. The parenting system is the "next stage" of the marriage/love system, which is based on in-depth relationships and affection of players and brings a lot of fun to the players' game life.

Similar to reality, raising a baby in-game is not a simple task. In order to become a qualified parent, every player who wants to have a baby needs to pass a test to get the qualification of raising one; in the process of raising, players need to take care of their children and interact with them every day; and after the child grows up, players also need to tutor the child at home every day so as to improve his experience data and so on.

In order to raise a child, players not only need to keep logging in to the game frequently but also need to complete different tasks in order to take care of their children. However, even though it is so "difficult", some players are still keen to "raise children" in-game. Some players use them as a mapping of their inner feelings, and some also use them as an outlet for their own emotional expression. In this article, I will analyze the following aspects of the MMO game's parenting gameplay.

1. nurturing simulation

With the enrichment of gameplay, some MMO games become very realistic in its design of the parenting system, and the whole process of parenting can bring a strong sense of immersion. In addition to what mentioned above, players need to complete daily tasks to earn experience for the child's growth, the child will also have a different body shape and appearance at different stages of growth.

For example, in Justice Online, parents can schedule their children to take different courses every day, such as "going to the theatre to listen to opera", "going to school", "growing flowers and plants", and so on. Accordingly, after completing the courses, the child's charm, talent, and morality can be improved. Because children have a limited amount of energy each day, the number of courses they can take is also limited, so parents need to choose and arrange the courses according to their own ideas. This is just like in reality, parents need to decide which subject they should tutor for their children, based on their children's weaknesses, such as mathematics and Science.

When children grow up, they will not only repay their parents by helping them to finish their tasks but will also go out and bring back photos of their travels in different places, such as meeting a little frog at the pond or being chased by a stray dog. Imagine the happiness parents would feel when they see their children sharing their journey with them.

In such a process, players are able to get the excitement of raising a child by getting a similar experience at a lower cost.

2. Projection of self

Compared to competitive gameplay, which focuses more on controlling and brings a sense of achievement and fulfillment to players, the parenting system in MMO games can provide players with a projection of their own ideal image, and proof of their emotional commitment.

In reality, parents often project their own expectations on their children. This is reflected in the fact that parents will expect their children to become what they want them to be by the way they educate kids.

In Justice Online, each baby will have a personality (such as outgoing, naughty, etc.), and the personality traits will be reflected in the daily interactions between the baby and the parents. Parents can also customize the appearance for their babies according to their preferences. So, each baby is unique. In addition to personality, the baby in-game will also have different body shapes (such as sturdy, strong, small, tall and thin, etc.). In the process of parenting, players can raise a "baby" that meets their expectations according to their ideal image, and can also obtain happiness and satisfaction beyond leveling up.

3. Warm company

The use of AI is very common in games, including the parenting system. The powerful AI system enables babies to give playful feedback in chats with parents, allowing players to gain psychological comfort through the company of their children in their boring lives. Many players tend to chat with their babies when they are bored when online, and they will also take screenshots of interesting conversations and share them on social media. This is not only to get a sense of companionship in the small talk with their own children but also to get a good opportunity to express emotion when sharing with their friends both in games and in reality.

In all kinds of games, there are actually a lot of players who find interacting with other players to be a stressful problem, but when faced with their own babies, such stress disappears. With this kind of company, players with "social phobia" can also enjoy gaming alone.

4. Intimate social interaction

The connection between the parenting system and the love/marriage system is very close. Although in games, single players can also adopt children, more players choose to get married to others and then raise a child together. In the process of raising a child with a partner in-game, the bond between the two strengthens. Because raising children can bring more content to the conversation between lovers and require them to accompany each other.

In games, both parents can complete parenting tasks, and there are no certain tasks that can only be finished by the "father" or the "mother". In this process, players need to arrange their time to raise children according to their daily gaming schedule, and at the same time, they also need to discuss the how to educate and how to tutor the kid. This is very important for promoting social interaction between lovers.

5. Common social interaction

In addition to intimate relationships between partners, players can also take children as a topic to establish social relationships with other parents. Social interaction has always been an important element of MMORPG games, and it plays a vital role in maintaining the player's relationship network and creating topics. As one of the derivative gameplay of MMO games, the parenting system can establish another important social field among parents in addition to teams, gulids and PVP arenas.

In the daily tasks of the parenting system, the game will set some tasks related to the social interaction between children, such as playing with other children. In order to complete these tasks, parents also need to go find friends for their children, which actually promotes interaction between players and other players in-game.

In addition, these games will also have places to play for children (in fact, also for their parents) , such as amusement parks. These scenes are generally set up with interactive facilities, such as seesaws and roundabouts, where players can play with their children. In these scenes, parents can interact not only with their children but also with other parents, thus building deeper social relationships.

6. Summary

Parenting system is becoming one of the "must-have" systems in MMO games. In some games, the parenting system will be bound to the numerical ability system, and players will also raise children for the improvement of their power. But for most players, raising children is to be able to get a "real" parenting experience in the game world. I believe that the future of the game's parenting system will continue to be optimized to bring players a more realistic sense of parenting.

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