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Approaches To Teamwork In Online Games Surveyed 31

Thanks to GamersWithJobs for their piece discussing a new study about teamwork in online games. The study homepage has a PDF download of the student-authored paper, which is based on a survey interviewing "a total of 4,712 people" about their team-based gaming experiences online. In terms of improving and evolving teamwork, a variety of options are discussed: "A central commander role like in [Half-Life mod] Natural Selection supports the team aspect... and received positive feedback. However, an unskilled commander might destroy the team experience, as indicated by the votes for S2's Savage."
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Approaches To Teamwork In Online Games Surveyed

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  • by TwistedSquare ( 650445 ) on Monday December 08, 2003 @07:42PM (#7663911) Homepage
    "A central commander role supports the team aspect... and received positive feedback. However, an unskilled commander might destroy the team experience" That last bit makes me think of the PHB in Dilbert, which suggests teamwork in online games is just a mirror of teamwork in everything else - makes sense really.
  • Bad commanding.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JMZero ( 449047 ) on Monday December 08, 2003 @08:06PM (#7664117) Homepage
    ..is indeed a problem in Savage. It's a problem that's solveable (there's a vote to impeach command), but players often won't bother to vote - kind of like reality.

    A smaller threshold (30% or so, with longer vote time) to impeach would largely solve the problem on public servers. Alternatively, command could be restricted to those who scored well in the previous round (or they could be allowed to choose commander). These players will not be horrible commanders, or will at least be able to choose a non-newbie to command. The game also needs to handle "command vacuum" better. For example, requests for funds should be auto-approved.

    I guess what I'm saying is that the problems are not so much in concept but in implementation. Like other game features in the past, "team with commander" is something that needs to be ironed out. On the whole, though, it makes for a rewarding gameplay experience - it's a good way for allowing individuals to play together cohesively without being game experts.
  • by Danse ( 1026 ) on Monday December 08, 2003 @09:39PM (#7664841)

    Shouldn't there be some sort of way for people to practice being a commander? How do you learn if you don't get to play as a commander? If I just get impeached every time I get the role of commander, I'm not gonna learn much.

  • by 33degrees ( 683256 ) <33degrees@nOSpam.gmail.com> on Monday December 08, 2003 @10:25PM (#7665136)
    That's the big problem with savage... since the game is only played online, there's no way to practice. The only thing you can do is start your own game and play as commander all by yourself, which at least gives you a feel for the various structures and technologies, but it's far from an ideal preperation for online play.
  • by SuperMo0 ( 730560 ) <supermo0@@@gmail...com> on Monday December 08, 2003 @10:35PM (#7665188)
    Teamwork in an online game in no way mirrors teamwork in the real world.

    Teamwork in the real world involves people who are committed, more or less, to the project at hand.

    Teamwork online involves people, who, when they don't enjoy what's being done, they simply leave. Instantly. Which is NOT a teamwork skill you can use in real life.
  • by realdpk ( 116490 ) on Tuesday December 09, 2003 @03:57AM (#7666555) Homepage Journal
    I'm not sure which Real World you've been in, but I'd like to visit. :) In the real world, the PHB world, projects have people assigned to them who are not necessarily committed to the project - rather they're committed to their paycheck and/or promotion, or worse, they are there to bring the project down. Happens all the time. Heh, real world griefing.

    Successful teamwork however does involve commitment from everyone. A good team system would reward commitment (sort of self-fulfilling, but good for the game environment) above nearly all else.

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"