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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.
    • 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.
      • 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 gam
      • Teamwork in an online game in no way mirrors teamwork in the real world.

        ACK. I have yet to cover my co-worker with an AK-47 while he's planting a bomb...
        • Ah, yes, but have you covered for a teammate by talking to your boss while he's finishing up the assignment you didn't do last night because you were out boozing when you should have been working on it...?
  • Bad commanding.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JMZero ( 449047 ) on Monday December 08, 2003 @08:06PM (#7664117) Homepage 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 )

      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 )
        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.
      • Yeah, try playing Warcraft 1 or 2 before playing Savage. Or read the information on their website.

        Savage has one of the most rudimentary strategy systems I've seenen in a long time. You protect your main building, you build a research center for items, you make an arsonal for weapons, you make X building to get X weapon. Its not that complicated compared to more modern strategy games. You get an absolute max of 10 workers! That doesn't exactly call for 'micromanagement' either. Even after you make all the u

      • The game should have had a commanding tutorial. Perhaps the full version does. Barring that, the best practice is to play as a non-commander (to see what weapons/towers/strategies do, and to hopefully see what a good commander does) and as commander on an empty server.
  • Tribes 2 ? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Grand ( 152636 )
    "A game like Tribes 2 'scored' in both 'worst support for teamwork' and consequently 'worst teamwork experience'."

    Shouldnt this be Tribes *1*. In Tribes 2, classes and roles actually mean something. Tribes 1 on the other hand.....
  • Teamwork idea (Score:2, Interesting)

    by calebtucker ( 691882 )
    I like Battlefield 1942 for the most part.. however, most of the time it feels like I'm playing by myself.

    Rarely when I get on a team with some people who actually have some teamwork skills, it's great -- like all of the tanks actually working together to take over bases, or having the chopper hover over a group of tanks protecting them.

    I think a neat idea for games like this would be to have a single "commander" play the game in more of an RTS overhead fashion. He can tell the units playing in the 3D en
    • Re:Teamwork idea (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      You mentioned choppers so I take it you're playing Desert Combat. It's a pretty fun mod, but I've found less teamplay on DC servers than regular old BattleField. I don't know why, just an observation I've had. Everyone seems to be in a hurry to do their own thing. (which is rush head first into the enemy & die, respawn, repeat) Hitching a ride with someone in a vehicle is extremely rare in DC. My cries for "Requesting a pickup!" or "Wait!" go unheard almost constantly. It's very frustrating sometim
    • This is exactly how Natural Selection's commander works. NS is played between two teams with differing (but mutually exclusive) objectives: Marines and Aliens. The marines have a commander with an overhead view, who can order his troops around and build structures using a Starcraft-like system. Of course, they're not always that responsive--generally guys in combat are more concerned with the alien chomping on them than the flashing waypoint on their screen.

      Aliens, on the other hand, don't have a commander
      • Eh, I guess I should have RTFA :)

        I'd like to check this out, but I doubt I could dig up my half life CD from some odd years ago.. I don't really want to buy another CD. It sure would be nice if someone would mod BF1942 like this (*cough* are the Desert Combat mod devs reading this? *cough*)
  • Teamwork! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by CashCarSTAR ( 548853 ) on Monday December 08, 2003 @10:58PM (#7665312)
    I play online games, almost solely for the teamwork. I don't like Deathmatches, I like feeling as part of a team.

    My favs:

    Subspace/Continuum:Highlevel play, especially when flagging. The attaching dynamic (You can warp to any spot where one of your teammates are), encourage team play.

    Day of Defeat/Counter-Strike:Both, I feel offer impeccable team play, in a bit different style. I prefer Day of Defeat, as there is nothing better than hopping around ruins, laying down covering fire and slowly moving forward. As well, I think that one-kill rounds kinda suck for teamplay. It encourages conservatism which ruins it.

    Diablo/Diablo II:Made for co-op.

    I'm looking forward to playing FFXI, for some good team play as well.

    But mostly, I play Day of Defeat now.
    • I like Day of Defeat a lot; it's what I spend most of my time playing these days. I disagree with you about the one shot, one kill nature of DoD. It really encourages teamplay, since nobody can be a "superman". Sure, you could charge into the enemy's base and go on a killing spree, but 9 times out of 10 this will only get you killed. Since individuals are so vulnerable, people have to work together to take over in numbers. And nothing is more fun than a 20 or 30 minute round where both sides are fighti
      • I disagree with you about the one shot, one kill nature of DoD.

        You're disagreeing with something he never said ;) He mentioned one-kill rounds, which refers to Counterstrike, where you die and you're out, and rounds last maybe 5 minutes.

        Personally, I only play CS in LAN games, where I can have a good laugh with someone when I die, and watch the game progress over people's shoulders while I'm dead rather than trying to spectate (if the server allows it at all). I haven't even tried an HL mod in a couple
  • Soldat (Score:3, Interesting)

    by focitrixilous P ( 690813 ) on Monday December 08, 2003 @11:16PM (#7665422) Journal
    Play capture the flag. Be a true leader, or a true follower, or just a stupid sniper camper. Someone's gotta defend the flag, after all.
  • I don't know if any of you /.ers have heard of it, but just recently, a demo of Unreal 2's XMP (eXpanded MultiPlayer) was released. Its a great little game, and really reinforces good teamwork over anything else. A lot of people really like it, except for little things like the lack of decent servers... and the vehicles are kind of tough to get used to as well. But i've heard it compared to all sorts of games, from BF1942 to Tribes and back again. Personally I think its a bit of a mix between '42, Tribes, F
  • As a contrast to a 16 player game where you are pretty stuck with the players you have, how do you organise almost 10,000 players? Yes, thats the number of active players on the European server for Planetside. Check the bottom of this stats page [] if you don't believe me!
    Essentially though, the system allows the setup of 10 man squads that share experience. The leader (the first to invite anyone else) also gets commmand points for base captures. The draw is that you should get more experience in a squad and t

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