I think the best examples of game communities I can think of were in a couple of obscure and now pretty dead browser MM Os
- Urban Dead
and Nexus War
Both games featured large places with only player characters to populate them. There were no NP Cs
, no status quo is god, and no set in game story elements. Basically characters were sent to a world with a backstory and only each other for company and created a world with an organic changing narrative and character based entirely on player actions. To say that player actions had consequences would be an understatement - they literally defined the world.
Players started by walking around randomly hacking each other to death and dying indiscriminately in return. But soon, they organized themselves into factions and communities. For example, in Urban Dead, human players (as opposed to zombie players) would join factions that called certain areas home. These players would work to keep their area zombie free in their own way, establishing fortified regions, unsafe regions, etc, often with extensive planning. They established the character and flavor of their own territory.
Meanwhile, zombie players banded together into hordes, each with their own priorities and targets. A large size zombie horde entering a large human faction was a major event, with hundreds of players on either side. There were real stakes involved - if the zombie horde steam rolled the region, the area would actually be lost to humans. If the humans successfully defended, the zombie horde would naturally splinter, as the zombies would break off for easier targets.
The magic was that, on an individual scale, everyone was fairly limited with what they could accomplish - sure you could kill someone, restore a building to order, what have you, but it wouldn't shift the status quo. But if enough characters got together you could create a new narrative with far reaching consequences.
This overarching meta-game created unique and compelling histories, further adding to the backstory of the game. As all these narratives were player driven, everyone felt like they were a part of something larger and worked together to make more meta events. From a macro view, it was like dwarf fortress, except every player had control of one dwarf and there was no over-seeing player, just organic events.
Needless to say, strong communities built around this. Great communities, who wanted to make interesting things happen and did. It was a magical time for me. It's a shame these games are quite dead now.
edited 3rd Oct '12 7:50:36 AM by Cthulboohoo