About the author:

I live in a beautiful, old town in Wisconsin.  For the last forty years, I have been a programmer, all the time at the same job, but I will be retiring the end of this summer.

I enjoy writing.  Besides what I have written for Dual Universe, I have several stories at: https://www.Writing.Com/authors/xylch

I have played more single player games than online ones, mostly building games like Space Engineers or role-playing games like Fallout or the Elder Scrolls series.  I have tried several MMO’s but most of the time, my only interaction with the other players has been an occasional conversation.  It is rather surprising to me how much Dual Universe has drawn me into its community, even before there is anything to play.

– Ben Fargo

Beyond the Solo Organization

People often wonder why there are so many solo players in MMO’s. Considering the structure of the typical theme park MMO, a better question might be why an experience better suited to a single-player game was made into an MMO. Being the hero who saves the world becomes a rather empty achievement if the player must acknowledge everyone else is doing the same thing.

Dual Universe is definitely not that kind of game. It is easy to see the benefits of interacting with other players in it. It may be more difficult to see that also applies to organizations. I am surprised by how often I see statements like, “I won’t trust anyone who isn’t in my organization.” or “If anyone from another organization comes into our territory, we’ll shoot them.” Remarks like these suggest an assumption that DU will be dominated by what I call solo organizations.

>A solo organization looks to its own members to do whatever it wants done and expects to be the only organization they belong to. It considers any organization which is not an actual enemy as a potential one. In many games, it is natural for this sort of organization to exist. They often limit each character to one organization and the only relationship they provide between organizations is which predefined faction they are in.

We have the opportunity in Dual Universe to create a society that is more complex, more interesting, more vibrant than isolated, monolithic organizations grimly engaged in endless battles. Each player can belong to any number of organizations and the relationships between organizations as well as individuals can be defined by their rights and duties to each other. If we choose, we can use these tools to give our society a richer structure than any game has ever had.

There was a time when many towns were built around a single large factory where most of their residents worked. There was a time when a few major studios made almost every movie that people watched. There was a time when every company big enough to own a computer hired its own programmers to write the software for it. Today, towns are surrounded by industrial parks filled with assorted businesses of all sizes. The major studios still release movies, but they are usually made by one or more small production companies. Businesses now buy most of their software from various vendors and an increasing number choose to pay for it as a service so they do not need to own or manage the machines it runs on. Our world has more and more become a network of economically interrelated organizations. If a game is sophisticated enough to allow it, it seems sensible to build a similar network there.

How could we do it?

How do we build a society like that? Perhaps we start by abandoning the concept of a player being just a member of a certain organization and start thinking of each one having different relationships with a number of organizations. A person might be a citizen of a city, an employee of one company, a client of another company and a scholar at an academy at the same time. We can at least consider organizations we do not belong to as potential partners in our pursuit of prosperity, instead of assuming they must be opponents.

While I am enthusiastic for this vision of a multitude of interdependent organizations, I understand some people may prefer solo organizations and they certainly have the right to belong to them. I would just like them to be aware there are more possibilities when they make that choice.