Game Design: Organizations and Relationships

I wanted to talk about this a little more since it is one of the things I am currently programming.

Factions, as they might be considered are what we call Organizations in the MMO.  A player will have reputations with many Organizations, good or bad. Organizations come in all different types, political, military, religious, racial, guilds, natural etc.  These values of Organizational Prestige combined with relationship matrices with the organizations that other PC/NPCs belong to gives us an algorithm for determining the effective sense toward you.  An example of some of the organizations a typical player may belong to:



In addition to personal reputation with organizations, you also have organizational reputations with each other.  These begin at presets but are influenced by the relationships the PCs create.

Organizational Relationships

  • South Tilmar Metalworks dislikes Village of Silence Forgers
  • Tilmar Voraxians are neutral to Elves
  • Tilmar Voraxians like Felines
  • Felines like Dwarves
  • Dwarves dislike Elves
  • Church of Vorax despises Church of Corath
  • Unliving despises Living
  • Living hates Unliving
  • Telish Throne dislikes Bilkan Kingdom
  • etc

So in this example, the PC may have a difficult time getting any sort of information from an Dwarven member of the Village of Silence Forgers from the Telish Throne, despite their racial positive, the other organizations may be conflicting. Another example might be that a Mountain Lion in the Spine Mountain Range may not attack you on sight because of some historical relationship between the cats of the mountain and the dwarves.

So how do others 'know' what organizations you are a part of?  Well some of them are naturally displayed and if not inhibited by any types of disguise give a lot away.  Living & Racial for example.  There will be some organizations which you can toggle to basically say 'I am letting others know that I am a part of this organization'.  This would be akin to wearing a symbol or talking about the organization and your membership often.  However, when you get to a certain level of fame in the organization your attempts at disguising are more difficult due to you being recognized easier. Disguising your organization membership may also cost you prestige, or it may do the complete opposite and give you more prestige! For example a thieves guild, they don't want you going around spouting about that organization, so it'd be better to hide that fact.

These relationships will no doubt be complex.  I am confident with proper UI support for the organizational memberships, indications of the relationships through visual and textual feedback will help you understand what sort of reaction you can expect when dealing with other thinking entities.