It occurred to me over the weekend that MMO’s by their design can encourage socialising, or not, by even simple little design choices. One of the Mage features in Legion is to summon an image of Archmage Vargoth who will dole out an hour-long buff to adventurers who talk to him.
It’s a lovely example of a social item, and not the only one in the game. The various versions of Blingtron offer both a once-per-day present to all of the same faction as the engineer who created him. It’s a great item, and apparently quite popular as I regularly see a 6000 or older 5000 series standing in Dalaran or a class hall.
I love design choices that reward players for using public spaces like this. WoW doesn’t have the monopoly on this, of course. I remember fondly the campfire system in Tera, which allows players to use common consumable incense items to buff their character and any other standing near the campfire at the time.
The Secret World always seemed to excel at this kind of item as well, there would often be “gift parties” going on in front of the main Agartha portals as people grouped to share rewards from certain seasonal random gift bags. We were too focused on leveling to take part in such social activities, but they seemed popular enough.
What other, similar, examples are there in MMOs that encourage casual player interactions?