Mrs. Beasley. Photo by Hayley Bouchard.

Famlies anger us. They motivate us. They frustrate us. They bring us joy and wonder.

MMOs do all those things — some of them intentially. So why aren’t family ties more important in the genre?

There are games that allow you to create family ties within them. LOTRO’s family system moves the genre a bit in that direction, but I’d be interested to play a game that took family seriously as a source of both challenge and reward. LOTRO’s system is basically a RP tool, it seems to me, with a dash of guilding thrown in.

What I wonder would work is a system that treated families, and all their positive and negative interactions, seriously.

Just throwing out silly ideas, what if:

  • Increases by a family member with a faction also slightly increased your reputation with that faction, based on the idea that your last name “carries weight”?
  • Players on the opposite faction who were “related” to you weren’t aggro, or if you did attack them, you got greater faction gain / loss because you proved your family loyalty counted less than faction?
  • Marriages meant something, in that some element of the benefits of being part of one family could convey to members of the new, conjoined family?
  • Your father gave you a quest to kill the snakes in the back yard, and he got aggro and attacked you if you approached him again without completing it?

These ideas are really crude, but I’d be interested to hear of games that that do family ties right. Any notions?

photograph by Hayley Bouchard