Fostering Positive Game Communities


We’ve all seen it before, whether it’s on Twitter, Reddit, or YouTube. Some games have a positive community designed to inspire and encourage others in the game. Others are toxic that constantly downplay or rip the game, its developers, and its community members.

So what is the difference between the communities? Why do some games thrive and maintain a positive nature and others suffer in the doldrums of toxic muck? Is it simply the game itself? Does it depend on how “big” the game is? As a long-time forum user and Reddit/Twitter user, I’d like to believe I have a small perspective on this matter after seeing a lot of great (and not so great) gaming communities.

In my opinion, one of the first aspects of a positive gaming community is having clear, fun, and meaningful discussion between the game developers and the community of gamers who inhabit those games.

Star Citizen maintains a distinctly positive and inclusive community.

Take a look at a game like Star Citizen. While Star Citizen has had no shortage of its dilemmas, most of these have been outside the game community itself. People have called it everything from a scam to saying it will never release fully. Yet, almost every comment on the Reddit is positive, productive, and informative.

So why is that? The game itself is/will be highly competitive and include Player vs. Player combat. The game has already a massive following with well over two million users. Well, one reason is the game is arguably the most transparent, upfront, and consistent in communicating with its loyal followers.

Every week contains consistent updates based on the communities feedback. Community concerns are never left unaddressed long. When the company missteps, it addresses those concerns directly and quickly.

Compare this community to that of Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds. Arguably it is one of the most popular games of all-time. Yet, look at it’s forums, it’s sub-Reddit, or the messages directed at it’s developers and you sure wouldn’t know it.

Anyone who steps foot into those spheres will see consistently negative ideas thrown around, people bashing the game with little to no constructive criticism, and generally toxic behavior.

(As a side note, I’m a huge fan of PUBG)

Now, some of that can be linked to issues with the game, but the communication from PUBG Corp (the developers of the game) largely go dark or inactive for large periods of time during difficult times. When a broken patch was recently released (update #22), we didn’t get much more than a Twitter post acknowledging it. While developers and community managers are happy to show up when players are excited by new patches and maps,  they are frequently missing when the game stumbles and messes it up.

That’s a huge way to lead to a toxic community. Instead of addressing, acknowledging, and suggesting steps to fix the error, people are left to stew and fume with their fellow gamers in the community. Not surprisingly, this leads to a ton of negative feelings about the games.

So what else can lead to positive game communities?

Encouraging new players as they progress in the game. Kerbal Space Program’s Reddit is frequently filled with up voted threads and images of “first time getting to orbit.” The game developers often feature community members mods or cool moments on their forums and social media.

I’m a big believer that a games design can lead to more positive attitudes or “weeding out the negativity.” For example, in Kerbal, you will fail frequently. Yet, if you maintain a positive attitude, persist, and keep working hard you will eventually succeed.

Overwatch has come a long way in developing a more positive community.

I think another underrated element is implementing game mechanics to encourage positive behavior. Overwatch was notoriously one of the most toxic games that I can remember in recent history. Yet, recently, I feel like it’s improved. While it still has a long way to go, the recent additions of in-game mechanics to encourage good behavior I think has been a welcome change. You will still get toxic players from time to time, but the rate at which this happens seems to be significantly lower.

Reward your players for being positive members of the community. Give them gifts! Give them positions of leadership in your community. Embrace the positive and outcast the negative. Never go dark, even when you want to so badly in difficult times as a game developer.

Well, that’s in on maintaining a more positive gaming community! I hope you enjoyed! If you’d like to be part of my own positive community, feel free to swing by my Twitch channel. Likewise, drop me a message sometime on Twitter. That’s it folks! See you next time, friends!

Overcoming the Us vs. Them Mentality in Games

I’ll admit it. I’m a Nintendo fan boy.

Or at least I used to be. I like to think I’ve overcome my fanboy-ism and now try to treat each console as they come.

It’s okay if we have favorites – there’s nothing wrong with liking a particular brand, company, or product. I know buying a Naughty Dog game that I’ll be in for a pleasant 15-20 hour story-based action thriller. I know that I’ll pretty much enjoy any Zelda game Nintendo decides to put out.


Likewise, I know my love of PC gaming and Nintendo is strong, but I have tried to branch out more in an effort to broaden my horizon.

Long ago, when I was young, I once used to despise Sony and Xbox. This was largely because I grew up on Nintendo products. Having this mindset led to me dismissing the things other people got enjoyment out for the sake of “protecting my favorite.” It’s ridiculous now that I look back on it.

Not only do you damper people’s own fun, but you are limiting yourself in what you might be missing out on. It wasn’t until the Halo series was released on Xbox and I played it at a friends house that I realized I was missing out by trying to win “the console war” for my side. I shudder to think of how I might have missed out on Gears of Wars and Halo had I stayed stuck in my ways.

In addition, had I continued to be stubborn about Sony, I would have missed out on Naughty Dog games, Bloodbourn, and many other fantastic titles by arbitrarily only siding with one console.


It worries me how common this type of thinking is in video games. With the Battle Royale genre blowing up and more competitors entering the field I’ve seen a lot of fans of PUBG begin to bash anything else that threatens their favorite title, like Call of Duty Black Ops 4.

So my advice for this post is simple: be open minded. Don’t knock anyone else’s preferred method of gaming in order to justify or boost your side. Realize that there’s a lot of different ways to experience and enjoy video games, whether it’s on an expensive PC rig or on a mobile device.

Better yet, let others enjoy their fun. Unless it hurts someone else, I say let them go to town on whatever engages them in the world of video games.

Well, that’s all! A little bit of a shorter post today (you’re welcome, I think?). If you enjoyed reading me ramble on this topic and would rather hear or watch me ramble instead feel free to swing by my Twitch channel. Likewise, always feel free to drop by and say hey on Twitter. I’ll see you next time, friends!

Why More Games Should Include Player-Driven Economies

One of the things I’ve always loved in MMOs and multiplayer games are entirely player driven economies. While Player vs. Player combat in MMOs and multiplayer games has historically been my favorite thing to do in these types of games, I’ve always enjoyed relaxing now and then with crafting and trading when games have allowed for it.

The deeper the crafting and economy system the better. Some of my fondest memories of MMOs have been the hard work put in to the crafting and trade systems.


A great example is the game Star Wars Galaxies. Star Wars Galaxies, or SWG, was an MMO developed by Sony Online Entertainment back in the day. While the combat, quest system, and many other aspects of the game left a lot to be desire it gave a TON of options when it came to crafting.

I fondly remember playing a doctor in SWG. As a doctor, I handed out insane buffs to player’s characters. People would form huge lines, pay me in credits, and I would buff them. Some of the scenarios that came from it where absolutely hilarious.

I once had members of the Empire accuse me of being a Rebel (I was, in full disclosure) and they tried to rob me of my supplies. I once bartered with a fellow merchant who didn’t have credits, but he/she had just finished a huge batch of speeders and gave me 10 of them for a buff.

I struck up all types of interesting and fun conversations with my “patients” in those massive lines. Two people even “hit it off” who were next to each other and in line for my buffs and got married (in game, of course). This wasn’t even on a role playing server either!

The point is: by enabling something to be player controlled, rather than just getting a buff from an ability or NPC, it ended up in some of my most memorable and favorite moments in gaming.

Here’s the cool thing about Star Wars Galaxies though: everything was player built and made. In order to get the food products and resources I needed to make the buffs I needed a factory. But as a doctor, I couldn’t make the factory, so I bought it from an architect. But he couldn’t get all the minerals he needed for it as an architect, so he bought a bunch of extractors from someone else who specialized in creating them. And he bought the metals needed for that extractor from someone who purely specialized in getting ores and metals from the ground. This is just one small example.


Another game I have good memories of the crafting and economic system was Archeage. While the game itself was deeply flawed (it used a labor point system, which could be pay-to-win and limited the crafting you  could do in a day), its depth of crafting was incredible.

Everyone in our guild had different roles. One of our big goals was to make a huge galleon ship. In order to do this it required an insane effort on our part with everyone specializing to achieve the same goal.

One of us focused on growing trees and getting the correct lumber for the job. Others worked on growing cloth for sails, mining iron for the metal components, and earning gold needed to create the ship by creating trade packs from various materials.


Flash forward even further to the game Eco. A multiplayer game all about stopping an impending asteroid (without murdering your planet in the process). Not an MMO by definition, it still has player driven economies. With my group of friends we all specialized in various tasks. One person was a cook/chef, which gave us the energy/calories to complete physical labor. I was our engineer who built a wide variety of machines and infrastructure that assisted us in our efforts (I also proudly built our laser that killed that pesky asteroid). I relied on other friends to mine me ores and smelt them. They relied on our carpenter to build the houses we needed to put the smelter and forge in. It was all interconnected.

Sometimes having those interconnected systems can be frustrating too, though. “Bah, our iron worker isn’t on, so I can’t get the metal I need!” For us though, it led to a fun system where we’d post a “work order” in Discord, so when our friend in that role got on they would then they’d complete the order and deliver it, and we’d return the favor as they needed things.

So what would I like to see in more games? Even more interconnected roles and specializations. I love games that encourage player interaction. Particularly if people decide to role play. Here’s a few things I think would be fun with player driven economies:

  • I’d love to see more games encourage not just crafting, but the transportation of those goods to other areas. One one my hopes for Star Citizen is that it will include significant crafting and transport of said goods. With a fully realized open world with boarding, ships, and the potential pirates how cool would it be transporting goods? Oh you’re in the business of mining metals? Maybe you hire someone to transport them, since you don’t have a massive cargo ship yourself. In turn, they need to hire fighter ships to defend them from pirate attacks. Maybe if the pirates succeed, they need a black market for those stolen goods, which is another area of commerce and trade.
  • Likewise, I hope to see more meaningful and enjoyable crafting experiences. Just going out and right clicking on mineral nodes is pretty mundane. Likewise, if crafting takes skill, it might lead to more people specializing and relying on others for goods. I’d love to see skill based systems for mining. I’d eventually love to see a Factorio style system for creating goods. This way, players are rewarded for continuing to branch out into other skills by taking over more of the supply chain.
  • Allow for player created contracts with some binding contract (Player A will deliver 500 metal ingots to Player B. When Player B receives 500 ingots, Player B will award Player A with 1,000 gold coins. If Player A does not deliver 500 ingots by (day) then Player A will lose (number) of reputation points. etc.
  • From raw mineral to epic creation and every step in between. I think it’s exceptionally fun to take raw goods like metal, wood, food products, etc. and convert it into advanced things. For example: take metal and turn them into ingots, then ingots into wiring, then wiring into computer parts, etc. It allows for people to specialize and become interconnected.
  • Recreation of the supply chain. Rarely does a company control and create each part of a good. A grocery store doesn’t farm the wheat needed to make their store brand bread. Or harvest the sugar that will go in it. They buys those goods from others, ships them to a factory, and has the factory send them those goods. I’d love to see more connection like that. Make it a long and rewarding process if players DO control those elements of the supply chain, but the game should encourage players to rely on purchasing goods from other players in order to make their own goods.
  • Make more crafting roles important and essential. Being a cook in the game often feels way less important than being a blacksmith. In Star Wars Galaxies, the chef’s foods provided insane buffs. Do the same for other roles too. Make the tailor’s goods be just as essential as the blacksmith’s goods.

Overall, player driven economies are just plain fun in games. Best of all, for players not interested in it, they can simply earn their money another way (perhaps by fighting/quests/combat) and save up to buy the end result products. Star Wars Galaxies taught me that a lot of people are interested in more than combat though. There were hundreds of people in cantinas as entertainers. Giving buffs, socializing, and earning money to purchase goods they wanted. Same with crafters in that game. For me though, I love the idea of crafting to help support my own adventures in combat. Let my character make goods to help support my adventuring and earn coin that can be used to help me buy things.

Phew. That was quite a long winded post (kind of a theme so far, in case you hadn’t noticed). I’d love to post a video on my YouTube channel in case you would like to see more on this topic in the coming weeks. Likewise, if you want to see me play games live, come check me out at Finally, feel free to comment on about this blog post on Twitter. See ya there, friends!


Getting More Enjoyment Out of Sandbox & Open World Games

From my perspective, one of the biggest trends in gaming has been the rise of open world games. At first, these games seemed revolutionary.

“You mean I can go anywhere I want in this game world?” said a younger me.

Yep, you can! But as the trend continued for the next decade, I began to realize how shallow open world or sandbox games tended to be. That and there was this perennial arms race to continue making bigger, and bigger open world games.

It’s great to have an epic world in scope, but when a large portion of the world cannot be entered or interacted with in someway it leads to a shallow gameplay. Likewise, because of some limitations in open world games, it’s led to a lot of linear or “been there, done that” type missions.

We all recognize the “this is an escort the NPC mission” or a “tail the NPC stealthily” mission. After a while, it gets boring. But, there have been some games to do some truly incredible things with open world games. One such game is Kerbal Space Program.


One might say, “Hey Forenci, Kerbal is the definition of a literally empty world! It’s all empty space and even when you land on other worlds that’s empty too!” Fair point, random stranger. BUT! Kerbal Space Program of course makes the journey of getting to those empty worlds an enjoyable experience. And like your English teacher always used to say: “Sometimes it’s not about the destination these characters reach. It’s about the journey they experience along the way.”

When I was playing Kerbal Space Program I realized my growing dislike for bland, open world games could be altered. I will admit it helped that Kerbal Space Program is brilliantly designed.

While in the sandbox mode (which is what was only available when I purchased it) there were no missions, no goals, and no achievements. At least, not in the standard sense. But there was a natural progression of goals that simply…happened. Without warning or encouragement from the game. It just happened.

In Kerbal, you begin making rockets that typically fail to even make it to space. Sometimes they explode on the launch pad. Sometimes they explode in the air. But you learn from your failures and keep going. Suddenly, you make it into orbit around your home planet of Kerbin! It’s a glorious achievement to your prowess in engineering.

Next, you say, “hmm..where else can I go?” And you set your eyes to the nearest moon (Mun). You struggle to get there. You fail. You finally make it into orbit around the moon! SUCCESS! Wait, you ran out of fuel trying to land on the Mun and explode. Then you land on the Mun. I’M THE GREATEST – until you realize you don’t have enough fuel to make it off the Mun and have to mount a rescue mission (oh look, a mission that randomly appears without prompting). Then you finally do it! You land on the Mun and safely return to your home world of Kerbin.

All this without any prompting from the game. And even then, you can continue and begin to work on more difficult journeys to further and further worlds. Then you start making refueling stations and refueling bases on other planets.

My point, with this exceedingly long example, is that incredible game design enables you to set goals, missions, and create achievements in a completely sandbox and open world game. It’s something I’ve become more and more likely to do, even in games that aren’t open world.

Take Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds. An open world game by definition, although with a clear ending in sight (be the last to survive). While the gameplay itself is rewarding, I quickly found myself setting more and more goals within the game. I wanted to be better and better, so I would set goals for improving my ranking and kill to death ratio with each passing season despite the game not having any clear ranks (it does now, though).

Even in Call of Duty Black Ops 4, which released just last week, I’ve applied the things I’ve learned in open world/sandbox games, and I have applied them to Call of Duty multiplayer. My goal is to unlock all the cool skins in the game because it allows me to diversify my gameplay style and achieve unique ways of playing.

Which I think is the moral of this long winded post. Find what you enjoy in open world games and set goals and missions for yourself that will bring you enjoyment. While I’ve never been a person who likes to build for luxury in games, I know there are people who love that. If you love building epic houses in Minecraft, try setting a goal! Maybe you can recreate Hogwarts in the game. Or maybe build the most lavish mansion you can think of and record an episode of “Minecraft Cribs.”

Maybe you’re an achievement hunter. So, look up all those achievements or better yet: sit down and write some of your own. If you like to role play, get with some friends or like-minded people and act out a scenario or improv. If you’re a competitor set your sights on being the best of the best on the leaderboards or just make sure everyone on the server knows you’re the best there is. At the end of the day, try making some goals or focus on what brings you enjoyment in games and apply them to open world games.

Now, having said all this, here’s my plea to developers of open world games: give us a fun and rewarding area to play in. Give us options to do really cool things. Don’t make the biggest area possible and fill it with absolutely nothing. I’d much rather have something the size of a small city, but I am able to go into all the buildings, interact with interesting NPCs, and give me the freedom to engage in interesting gameplay mechanics.

Give us exciting ways to traverse your open worlds too. I could swing around New York City all day in Marvel’s Spider-Man. I love games with superb movement mechanics in open world games beyond just standard vehicles (cars/ground vehicles).


Fill the world with interesting people, missions, or tasks. Steer away from the mundane escort missions for character X and instead give us ways to connect and become attached to our party members.

Flesh out open world mechanics that allow for a wider variety of play styles. Give us mission editors. Give us role playing mechanics. Give us a ton of achievements. Give us modular building so we can go crazy.

Well, that’s it folks! I’m thinking because this was such an interesting blog to write of making a companion video at my YouTube channel in the coming weeks. Also, be sure to come by and watch me play games live on my Twitch channel. Finally, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic and make suggestions for anything else you’d like to hear me write about on Twitter @forencigames.



Battle Royale Meta: Which Battle Royale Game Will Be the Last Game Standing?


With the release of Call of Duty, we have received are first arguable “triple A” Battle Royale game in the market – meaning it was developed and published by one of the large, big name studios with a large backing and funding. Many predicted this as the doom of games like Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) or some of the other smaller Battle Royale games.

It will be some time until this statement may or may not found out to be true, but I am of the opinion that there is room for many Battle Royale games in the market.

Let me tell you upfront though: I’m addicted to Battle Royale as a genre. I grew up on the mean streets (heh) of DayZ mod, which was a sort of precursor to the Battle Royale genre. Take one guess of what my favorite element of those survival style games was? Player vs. Player combat.

I loved the importantce and value I put on my virtual characters life. While the standard death match games like Call of Duty or Battlefield were enjoyable, I never found a long lasting appeal because ultimately you would end up carelessly throwing away virtual life after virtual life.

The advent of survival games and the potential to lose hard earned gear (and real life hours) blew my mind. Battle Royale is a lower stakes version of that in the sense you “restart” every game with new loot, gear, and other items. It sort of balances the survival element with the joy of randomly generated looting found in other RPGs I enjoyed growing up, such as Diablo or Dungeon Siege.

So – what makes me believe there’s a lot of room for multiple Battle Royale games, compared to a market like MOBAs, which have seemed to settle into a “dominant three” of League of Legends, DOTA 2, and arguably Heroes of the Storm? Well, Battle Royale offers a much broader interpretation of  genre than those games for one.

When I play a MOBA, while there are often variations between the different games, I tend to find they all sort of feel the same or take placed in a similar setting. The game has a pretty standard top-down perspective. Generally the out come is always the same: one team pushes in and wipes out the other team. It contains a progression system to level up your character to some degree.

Battle Royale has much less limiting genre. It’s a shooter game, but not always. It’s generally last person standing, but not always (see: Ring of Elysium). Other than that, it’s pretty open to the creator’s interpretation. We’ve seen some quick demises of Battle Royale games, such as Island of Nyne, but I think we’ve still got a lot to see.

The beauty of Battle Royale is that because it’s so open to different creative ideas, it can be morphed and changed to appeal to a wider variety of games. While PUBG satisfies my itch for a tactical and pure shooter in the Battle Royale genre, Fortnite might satisfy my more Minecraft-y and builder instincts. Likewise, Call of Duty: Blackout satisfies my desire for a fast-paced, semi-realistic shooter with a bit more polish.

I’m hopeful we’ll start to see less copy cats in the Battle Royale genre, and I hope that we’ll begin to see more innovation with such an open genre.

I’ve long professed my love for seeing a super hero Battle Royale game with characters looting powers instead of weapons. Better yet, give me a Marvel game where we get to unlock and play as the famed characters from the comic book and cinematic universe in the setting of New York City (ala Marvel’s Spider-Man). Instead of picking up powers or loot we can pick up upgrades to deck out our beloved heroes as they duke it our with other players across the city (you’re welcome for the billion dollar idea, guys).

I’m excited to see the sort of…meta that unfolds in the Battle Royale genre. It’s like a Battle Royale of all the BR games to see which ones innovate, adapt, and compete against each other. I think there’s plenty of room for BR games to co-exist and thrive side-by-side. And that said, here’s some cool BR style games I’d love to see:

  • Sea-based Battle Royale game – think of controlling a pirate ship with your squad and blasting, boarding, and looting the booty of your sunken ships to be the last ship surviving (with the Sea of Thieves water tech, random storms, etc.)
  • A space based Battle Royale game. I’d love to see ships fighting it out in space for supremacy of being the last survivor.
  • An MMO Battle Royale. One of my big knocks on MMO PvP combat is it tends to get watered down and no side ever truly “wins the war,” instead they win small battles. What about a MMO scale BR game where one side can win (see: World War II Online)?
  • A slower paced Battle Royale where you ability to build/craft takes greater emphasis. More detailed and intricate building than we see in Fortnite, with having players who build smarter (not just faster) have a real advantage over others.

Phew, that was a much longer post than I expected. I hope you enjoyed the read, though! If you’d like to comment on this, feel free to drop me a Tweet at: @forencigames on Twitter. Likewise, if you want to talk live as I play games swing over my Twitch channel where I play Battle Royale games and everything in between at:

Welcome! And so it begins.

I’ll keep this one short and sweet. I go by Forenci here on the internets. I’ll keep this introductory post short  and sweet. The goal of this multimedia adventure (aka, the blog) is to discuss video games in an in-depth and exciting manner. This will be a multimedia blog with videos, podcasts, and text write-ups! Getting ready for a whole bunch of game discussion. Please feel free to contact me if you have any suggestions for a topic we should cover!