Approaches to Support Teamwork in Games
The guys over at Krawall pointed out an interesting study published by Tobias Baumann, student of Multimedia Arts at the SAE Institute in Zurich, Switzlerland. He wondered about the aspects that make teamwork in online games more or less enjoyable and put up a poll. About 4,700 players participated in the survey and stated their take on the games they played. Tobias then evaluated the feedback and tried to analyse and explain the results.
Not too surprisingly, the most frequently mentioned title was Counter-Strike. The Half-Life mod received many votes in 'worst teamwork support' as well as in the 'best teamwork support' category. The latter seems to be a result of a notable number of clan members who took part in the survey. A game like Tribes 2 'scored' in both 'worst support for teamwork' and consequently 'worst teamwork experience'. Also covered: WWII online, PlanetSide, Battlefield 1942 and Day of Defeat among others.
Analyzing the features in the games mentioned the author concludes that - since you can't change the players - teamwork has to be promoted by technology. He then describes and elaborates on a variety of elements that could efficiently work in a 'Battlefield Operation System'. Voice communication appears to be a standard requirement. A central commander role like in Natural Selection supports the team aspect as well and received positive feedback. However, an unskilled commander might destroy the team experience as indicated by the votes for S2's Savage. A stats system the way it's implemented in Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory doesn't seem to hurt either since Activision's free FPS is quite popular among the participants. PlanetSide got a honourable mention for the Squad Leader element. You may or may not agree with some of the suggestions he makes, but overall it's an inspiring read if only just to see the survey results. Might take a bit though, the document (PDF) consists of more than 70 pages.