I just realized what it is that any new place, and MMOs count as places in my mind, needs. Traditions! That's right, get in and make lots of traditions and make sure they filter into the community. After all, what better way to celebrate coming somewhere free of all those useless old traditions than to make a brand new set. It's brilliant, I mean now you can ensure your legacy by making damn sure that generations of newcomers do things for no other reason than you said to loud and early!
I wonder what stops people. Stops them from talking in WAR, stops them from not building alliances with severe SP limits in EVE, stops them from being fun people to be around in the Barrens. Is it really all the player's fault? Is it the designers? Could the scale simply be so large that one or two people stops making a difference? I've found that as games progress their communities become more and more focused on "the good old days", can't say I'm out of that fire myself. But this isn't anything new, the question that keeps me up at night is, how do we fix it? Much like raising a child, I don't think it's as easy as saying it's "party the first part's" or "party the second part's" fault, mainly because by blaming one you abdicate the other when each bares some part of the blame.
Of course, I'm not a blame oriented person. Blame requires a judgment, an assessment of fault, I usually don't care. I never say to myself, "damn Goonswarm, it's all their fault we have bad communities!". Their part is significant within their sphere, and I can hardly ignore them, but the well ordered and malignant agents of chaotic benevolence, while more hypocritical than anyone I've ever known, can't really excuse a poor design. I've had to revise many designs of my own, and I'm still struggling with certain areas and parts, but that is just dealing with reality. Eventually players will have to build their communities, but I'm not really at liberty to say whether those communities are right or wrong. I can merely lay a foundation, but then if I lay a cracked foundation what is the point of complaining of the weight of the house.
But even if I lay a fine foundation, someone has to take responsibility for building the house. Even if the work is diffused to many and varied people, the house remains in need of building and thoughtful building at that. But then how do you balance that responsibility, is it the job of a few people to build it and many to add fine details? Or is it too much to ask of the few, are we breaking them with our rush to get it built? And how can we help them build, when by and large only the minority can even talk to each other, only the minority even sees the discussions that will profoundly impact the lives of all players? What if they have too much sense of entitlement and you can't convince them to have some solidarity and reason? What if they have no sense of entitlement and let bad changes go unmarked and loud minorities to run roughshod on top of them?
I'm sure these questions have answers, but for so many, I'll be damned if I can think of them.