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Apart from common enemies and survival, what are the other factors that make players collaborative in an open world game?

For example: In Rust(https://rust.facepunch.com), randomly spawned players tend to kill one another and loot items. In The Forest(https://endnightgames.com), players tend to collaborate to survive against mutants.

I read through this question, Designing fictional non-competitive games, but only sports are mentioned mostly. Environment vs Players is also a factor mentioned in there.

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    $\begingroup$ This might be a better question for the GameDev.SE: gamedev.stackexchange.com $\endgroup$ – Pleiades May 22 '18 at 17:35
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    $\begingroup$ What @Pleiades said or maybe the RPG site. $\endgroup$ – Ash May 22 '18 at 17:36
  • $\begingroup$ Oh thanks, I didn't see those SE's. $\endgroup$ – Saw Thinkar Nay Htoo May 22 '18 at 17:39
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    $\begingroup$ I can't, but I can flag it for a Mod to move. They should be able to. If you want anyway. Or you can leave it here and try over there too. It'll probably get closed on WB since it's not really about world building, but you might still get a couple answers. $\endgroup$ – AndyD273 May 22 '18 at 17:44
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    $\begingroup$ @SawThinkarNayHtoo No problem, but minor clarification; the mods won't close it. It is something that the users will do. Anyone that gets enough rep gains certain privileges, and at a certain level you get access to some mod tools, like being able to vote to close or reopen a question. You can check out the help center and tour, and also visit the chat. $\endgroup$ – AndyD273 May 22 '18 at 18:07
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Why do people do the things they do? It always breaks down to 3 things: money, sex and family.

Your 2 examples in the OP are money. People get immediate loot return by looting a dead player. Or they can improve their return by cooperating with a player to kill and loot NPCs.

Sex is probably not applicable in these sorts of games, but the internet is full of surprises.

"Family" is a motivator and this includes family, tribe, sect, team and so on. If players have colors to show what faction they are allied with, a player from the same faction might hesitate to kill a brother. Others in his faction might find out. Conversely, a brother might be counted on to cooperate or watch your back at the least, picking off some random bastard who has you in his sights.

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    $\begingroup$ I don't know that I would say everyone is motivated by money, sex, and family. I know plenty of people who will do pretty much anything for a snack or a place to crash for the night. Extrinsic motivators are pretty much endless, but all our basic intrinsic needs relate directly back to our own survival and the survival of our family. Probably being a bit pedantic, but ehhhh $\endgroup$ – Pleiades May 22 '18 at 19:06
  • $\begingroup$ @Pleiades Right. There are also some who would do anything just out of curiosity without expecting any incentive. $\endgroup$ – Saw Thinkar Nay Htoo May 22 '18 at 19:11
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    $\begingroup$ @Saw Thinkar Nay Htoo "If you look in this box I will remove your genetalia" I think curiosity is a huge motivater, but only when we are bored because our other needs are met (or alternately, can't be met). I expect the number of people who would trade sex/family for the option to be curious is statistically insignificant. $\endgroup$ – OhkaBaka May 22 '18 at 22:39
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    $\begingroup$ @OhkaBaka but it all stems from sex Ok there Sigmund, calm down :) $\endgroup$ – Sydney Sleeper May 23 '18 at 1:49
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    $\begingroup$ @OhkaBaka people in real life would probably not open that box. People in a game probably would. $\endgroup$ – Real Subtle May 23 '18 at 8:18
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Put a series of obstacles that can't be resolved just by one person but need different abilities from different people. For example, in Golden Sun (GBA game) or Stranger Things Game (for mobile) each character has specific abilities for specific obstacles you need to solve to enter certain areas or kill certain enemies. If you couldn't control all characters (in the games mentioned, you can), you'd have to team up with people that can do what you can't.

Information could also be useful for collaboration. Maybe only each class, or the citizens of each city have crucial pieces of information relevant to the plot and the only way advance is to collaborate with each other to get the complete puzzle/history.

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  • $\begingroup$ This is interesting. A dungeon that requires you to have at lease one mage and one rogue to get all the way to the bottom, and keep eachother alive throughout otherwise you won't be able to progress further (for instance) $\endgroup$ – AndyD273 May 22 '18 at 18:14
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You may add a fame system in your game.

When a player do collaborative actions, he earns fame points that he can use to upgrade and gain new skills or items. He may need a certain amount of fame to become a team leader, or create a guild, etc.

A player can also reward with a few fame points another player who helped him.

On the opposite, a player killer would loose fame points for each kill, and then would have a restricted acces to cities or NPCs, etc.

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