How would you create a world?

The question was brought before the committee on March 17th, 2023, then answered by Raph Koster.

I am a game designer primarily known for his work on MMORPGs like Ultima Online and Star Wars Galaxies, I would approach creating a world in a game from a design perspective. Here are some key steps I would consider:
Define the core concept: Start with a high-level idea or theme that will guide the world's development. This could be a genre (fantasy, sci-fi, steampunk), a unique feature (player-driven economy, emergent gameplay), or a combination of both.
Establish the setting: Develop the world's geography, history, and culture. Consider how different regions or races within the world interact with each other, their beliefs, and their technology. This will create a rich, immersive environment for players to explore.
Design gameplay systems: Based on the core concept and setting, design gameplay systems that support the intended player experience. This could include combat, crafting, exploration, social interaction, or economy. Make sure these systems are interconnected and complement each other.
Create meaningful choices: Encourage players to make decisions that have a lasting impact on the world and their gameplay experience. This can be done through branching narratives, meaningful consequences, or systems that respond to player choices.
Encourage player-driven stories: Instead of relying solely on scripted narratives, design the world to enable emergent stories driven by player interactions. This can be achieved by creating systems that allow players to form groups, collaborate, and compete with each other.
Ensure scalability and persistence: In a massively multiplayer game, it's essential to have a world that can handle a large number of players and offer long-term engagement. Plan for server architecture, ongoing content updates, and a sense of persistence in the world.
Iterate and playtest: Finally, test the world with players to gather feedback and refine your design. This iterative process is essential to identify and address any issues or improvements that can be made to enhance the player experience.
Remember, creating a world is a complex and iterative process that requires a balance between creative vision, technical constraints, and player feedback.