Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Formula

Massively Mutliplayer Online Role Playing Game.

The grand daddy of all games, in terms of potential. The hardest to design, the most difficult to balance, and the hardest audience to please. This is no easy task. But let us examine for a moment some of the fundamental designs of such a gargantuan product.

What motivation do the players, whether in a group or alone, continue month after month to play the game? What makes them want to come back for more?

Now, the only MMO I have played extensively enough to understand all it's mechanics and design, is World of Warcraft. So you're going to see a lot of references to Blizzard's design, which may differ somewhat (if at all) from , and spark rebuttal, However I think that most MMOs are designed enough like WoW that I can make general statements that stretch across the market as a whole.

Ok, with the background out of the way, /rant on.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Warcraft Project

Alright, so I renounced my anti-WoW vows in the name of science. I decided to return, just for a few hours to reroll and analyze what kind of experience I would have. For the purposes of this experiment, I played 2 sessions, about 60 minutes each.

Session 1

Human Warrior, Elwynn Forest.

For the first session, I went for 100% achiever. I enabled InstaQuest text, quest tracking and about a half a dozen map addons and doodads that basically make questing easier than Blizzard could have possibly wanted it in the first place. My focus? Leveling speed and accomplishing as many quests as possible in as short time as possible.

To be honest, I don't really remember much about it. Just that I was always in a hurry, always impatient, and desperately trying to decimate as many groups of ten forest critters as possible. I wiped a few times (mostly when trying to run through merloc areas. I had a few heroic moments fending off prolific numbers of the blasted creatures, which made me feel good whenever I managed to actually survive.

There were a few other players wandering around, but for the most part, I was too busy to interact with them. They were in my way.

Alright, Stage 2. I wanted a bit of cooldown time, so I slept on it, gave it 24 hours before starting my next roll.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

It's about time

Im back. I'll have to describe my adventures in Japan at some other time. Right now, I'm back to business with MMOs and games in general. I have a lot of ideas that need to be put down on paper (or that weird ethereal material that makes up blog structure).

Some things I care a lot about right now.

1. Reinventing the RTS. It hasn't changed much at all in the last 10 years.
2. Reinventing the MMO. It SERIOUSLY hasn't changed at all since 2004. About time for an extreme makeover.
3. Random other devious projects.

So it would seem that my 2 years off the grid has caused me to miss... a whole lot of nothing. Really. Nothing epic or industry-changing seems to have happened in the last 2 years. Age of Conan doesn't seem to have lived up to the hype it had, and WAR also seems to have lacked a lot of what people were exited for. Good ideas, poorly implemented.

Thinking of ideas is only half of the battle. In fact, probably only 1/25 of the battle. The hard part is implementation.

That's why I don't claim to have all the answers. I think that I could change a lot of things, if only I knew how to implement my ideas. That's why right now, my focus is on the technical side. The mechanics of dynamic content. And it's coming slow. So from here on, I'm going to rant and put my thoughts out there, to see if I can come up with some solutions, not just complaints.

But hey, sometimes a guy just feels like griping about the state of things. I'll do my best :)