Sunday, May 30, 2010

What do you want to see?

I've been quite happily not playing a single MMORPG recently. Global Agenda is the only game I play regularly, and there's not much market for commentary on that game--I also don't want to write about it because all I'd do is whine about the idiocy of proposed changes that the devs will compromise on after a 14-page thread (this happened for both item conversion and AvA changes) on the forums.

I also lost a bunch of half-written posts when my harddrive suffered catastrophic corruption issues on Friday morning.

Since I'm not playing games I think are worth comment, I turn to you anyone who still reads this blog. Do you want me to write about anything in particular? Even if it's broad or vague--just a little push towards writing about some topic would be helpful.


Klepsacovic said...

I am not opposed to whining.

Anonymous said...

Indeed, another view on GA changes is pretty much welcome. As a person who recently got into the game (somewhat thanks to this blog), bringing friends into it, I am a bit worried about the direction they are taking.

Randomessa said...

I'd be curious as to your thoughts on the recent design manifesto and proposed game features posted to ArenaNet's Guild Wars 2 blog. More specifically, whether you think they are feasible and/or will lead to the kind of gameplay ANet's developers are aiming for.

Kenny said...

Non-combat conflict focused games.
Statless games.
Weird random ideas.

Anonymous said...

I think a particular MMO problem would be fascinating to explore:

The difficulty of designing "character death".

Eve online uses a pod inside the spaceships that can fly away when the spaceship is destroyed, but such an idea wouldn't seem as elegant with any regular MMO game with humanoids swinging swords. A "real" human dying over and over again, doesn't have the same eleganse as the ships exploding in Eve.

Perhaps some clever game design with magic could offer a similar concept somehow.

Bomjus said...

I read a couple post and I too just picks up Global Agenda(which brought me to your post about medics). I think another interesting conversation piece is pricing scheme. For example, everquest is 11 years old still 14.99 a month and still 39.99 per expansion(which include the old expansions).

So long story short, what's your opinion on MMO's pricing models: from pay per premium pay models... to free play with pay for bling/flare?

evizaer said...

Kleps and Skyve: I'll post more about GA, then. New patch drops tomorrow, so I'm sure I'll have something fun to write about (yay, kvetching!).

Randomessa: I kinda wanted to avoid directly addressing that manifesto because it's mostly speculation and marketing--when the game actually comes out and we can see what they did, then we can criticize it effectively. Until then, might as well save my breath on the topic. I've talked about the issues they bring up before, anyway.

I would rather not speculate on speculation at this point, especially when I'd be doing so on a game like Guild Wars that I don't even follow to begin with.

Kenny: I'll give more thought to non-combat games. I don't know if I can come up with enough for a real article, though.

Anon: I'm writing a post on character death now.

Bomjus: I generally do not comment on pricing and business models on this blog because it's unrelated to game design. I'm not a businessman and don't want to be. I may expand to talk a little about a better pricing model for Global Agenda, but that will be the extent of my commentary on pricing.

Anonymous said...

I want to add, that what I found so fascinating with Eve onlines way of dealing with "respawn", is that it all seem plausible, and not fake at all.

Playing a ghostly shape for returning to a graveyard for respawn sort of feel overly trivial.

I imainge I would design a game with multiple chars where the death of one character would be of minor annoyance. And there could be different resolutions instead of death as well. Capture, maimed, executed, removed by divine magic. Something to make it all seem a little deeper.

Here is an idea for a persistent worlds btw, where one could build destroyable stuff like in Eve; having "realms" being privately "owned" by a guild. Then another guild sized 100 would have a slight task of finding access to some other guild's 100 sized group, but great difficulty in finding access to guild sized 10 members. And if that 10 member guild were to be all offline, it would be impossible or very very difficult to get access to their realm.

Ok, sketchy idea, but I think I am onto something here. Having destructible objects were a great thrill/risk in Eve.

Tesh said...

For what it's worth, business models are inextricably tied to game design in a game that is meant for continuing monetization. Single purchase sales, not so much, but game design has to bend to accommodate microtransactions or subscription mechanics. That's one of the problems with continuing monetization games, methinketh.

Anonymous said...

What are "subscription mechanics"?

Having people getting more stuff, more levels, again, and again, and again, etc?

Tesh said...

Partially, but mostly I'm thinking of time sinks and "grinds". Things like rep grinds, endgame treadmill raiding, slow travel, rare drops for quests, that sort of thing; stuff designed to keep you in the game and burn your time, rather than provide stuff to do if you want to play. There's a difference.

Leveling can certainly be onerous in places *coughBarrenscough*, but in itself, leveling as you meander through content isn't so much a time sink as much as the reason to play.

Hex said...

I'd like to see your thoughts about about artistic and style innovation vs. mechanical, which you effectively address often. I wasn't able to find a post focusing on this, but I just started reading your blog and I apologize if I missed it.

Some questions I have:

What makes for good immersion, and how should it be balanced with accessibility and a good human interface?

How about non-humanoid player characters? Not simply two-arm-two-leg trolls and elves, but much different things, like dragons, battle mechs, ambiguous forces, or common creatures. Why do very few MMOs incorporate this?

Why are most MMOs, certainly the big ones, either high fantasy, Cyberpunk/Sci-Fi, or the Real World with a Twist? Aren't there any other themes to be used?

The problem of Cool vs. Necessary classes. Someone has to be the healer, and the tank, but these classes are usually the rarest, in my experience. How would a designer make people want to be these?

Kenny said...

@Hex: I don't think you could call any of the games "high fantasy", since none of them focuses on storyline and epicness. What happens is the story of the heroes (players) progressing, hence they are more like sword&sorcery.

Why do we have clear cut good&bad, black&white, etc&etc worlds intead of ambiguous settings with mature themes? Now, I wonder...

Hex said...

Touche, Kenny. Swords and sorcery indeed.