MMO Development Lesson #29

Play your game. It sounds natural, but it isn’t always easy. Play your game like a player does, not just on your GM account, because the lack of power makes it a whole different ballgame. You need to at least understand the perspective that players have, which is hard to achieve when you know all the numbers all the intricacies of the game but lack the insight about how players really play. I know it’s hard to play your game that way when you made it (and to find the time to do so), but it’s a skill that you have to nurture. And, your employer better let you play while you’re at work, or they don’t know what’s good for them.

MMO Development Lesson #28

Perception is reality. When it comes to game balance, what really matters is how it feels while playing the game, not what the numbers tell you. It may be perfectly mechanically balanced–you have all the numbers, you’ve made all the calculations, and it is balanced. But, if that’s not how it feels when you’re playing the game, it isn’t balanced and needs to be changed. This is one of many reasons that it’s 100% vital that you play your game as a player does (a lesson unto itself).

Capturing the Magic of an Old School Game

Yesterday I posted about how old game mechanics often don’t translate to new games in a post called Up Your Butt and Around the Corner. I mentioned that I would talk a little bit more about capturing the magic of a game and replicating it, and this is me fulfilling that promise. Continue Reading »

Up Your Butt and Around the Corner

Do you remember that phrase? Yeah, if you’re around my age, you probably thought it was hilarious at one time. You may find that it is, in fact, no longer hilarious. But, to be fair, no one over the age of 10 ever found that funny. Perhaps a better example would be The Karate Kid trilogy. Those movies were awesome. In the 80s. If you released those movies now, they would fail miserably. What about Jaws? If it were released in the exact same state for the first time today, it would be a Sci Fi original, not a blockbuster. Continue Reading »

Is Innovation Unwelcome?

What a frightening subject to even bring up: Innovation. One of my big questions related to innovation is whether it is even welcome in gaming anymore. Do publishers want it? Do developers want it? Do players want it? The answer to all of those is, “yes and no.” We believe we want it, but do we really want it? Innovation is a word in the same category as Immersion; you can’t really define it in such a way that it satisfies everyone, and you can’t always identify it when you see it. Continue Reading »

Chocolate Covered Pepperoni Sushi Loaf Ice Cream a.k.a. Frankenstein

Chocolate Covered Pepperoni Sushi Loaf Ice Cream, heretofore referred to as CCPSLIC, is a combination of many delectable delights. The whole is more delicious than the sum of its parts. Can you just imagine all of those individual flavors combining to make the most beautiful dish you have ever heard of? Your nose will twitch with excitement at the wonderful aroma. Your taste buds will rejoice with glee at the wonderful taste. Continue Reading »

Nostalgia Blinders

Everyone who has ever played a massively multiplayer game gets nostalgic at times. Ah, remember that time when we all got naked and put on red capes then ran around like idiots for hours? How about when we all jumped off the side of the city to create a pile of lag-inducing bodies? What about when we fired arrows imperviously at mobs we shouldn’t be able to kill? We all have fond memories, and designers want to recreate them for other people. Continue Reading »

PvP Done Right, by Scott Jennings

The designer formerly known as Lum the Mad has a wonderful volcanic eruption of a post up called How To Make A Game With ‘PvP Done Right.’ He makes a lot of great points, and I pretty much agree with all of what he says in there. It’s a great insight for many people, I’m sure, showing how any little decision you make will have repercussions, and designing a PvP system is like walking on a thin line that you might violently crash off into some endless void of suck. Come to think of it, designing anything for a game is pretty much like that. 😉 Anyway, check out his post. The main lines from each of his points are after the fold. Continue Reading »

Comedy in MMOs

You may know that I love humor. I’m not particularly funny myself, despite attempting to be almost constantly, but I really do appreciate comedy. That is also the case when it comes to playing any game, be it massively multiplayer or otherwise. However, I think some games tend to go overboard. There is a line in comedy that should only be crossed by a certain type of game, and even then it should be moderated. Continue Reading »


Many people, when they try their first MMO, are innocents. Those who aren’t terribly experienced with online play in any persistent sense, who haven’t forged relationships with others using their virtual selves. People who don’t realize that avatars in a massively multiplayer game are our virtual representatives, and that people actually remember who our avatar is. Continue Reading »