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).

Nerfbat Got the Nerfbat

Ahoy! As you probably didn’t notice, the data from Nerfbat got super jacked. I have as yet been unable to retrieve all of the posts between 2008 and now, and might never recover them.

In any case, hello. This is my website, and it likely won’t be updated anytime soon.

Tales from the Tavern: Volume VI

There have been a lot of great discussions on the Nerfbat Forums. We’re up to 2523 posts and 253 members in our little MMO community. If you didn’t already know, the forums are intended for massively multiplayer online game discussion, especially related to design, development, and industry talk. Read on for some of the latest and greatest from the forums. Continue Reading »

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 »


Many of you already know about Bloginati, which is an aggregation of posts by MMO game developers. I was going to update it to match Nerfbat yesterday until I realized I didn’t want to make another logo. Instead, I integrated it as a page on Nerfbat, since it applies the theme just the same (and was already on the same server, so there’s no extra load). You can still reach it from, it’ll just redirect here. I may try to get a feed of the aggregation working, but so far it’s formatted terribly. You can find links to the aggregated sites on the Links page. Anyway, enjoy!

The Future: Dreamhost, Donations, and a Podcast?

As you may have noticed over the past several months, I’ve become ridiculously dedicated to Nerfbat. I’ve posted consistently, relaunched the Nerfbat Forums, and redesigned the entire site. All of that has brought more visitors, which means that the site gets pretty busy sometimes and can slow down. Continue Reading »

Shadowbane Reboot?

I don’t know how I didn’t pick up on this sooner. Shadowbane’s Patch 22 will apparently reboot the entire game. No, not the servers. The game. Like a comic book reboot, only much deadlier to the franchise. They are planning on deleting everything–characters, cities, items… everything. Every single thing players have ever worked for will be deleted. Not just for inactive accounts, but for all of them. I don’t think it’s necessary to comment further.

VirginWorlds Podcast #100!

The 100th VirginWorlds podcast is upon us, and this one is a behemoth. It weighs in at nearly 3 hours in length, and includes commentary from dozens of familiar faces (or… voices?) in the MMO blogging world. I haven’t finished downloading it yet, but if any of the other 99 podcasts (since March 2006!) are any indication, it’ll be great. Congratulations on making it this far, and here’s to a few hundred more.

MMO Development Lesson #27

Make it easy to come back. If someone has quit your game (See: Lesson #26), make it so easy to come back they can’t believe they quit in the first place. I’ll apologize right now for not making this lesson short and sweet like I usually do, but this one’s worth elaborating on. I’ll start with what you shouldn’t do, then I’ll give a few ideas for what you could do to make coming back easier than ever. Continue Reading »