[MUD-Dev] Blog about GDC implies changes to MMORPG population

Michael Hartman michael at thresholdrpg.com
Sat Apr 30 08:01:11 New Zealand Standard Time 2005

Mike Shaver wrote:

> The fun challenge comes from finding a combination of the game
> mechanics, your desired play experience, and the people you have
> in your game-life, that presents you with a course of action that
> is possible-but-not-trivial, and rewarding in some way that amuses
> you.

Then don't label the game as one that encourages, rewards, or makes
possible level-varied parties. That was the original claim, and
frankly, that claim is utterly false.

The fact that people can have fun doing sub-optimal things is not
something I disagree with. But when you are discussing the game
design itself, you cannot say the system is designed to support
something that it actually penalizes. The fact that someone might
not be terribly bothered by the penalty does not change the fact
that it IS a penalty.

> Sometimes it's annoying to not be able to group with arbitrary
> people and get optimal advancement or uniform challenge. Sometimes
> it's a heck of a lot of fun to take a group of random, wide-eyed
> newbies through mobs that would normally chew them up, and just
> turn it into a spectacle. ("I bet I can do this with just my
> skinning knife.")

The argument was not whether or not this was a good design choice.
The argument was whether or not WoW discourages or encourages groups
of varied levels.

WoW heavily discourages it.

If you want an example of a system that encourages varied levels or
at least supports it actively, look to City of Heroes. Their
sidekicking system is a sheer stroke of brilliance.

Michael Hartman
President and CEO, Threshold Virtual Environments, Inc.
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