Same Ship, Different Day

posted: August 22nd, 2006

So I’ve been playing a fair bit of Eve Online lately. I tried it out because people have told me what a great crafting system it has. Unfortunately I find the system a little flat myself. It doesn’t really feel like I have much control over customizing what I create. Certainly I can choose which modules I want to load into my ship, but there’s nothing particularly interesting about it. Either I have the skills to install a module, at which point it drops right in, or I don’t. There’s no elements of attempting something challenging that has a high potential for failure but which also has a chance of success. There’s no tension in the act since the success or failure is completely preordained and known to the player. (more…)

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Stay Tuned.

posted: July 25th, 2006

I admit, I suck. It’s been nearly a week since I published anything. Reality 1.0 has been consuming a lot of my attention lately as I’ve been trying to complete a ‘Work’ quest before the timer runs out. As a result I haven’t had time to write a post concerning the Mark Rein’s comments about episodic game content until now, which means that the topic is slightly dated. (more…)

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The Rules.

posted: July 25th, 2006

As I try to solve game design problems I try to make sure that I adhere to certain rules. This isn’t a list fixed in stone as every now and then I will think of a new rule that really needs to be inserted, but overall they shouldn’t change too much.

  1. The Game has to be fun. This is the most important rule of all. What I’m working on is a form of entertainment. People don’t have to play what I design and if what I design isn’t fun for them then they will stop playing.
  2. Don’t assume because I enjoy something that other people will enjoy it. Don’t force them to do activities because I assume everyone will find them fun.
  3. Give people choices. Don’t leave out activities that other people may enjoy just because I don’t find them fun. Remember something for everyone.
  4. Keep a clear eye on balance. Make sure one play style doesn’t get favored over another. Do this by analyzing Risk verses Reward when there are different paths characters may take.

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Use and Abuse.

posted: July 19th, 2006

Raph Koster wrote an article talking about use-based skill systems in MMO’s and about how they worked out in Ultima Online and StarWars Galaxies. Just another example of synchronicity since I planned on following up A Distinct Lack of Class with a post about skill systems. (more…)

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A Distinct Lack of Class.

posted: July 18th, 2006

I’m not a 23rd level Artist or an 18th level Geek. I’m not even multiclassed as an Artist/Designer, but I don’t feel bad about this. The fact is that people in the real world simply aren’t divided into classes that dictate what they can and cannot do. So why do games do this? (more…)

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Speed Bumps or Turtles?

posted: July 11th, 2006

Under a previous post Lost asked the question:

The real question/debate could be in evaluating each system on their own merits for the entertainment value of the player (which I attempted to touch on in my “RMT and game design”). While there certainly does need to be a “speed limit” to protect parts aspects of the game, such as the economy, are we trying to build a road with speed bumps or a 50 degree incline mountain road to climb? What value does long crafting/item creation times add to the entertainment value of the player? While it could be debated that it adds realism value, but that is hard position to support when the time it would take to make a sword in the real world would be much longer (even when converted into accelerated game world time).

This is a good question and I’ve had to spend some time thinking about it. (more…)

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Raph Koster posted a small snippet about a new beta service called Playerep. (more…)

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But Wait, There’s More!

posted: July 3rd, 2006

So as I sit here, struggling to work out a crafting system that allows people to be ‘hard core’ crafters while still allowing solo crafters and balancing the whole thing against adventuring I run into a new snag; the concept of ‘social whittling‘. (more…)

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Gold Farmers: The Other White Meat.

posted: June 29th, 2006

So it seems as though this has been a week for topics to sweep through the blogosphere (I really hate that term. Can’t we call it something else? The blogoverse? Blogtinuum? That which is blogged? But I digress).

One topic has been crafting in MMO’s. I stumbled into that topic rather accidentally when I made a coincidental post to those made by the Knights of the MMO Roundtable. Amused at the coincidence I posted trackbacks to them with a little lighthearted jab to which Ryan Shwayder responded by throwing me into the incoming traffic of the information superhighway.

The other topic which has be racing through our electronic Zeitgeist is the subject of Real Money Transactions (or RMT for short). Started off by a post from Dan Reubenfield
which has been answered by Amber Night, Broken Toys, Tipa, Wizzel CogWizzleton CarrierCog IV, and apparently a rabid weasel.

Throwing caution to the wind I thought I would post my own thoughts concerning dealing with RMT. (more…)

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Where’s Dan Akroyd When You Need Him?

posted: June 27th, 2006

(Editor’s Note: This post is part of a series. Before reading it you should at least read the Role of Crafting in Massive Multiplayer Games, Synchronicity, and Crafting: My Argument Against Synchronicity. Optionally you might want to read Something for Everyone, Crafting in MMO’s (or Can’t We All Just Get Along?), and Craft This.

There will be a quiz.)

So I’m reminded of the old Saturday Night Live sketch with Dan Akroyd and Jane Curtain where they would do their ‘Point-Counter Point’ during the Weekend News update. It’s got nothing to do with Ryan or what I think of his ideas. Just one of those random connections that my brain tends to make.

I’m a big fan of crafting. In enjoy it a lot. In fact I do a fair amount of crafting-like activities in the Reality MMO (are they ever going to come out with Reality II? It feels like I’ve been waiting for it forever) including the painting of miniature figures, the brewing of beer, and the fletching arrows, among other things. So I suppose it isn’t at all unexpected that I have different views of crafting than Ryan. (more…)

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