Moo Tang Clan: October 2010

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A lack of talents

Is it just me, or does anyone else feel that WoW's new talent system only facilitates defining your character in terms of which talents you don't take in a given tree, rather than the ones you do take?

Supporting explorers

Bartle defines explorers as players that seek out information about their world, and share it with others. Part of the reward for explorers is the private delight in discovery, but often an equally important reward is being able to pass on your knowledge to others, or even to share it together.

How to support explorers in an MMOG?

First, obviously, you need lots of content for them to explore. Start with adding quirks to your terrain, to reward the player for pushing through the bushes and exploring an otherwise unimportant gully. Simple things like setting up a picnic blanket and basket, but with skeletons scattered about and nothing more – an unusual sight with an unexplained story.

You could also add hidden mechanisms to your world, like ley lines that affect magical powers. Let the explorers figure out where they run, and what effects they have on the game.

Map making and documentation.

Another neat thing you could do is build into your game UI a means of taking and sharing photos of the world. That way you could not only boast about this tragic picnic in the wilds but show proof to others. I don't just mean allow the player to take a screen shot and upload it to a website, I mean collect and share photos in the game itself. They could share individual photos the same way items are shared in chat or trade, they could pay an NPC or a crafter to take their photo and mount it in their home or guild house, and they could publish collections of images with annotations in guide books.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Storm the beach, climb that mountain

One problem many pvp based games face is that experienced players with hard earned gear stick around and gank the new comers. Another problem that can arise is that the smartest battlefield strategy is to mindlessly zerg.

So acknowledge that, and make it work for your game, not against it.

The key issue with newb ganking is that there's a sense of betrayal of fairness, that on the battlefield all should have an equal chance and equal capability. Unfortunately, handing out gear improvements as rewards undermines that supposed fairness.

Thus: design the pvp game around scenarios which have entrenched veterans defending a beachhead, and the newbs being cannon fodder. Make it 40 vs 10 even - a game of asymmetric warfare. It might even be possible to have the numbers on each side being determined by a gear budget, that way if a massively over-geared player queues for an early tier they just might find themselves defending the whole beach by them selves.

Once those players attain sufficient gear they get swapped to the defense team, or can go offense on the next tier of attack. First the beachhead, then the village, then the hill, the castle, and onwards. It's probably important to have that sense of progression in the scenarios too - don't just bump the players up a numeric tier and throw them against the same beachhead (only now facing tougher and more well equipped defenders).

So .. two points: asymmetric warfare, and narrative progression.

Think that might work?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Steam-punk factory

If you were to build your own steam-punk factory, what would you have in it?

I'd have furnaces and steam engines, massive flywheels, steam pipes, steam pressure regulators, conveyor belts, trolly carts on rails, big water tanks, grabby things on crane arms grabbing crates and barrels of incoming supplies, big axes on levers chopping up the crates & barrels and feeding them into those furnaces driving the steam engines filling those pipes.

Lots of odds and ends all joined together into a one convoluted mechanism, taking in raw materials on one side and spitting out manufactured product on the other.

What are the components you'd have?