Category Archives for "Game Design"

How Do You Deal with Camps and Griefers

The Patheon twitter asks yet another question I feel inclined to write up into a full post. Their latest question raises a tough point that many of us old school mmo vets will know all too well.

Scenario: You're happily camping a named mob after waiting patiently to get the camp from someone else, along comes a random player who just starts competing for the named spawn, you ask them to stop and they ignore you - what do you do?
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If you could add one feature from any other game…

The Pantheon twitter asked the following question:

If you could add one feature to Pantheon from any other game, what would it be and why?

My answer is one that I know isn't really possible, and it's more than a feature -- it's a core system of the game. So while I know it's never coming to Pantheon, I'll take every opportunity to push my agenda for the future of MMOs!

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Blizzard Working on Tools to Lower Toxicity

Apparently the Overwatch population can get pretty toxic at times. That's why Blizzard is working to improve the experience for players. It reminds me of my MOBA days. Actually, it reminds me of most times I play online games.

In fact, I hate to say it, but toxic communities tend to creep up and form around any game where players are competitively playing against each other and rely on others to determine how well they perform.

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Commentary on Grouping

While I was grouping in EverQuest in Unrest tonight (an activity I’ve spent more time doing than I’ve played most MMORPGs all combined), I thought about grouping and the nature of group etiquette. These days, that idea of forming a group of people by requesting certain classes in a chat channel is gone. The days of having to find replacement members, whether for yourself or the healer leaving, are gone. Gone too are the days of group etiquette, or having etiquette or social play really mean anything.

Our tank just randomly had to leave tonight. That meant the group was essentially hindered — even paralyzed — until we could find a replacement. That action ultimately lead to the group breaking up. That person essentially hurt a lot of people’s evening plans. Many would say that it’s no wonder such a practice has been done away with, in favor of automatic group queues. Continue reading


Video Game Companies – Can You Be More Proactive and Less Reactive?

I saw the news this morning that Shadow of War's developer, Monolith Productions, will be removing microtransactions from the game. Here's their quote.

"The core promise of the Nemesis System is the ability to build relationships with your personal allies and enemies in a dynamic open world,” Monolith said. “While purchasing Orcs in the Market is more immediate and provides additional player options, we have come to realize that providing this choice risked undermining the heart of our game, the Nemesis System."

Shadow of War came out in SEPTEMBER 2017! That was over SIX MONTHS ago, and Monolith Productions is just now coming to the realization that they should remove a system which was, in their own words, undermining the HEART of their game.

Only a few weeks ago, EA finally patched Star Wars Battlefront 2 to put back in the systems completely removed on DAY ONE of the game's launch back in NOVEMBER 2017! 

First, why are you taking six months to make these crucial changes to games with a shelf life of nearly that amount of time?

Second, why did it even have to happen in the first place?

This is not a discussion or critique on loot boxes or microtransactions. Video game companies being reactive is an issue we see across the board. Whether it's taking forever to fix something that was bad, or taking forever to do something that's good, companies in this industry generally fail to have the vision and forethought necessary to make a proactive GOOD decision.

Ever wonder why indie titles often capture the hearts and minds of players? Wonder why the smaller games are often the ones to start trends? It's because they're proactive in their approach to what players actually want. The developer, in many cases a single person, comes up with a good idea he or she thinks will be fun, and makes it into a game.

I'd like to see companies be more proactive with customer-first service, fun-first gameplay & features, and common-sense decision making throughout. We'd have a lot more game diversity & probably see more leaps forward with new, fun, and interesting ideas instead of having to chase our tails for six months reacting to every good or bad idea after it happens.


Pantheon Devs on Armor & Gear Progression

I really get into gear progression and items, especially armor, in a fantasy MMORPG. Itemization can make or break a game for me, and I believe it can also make or break a game in general given how items are tied into so many other systems. From quests to loot drops, items dictate gameplay direction. How devs choose to provide loot, and in what form loot progression takes shape, truly is a core design decision.

One of (these days, maybe the only) traditional fantasy MMORPG I’m looking forward to trying out is Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen. The developers recently published a Q&A on their website about “Armor 101.
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Sea of Thieves Wishlist

Sea of Thieves launches in just one week! I've had a great time playing the various beta tests over the past year. I'm happy to see the game finally launching and allowing us to save our progress, sail the seas with friends, and all-around be a pirate.

Though the game is remarkably fun, I still have a wishlist for things I'd like to see coming shortly after launch. Given we haven't seen everything, some of these may pleasantly surprise me by already being in the game.

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Could A Game Using Player-Made Currency Actually Work?

I was playing ECO last night and messing around with setting up a shop to sell my excess resources (at a zero sum rate to friends) when I started to think a bit on the idea of player currency. In ECO, there's individual currency in the form of a credit. If I sell you 1 log of wood, you pay me in "Keen Credits." There's also the ability for players to mint actual circulated currency. This currency can then be used to trade wherever players would accept such currency.

Last night I made Bitkeens, my own personal minted currency. Then it hit me... how do I get everyone else to use these Bitkeens as their main currency on the server? They all have their own personal credit systems, but no currency. Each of them could technically mint their own currency too. How would Bitkeens become to common currency?

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