Category Archives for "Game Design"

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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Time to End the Concept of Levels?

Yesterday’s discussion about level/world scaling and a comment from one of our readers really got me thinking more and more about levels in MMORPGs. Do we really need them? Are they still a core tenet of MMORPG design?

More and more the answer is becoming, “No.”

World of Warcraft has long been without need for levels. Today the patch basically took 120 levels and condensed them into 7. For years online games, MMO, MMORPG, or otherwise, have tried to implement ways in which players of disparate levels can come together. ESO scaled their entire world. EQ2 has had mentoring (and scaling?) for years. The list goes on.

Many of these games are about simply playing and having fun doing something when you log in instead of playing in the one or two zones prescribed. There are positives and negatives with that statement.

In general, progression can still be had without the official institution of levels. We can use skill points, achievements, and alternate advancement in their place. Games can be made where the world isn’t broken up by level requirements, rather progression requirements. This post won’t specify the best route, rather propose there are other routes which may work well, even for people who enjoy the “ding.”

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Level Scaling: The Good & Bad

World of Warcraft releases their worldwide scaling patch here real soon. The whole idea of content scaling in MMORPGs is an interesting one that has me going back and forth positives and negatives.

First, let's just get some definitions out of the way so we can all be speaking in context. "Level scaling" in WoW is basically where the player scales to the content (which is actually a little contradictory when people are referring to it as "world scaling"). So basically, someone at level 100 can be in a zone and someone level 110 can be in a zone but their stats and the enemy are all equalized.

Other games have scaling. Some similar some different. Some games scale group members together. Some let a player "mentor" down to another player's level and then that player is scaled down to someone at that level's abilities.

My thoughts are going to be specifically toward the newest and trendiest way of scaling as seen in WoW.

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