Time Frames

This world we live in -- the real one, not your virtual world of choice -- is one in which we value time over anything else.  We're constantly trying to…


Character Advancement

I touched briefly on the idea of character advancement in yesterday’s post, and I think it warrants further discussion.  Right now MMOs seem to have one common theme: Pick a class, quest to level, unlock all abilities, then do end-game activities to get loot to make your abilities better.  That’s the gist of character advancement.  If I were responsible for looking at how characters would advance, level up, improve, etc., in a MMO here’s what I would do.


Play-style should radically change based upon one’s chosen profession.  I use the word profession in its truest sense.  Wizards being blacksmiths, blacksmiths being thieves, everyone being everything, it just doesn’t make much sense to me.  Professions require extensive training, prolonged study, and practice.  I like when players need to specialize and choose a path.  Be one thing, and have the game be capable of supporting whatever choice you make by providing a unique and 100% fulfilling experience.


Blacksmiths should become better blacksmiths by making weapons.  Thieves should become better at stealing and moving about undetected by actually trying to do so.  Warriors wanting to increase their strength and skill with a blade should have to go out and slay beasts.  I like when I see that my character has become better at using swords because I have actually used a sword. I’m not a believer in universal advancement or “choose where your point goes” systems.  If you use a sword and gain a level, why should you be able to increase your armor value?  I’m not saying that everything should make perfect and realistic sense — it’s a game after all — but these things are capable of being great gameplay mechanics. (more…)


MMO Mob Leashing

Mobs never used to give up the chase so quick.  In games like EverQuest, mobs never stopped following until you 'zoned' (a concept also becoming foreign these days).  Zoning meant…


MMO Trailblazers

MMO TrailblazersI mentioned in an earlier post about the “guys who knew the dungeons” and how I wanted to talk about it later. Well this is it. I wanted to call them MMO Rangers, but that would probably just confuse people and make them think of the class and not the type of guy I was going for. So anyways, let’s get into it.

Do you remember back in school that one kid who seemed to know EVERYTHING game related? Of course this was all pre-internet (Or maybe not, depending on your age) so the only info we got was spread around. If you needed to know how to get to a secret world in Mario or how to perform a fatality in Mortal Kombat then this was your guy. Or maybe it was the dude at the arcade who had this seemingly arcane knowledge of everything about the game and could give you mind-blowing tips. Regardless, these sages of early gaming wisdom guided us and imparted sacred knowledge unto us and had a huge impact on our gaming lives. In reality these were the kids with the right magazine subscriptions but still… I try not to look behind the curtain.

Back in the days of early and more difficult MMOs we had similar players. These guys were digital missionaries who spread their gospel of world geography, dungeon pathways, and so on. Keen has recounted his tale about his first experience in EQ and migrating from the frigid north to the scorching deserts of Freeport. The player who took him there was one such person, whom to my recollection appeared out of the mists with out-streched hand and whispered, “Lo, let me safely guide you unto the promised land of North Ro.” Or something like that at least. I was 10-year-old kid who gnawed on wooden countertops; maybe I don’t have the best memory. (more…)