How Bad Design Can Be Great and more: Game Design Roundup

by on December 3, 2012

You know that feature you hate in your favourite MMO? It could – in another game – be the best thing about it.

That’s one of the controversial things bloggers have been saying this week about MMO game design – along with discussions of what the “best” MMO content is, how long MMORPGs should be maintained for, and whether MMO combat is as boring as it’s sometimes painted…

  • Zubon writes a fascinating article looking at the way that awkward, inconvenient or downright bad systems can actually work to a game’s advantage” You opened up your inventory, you opened your target’s inventory, and you dragged items one at a time. Why do this when most games were moving towards fast looting of entire groups of enemies with a single keystroke? Because Darkfall was a PvP game where you were meant to be vulnerable while looting your victims. “
  • Syncaine argues that the best MMO content is always that which you’ll play time and time again“But that genre aside, if you really are designing an MMO, or you really are looking to play an MMO, reusable content is the key.”
  • Inspired by the death of City of Heroes amongst other things, Tobold joins the discussion over when an MMORPG should be “sunsetted”” I don’t think a MMORPG should be abandoned just because it wasn’t quite as much a money maker as expected. But it needs to make more money than the cost of capital to be not a financial burden to a company.”
  • And Gordon at We Fly Spitfires takes on the “MMORPG combat is boring” canard, arguing that it’s mostly made tedious through repetition“There’s only so many times you have play the same encounter over and over again before you get fed up, no matter the genre. “

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If you enjoyed this article, check out our other posts from these categories: General MMO Interest

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Ben Sanders December 4, 2012 at 6:36 pm

Maybe it is not so much that it is bad design, but more that a game is a series of obstacles that present a challenge. There is no fun in a game that gives you a victory screen and nothing else – there have to be challenges of some sort. Good game design is creating challenges that feel like they have a purpose, and are interesting to navigate.
Travel time might give meaning to transportation or escort tasks (and no transport time makes the location of something irrelevant), difficulty in acquiring loot makes it worth something when you have it (and loot that is too easy to get is worthless).


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