Category Archives: Design

Evolving Quests

Side-quests are a classic game mechanic, as ancient as roleplaying. When playing D&D with friends, we’ll stumble upon a traveler being mauled by a bear and we’ll take swift action — if we’re a band of do-gooders, at least — … Continue reading

Posted in Design | 19 Comments

The Griefer With The Coin Bag

Got back from GDC week and still trying to get back into the swing of things… and here comes a funny story straight from GDC! Go ahead and read it, it’s pretty funny. (Original story) (Cached version because it’s very … Continue reading

Posted in Community, Design | 41 Comments

Proximity Breeds Endearment

Here’s another example of where our brains trick us into enjoying things in spite of ourselves. I was reading a book of folk tales and I got to the story of The Snow Queen. It is about two innocent children … Continue reading

Posted in Design | 3 Comments

Retention and Rebound

Rage-Quit vs. Yawn-Quit Long ago, when my friends and I were playing EverQuest, one of our party members decided to do some soloing after everybody else had gone to bed. He fell into a pit and died. In EverQuest, you … Continue reading

Posted in Design, Production | 7 Comments

More on Classed vs. Unclassed Games

I’ve read a lot of really great posts as a result of my hornets-nest stirring post about how classes are better than unclassed games. Some rebuttals have been pretty smart and have changed my mind about a number of things. For … Continue reading

Posted in Design | 26 Comments

Classes vs. Open Skill Systems

A few years ago, I was interviewing for a systems designer gig. The design interviewer had been at Turbine many years prior, so we vaguely knew each other from there, but she needed to know how much I’d grown as … Continue reading

Posted in Design | 45 Comments

Beginner’s Luck and Expert’s Intuition

We’ve all grouped with great healers. It’s not really very hard to be a great healer: just keep track of all the little health meters and make sure nobody dies. But have you ever been in a group where the … Continue reading

Posted in Design | 3 Comments

Joust is Not Coming Back

One hard lesson that new developers have to learn is that not all game difficulty is equally fun. Some types of difficulty are perceived as fair, but other types are perceived as unfair… or worse, buggy. The classics can teach … Continue reading

Posted in Design | 16 Comments

There Shouldn’t Be A Signup Form

When I buy a AAA game from the store, I have a vested interest in liking the game. I’ve plonked $60 down for it, so there’s less of a chance I’ll abandon it just because the installer is annoying, or … Continue reading

Posted in Design | 15 Comments

Don’t Reverse Your Conventions After Six Years

I’ve been fascinated with Cataclysm, the latest World of Warcraft expansion, since I first heard about it. In many ways this expansion is a live team’s dream: an opportunity to fix the whole goddamned mess that the previous teams have … Continue reading

Posted in Design | 11 Comments