In honor of one of my favorite holidays, Cinco de Mayo, I have decided to get back into my MMO Laws series and talk about one of Raph’s minor laws the in game calendars. This particular law actually saddens me to a great degree as I love the concept of holidays and special calendars in fictional worlds that help really complete teh feel of the world.
I recently read an article about how weapons in modern MMOs are all starting to look identical to each other and how unrealistic and uninteresting this is. I tend to agree with most of the author’s points, in days of yore the developers tried to make the weapons different in order to allow players to be different, now developers try to make the weapons as similar as possible in order to allow the player to make the choice. The newer method is extremely problematic for many reasons, but also very understandable why they have decided to go that route.
MMORPG developers have a crap load to learn from the social networking movement that is currently swarming the internet. Heck, they have a lot to learn from the internet itself and how people communicate and mesh. If you really sat down and looked at it, MMOs are just sad when it comes to human interaction which is actually kind of funny considering that realistically MMORPGs have long been ahead of the game. They were getting people together even before the advent of ICQ. Yet here we sit, behind everyone else.
I would be remiss if I didn’t follow up my previous post with a new rule. I apologize to whomever if I am stealing this rule from someplace, but I haven’t been able to figure out reference to it. I very well may have found it somewhere previously and just forgotten where, or I came up with it such a very long time ago that I forgot whether I came up with it or not. Either way, it doesn’t matter, I think it is good enough that it deserves a spot in the MMO game design pantheon.
Today I wanted to talk about three laws that share a common theme in game design. This theme is why a player plays online games in particular. What do they want and what are they hoping to get out of their experience? None of these laws are very original in their naming convention, they are Baron’s Law, Rickey’s Law, and Elmqvist’s Law.
To continue on my line of game design laws for MMOs, I decided to make it easy on myself and just head straight into it and look at Raph’s first law of game design. This rule is actually four in one. I think the point of it was to get under your belt the four most obvious things that a designer should keep in mind. The rules start with a general line stating: “The secrets to a really long-lived, goal-oriented, online game of wide appeal.” I will go into each individual portion seperately.