Q & A 3: Game Design

Welp, lets get the ball rolling on another stirring round of question and answer. I suppose the theme this time can be game design.

Remember no kittens or other small animals were harmed in the creation of these answers. ~.^


  1. How would you get around the "quest" grind? Someone (sadly I can't remember who) said this week that killing 10 foozles is not epic and not really worthy of the term "quest" and they have a point. And yet, players *like* a structure where they receive tasks and get rewards for doing said tasks.

  2. There isn't any thing wrong with quests as an activity, the real burr in the saddle, in my opinion, is combat. Everything revolves around combat, and I mean everything. You want to level, fight something, you want to make friends, fight something, you want to do anything at all, fight something.

    Fight, fight, fight, after a while that gets pretty repetitive. Add to it that MMOs don't have very interesting combat models, unlike say fighting games for instance, and there you have a recipe for boredom.

    First steps first you remove the "need" to fight. Alternate advancement routes, alternate payment routes and a working in game economy. You need to prepare for in-game downtime, since not everyone wants to spend all their time out in the field away from their friends. Quests need to be expanded up the latter of abstraction. There is a marked variance in "kill ten foozles" and "repair the local environment". Of course, this requires a world with enough malleability to actually allow for more abstract concepts.

    GMs need to be more than law enforcement, they should be running in-game institutions. For that matter the world should be condensed. A newbie should always start in the most cosmopolitan area of the game, not the furthest backwater. Only when you can inaugurate players into the other half of the game immediately can you even think of convincing players to go light on the quest grind.

    Players and Devs are in this rut together. One can't get out without the other.

  3. I believe that's because most players (and most Devs, who were usually players first) *don't* ever look or think beyond combat. To many, crafting is seen as something to do when you can't find a group for... combat. Socialising is now something you do (if you can be arsed) when you can't find a group for ... combat.

    And I guess the trend is getting worse, not better, since we are seeing LESS and less of the fluff stuff like -- sit emotes, stuff to sit IN, places to congregate that don't look like giant prison yards, etc.

    Don't get me started. I have strong feelings on this, but I am resigned to playing games designed by 20-32 year old, male, non-crafting, shoot-em-up playing, item motivated, fluff-despising devs.

    Oh crap I'm supposed to be having a positive week. Oops.

  4. To get around the combat rut there should be a system which would 'reward' (oh, how I hate that word in MMO's) other activities in a similar way. Let it be diplomacy, subtlety, good old geas of punishing you from using weapons, anything.

    One way could be swithching from the age old STR/STA/AGI/DEX/INT/WIS stat system to skills only. Skills which would get better by doing something. Trade skills would be countered by combat skills, for example, making the real good gear only craftable. Legendary gear only UNIQUE (something missing from the games currently) and so on.

    Oh, there are ways, but is there will?