Sep 082006
 

Damion Schubert, Lead Combat Designer for Bioware Austin
The question to answer, why do we keep making grindtastic class-based combat oriented men in tights gamey games?

I’m not going to answer “because it sells” because it’s a circular argument and a copout. We won’t get anywhere if we only do what was done before.

Instead, I’ll ask why do we need a grind, why do games appear to be winning, why are classes good, and so on.

The reason to tackle this is because whenever people decide to make a new game, these are often the first five things people choose to innovate on. But there’s a lot of bad innovation from people trying to solve these five problems. So here is explanations for the status quo. My dirty secret is that I like these games — getting loot, killing monsters, and in the game vs world debate, I am on the game side.

So I am here to explain the status quo, so that we can innovate smarter. We get very myopic as an industry about what people are actually looking for in innovation. This plagues every industry. Take the mobile phone — for years the companies have been trying to attach ridiculous stuff to the phones, despite the fact that research shows that nobody cares about anything except size, battery life, and that you didn’t call someone when you sat down on it. Then came RAZR and it’s small, long battery life and a clamshell. Best selling phone in years. Actually listening to the customers and understanding their needs is a core function of game design.

Smart innovation is important because there’s the 600 lb gorilla called WoW. WoW is Coke — they are stomping everyone. Getting 1% of WoW is hard. By the time you finish your game, they will be 3-5 years richer. Unless you have Pepsi money, you can’t go head to head. You have to be Red Bull. Or Snapple, although Coke bought Snapple…

Responses to WoW:
- Crazy innovation, stuff that isn’t cost effective or that people don’t actually want. “Ant farming” — system design that is more interesting to watch than to play.
- the producer who says WWWoWD? What would WoW do. We all hate that guy.
- Smart innovation. Which is what WoW did. The first game not to release in a shameful state. But more importantly, WoW was soloable. After years of all of us saying “but you need grouping.” That was their core innovation that gave them the 10x multiplier.

1. Combat-oriented

This question comes from outside the industry. Why is everything about fighting, killing orcs? The easy answer is because it sells. Another answer is that’s all our industry knows how to make — 25 year worth of practice. But also because videogames are a good medium for a visceral experience. The game shelf is a lot like going to a movie rental place where every movie is Die Hard.

Combat presents a tactical problem that you are solving in real time. Combat is not the only solution. Take Puzzle Pirates, which replaced combat with puzzles. Compare this to crafting in most games — the actual act of crafting is not very interesting. You don’[t need combat, but you need the tactical problem.

You also need to have a game challenge that is repeatable. People WANT to play these games for hours and hours a month because this is where they spend their social time. Combat doesn’t need to be the only activity. Consider Civas a repeatable game, versus Myst which isn’t. You don’t need combat, but you do need a repeatable experience.

If you are making a multiplayer game you need co-op. People talk about PvP first, but the future is co-op play. We talked about solo in WoW, but co-op is still what differentiates us from a single-player game. Crafting you really have to splint to get co-op working on a tactical level. You don’t need combat, but you need group play.

Combat is scalable. You can go from solo up to raids, with the same experience. It also escalates in complexity. Lots of folks say that MMO combat is easy but they have never walked away from a WoW rogue for a year and then tried to play again and remember how to play the damn thing. Our games teach you how to play gradually and you forget how much you have learned. Combat scales very gracefully. You don’t need combat but you do need the escalation and the scalability.

2. Classes

Must all MMOs have classes to be successful? No, but classes do have advantages. I have seen a lot of bad RPGs that do not take into account some of these good qualities:

You don’t need classes, but you do need player roles that are easy to balance, maintain, and expand. If you add a class to WoW, you only need to check against 8 other classes. Adding a new role to a skill-based system is a combinatorial problem. You can structure your skill system around this, but you still have to take it into account. And players do want change and additions.

You don t need classes, but you do need to allow making character choices without fear. Has anyone ever watched a focus group at character creation? People will spend all day customizing their appearance with no fear. People like that. But people agonize over choices that matter. Players have been trained that choices are irrevocable. There was a study not long ago about choice in supermarket aisles, and they found that expanding the jam choices makes it harder to pick one to buy.

You don’t need classes, but you need players to easily find each other. Classes are one way to do that. They are wonderful shorthand. This is much easier than saying “I need 90% healing, 90% resurrection and 85% cure poison.”

You don’t need classes, but you need tactical transparency for PvP. A lot of fans think that it is cool when you don’t know what abilities the opponent has. This is of course wrong. Chess is a game with perfect tactical transparency. A more interesting example is poker. In the 70s, 80s, and 90s, if you watched a movie with poker, you saw five card draw. For my entire life until 3 years ago, that was poker. But then texas Hold ‘Em came along, tactical transparency appears, and poker hits the mainstream. For an MMO in PvP, you need to be able to see the tactics the other can use, or else you push the game away from tactical choices and towards twitch. In Shadowbane we had the ability to summon other players. This was powerful because it was all about bringing reinforcements from their death spawn back to the front. So you had to disrupt the logistics. Then we created a discipline that like a class but there was no way to tell who had it, and it set everything higgley-piggledy.

You don’t ned classes, but you do need roles with strongly different experiences. Stealth and summon in Shadowbane turned out to be the most powerful abilities, to get groups behind enemy lines. With classes, we were able to keep those in separate classes easily. In WoW they can push rogues to the limit as a type because they know there is no overlap with others.

3. Grindtastic.

Do we really have to keep coming back to experience points and levels? The experience point is the most maligned tool, and yet it works great, and is the hardest thing to replace.

You don’t need levels and XP, but you do need to allow players to quickly know where they are int he pecking order in PvE and in PvP. You need to be able to tell whether something is tough. There are players who advocate “run in and die” as a superior solution. These players are not the majority.

You don’t have to use levels and XP, but the game needs to reward devotion more than skill. Our business model as it stands right now depends on devotion. If the business model changes, this becomes much less of an issue. Even if you believe Raph is right and we need lifestyle games, you will still need devotion. Also, the problem with skill is that not a lot of players have it.

You don’t need levels and XP, but you need a reason not to cancel. I will torpedo my own argument a bit by showing a UO house. EQ used levels, and created this horrible grind. But the more MMOs you play, the more inoculated to these tools. Everyone has no cancelled at least one high level character and at least one house. My fiancee has played each successive MMO half as long as the previous one. These tricks stop working on you. They also don’t always encourage healthy behavior. But you still need to give these reasons.

You don’t need levels and XP, but big thresholds work better than small ones. One of the best experiences in an RPG is going back to a monster that beat the tar out of you in the past and beating the snot out of them. If advancement curve is too slow you won’t notice the ding. Threshold advancement is even better when they are not levels –getting your last name in EQ at 20, getting your mount in WoW at level 40.

Yo don’t need levels or XP, but your advancement system should not create unrealistic behaviors if you want realism. I hate use-based systems, and I’ve built one. In EQ people jamming keys to run off a cliff to build up falling skill. You build use based systems to be more realistic, but if they cause spastic behavior, then… like the dark assassin in Oblivion who skips through fields of flowers because he needs both jumping and the flowers for his poison. Happy sunshine assassin.

You don’t need levels and XP, but players want continual rewards for their play style. There is a huge amount of people in WoW who are pissed because they got to 60 and they cannot play their solo game anymore. They want their current play style track to be never ending. You may have to come up with alternate schemes to give that, like alternate advancement points in EQ.

Most importantly, you don’t need levels and XP, but don’t confuse the delivery mechanism with the reward. The problem is not the levels, it’s the grind. WoW’s hidden innovation is actually the pacing and reward structure of quests. What’s important in what they do that quests are rewarding enough that you do them (which is already different from many mmoS) and that send you all over the world rather than letting you sit in one place. The result levelling doesn’t feel like grinding (though gathering cloth in WoW does!)

4. Men in tights.

Are we doomed to always make fantasy tights? There are good reasons why we keep making fantasy and it’s not because we don’t try other things.

You don’t need fantasy but you do need a fiction with resonance. Compare Civ to Alpha Centauri. How many of you played Alpha Centauri, and then after 15 minutes said, “I feel like playing some Civ”? I think this is why EQ beat AC. People logged in and they didn’t know how to pronounce the names.

You don’t need fantasy, but you do need a setting that is doublecoded. Two different meanings carried n the same content. Bugs Bunny has jokes kids will never understand, but the kids still laugh at the rest. Animaniacs is another. Compare that watching Blue’s Clues with your kids — as a parent it’s like killing yourself slowly. This is Rob pardo’s donut concept. You need both codings for a successful game. Shadowbane was all hardcore. AC2 was all casual, and pissed off a lot of the hardcore that loved AC1. A good franchise appeals to both markets. A lot of folks say that fantasy is all pimplenosed geeks in the basement, and there is that, but that’s the hardcore fantasy market.But don’ forget that LOTR is one of the highest grossing movies of all time. And if you go to craft store, you will find a huge number of wizards, unicorns, fairies, and dragons all over.

You don’t need fantasy but you need an inviting world. People want to spend their spare time here. This is their corner bar. Even the bad guys in WoW are cute and funny. It’s still inviting. I’ve seen numerous games say they want to make post-apocalyptic games. Who wants to live there? You may want to visit, but who wants to spend 200 hours a month in a grim and dirty place? Shadowbane was a depressing place.

You don’t need fantasy, but you need a world where the player starts out larger than life. City of heroes does this better than anyone. Even though it’s a multiplayer game, players want to be better than normal. Fantasy has this meme built into it. Even the crafters have this — they don’t want to be just another crafter, they want to be the best crafter in britain.

You don’t need fantasy, but you need content that elevates with the character advancement. Fantasy has challenges that go along with the advancement, helping you feel like a badass. Orcs then ogres then zombies. Compare to a Western game — level 1 you kill a guy in black hat, level two, it’s a guy with a bigger black hat, level ten it’s two guys with black hats…? But fantasy has this naturally.

It doesn’t have to be fantasy, but you need a wide variety to content. Right after EQ came out, two games said they would make Viking worlds, and I knew they would fail, because EQ had a Viking MMO in their world already, and an Aztec one, and an Oriental one… Fantasy encompasses lots. CoH has a variety of content problem — at low levels everyone you fight is a humanoid. A sense of sameness starts to grind on you. Sometimes it even feels like you get less powerful, because you kill more humanoids, but less of them.

It doesn’t have to be fantasy, but group play needs constant involving activities for everyone. What’s up with Aquaman? With the Superfriends, he has to wait for someone to fall in a fish tank to be useful. But fantasy has tropes for a wide array of roles that are always needed. You always need all the roles to be contributing to the core activity. And

You don’t need to deliver fantasy, but you do need to have a vision and deliver it. When I was at EA they flirted with a Harry Potter MMO, and I asked them what the play was, and they said “yeah, you’ll kill rats and stuff.” How much fighting is there in Harry Potter?

Licenses have these tropes built in. Consider Stargate, because Stargate is a license about instanced squad-based combat. But there is one problem — both the TV show as well as the movie have an archaeologist who can’t do anything. He gets captured a lot and hides behind rocks. Chris Klug described it as one o the core challenges. Highlander is one of my favorite licenses, and it has massive appeal. Great geek appeal, doublecoded, surprising mass market awareness. The problem with Highlander is permadeath. The only rule in the franchise that cannot b broken is “there can be only one.” Does that mean you can’t do Highlander? n, but you have to solve that problem. And Star Trek — Star Trek is about NOT fighting. It’s about diplomacy., There’s a sense that the crew has failed if you resort to a fight. But how do you make a repeatable experience out of that? I am really interested to see how they address this problem.

5. Gamey games.

Are the worlds dead? I am a gamey guy, but I noticed that it is a dichotomy set up by the world guys to make themselves feel important. Not that I am bitter. A funny thing happened along the way, and the games won. EQ, WoW. Management teams for UO and SWG have backtracked and put in more gamey stuff. So here’s advice for the worldy games:

Make a world, but protect your young. Don’t kick ‘em out with a nickel and a bus pass. The gamey games are fanatical about protecting newbies.

Make a world, but don’t depend on players finding their own fun. Some enjoy it, but most don’t. In the Sims online, there was a way to find the stuff tat was good — you don’t want users to wade through crap.

Make a world, but obsess over fairness. Players say they value freedom above all, but that ends the day the game ships. Then they become obsessed with whether it is fair and whether it is balanced. Is your role valued, is your experience impeded by someone else.

Make a world, because they aren’t as dead as they look. The demise of worlds has been exaggerated. Second life, Eve, Runescape all came out. They are the ones that have done well, compared to the gamey games in the wake Wow, they are doing better than Auto Assault, Matrix Online, etc. Eve freely ignores my whole talk, pretty much. And it is doing great.

Conclusion

So if you really want to make worlds, do it. I’m not saying don’t innovate. I feel like I have to say this since I defended the status quo for an hour. Don’t over innovate, but be sure you improve the player experience. Provide innovations worth the bang for the buck. And when in doubt, be true to the Vision. The Vision has a bad rep after EverQuest, but IMHO the Vision is what EQ did right — they stuck to it through hell and high water. WoW had a vision, this soloable game. The stuff that WoW cut is the stuff that we would have thought as sacrosanct a few years ago. Boats, housing, good guild support…

Survivor, American idol, Lost, and Desperate Housewives. Some of the biggest hits of the last five years in TV. All four of these almost never saw the light of day. Survivor — they had so little faith they made the production company pay the ads themselves. American Idol even got pitched to the WB. And there was already a megahit in Britain. The only reason it made it to the air is because Rupert Murdoch’s daughter loved it in the UK and told her daddy to put it on the air. Desperate Housewives was on the market for a year. And Lost — the guy who came up with the idea was FIRED six months before the pilot aired, and the only reason it made it to air was because it was too expensive NOT to show it.

We talk about how we’re a young industry — bu TV is still struggling with this problem with 60-70 years. Identifying innovation is hard.

Always b true to yourself. This is the important thing. Eve and Earth and Beyond came out at the same time.If you were a betting man, you would have been an idiot to bet on EvE. E&B had a great team , money, marketing. Eve had a dedication to a vision, and E&B tried to make Everquest in space. And you know what? It turns out that everquest doesn’t work that well in space. Eve kept to their mantra, and they won.

Thanks.

Questions:

- Is the world a subset of the game, or the reverse, what are the attributes of a world versus a game?

How guided the experience is… Worlds focus more on realism than games do. The best games are not of either strain, and tend to be very focused. (referencing the Schubert Triangle).

- I’m a former LARPer. Given that we need to expand the market to justify budgets, how can you suggest sticking to fantasy, when mass market doesn’t want to be nerds and think that night elves with boobs falling out of chain mail is ludicrous and creepy?

I think a lot of people lose sight of the fact that almost any genre can be mass market with the proper treatment. Consider Lost again — they tell good stories and strong characters. Similarly, five years ago you would have thought that fantasy games would never get out of 300k, 350k. Everyone remember looking for the million? But WoW touched those themes and is still mass market. Lord of the Rings is very very mass market. It’s about keeping both audiences in mind.

- a comment, making games for nerds. Martha Stewart is a nerdy franchise, just a different sort of nerd. There are a lot of topics we obsess about.

We can lose sight of what casual and hardcore mean, Just about anything has casual and hardcore. My fiancee is a hardcore knitter. You would not believe the contraptions and yarn she has. And there are lots of casual knitters. Everyone says that Sims is casual, but there are some freaky hardcore Sims players making furniture and diaries. It’s not about whether the license is hardcore and casual, it is whether it has a hardcore and a casual component. Idol has both too — message board folks and dinnertime watchers.

- A lot of folks like science fantasy and SF. But swords and sorcery is way more popular than rayguns. There’s way more scifi movies. And the tropes are similar.

I think that there are a couple of reasons. Fantasy is about characters, and SF as a genre is about ideas, which translate to movies well, but don’t translate to “creating an alter ego and going into a virtual space.” And sci fi has a million flavors that are all incredibly different from each other — Star Wars and Star Trek are radically different, and there’s a ton of other variants. Whereas fantasy has kind of congealed, for better or for worse, so you can relate easily.

- I don’t think ranged combat works as well in our traditional model of MMO combat.

Absolutely. That goes back to feeling like the fantasy — if you don’t feel like you are a combat marine with a laser…

- can’t help but wonder if they had mad World of Starcraft, would we be sitting here saying ‘fantasy is the problem.”

It only takes one person to come along and change the rules. A lot of times people confuse bad execution with concluding something is a bad idea. Consider WW2 Online. A lot of people wrote off the idea, even though it was the execution. hen comes Battlefield 1942. I am thankful that WoW had PvP because otherwise, Shadowbane could have killed it, as people took the lesson that PvP would never work. And now Wow has more PvP servers than PvE.

- Success confers virtue. When EQ was out, it was grind, group. Now it’s woW and it’s solo and so on. When things are successful, we say that there must be something about that.

And if you are trying to steal their customer, there’s nothing wrong with going with what is familiar. You can’t beat Coke with RC Cola, but you can differentiate while still not alienating folk coming from Coke. Make your innovation marketing bullet points. Shadowbane got city sieges, and it had more Google hits than SWG on th day it shipped… of course, it turned out that you couldn’t join a siege until you were 50, which caused problems.

  69 Responses to “AGC: Damion Schubert, “Moving Beyond Men in Tights””

  1. Not long ago, “only gamers play games” was a criticism. Now it’s a marketing strategy. Très bien vu. Vous trouverez içi le slide de la présentation (les slides de Raph sont des bijoux) et le résumé de la keynote, là. Toujours à Austin, conférence très intéressante sur le “pourquoi toujours des orcs et des combats et des elfettes” dans les jeux, par Damion Shubert, lead combat designer chez Bioware. Passionnant, les clés du succès de WoW données par le vice président de la

  2. primary fulcrum of craft in game design. When we focus all of our complexity in a single place we begin to look less like artists and more like beaurocrats. Instead, we should consider designing games as a network of rituals, combat can be included, as Damien Schubert suggested at the AGC recently, but it needs to be balanced in relation to other forms of interaction. Instead of using AI mediated interfaces to make a singularly complex combat system more managable, we can use AI mediated interfaces to make all forms of play ritual easily

  3. the reasons for it. Rob Pardo, lead designer for WoW, gave a keynote on “Blizzard’s Philosophy and the Success of WoW” (see Gamasutra summary). Also, Damion Schubert, Lead Combat Designer, Bioware gave a talk titled “Moving Beyond Men in Tights” (see Raph’s summary) in which he outlined what makes the fantasy-combat-grind formula of most MMOs work. There was much overlap between these two talks so I’ve taken the liberty of lumping several of the factors they mentioned together in one list (below). Although

  4. Wow, finaly someone I can wholeheartly agree to :) That’s exactly how I see it.

    However, the only keypoint where I disagree is the world part. I don’t think we need another heavy instanced dungeon game, like DDO. And I don’t think you’ll find many players for this kind of games in a subscription based model in the future. From what I’ve heared, while he doesn’t say so explicitely, that’s the road Bioware is taking.

    I don’t see the need for droping the world aspect. It still fits in, no matter what games mechanics are planed. MMORPGs should stick to the virtual world aspect and to freedom of play to an extrended degree. After all, that’s one of the keypoints what MMORPGs are about. As always, just don’t overdo it.

  5. Even if you believe Raph is right and we need lifestyle games, you will still need devotion.

    Reading that immediately brought to mind the Apple revolution. You definitely need devotion. More to the point, you need evangelists.

    So if you really want to make worlds, do it.

    One of the advantages of worlds that most people don’t see is that they are more viable for transmedia. Matrix tried this, but their execution didn’t work quite so well, possibly because of the ambiance Damion talks about: the Matrix is a really depressing world, and the beauty is hard to grasp. (Though I’m convinced that the last series of scenes in Revolutions, starting at the sunlight and not including the fight, were about seeing unexpected beauty.) Not something to be delivered as entertainment.

  6. [...] Im not going to answer because it sells because its a circular argument and a copout. We wont get anywhere if we only do what was done before. Instead, Ill ask why do we need a grindGrinden bezeichnet jede (zumeist stupide) Ttigkeit die ausschliesslich um Level und/oder Attribute zu steigern (oder Gold/Items/Ressourcen zu sammeln) von den Spielern stndig wiederholt wird., why do games appear to be winning, why are classes good, and so on. The reason to tackle this is because whenever people decide to make a new game, these are often the first five things people choose to innovate on. But theres a lot of bad innovation from people trying to solve these five problems. So here is explanations for the status quo. My dirty secret is that I like these games getting loot, killing monsters, and in the game vs world debate, I am on the game side. So I am here to explain the status quo, so that we can innovate smarter. We get very mypoic as an industry about what people are actually looking for in innovation. This plaugues every industry. take the mobile phone for years the companies have been trying to attach ridiculous stuff to the phones, despite the fact that research shows that nobody cares about anything expet size, battery life, and that you didnt call someone when you sat down on it. Then came RAZR and its small, long battery life and a clamshell. Best selling phone in years. Actually listening to the customers and understanding their needs is a core function of game design. Smart innovation is important because theres the 600 lb gorilla called WoWWorld of Warcraft von Blizzard Entertainment.. WoW is Coke they are stomping everyone. Getting 1% of WoW is hard. By the time you finish your game, they wioll be 3-5 years richer.Unless you have pepsi money, you cant go head to head. You have to be Red Bull. Or Snapple, although Coke bought Snapple Der Artikel trifft meine persnlichen Ansichten zu MMORPGs beinahe zu 100% Lediglich im Aspekt ber "Worlds" bin ich der Meinung, dass wir keine massive instanzierten Dungeon Welten mehr brauchen, sondern wieder viel mehr Freiheit fr die Spieler. Ansonsten aber Hut ab Link: AGC: Damion Schubert, Moving Beyond Men in TightsWeitere News zum Thema: Rob Pardo ber das Erfolgsrezept bei World of Warcraft WoW: Goldmarkt am Ende? Starcraft Online, das nchste MMORPG von Blizzard? TR: Systemvoraussetzungen fr Tabula Rasa WoW: Hero Klassen endgltig vom Tisch? Diskussion im Forum:Damion Schubert, Lead Desginer Bioware, ber MMORPGs [...]

  7. I Still will never understand why you cant build a world, and all that supports it…

    Then make the adventure.

    you know… World + Directed Content = The best mmo ever made.

    The world (environment) , crafting (Nonloot based), and social(cities, classes or skills to support ETC..) Supports the Directed content (Areas of directed content with some lesser pickup and use loot but mostly items for crafting or changing things..).

    On, second thought, i think i just described SWG, at least.. the “Vision” (All the content added like the theme parks). lol.

    Sometimes i depress myself.

    Whatever.. You need the world to make people care about the adventure.

    That’s my theory and I’m sticking to it.

  8. You absolutely can build the world systems first and then add in the content.

    But you can’t release until the content is there, in massive quantity.

  9. I Still will never understand why you cant build a world, and all that supports it…

    Then make the adventure.

    Takes too long and too much effort. Note that part of the reason SWG didn’t go as far as its many fans believed it could was because of premature release. Come to think of it, most crash-and-burns seem to have a high correlation to premature release.

    And there are two types of prematurity: unfinished design/implementation and unfinished testing. Both are bad.

    From start to finish, a dozen MMORPGs will get started and released before you are ready to begin testing the MMORPG you describe. Of course, the way to expedite the process is middleware. So I’m actually interested in seeing how projects like Multiverse and Worldforge turn out; if they do well, we might very well start to see exactly the model you propose.

    And we’d have more artists. =P

  10. [...] Im not going to answer because it sells because its a circular argument and a copout. We wont get anywhere if we only do what was done before. Instead, Ill ask why do we need a grindGrinden bezeichnet jede (zumeist stupide) Ttigkeit die ausschliesslich um Level und/oder Attribute zu steigern (oder Gold/Items/Ressourcen zu sammeln) von den Spielern stndig wiederholt wird., why do games appear to be winning, why are classes good, and so on. The reason to tackle this is because whenever people decide to make a new game, these are often the first five things people choose to innovate on. But theres a lot of bad innovation from people trying to solve these five problems. So here is explanations for the status quo. My dirty secret is that I like these games getting loot, killing monsters, and in the game vs world debate, I am on the game side. So I am here to explain the status quo, so that we can innovate smarter. We get very mypoic as an industry about what people are actually looking for in innovation. This plaugues every industry. take the mobile phone for years the companies have been trying to attach ridiculous stuff to the phones, despite the fact that research shows that nobody cares about anything expet size, battery life, and that you didnt call someone when you sat down on it. Then came RAZR and its small, long battery life and a clamshell. Best selling phone in years. Actually listening to the customers and understanding their needs is a core function of game design. Smart innovation is important because theres the 600 lb gorilla called WoWWorld of Warcraft von Blizzard Entertainment.. WoW is Coke they are stomping everyone. Getting 1% of WoW is hard. By the time you finish your game, they wioll be 3-5 years richer.Unless you have pepsi money, you cant go head to head. You have to be Red Bull. Or Snapple, although Coke bought Snapple Der Artikel trifft meine persnlichen Ansichten zu MMORPGs beinahe zu 100% Lediglich im Aspekt ber "Worlds" bin ich der Meinung, dass wir keine massive instanzierten Dungeon Welten mehr brauchen, sondern wieder viel mehr Freiheit fr die Spieler. Ansonsten aber Hut ab Link: AGC: Damion Schubert, Moving Beyond Men in Tights 150)?150:this.scrollHeight)”> __________________ The tools suck! — Raph Koster Gendert von Papillon (Heute um 18:54 Uhr). [...]

  11. [...] Comments [...]

  12. I have been playing a few myself.

    Of course all my Designer hat endeavors are to propel the art side =)

    There is also keniva (SP?) its an interesting model, but… I think it cheapens any game made with it in the public eye.

    Including the ones you are referring too. It is odd that “middle ware” or anything pre-made carrys such a astigmatism.

  13. Make your innovation marketing bullet points.

    Nothing worse than visiting a website for 5 mins and not being able to name one difference between it and Worlds of Warcraft.

  14. [...] My talk was today. It went well. You can find a writeup on gamespot as well as a writeup on Gamasutra. Also, Raph Koster live-blogged the thing. [...]

  15. Somebody at AGC talking about the danger of complexity in games referenced Rhodan, I think, with the idea of making a statue by chipping away everything that wasn’t the statue. A world with games in it has two focuses, which is a balance issue, and a resource issue. Plus you must worry about aspects of the world damaging the game, and vice versa. If the world and the game aren’t integral to each other, they shouldn’t be in the same system. Do fewer things well, not more things badly.
    Thanks for blogging all this stuff, Raph. I chose to stay away from the Design and Support Tracks this year, to pursue other areas I understand less about, and these posts mean I don’t have to miss out entirely.

  16. You CAN build a world, then put the adventure in it. In fact, I’d argue that’s the ONLY way you can do this. If you don’t have a game world, then the only place you can put your adventures is on a piece of paper and then say “I wish I had $20 million and a development team!”

    Like most of us do.

    Anyway.

    People are saying “world versus game,” but really they’re all “worlds.” World of Warcraft is a world with three or four games in it. A Tale in the Desert is a world with about twenty games. Second Life is a world with hundreds of games. And so on.

    If I were to divide the two, I’d have to say a Game-world has fewer games to it. A Worldy-world has so many games to it, that it takes a special breed to player to find what’s fun and what’s not. The more Gamey, the fewer games are coded into the world (ironically), and the easier it is to market: “Multiplayer shoot-em-up.” The more Worldy, the more games are coded into it, and the harder it is to market: “Multiplayer shoot-em-up, fencing, siege warfare, cooking, blacksmithing, and animal-taming.”

  17. [...] Damien Schubert on….Well, Everything — Posted by Pig at 14:59 PM [Link News] Schubert, of Bioware,heads up a very interesting piece on MMORPG game design entitled "Moving Beyond Men in Tights". It’s a full-featured piece, in which he discusses the current trends in the market, the overwhelming influence of WoW, some possible innovations…heck, he talks about everthing MMORPG-related. It’s an interesting read. [...]

  18. I’d have to say a Game-world has fewer games to it

    No, a Game-world has games primarily developed by the developers. A Worldy-word doesn’t, or at least such games would be equal to games developed by the players (i.e., they’d use the same mechanics the players do).

    The distinction might be a matter of degree, but it IS a pertinent and useful distinction.

    The thing is… when you “put the adventure in”, worldy-worlds, as you say, put more in, because it’s player-driven, whereas game-worlds prevent that and only sanction developer games. You’re right, yes, but the distinction isn’t meaningless.

  19. There were so many good sessions at the conference, it was almost frightening. I attended a smattering of sessions from almost all the MMO-related tracks, and am still kicking myself for missing a few of them (Gordon Walton’s session on alternative customer service models, for example).

    I really enjoyed this particular one because it spelled out many of the challenges that need to be addressed in alternative solutions fairly well, and in an even-handed way. It didn’t address certain non-obvious contradictions (for example, is scaling to cooperative play (combat-centric) really of such major importance given the apparently universally accepted notion that one of the big crucial innovations of the 600lb gorilla was the ability to solo thru the majority of the game?)

    It was nice and solid, however… some version of these lists is definitely going up on my corkboard.

  20. [...] Just got back from the Austin Game Conference where I heard several interesting talks. A major theme this year was of course the commercial success of World of Warcraft and the reasons for it. Rob Pardo, lead designer for WoW, gave a keynote on "Blizzard’s Philosophy and the Success of WoW" (see Gamasutra summary). Also, Damion Schubert, Lead Combat Designer, Bioware gave a talk titled "Moving Beyond Men in Tights" (see Raph’s summary) in which he outlined what makes the fantasy-combat-grind formula of most MMOs work. There was much overlap between these two talks so I’ve taken the liberty of lumping several of the factors they mentioned together in one list (below). Although there’s not really much news here, I think this list is a nice summary of currently popular MMO design principles. [...]

  21. I’ve been playing D&D for almost as long as it’s been around — I have an original boxed set. And I’ve been playing computer games for over twenty years.

    One of the things that really made the difference with D&D was that you could buy packaged modules for a Dungeon Master (DM) to run, but the DM could also create their own dungeon.

    But I have yet to see any major computer game that provides a number of adventures out-of-the-box, but also allows people to create their own adventures and then upload them to the servers for anyone to play. Sure, Diablo had a mode where you could create your own dungeon and then host a private game session to anyone who knew which IP address to connect to, but that’s not the same.

    If you could find a way to allow people to relatively easily create their own adventures and then upload them to the company servers (perhaps for a share of the profits, or for some in-game benefits), you’d suddenly have hundreds of thousands or millions of “game developers”, in addition to all the people you’ve officially got on staff.

    You’d have to check for balance in the approved adventures (and you might want to version them), but you could also have an unapproved section where anything goes, the only deal is you can’t then re-export those characters (and items and money) back to an approved adventure.

    Combine that with the ability to scale the adventure(s) for everything from solo to large groups, and I think you’d have a real winning model.

  22. Does anyone else hear the echo of the Holy Grail, the P2P MMORPG? Peer-to-peer networks require the usage of Supernodes, which track the list of active peers. And I should note that while I’m working off the spur of the moment and the top of my head, the topic has been discussed before on MUD-Dev.

    Raph has this idea of worlds where you run around and then pop into different games, thus creating heavily-instanced worlds. (Hope the attribution was right. I got a feeling of doubt as I wrote that. =P) So, let’s say a supernode is such a world. The supernode can also be themed, so we might have a Middle-Earth supernode that tracks peers with Middle-Earth themes. You log into the supernode world, where you can do nothing more than run around and chat and enter peers, which are player-built virtual worlds. And if you throw in some protocols, you can have hypertext-esque portals inside a peer that link you to… another peer. Essentially a zone change. And you can use these portals to tie multiple worlds together, and if done well enough, it could become seamless, such that all the peers that supernode is supporting all work together… and it ends up as one big world distributed across a couple dozen servers individually built by disparate designers. Presto! Bottom-up world design.

    And never you mind that “if done well enough” clause. =P Ah, pipe dreams are nice.

  23. But I have yet to see any major computer game that provides a number of adventures out-of-the-box, but also allows people to create their own adventures and then upload them to the servers for anyone to play.

    I’d have to dirrect you to the recent Neverwinter Nights (which is based on D and D). Players can host their own worlds and they even made a DVD with some of the more popular ones.

  24. Damion had great points.

    As I said on his blog, it’s all about the right bang for the buck, fixing what has identified as wrong, do even better what is identified as right, being true to the vision, and being customer-focused (considering more than just the player, but the player’s family given that they are the likely new player-base).

    Michael, P2P MMORPG has been discussed. I don’t think it’s not yet time for P2P to get the limelight yet. For example, you can considered Neverwinter Nights as a P2P MMORPG, but it’s not really one. Simultronic’s (sp) Hero platform (that Bioware is using) does have great tools fors GM to creat content, but it’s still a server-based system. So, while there are developments in the key areas for a successful P2P MMORPG, there not all there yet. Nevertheless, the Hero system Simultronic is building is a good next step. Once thousands of GMs gain a few years of experience on using tools to creat content, maybe there will be some critical mass for P2P MMORPGs.

    Frank

  25. [...] A nice wall of text for us who like…texts? http://www.raphkoster.com/2006/09/08/agc-damion-schubert-moving-beyond-men-in-tights/ Miau! *paw paw*_________________http://ctprofiles.net/3028639 What type of Fae are you? [...]

  26. - the producer who says WWWoWD? What would WoW do. We all hate that guy.

    It sometimes feels like “that guy” is just about everyone on the SOE staff…

  27. [...] While looking for posts related to the PS3 Delay reactions, we came across an article, and here’s what the writer has to say…”…we bear Sony no grudge, it’s impossible to ignore the fact that the news of the week will affect Nintendo, and so we have a stake in the fallout.”"One man’s misfortune, is another man’s gain,” as the saying goes. According to him, Nintendo and Microsoft would be able to cash in on Sony’s announcement regarding the PS3 delay. The article continues to point out that the announcement heard around the world was somehow expected. Weeks of manufacturing rumors were circulating around the web. Advertising campaigns were slowing down. The 500,000 units for America and Japan and the ostracizing Europe is a huge PR nightmare. With vast European gamers now trying out, some even converting to, other consoles. [Full Article] [Via Wiifanboy] Permalink  |   Email this  |   Linking Blogs   |   Digg It!   |   Comments [3] Bookmark / Find this article on: …please select Spurl digg It reddit del.icio.us Shadows Blogmarks Blinklist Onlywire Netvouz Scuttle Rawsugar Simpy Blinkbits De.lirio.us Connotea Citeulike Ma.gnolia Talkdigger Maple.nu Feedmelinks Linkagogo Gravee Furl Feedmarker Yahoo Myweb Wink Buddymarks Tagtooga Linkroll Give A Link Igooi Lilisto Netscape.com 1 Jump it up! WoW’s Success: Men in Tights Posted Sep 10, 2006 at 02:00PM by Anna S. Listed in: MMORPG Tags: Coke, Game Conference, BioWare It may sound absurd but the general consensus is that the success of the massively-multiplayer online role-playing game World of Warcraft lies on men in tights. Damion Schubert, Lead Combat Designer, Bioware elaborated on this phenomenon through a talk he gave at the recently concluded Austin Game Conference titled “Moving Beyond Men in Tights.”"I think that we as an industry are very myopic about what people really want, what they’re actually looking for in terms of the innovation side of the industry,” says Schubert. Adding that too many people are focused on replicating the success of World of Warcraft, that being revolutionary goes out the window.He pushes the metaphors further by saying that “WoW is Coke,” and unless you have some Pepsi money you can never topple this giant. But the biggest question is how did WoW become a Coke and everybody else a Pepsi? Is it really the men in tights?Before this goes anymore cockeyed, Sony Online Entertainment game designer, Raph Koster, has narrowed it down to five reasons – combat-oriented, classes, grindtastic, men in tights (of course), and gamey games. Combat-oriented doesn’t necessarily mean that gamers are looking for a new way to whack somebody, but that they are looking for something repetitive. And to quote Koster, “People WANT to play these games for hours and hours a month because this is where they spend their social time.” Classes as Schubert pointed out, makes a lot of sense for the developers. As an example he says if a developer were to add a new skill to a system without class limits, the problem would not be easily solved. “You basically have to compare a billion possible combinations to a billion other possible combinations,” Schubert said. “Classes help keep that under control.” Probably the most irreplaceable of all the ingredients that make up an MMORPG are the experience points and levels. Not only does it allow players to know where they are in the food chain, but also the promise of new abilities, fame, riches, and glory that comes along with it.Men in tights embodies the fantasy genre that majority of MMOs are built on. Schubert expounds on this stating that fantasy is suited to MMO games because it’s ideally suited to the player’s sense of progression. It can start players out against giant rats and move along to orcs, dragons, demons, and other nastier creatures. An admitted gamey guy, Koster has this to say to developers, “Make a world, but dont depend on players finding their own fun. Some enjoy it, but most dont. In the Sims online, there was a way to find the stuff tat was good you dont want users to wade through crap.”If men in tights are really what gamers are looking for, should we stick to the successful men in tights formula? “I’m not saying don’t innovate,” Schubert emphasized. “I’m really not but I really want you guys to be sure that you’re not over-innovating, that you’re not going out of bounds. Be sure that your innovations are things that players want.” [Via gamespot] Permalink  |   Email this  |   Linking Blogs   |   Digg It!   |   Comments [2] Bookmark / Find this article on: …please select Spurl digg It reddit del.icio.us Shadows Blogmarks Blinklist Onlywire Netvouz Scuttle Rawsugar Simpy Blinkbits De.lirio.us Connotea Citeulike Ma.gnolia Talkdigger Maple.nu Feedmelinks Linkagogo Gravee Furl Feedmarker Yahoo Myweb Wink Buddymarks Tagtooga Linkroll Give A Link Igooi Lilisto Netscape.com  First Page   >   Last Page  [...]

  28. [...] Q u o t e:Chris Metzen, Vice President of Creative Development at Blizzard, in an interview with Newsweek (September 18th ’06 issue), when asked to describe World of Warcraft says, "I call it the Technicolor, Americanized version of ‘Lord of the Rings’." This guy is Blizzard’s VP of Creative Development? It’s no wonder World of Warcraft’s lore is hosed. Who passed him the mic anyway? I bet there are more than a few Blizzard imps groaning in the catacombs right now. Way to repost a quote that was taken out of context. While I would agree with your current conclusion, I don’t know that this quote is a valid source to support it. Edit: Link to the Newsweek article: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14757769/site/newsweek/ If you need something to read, this is a much more interesting article from Damion Schubert, Lead Combat Designer for Bioware Austin: http://www.raphkoster.com/2006/09/08/agc-damion-schubert-moving-beyond-men-in-tights/ [...]

  29. [...] http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/RaphsWebsite/~3/20664303/http://www.raphkoster.com/2006/09/08/agc-damion-schubert-moving-beyond-men-in-tights/Damion Schubert, Lead Combat Designer for Bioware Austin The question to answer, why do we keep making grindtastic class-based combat oriented men in tights gamey games? [...]

  30. I can’t believe he dissed Alpha Centauri. Maybe I’m crazy, but I’d play AC over Civ anyday. That not a point relevant to virtual worlds, but it is relevant the considering the realtionship between rules and fiction. Because AC’s fiction resonated with a teleological idea of human civilazation, I find it more interesting than the historical “realism” of Civilization. In other words, AC was about pursueing a specific goal, while Civ’s goals we’re lost in a sort of virtual world-esque realism.

  31. “WoW was soloable”. bingo. people want to play mmos but they want to play by themselves. it’s a reflection of the real world. even the most die-hard extrovert is not going to want to spend more than perhaps 25% of his time every day interracting with folks, and most people want to spend less. this is because of the innate discomfort of the dynamics of human interraction, especially with men, the majority of game players, (social pecking order and other natural conflict/compromise behaviour that forms the foundation of interraction).

    this is exacerbated in mmmos, where there is a substantially diminished penalty for aggressive, anti-social behaviour, and where the benefits to being the “alpha male/female” in a particular group are more immediate(loot prefs, group leadership, etc). the simple truth that mmo makers don’t want to acknowledge, apparently, is that many folks want to do “their thing” alone, to develp their character’s abilities and personality, so that they can then be strong members of their on-line “society”, so that they are “prepared” to deal with the social interractions that mmo’s force, and so that they gain the respect of their on-line peers sufficiently to fend off or diffuse conflict situations before they happen.

  32. [...] A couple of MMO design keynotes from AGC A couple of interesting transcripts from the AGC of interest to MMO players: Damion Schubert – Bioware Rob Pardo – Blizzard Interesting reading I’m sure you’ll agree… Now, discuss… __________________ Visit http://www.anarchyonline.org for all your Testlive needs. AO Character Skill Emulator AO Implant Layout Helper Znore: can’t believe I am watching a tv show about toilets [...]

  33. In response to:
    “1. Combat-oriented
    Combat is scalable. You can go from solo up to raids, with the same experience. It also escalates in complexity.”

    False. Solo to raids is not the same experience with more complexity. Yes, technically, its combat and it gets more complex. But, you left out the social factors involved in going from playing with yourself to being deeply strategically involved with 39(plus) other people both in intense bursts in-game then as well out of game (message boards, organization) a social construct for more raiding.

    Looking at the game as a social construct raiding is one odd beast. Solo combat play is simple, you *do* have social interactions, but they are limited in scope and under your control. Think of it as being a contractor. Grouping is a normal social construct, mirrored in several real-life structures. Think of it as typical programming team. A group of people from 4-8 gets together and tries to accomplish a specific task. I remember back from my management classes that 5-6 was the optimal team size. What’s really nice in game is that if one person who is filling a certain role is an idiot or a jerk, it’s really easy to replace them compared to a real life team. But still, people make teams, committees, work groups all the time at work, in the PTA, at church, for a charity drive, etc. But who forms up into tightly knit teams of 40, taking on roles that are different than the ones they usually perform on a regular basis?

    The only two I can think of, are programming sweatshops at crunch time, and the military. Ironically, this works out nicely to the background on who makes them, and the two most successful types at playing them. However, the majority of humanity not only doesn’t find this natural, but also given a choice in real life tends to actively avoid these environments. I’ll grant military as the exception, but I think MMO market share in the military is already high. You need things that appeal to the regular people market. AKA that’s what WoW did.

    Then there are the usual social interaction issues. It’s far easier to socially interact as a solo/contractor. Issues in management and in finding a group that’s fun to work with are more intense but can usually be worked out with 4-8 people. However, this takes effort. Finding 3-7 other people that share your free time schedule, and are enjoyable can be hard, but should be possible for the average person. Now, finding a well-managed group of 40+, where you find each of the other 39(plus) a delight to work with … is ridiculous. Granted the increase in “complexity”, but the increase in social stress is enormous once you get over the group size that people naturally prefer is huge (ever manage a team of 40 in real life? without any sub managers or team leads?). Raids make people work closer together in larger numbers that people (in the general non-gamer sense) can handle naturally. Most people (myself included) who have raided consider the “combat” challenges going from group to raid to be either minimal or sometimes raiding to be *easier* combat. However, the social and organizational changes in going from grouping to raiding are huge.

    Generally, this is why personality types that either find military organization fun and/or normal and types who are goal oriented (those who would boil themselves in oil for an upgrade) seem to “enjoy” raiding. It’s pretty clear the systems are looked at from the standpoint of technical game “combat” challenges, not from the social organizational standpoint.

    IMHO, I really wish the any developer working on any game system which intends for players to work closely with one another in any team size greater than 1 would be forced to:

    a) Go take basic group management classes given by any training outfit that usually trains for Fortune 100 companies
    b) Have server at least one tour, not in a combat unit, but in logistics

    A is easy, B harder, esp. in the “new” military. But, after “B” I also wish they would reflect on what percentage of thier target audience would find that “fun”.

    I would prefer “combat” above solo to start asking:
    “What would be the best (and most fun) way to involve X people working together to whack this mole? How can we put that structure in the game?”
    to
    “How can we design a better mole that takes X more people working together to whack it?”

  34. [...] Recently, a group of game developers got together in Austin to discuss the future of multiplayer, online games. In particular, many designers were concerned about innovation within the genre. Damion Schubert a game designer from Bioware posted his thoughts on the matter. Here is the link. [...]

  35. I can’t believe he dissed Alpha Centauri. Maybe I’m crazy, but I’d play AC over Civ anyday. That not a point relevant to virtual worlds, but it is relevant the considering the realtionship between rules and fiction. Because AC’s fiction resonated with a teleological idea of human civilazation, I find it more interesting than the historical “realism” of Civilization. In other words, AC was about pursueing a specific goal, while Civ’s goals we’re lost in a sort of virtual world-esque realism.

    Yeah, but you’re the sort of person who uses the word “teleological” in a comment thread about games. I don’t think he is talking about you; you’re a tiny subset of the market. :)

  36. False. Solo to raids is not the same experience with more complexity. Yes, technically, its combat and it gets more complex. But, you left out the social factors involved in going from playing with yourself to being deeply strategically involved with 39(plus) other people both in intense bursts in-game then as well out of game (message boards, organization) a social construct for more raiding.

    Sure, it’s very different. But I think Damion was referencing the following points of commonality:

    - It’s still the same underlying code
    - It’s still “fighting things.”

    That’s very different from the contrary to what he is referencing, which is the creation of an alternate game altogether.

  37. even the most die-hard extrovert is not going to want to spend more than perhaps 25% of his time every day interracting with folks

    What a fascinating comment. I don’t suppose you have supporting data for that statistic? Or a reliable definition of “extrovert”?

    this is because of the innate discomfort of the dynamics of human interraction

    Last I checked, the definition of “extrovert” was a lack of this discomfort. But I could be wrong.

  38. What a fascinating comment. I don’t suppose you have supporting data for that statistic? Or a reliable definition of “extrovert”?

    thank you :)

    only 38 years of observation, so i guess you should assume an “ime” in there. perhaps i should qualify what i mean by “interacting with folks” – specific original conversation. not being in the presence of other folks, not lecturing or dictation (one sided recitation). i mean active conversation and negotiation, devoid of the comfort of the familliar and the constancy of learned responses to repeated promptings that form much of our interraction with our immediate peer groups.

    as far as a definition of extrovert, dictionary.com says nothing of a “lack of discomfort”, but rather one who enjoys the company of others. just as a thrill seeker enjoys the “discomfort” of dangerous activities, an extrovert is going to find enjoyment in the inherent aspects of social activites, and those will include the uncomfortable aspects as well.

    i am taking it as a given that the individuals i am speaking of are in the subset of the population that are going to be inclined to play mmos in the first place. perhaps that should have been clarified, although it seems self-evident to me, considering where we are and what i was responding to. perhaps i am succumbing to stereotypes, but i don’t imagine that a large percentage of the potential mmo public is going to be comprised of extreme extroverts, since i would think such an individual would find the limitations of online gaming to be unsatisfactory compared to the benefits of real-life interaction.

    due to the nature of online games, i am saying also as a premise that the interaction between players is only relevant, as pertaining to groups vs. solo, when the interaction -is- active (there is only limited at best impact on behavior in games by “body language” since there is nothing more than simple emotes to communicate it, which is in itself active interaction).

  39. even the most die-hard extrovert is not going to want to spend more than perhaps 25% of his time every day interracting with folks

    What a fascinating comment. I don’t suppose you have supporting data for that statistic? Or a reliable definition of “extrovert”?

    I don’t know if it is supporting data but there is some data…keep in mind that the BLS data here

    http://www.bls.gov/news.release/atus.nr0.htm

    http://www.bls.gov/news.release/atus.t11.htm

    is defining ‘socializing’ as a leisure activity, not something that happens during work. Some snippets:

    –Watching TV was the leisure activity that occupied the most time
    (2.6 hours per day), accounting for about half of leisure time on
    average, for both men and women. By contrast, the next most common
    leisure activity, socializing–such as visiting with friends or
    attending or hosting social events–accounted for only about three-
    quarters of an hour per day for both men and women.

    –On an average day in 2005, nearly everyone (96 percent) age 15 and
    over reported some sort of leisure or sports activity, such as watching TV, socializing, or exercising. Among this group of participants, men spent more time doing leisure activities (5.7 hours) than women (5.0 hours). (See table 1.)

    –On average, individuals spent 33 percent more time (1.8 additional
    hours) in leisure and sports activities on weekend days than weekdays.The biggest proportional gain was in socializing time; individuals spent double the time socializing and communicating on weekend days than on weekdays. In absolute terms, individuals increased their TV watching and socializing times by about the same amount; they watched TV for 42 more minutes and socialized for 35 more minutes on weekend days than on weekdays. (See table 11.)

  40. I think you’re thoroughly abusing the term “discomfort” to mean anything that most people you imagine would dislike.

    only 38 years of observation, so i guess you should assume an “ime” in there.

    My observations have been that people tend to actively seek out others for socialization even in online games and especially on the Internet. I think the high number of non-raiding guilds would speak to the desire of people to socialize and engage in politics.

    Now, is that extroversion? I don’t know. Most models of players include some variation on Bartle’s Socializer, but that doesn’t imply that these people who aren’t forced together, but still spend most of their time together, are extroverted in the slightest.

    I recently told someone I was an introvert. His immediate response was, “Bulls***”. He proceeded to explain that extroversion/introversion was a matter of circumstance, and shifted based on where you were and who you were with.

    specific original conversation

    That qualifer was really necessary in your original point. Ironically, I don’t think that most forced group mechanics require this.

    the individuals i am speaking of are in the subset of the population that are going to be inclined to play mmos in the first place

    You don’t know any MMO player who acts extroverted? It’s very surprising, who ends up playing these things. I’m convinced some of them are more extroverted than even the most extreme I’ve seen in person.

    So, back to your original post:

    the simple truth that mmo makers don’t want to acknowledge, apparently, is that many folks want to do “their thing” alone, to develp their character’s abilities and personality

    Here’s the weird thing. It’s not possible to RP alone. You can’t develop personality alone. It needs other people. Abilities? Sure. How many people are RPing as the solo? Why should they? People don’t bother. You don’t see people chatting up the unresponsive mob while they wipe the floor with them.

    What people do not want to do is be forced into groups. They want to pick and choose their companions, to partner with them only when they want to, to socialize with them on their terms, etc. It has nothing to do with soloing. Groups aren’t a failed mechanic just because everyone hates them; they would work perfectly fine if done properly. I cite again Dragonrealms as an example, where there is rarely an actual need to train together… but it’s more fun when you do because there’s someone to talk to, to cooperate with, to help out, etc. It’s not frictional, like “specific original conversation”. But it’s extroverted. It’s mostly just “hanging out”.

  41. [...] Any comment about Damon’s Seminar at AGC? [...]

  42. But I have yet to see any major computer game that provides a number of adventures out-of-the-box, but also allows people to create their own adventures and then upload them to the servers for anyone to play.

    Neverwinter Nights? I don’t see how you could come any closer to your ideal with current tech.

    There are certainly a number of persistent NWN servers around that become quite like a mini-MMO with a number of hardcore players and DMs making it fun for them. Perhaps they could make the persistence a little easier to manage, but it’s pretty damned good . . .

  43. think you’re thoroughly abusing the term “discomfort” to mean anything that most people you imagine would dislike

    “thoroughly abusing”? that hardly seems a fair analysis, although i don’t understand what the rest of your sentence is trying to convey, or in what manner it rises above simple ad hom.

    That qualifer was really necessary in your original point. Ironically, I don’t think that most forced group mechanics require this

    in my experience they do. you must do what the group wishes, you must act the role that your character is forced by design and expected by the group to play, you must constantly interract over the direction and character of the “experience”.-shrug- that’s my experience in mmos.

    Here’s the weird thing. It’s not possible to RP alone. You can’t develop personality alone. It needs other people. Abilities? Sure. How many people are RPing as the solo? Why should they? People don’t bother. You don’t see people chatting up the unresponsive mob while they wipe the floor with them.

    i don’t agree. you can most certainly RP alone because you are not really alone, you are observing the actions of your toon, and therefore are the audience to your own activities, your own “roleplaying”. that is an intrinsic element of pure “play” and every 4 year old child with dolls or action figures knows this instinctively, whereas many mmo devs have apparently forgotten it.

    you can develop your online “personality” alone in areas of conflict resolution and general confidence in your abilities and in the process develop how you will present your character to other players, which is the fundamentals of “personality”, presenting yourself to others, and crafting how that presentation is perceived.

    the importance of the solo experience, and the validity of RP’ing alone, is further borne out by the sales figures of games like oblivion. millions of people are enjoying and have enjoyed roleplaying on their own for decades, ever since wizardry and ultima and even tunnels and trolls, iirc (a paper/dice game that allowed solo play).

    people want to play something they can feel strong in, powerful and capable, able to make a difference and be respected for that difference that they make. that’s the lesson the mmo designers don’t want to learn – they feel that if they acknowledge that then they are going to be catering to a “Select minority of power gamers”. what they fail to recognize is that in solo play, accomplishments can be measured by an individual’s yardstick based on factors other than “uberness” (god i hate that term) given a world with sufficient complexity of design and freedom of action.

  44. Raph said:

    Sure, it’s very different. But I think Damion was referencing the following points of commonality:

    - It’s still the same underlying code
    - It’s still “fighting things.”

    That’s very different from the contrary to what he is referencing, which is the creation of an alternate game altogether.

    No, I disagree with his inital statement of that as the status quo. I’ll requote his initial paragraph for better clarity.

    Combat is scalable. You can go from solo up to raids, with the same experience. It also escalates in complexity. Lots of folks say that MMO combat is easy but they have never walked away from a WoW rogue for a year and then tried to play again and remember how to play the damn thing. Our games teach you how to play gradually and you forget how much you have learned. Combat scales very gracefully. You don’t need combat but you do need the escalation and the scalability.

    My points, going through that paragraph sentence by sentence.
    Combat is scalable, but the scalability going from group to raid content is not scaling in combat, but scaling in social systems.

    Solo to raids is NOT the same experience. It may use the same code, sure, but people have to radically shift what mental “code” they are using.

    I agree with the next two sentences, the player does learn the capabilities of thier character over time, and playing some can be complex.

    Combat does not scale gracefully when you account for social factors. My whole previous post was expounding on this fact, and why.

    He goes on to say that you need the escalation and scalability. So, for any future game systems, I hold with my last two suggestions. Make sure you take group management classes to better understand how people best organize and function together (hopefully enjoyably even with challange) in groups. Also, if you want to stretch the number of players you chose to throw at a problem (be it combat or other), work or hobby in military logistics. Its about the only area I can think of that has functional, study-able (thats not a word I bet) answers for those social structures.

    I also am making the point that it takes military style organization to handle the challenges posed by requiring groups of players to work together *closely* to provide the final level of ascalation currently in combat-oriented status quo MMOs due to the number of participants required and design of the encounters (well most of them). While enjoyable for a subset of the general population, this escalation won’t sell to a more general populace. So, when you take this method of scalability and apply it to a non-combat system (presumable more appealing to non-military types), IMHO results are going to be potentially rejected. As it is, raiding is rejected by a measurable subset of current MMO players. Many MMO raiders don’t think the game gives them the tools for the job either. I am not aware of any raiding operation that don’t rely on heavily integrated UI, monitoring tools and alternate voice and text channels for coordination. Of those tools, only alternate text channels are actually part of the game.

    The status quo of combat scaling just isn’t nearly as rosy as painted. Mainly since people tend to view the combat system as a non-social system in the MMO (IMHO a huge mistake esp. in the group to raid transition). And, applying the same tools for escalation and complexity to other non-combat systems in other games (due to a more varied target audience), might end badly unless social factors in group scalability aren’t addressed. The limit isn’t the code, its the player. :)

  45. in what manner it rises above simple ad hom.

    I apologize on that one. It was an incomplete thought, but it wasn’t intended as an ad hominem. Irrelevant to the discussion now.

    you must do what the group wishes

    Yeesh, now it’s action, not conversation. I can’t keep up with the fluidity of your argument.

    people want to play something they can feel strong in, powerful and capable, able to make a difference and be respected for that difference that they make.

    So why don’t they become strong, powerful, and capable, make differences and gain respect? Why does a game need to make believe that it’s true? Is it so damningly untrue that you need something to facilitate a fantasy of it?

    Shouldn’t games instead facilitate the process, which is done by actually learning to get along with people, instead of puffing yourself up?

    the importance of the solo experience, and the validity of RP’ing alone, is further borne out by the sales figures of games like oblivion.

    Then, question: should we design MMORPGs to play like Oblivion?

    I’ve had a revelation. It’s very difficult to give someone their power fantasy when there happen to be other people around. They kinda get in the way, unless they’re being stepped on. No wonder soloing is better. It makes sure other people aren’t (too) hurt when you live out your dream of being Galactus the cosmic worldcrusher.

    that’s the lesson the mmo designers don’t want to learn

    If the solo play is so important, then play a single-player game. If you need acknowledgement or social status, put up a high score board with a spatially-differentiated chatroom. Or a message board. It wouldn’t be any different.

  46. Hechicera –

    Combat is, as of yet, the most scalable system that exists in COOP play in any MMO – and I define coop play as people playing together, at the same time, to accomplish a goal. Yes, the tactics change, and differ between playing solo vs. playing a group, but this is a good thing – it helps create a variety of game experiences for the same class or character template. Besides, fighting solo SHOULD feel different than fighting in groups.

    It is absolutely true that combat at the high end of group size starts to break down for social issues, as well as balance concerns related to zerging. These are areas where a game that stated they were going to compete in the combat space would be wise to innovate on.

    That being said: if you’ve taken part in a successful Shadowbane siege, DAoC castle attack or even a WoW battleground, these are definitely capable of providing some of the greatest and most memorable moments in your MMO. Improving your game’s capability to provide these reliably is very wise.

  47. I agree with the first paragraph, and the second too with reservations. I think the scaling from solo to group (size 4-8) is everything you said combat scaling was in your talk. It works. I agree it’s the group sizes in the second paragraph, and yes since the scaling there isn’t nearly so “smooth” that’s where innovation should be focused.

    Well, I skipped SB. But, I have played your other two, with quite a long run in DAoC. No memorable experiences were generated for me from that content (castle attacks, battlegrounds). You are right though; they did provide memorable experiences for some. Ironically, I found the low level battlegrounds in DAoC initially more compelling than castle raids or WoW BGs. There was even a contingent of us who would regularly re-roll alts to enjoy the low end BGs in DAoC. My most memorable DAoC event involved 4 people, hard-fought intense tactics, PvP, was completely spontaneous and had an unexpected outcome. The enjoying PvP part was odd for me since I don’t like PvP as much as PvE and I put the success of this experience down to the strength of DAoCs PvP design.

    I did enjoy my first few sieges and BGs, and even raids (EQ1). I did not enjoy subsequent ones, though I participated in many. If it’s relevant, I test strongly as an explorer type on Bartle’s stuff. Depending on the degree of management of the event, and the luck (or lack) of my social affection for my co-raid members … I find large group encounters to vary from socially survivable to socially excruciating. I am glad I saw the content, but as a retired engineering female with management experience, I’m overly sensitive to both bad management and forced socialization with large groups of people whose company I do not enjoy. Added frustration was due to my thoughts that, if care had been taken in planning the social aspects of large group encounters, I might have found experiencing that content less onerous. I grumpily had to admit to myself that many of those (stupid) management classes they made me take long ago, not only were relevant but my MMO life would have been more fun if every large guild member had been forced to attend them as well. =P

    But you know, I have had wildly fun, memorable large group (combat even – though my role was non-combat) experiences in “MMO”s. It was a spontaneous NPC invasion in a text MMO (Gemstone – waaaay back when), and since unplanned, the ability to have a rigidly planned response was impossible. There was glorious chaos, a zerg (on both sides), balance? (no clue). Sure, military types organized rigidly and attempted to mount a defence (seemed to have fun). I did my stuff (out of combat triage in a small group of other empaths). Others ran about RPing panicing. :) Feasible in modern big MMO design? no clue.

    The combat system does a great job incrementally teaching you to play your character as you say. Nothing teaches players how to work in large groups before they are forced to by content (in current status quo). So, limiting your paragraph two statement to “combat systems” worries me. What is to prevent any future content from ignoring the fact that people just don’t naturally work together in group sizes greater than 4-8 without intense training, discipline, a needed subjugation of individuality, good management and defined structure? And, some people will enjoy that, and some won’t – due to innate differences in personality types. Managers all get trained to know who to keep in small group projects, which guys should remain a contractor due to lack of social integration skills, etc. The games don’t give you training in this. Current group content also has no roles for anyone who won’t fit into the large groups. If I have a great guy, who works best as an independent contractor, there is nothing for me to do with him on a raid. If it weren’t for the good market penetration into the military, I’m not sure if much of MMO current large group encounters could have worked – socially.

    Also, my daughter pointed out there is another group of people who historically form up in large groups. And in this case for entertainment, not combat. She is a concert musician, and she is right dangit. But all musicians can’t handle concert work, many don’t enjoy it. You have soloists, people that love jazz and performing group size work (again that 4-8 size management class teaches you people can naturally adapt to). And the concert is not possible with out a director. Its no fun without a great director.

    But, some people will never be able to function in, or potentially enjoy, large groups. In a large scale event/project/performance etc., if you want them to participate you need roles that they can perform. Soloist or the quartet that opens for the concert in music, independent contractors in business. In the military and current MMOs … *shrug*. Most people find it hard, and thats why they pay managers (and presumably generals and directors). =P Playing in a large group encounter in an MMO is often like working in a badly managed software company (who refuses to train their managers or give them any tools) … in crunchtime if on a raid! Why, oh why, would most normal people chose to do that for fun? How can games design to increase the social accessibility? Combat doesn’t scale smoothly, because people don’t scale smoothly. Taking out the combat doesn’t solve it as you are still left with the people. {inserts stories where people leave game en mass because their guild folded when last guy with good organizational skills either burned out or left for another game here} :)

  48. [...] Damion Schubert, Lead Designer Bioware ber MMORPGs Link Inhalt u.a. – warum sind MMORPGs wie sie sind – Warum WoW so erfolgreich ist ect. [...]

  49. [...] Another interesting article on the future of MMOPRGs Haven’t seen this one posted elsewhere. http://www.raphkoster.com/2006/09/08…men-in-tights/ Some more interesting ideas on MMORPGs and their development in line with the Richard Bartle one. __________________ *I am not a smurf* [...]

  50. [...] AGC: Damion Schubert, Moving Beyond Men in TightsDamion Schubert, Lead Combat Designer for Bioware Austin – The question to answer,"why do we keep making grindtastic class-based combat oriented men in tights gamey games?"Quote"…Im not going to answer because it sells because its a circular argument and a copout. We wont get anywhere if we only do what was done before.Instead, Ill ask why do we need a grind, why do games appear to be winning, why are classes good, and so on.The reason to tackle this is because whenever people decide to make a new game, these are often the first five things people choose to innovate on. But theres a lot of bad innovation from people trying to solve these five problems. So here is explanations for the status quo. My dirty secret is that I like these games getting loot, killing monsters, and in the game vs world debate, I am on the game side.So I am here to explain the status quo, so that we can innovate smarter. We get very myopic as an industry about what people are actually looking for in innovation. This plagues every industry. Take the mobile phone for years the companies have been trying to attach ridiculous stuff to the phones, despite the fact that research shows that nobody cares about anything except size, battery life, and that you didnt call someone when you sat down on it. Then came RAZR and its small, long battery life and a clamshell. Best selling phone in years. Actually listening to the customers and understanding their needs is a core function of game design.Smart innovation is important because theres the 600 lb gorilla called WoW. WoW is Coke they are stomping everyone. Getting 1% of WoW is hard. By the time you finish your game, they will be 3-5 years richer. Unless you have Pepsi money, you cant go head to head. You have to be Red Bull. Or Snapple, although Coke bought SnappleResponses to WoW:- Crazy innovation, stuff that isnt cost effective or that people dont actually want. Ant farming system design that is more interesting to watch than to play.- the producer who says WWWoWD? What would WoW do. We all hate that guy.- Smart innovation. Which is what WoW did. The first game not to release in a shameful state. But more importantly, WoW was soloable. After years of all of us saying but you need grouping. That was their core innovation that gave them the 10x multiplier.1. Combat-orientedThis question comes from outside the industry. Why is everything about fighting, killing orcs? The easy answer is because it sells. Another answer is thats all our industry knows how to make 25 year worth of practice. But also because videogames are a good medium for a visceral experience. The game shelf is a lot like going to a movie rental place where every movie is Die Hard.Combat presents a tactical problem that you are solving in real time. Combat is not the only solution. Take Puzzle Pirates, which replaced combat with puzzles. Compare this to crafting in most games the actual act of crafting is not very interesting. You don[t need combat, but you need the tactical problem.You also need to have a game challenge that is repeatable. People WANT to play these games for hours and hours a month because this is where they spend their social time. Combat doesnt need to be the only activity. Consider Civas a repeatable game, versus Myst which isnt. You dont need combat, but you do need a repeatable experience.If you are making a multiplayer game you need co-op. People talk about PvP first, but the future is co-op play. We talked about solo in WoW, but co-op is still what differentiates us from a single-player game. Crafting you really have to splint to get co-op working on a tactical level. You dont need combat, but you need group play.Combat is scalable. You can go from solo up to raids, with the same experience. It also escalates in complexity. Lots of folks say that MMO combat is easy but they have never walked away from a WoW rogue for a year and then tried to play again and remember how to play the damn thing. Our games teach you how to play gradually and you forget how much you have learned. Combat scales very gracefully. You dont need combat but you do need the escalation and the scalability.... " [Continued]>> Read the full article [Here] [...]

  51. [...] [Game-dev] MMORPGs – Moving Beyond Men in tights La pregunta del millon es: existe un mmorpg ms alla de los calabozos y dragones? de las espadas y hechizos? de las clases y skills? de los niveles y puntos de experiencia? Una metafora que me gusto mucho para explicar como es el mercado actual de los mmorpg es: un videoclub donde todas las peliculas son "Duro de matar" (y algun que otro "Duro de matar 2") http://www.raphkoster.com/2006/09/08…men-in-tights/ http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/new…hp?story=10807 http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/new…hp?story=10813 http://www.gamespot.com/news/6157385.html http://terranova.blogs.com/terra_nov…re_men_in.html http://www.zenofdesign.com/?p=716 __________________ And god said, "Let there be light," and a ClassNotFoundException(Light) was thrown. So god created man in his own image, and regression bugs appeared everywhere. [...]

  52. [...] So we know it’s a fantasy themed game. I don’t care much (at this level) of who writes the lore or who draws the concept art. Who is in charge of game design, instead? Because that’s where the match is going to be played. It’s a game and it needs gaming sensibility. That’s what is relevant in a start up project. The ideas you bring along, the vision and, consequently, if you have the numbers to pull it off. Right now we are in the stage: “we are making something cool, but we cannot say what it is”. Too easy. What about giving an idea? For example, level treadmill or skill based? That would be already something. Then I can be skeptical because it feels not different from those hollywood actors opening restaurants, just in an extravagant new flavor. I won’t doubt of the passion, but creating a MMO is first and foremost shaping up a world and dedicate yourself to it. I’m not so sure that Salvatore or McFarlane want to sacrifice other projects to concentrate on this one. A MMO isn’t something you do in your spare time and quit after a couple of years. It’s a marathon. It requires complete, total dedication and the desire to develop a culture of MMO design that is HARD to find within the genre, even more so outside. This industry needs new blood because what is sure is that we won’t see anything innovating or interesting from the current “players” (meaning those already in the genre, like SOE, Mythic, Funcom, Turbine, Cryptic and so on). But I would suggest everyone to read Damion Schubert’s speech, because there’s a kind of stupid innovation of which noone feels the need of. And the fantasy genre has still A LOT to say. Because till today we have only seen *one way* to portray it, which is extremely superficial and simplistic. The fantasy myth has a lot more to deliver than a power progression, more or less varied, more or less long. You CAN innovate without stepping in other genres because till now we only had ONE point of view on the fantasy genre, cloned between every other game. Games have transformed the fantasy genre into a one dimensional thing. But the fantasy genre isn’t one dimensional. Maybe someone, at some point, will wake up and grab the only licence who is appropriate for an online world. Stormbringer, Elric and the multiverse. I know I did as a starting point for my dream mmorpg. __________________ -HRose / Abalieno cesspit.net [...]

  53. [...] Johnnycig called this out in the thread about the WoW expansion being delayed. I pulled it out into a seperate topic: jonnycig wrote: I have to admitt, I’ve lost my interest in MMORPG games. Pretty much all level grinds, which secretly has me hoping that expansion BOMBS worse then Israel when its pissed. The sooner WoW dies, the sooner developers start thinking of MMO’s as something other then item grinds. That post sorta begs the question: what next? It’s not like jc is the only person asking. The best presentation I’ve seen on this recently was from Damion Schubert at the Austin Game Developer’s Conference, titled “Moving Beyond Men in Tights.” It’s been posted elsewhere but I like Raph Koster’s writeup the best: http://www.raphkoster.com/2006/09/08/agc-damion-schubert-moving-beyond-men-in-tights/ You can also see the slides: http://www.zenofdesign.com/images/MBMIT.zip In my opinion, Damion hits it right on the head. Why do all games have levels and grinding? He answers that by pointing out all the problems that levels and grinding, as game mechanics, solve. If you want to get rid of the mechanic, you have to find different solutions. But you can’t just get rid of the idea without replacing it with something that works just as well. I mean, it’s easy to say, “I’m tired of the grind!” … but zooming through those first 20 or 30 levels in World of Warcraft is FUN. It’s hard to replace that system with something that’s going to feel as satisfying. Anyways … DISCUSS!——————————— Dave “Fargo” Kosak GameSpy.com man of action Massively Multiplayer Games: Beyond the Grind?Rating:Rate This Topic!5 – Best43210 – WorstTopic by: FargoPosted: Oct 24, 06 – 3:29 PMLast Reply: Oct 24, 06 – 3:29 PMForum: Gaming DiscussionGo To: Select ForumGameSpy Forums——————— Active Topics- Online UsersCategory: GameSpy.com——————— Rules and Announcements- Gaming Discussion- GameSpy Talkback- GameSpy Arena Servers- GameSpy Comrade Beta- Feedback- GameSpy Forum RPGs- The Lobby – Misc Discussion- Customer ServiceCategory: GameSpy Daily News——————— In The NewsCategory: GameSpy.com Hosted Sites——————— Dork Tower- Force Monkeys- Get with the Program- Nodwick!- Death MarchCategory: Archived——————— Game of the Year 2001 [Archived]- Game of the Year 2002 [Archived]- Game of the Year 2003 [Archived]- Game of the Year 2004 [Archived]Category: Site Admin——————— Moderator DiscussionReplies: 0Page: 1 ModeratorsPermissionsContact InformationModerated by [P]aradox, Sargasm, Ed Oscuro, Chad!, CoyoteExile, Nyopallo, Angelic, Fishbaugh, fettNew Topics: Members Only.Replies: Members Only.Moderated: No.· Contact Us· Email this page to a friend. [...]

  54. [...] http://www.raphkoster.com/2006/09/08/agc-damion-schubert-moving-beyond-men-in-tights/ I agree with a lot of what he says…but not the idea of rewarding devotion over skill and how he ignores the success of Guild Wars which has sold millions of copies (over 2 million just for Factions…that doesnt count the first campaign) Sure, that’s no WoW but it beats just about everything else and has a radically different business and gameplay model. [...]

  55. [...] Here’s a good read on some MMO design issues. Moving beyond men in tights_________________"It turned into a splidgy splodgy thing and squidged off down the corridor." [...]

  56. [...] Every dev should read Hope link works http://www.raphkoster.com/2006/09/08…men-in-tights/ [...]

  57. [...] Your page is now on StumbleUpon! For each appearance in your referral logs, one of our members has ‘stumbled upon’ your site after clicking “Stumble!” on our toolbar to discover a new great site. Enter Your URL → [...]

  58. [...] Everything the game has to offer should be available without requiring an exclusive choice from the player, and without requiring to be “reached” (the level 50 RvR in DAoC, raid content in EQ and WoW). Which also doesn’t mean that all the game world is completely open without requiring any effort (see “threshold advancement” in Ubiq’s speech). [...]

  59. [...] One of my favorite presentations at an industry event in the last couple of years comes from Damion Schubert, who gave a speech entitled Moving Beyond Men in Tights at the Austin Game Developer’s Conference. Although the speech isn’t available online, summaries are available here at GamaSutra, as well as on Raph Koster’s Blog. A longtime veteran of the MMO scene, Schubert delves into detail about why you see the same sort of combat systems over and over in RPGs and more. Fortunately, there are games that buck the trend. Developers can address a lot of these issues with very cleverly-designed games that focus on the user community as an ongoing hook — EVE Online is a great example (you can check out a free EVE trial at Fileplanet.com). In fact, to get back to reader Rhys and his letter that kicked this whole thing off, he’s been playing a lot of the space epic himself: “I decided to give EVE a try once again – fantastic! Though it’s not a hot brand new title, the developers have made strides in improving its interface, gameplay, everything. It’s quite impressive and it’s quite easy to see that they put care into their player community. It’s a refreshing change.” As always, email me your thoughts.       -Fargo Today’s Geek Stuff: [...]

  60. [...] Minkov" <midiclub xx 8ung.at> escribi en …www.digitalmars.com/d/archives/10279.htmlComments on: AGC: Damion Schubert, “Moving Beyond Men in Tights …Wow, finaly someone I can wholeheartly agree to That’s exactly how I see it. However, the only [...]

  61. [...] think Damion’s men in Tights talk brushes this topic somewhere http://www.raphkoster.com/2006/09/08/agc-damion-schubert-moving-beyond-men-in-tights/ Name Email Website Your [...]

  62. [...] http://www.raphkoster.com/2006/09/08…men-in-tights/ Read that. __________________ -War <HVND> "Ya ever see a sharks eyes chief? Kinda like doll’s eyes." [...]

  63. [...] I’m really excited about being able to customize, but there are interesting counter-arguments beyond the technical hurdle. Top of the list is Damion Schubert’s bit on "tactical transparency" in PvP from his excellent AGC talk last year (Moving Beyond Men in Tights). In short, he claims that combat is more satisfying when you know who your enemy is, what he can do and what your options are. Stylized, class-based armor that everyone wears provides this. I think he’s right at least to some level, although I care more about how my character looks so I’m glad TCoS is trying this, we’ll get to see how it shakes out. It’s a very good talk about why MMO games are all the same and how innovation needs to be carefully applied. Seems like TCoS matches up pretty well with the sentiments. If you haven’t read it, here’s a copy: http://www.raphkoster.com/2006/09/08/agc-damion-schubert-moving-beyond-men-in-tights/ [...]

  64. [...] presentation should give some idea how at least a portion of the team thinks on skills vs levels: Moving Beyond Men in Tights   [...]

  65. [...] threads? There’s still one on the frontpage. See? __________________ Why levels aren’t so bad – Happy sunshine assassin. PVP Done Right Champions Guru, Your One-Stop Shop For Champions Online [...]

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