Sunday, November 2, 2008

Staying a step ahead

I'd like to propose a game design theorem here. I'm sure it's been stated in one form or another before, but I've really come to realise the truth of it over the last couple of weeks. The theorem is:

Players will try their hardest to make your game suck.

Or, alternately:

Players are like "fun" lemmings walking towards a cliff, and developers need to stop us from hurling ourselves into the abyss of failure.

Players don't WANT to play a shitty game. They don't WANT to ruin their own fun. But they will. Let's take the flavor of the month at the moment, ie WAR. As players, we:

1) Only start exploring all the avenues open to us once hitting the level cap
2) Play scenarios almost exclusively even though we drooled over keep sieges before release
3) Play the same god damn scenario all the time, because it gives us the most points
4) Refuse to learn how to actually win at the scenarios
5) When actually in open RvR, actively make plans to avoid the other team, attacking undefended objectives and keeps. This turns it into an easy PvE raid.
6) Use ridiculous magnet tricks to wtfpwn people with AoE.
7) Use any abilities through keep doors... why can my rune-etched axe connect with 4 guys on the battering ram when I'm behind a door? How can a magnet ability suck players through a solid object? For real.

We will do all this to ourselves and more given the chance. The only thing that can stop us from walking off that cliff is the developers. They need to predict the idiotic things that we will do, and they need to recognise the things that they failed to predict, and they need to fix them! Eg:

1) Make it faster to get to cap. People are bitching about not being able to play with each other. That's because we're all strung out in levels. People don't want to spend time "having fun" because they don't think it's the "real game" until they get to the end. Just let us all get there already so we can play together.
2) Make open RvR as accessible as scenarios. Yes, this means a really simple UI tool that pairs you up with other players that want to open RvR! Regardless of which character they're on, which region, or what they're currently doing.
3) Make it only possible to "Join All" when you enter the scenario queue, and fix your randomiser.
4) Before being allowed to queue for each scenario, make players run a single player once-off instance vs NPC bots that they can't beat unless they have a rudimentary understanding of the map.
5) Give bonuses for keep capture in particular areas in the lower tiers, to force players to run into each other more.
6) Nerf stupid magnet crap... limit the number of players who can be affected to, *maybe*, 3. Or just change the ability altogether, it's ridiculous.
7) Don't let abilities work through walls at all, it doesn't make any sense.

In summary Mythic, help us. We're stupid (but not as stupid as you if you don't help us).

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