Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Thirds Rule

I was watching Studio 60 earlier, as usual enjoying it on the whole but lamenting Sorkin's lack of comedic writers on his staff. I started thinking about styles of comedy on sketch show and broke it down into three categories: nonchallenging material (slapstick, poop jokes), challenging material (serious political humor, satire) and avant-garde material (absurdist humor, genre-busting humor). I think a good sketch show needs about equal amounts of all three: you need to make people laugh comfortably, make them laugh while cringing and make them laugh without understanding why. A good multiuser game needs the same sort of diversity of experience: draw them in, challenge them and expand their horizons.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Factions and Alignment

I like the idea of there being two major factions, with the players belonging to minor factions that become aligned with the two major ones. Given enough minor factions, pvp play balance comes down to reshuffling the minor factions to even up the sides.

A player gains minor faction through completing quests. Quest come in dark and light variations. Dark quests push you towards evil and light quests push you towards good. The two major factions are composed of both light and dark elements. Minor factions may require dark, neutral or light alignment, as would certain abilities.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Respecting Playstyle Boundaries

I think there is a place for more explicit boundaries between playstyle interactions. For example, PVE success should have little to no effect on PVP success and vice versa. This includes equipment, levels, skills, spells and all other attributes.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

The Central Tension in Multiuser Worlds

The central tension in multiuser worlds is between a player's conflicting desires to both effect changes in the world experienced by other players while not being unduly subject to the changes wrought by other players. This is a fundamentally unsolvable dilemma.

Two strategies for mitigating the conflict are to reduce the level of impact a player can have on the world or to increase a player's sense of opting in to the impact another player has on her.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

PVP Guilds

Blizzard is apparently creating a parallel mini-guild structure in the expansion for pvp arena teams. I think it would be great to go even further in a game and establish several other parallel guild structures. Friends lists are a simple and common example. But also, a guild structure for crafters/merchants (cartels?). A guild structure for pvp teams in general (armies?). Etc. People need to have more than just one social circle in a game and the game needs to support that.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

PVP Zones

While raiding Ironforge tonight, we ran into the usual situation where the other faction chooses not to flag until we are in disarray from a guard zerg. Imagine instead that there was a way for us to temporarily turn the zone into a contested zone. Perhaps by killing certain key (and reasonably defended) npcs or taking certain points. I'm imagining it as a slow transition from a safe zone to a contested one, giving people who want to opt out of pvp time to evacuate or stop the transition. The contested zone status should also be on a cooldown to prevent a permanent state of seige in what is designed to be a safe place.