Psychochild's Blog

A developer's musings on game development and writing.

5 November, 2011

The importance of sharing
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 6:34 PM

It’s funny the things that developers get fixated on in games. One persistent worry is of “twinking” or “power leveling”, the process of giving items or helping other people to a level beyond their own. There seems to be this irrational fear of people somehow “not earning” the stuff they get in a game. This results in a lot of strange game mechanics that may seem typical for a long-time MMO player, but that may stick out as unusual for someone not already steeped into MMOs.

Let’s take a look at how it seems that some designers think sharing is a bad thing in MMOs.

Fear of communicable ideas

The main problem seems to be that developers expect players to play the game exactly as intended. Traditional subscription-based theme park MMOs pride themselves in the experience, and short-circuiting that experience outside of official designer-sanctioned ways is forbidden. This is why you can’t earn experience when grouping with your high level friend, and grouping with your low-level friend is pointless for them. This inability to share xp is despite the fact that experience required for level increases each level, often exponentially as in the original D&D. The funny thing is this mechanism in the tabletop game let new characters starting at level 1 get back up near average levels quickly, but is now a way to make the player have a (some would say false) feeling of progression; the brown rat at level 1 gives 10 xp, the green rat at level 10 gives 1000 xp, so the character must be getting more powerful! (Even though characters need 100x [or more!] the xp at level 10 than the did at level 1, so nothing has really changed.)

This philosophy extends to good equipment, too. The early DIKU-inspired MMOs implemented “No Drop”/”Soulbound” items that couldn’t be given to other characters (but usually could be sold to NPCs just fine). Even though power creep happens in these games all the time, the modern designer seems to believe that there must be systems in place to prevent players from giving good equipment to other players without them “earning” it through gameplay.

Share with the whole group

The obvious solution is to stop punishing grouping and let everyone benefit from participating in the same gameplay. Instead of worrying about xp splits, tagging monsters, loot rights, and all that, let all players share from the rewards of an encounter.

This is hardly a novel idea; one of the big innovations that Dark Age of Camelot introduced was the idea that everyone in the party could get a quest drop. Yeah, this lead to strange situations where all 6 people claimed some poor guy’s head (he was secretly a hydra), but it made gameplay smoother. Of course, this is the same game where people complained about healers coming by and throwing a friendly heal on someone not in their party, because it would result in the person healed losing xp and the healer “leeching” those extra points. Later LotRO also had a similar system, but the “stolen” xp just went away instead of being awarded to the interloper. But, because of xp sharing rules like this we get some pretty definite (and to some convoluted) social conventions in online games regarding assistance and grouping in many games.

But, as I said in the above article, there’s no reason why we have to stick to a typical party structure for rewards. Why not give bonuses to anyone who contributes to the fight. It makes the game more fun for people, it adds a cooperative element to the game, and the person who gets assistance doesn’t get frustrated by others nearby.

We tell kids to share, then provide terrible examples

I’m reminded of a friend of mine who was consulting for a kids-focused MMO. The designers were discussing ways to prevent kill-stealing, and my friend explained that kill-stealing is a very adult concept. Generally kids want to jump in and help others. In fact, we tell them that it’s a good thing to share with others and help others out when they need the help. It’s funny, then, that the designers of a kids game were so worried about preventing this instead of looking at ways to encourage kids to share and help one another.

If games really do have a positive effect on people, then we should be looking for ways to encourage positive lessons.

Sharing done right

So, what game did sharing right? I’ll pick Meridian 59 here since I’m familiar with it. Most equipment was commodity and relatively easy to get. This meant that giving items to a less experienced characters didn’t give them a huge advantage. It might give them a small edge, but often a character’s ability mattered much more than equipment. Truly rare items were prized by the players and treated carefully, lest they be lost in PvP combat.

The advancement rules didn’t rely on an xp bar, instead you got hit points from killing things and spell percents by casting the spells. Even hitting a monster gave you a small bonus toward earning your next hp (a random chance where the chance got larger as you killed enemies). Since you were encouraged to cast spells on others to improve them, it was common to walk into a bar and come out with a fresh set of buffs. Sure, they weren’t the most powerful and might not last a long time, but they were something.

Of course, the fly in the ointment here is the fact that PvP rules set this askew with how people could affect others. But, the PvP focus really meant that the cooperative PvE game didn’t need any incentives to screw people over.

Sharing done right… a modern example

Okay, so what about a game that isn’t over a decade old? Let me refer to my current MMO interest, Dungeons & Dragons Online (DDO).

Grouping is encouraged, but not strictly required in DDO. I prefer to group, but I score high on Socializer motivations. I also think it’s more interesting to do a quest with a group of other people than to run the same content repeatedly.

When a group does a quest together in DDO, nobody loses anything from others being there as long as they are all within an appropriate level range for the quest. (Okay, your group can do something stupid to cost you some of the bonus xp, such as dying or leaving and re-entering, but we’ll ignore that for sake of this discussion.) Full xp is awarded to each person for completing the quest, and chests will spawn more loot for each person that opens it, so you lose nothing. In fact, if you’re looking for a particular item it benefits you to take along others, since they have a chance to get the item you’re looking for and might be persuaded to trade it to you. This worked to my favor in one quest, where a high level person was going through a high level quest I needed, and was offering a rich reward to pass him a specific item he needed. He was more than happy to drag along other warm bodies, particularly ones that didn’t need the item, in exchange for a bigger chance to get the item. So, DDO does sharing right… for the most part.

The other side of the coin

DDO also has some special events related to holidays. Around Halloween, they have an event called The Mabar Endless Night Festival (often just called “Mabar” for short). There are two stages, one where you have to collect items to turn in to activate a raid, then a giant PUG raid where you get a special item you need to improve the event-specific loot you can acquire.

Let me touch upon the raid quickly. Okay, ignoring the fact that you could have idiots in the raid with you that mess things up and how leading a large group of unaligned people is worse than herding cats (I prefer herding the cats, really), the raid itself shares the DDO philosophy. If you kill the boss without the failure conditions coming to pass, everyone gets the special item. Imagine if the game only awarded it to the person who got the killing blow… it would be impossible to finish the raid because everyone would just be trying to kill the dragon instead of cooperating.

But, the part before the raid is where the game design breaks down. As you kill undead that spawn in a normally peaceful graveyard area, you get drops. Turn in the drops for special event currency (“motes of night”) that you need to purchase the event-specific loot. The currency is not bound, so a lot of people farm it to sell to others. The problem is that only one person can get awarded the drop.

As far as I understand and have tested the rules, the first character to damage a creature gets the chance for the drop, no matter who kills the creature. Larger groups attract larger groups of enemies, and drops are shared with anyone in a group. So, one strategy is to get a large group together and kill monsters while staying together to attract large spawns. (Although it seems that people who use AoE abilities do get at least a slightly better chance to get the drops.)

But, as I said, only one person gets the chance to get a drop. That means that the best strategy for accumulating a lot of the currency is to stand near a group you’re not a part of, unleash an AoE as soon as you can hit the monsters, then let the group finish it off. You get all the drops with minimal investment, the other group gets nothing. The obvious fix would be to give anyone who participated in fighting a monster the chance to get an item. Just like nearly every other element of the game, this would encourage more cooperation instead of the competition and hurt feelings that seem to happen in this event.

Why not change?

This seems like another instance where game designers fall into familiar patterns instead of really considering the effect of a game design. Even within a game that seems to emphasize people sharing and cooperating instead of competing, you still have a system like the Mabar event that has arcane rules that creates a sense of competition.

So, what do you think? Doesn’t it seem obvious that we can have people working together just fine, even if not in the structure of a traditional party? Is there any reason why we need to keep around rules dealing with kill-stealing, xp splits, and all that other stuff? If so, what situations would be enhanced by these systems?


  1. Apparently in Diablo 3, each member of a group will have individual loot that they can see, but nobody else cannot. So, assuming that said group is in agreement with each other, you can double (etc) your chances of enemies dropping the particular random loot that you want by grouping together. Or, you know, you can choose NOT to give your Barbarian friend that epic axe and secretly sell it on the AH without causing drama (“Hey, was that a Barbarian axe that just dropped?!”). I like that system.

    As for why designers go out of their way to stymie grouping, the easy answer is exploitation/unfairness. The Molten Front dailies in WoW had a quasi-open group system where you got kill credit for dealing 1 damage to mobs other people were fighting, and you didn’t even have to be grouped with them. Instead of emergent social behavior, that typically led to people just going around spamming 1-damage attacks on mobs other people were fighting and getting full credit. As the player attacking the mob, it annoys me MORE to know someone is leeching my kills than it would if they were straight-up tapping mobs before I could attack.

    And let’s face it: if it was more efficient to level in a group, that would encourage power-leveling in Stockades rather than traditional side-kicking. Maybe the social connections of power-leveling would outweigh the negatives that come from bypassing all the leveling content (ability pacing, establishing sunk costs, etc), but I find that scenario more likely to simply result in LESS social behavior, rather than more. Can’t get more asocial than “LF 85 for Stocks power-level run, 200g a reset, pst.”

    Comment by Azuriel — 5 November, 2011 @ 8:26 PM

  2. Isn’t it funny how attitudes towards sharing in MMORPG design mirror those in real life? :P People just don’t get sophisticated concepts such as “it doesn’t cost you anything” or “let others have fun their own way”. This isn’t a game design issue, it’s a cultural issue.

    Comment by Felix Plesoianu — 6 November, 2011 @ 12:04 AM

  3. Where people encouraged to group, they group most of the time. Where people are discouraged from grouping, they still group sometimes, and look for ways to circumvent “anti-grouping mechanics”.

    Asocial? It’s funny, I clearly remember those lvl 50-60 in Stockades or Deadmines, helping people at the end of Vanilla. Most of them didn’t want gold – gold was actually pretty hard to come by for newbies at that point. They were helping friends or guildmates, or were just bored when group call came up – and it created positive connection with other people in same group, since they were on same server. I don’t think you can get “working with strangers” much more social in MMO. You couldn’t even summon higher level people using summoning stones, so they had to ride all the way to dungeon entrance.
    That practice was killed by Dungeon Finder in Wotlk.

    And i also remember “powerleveling” where lvl 70 pulled whole Scarlet Cathedral, dotted everything in sight, and had ~lvl40 tap them with aoe spell once while lvl70 left dungeon to give full xp credit. Only ever done for guildmates since the process was really tedious, and dungeon was really far from Alliance hubs, so it wasn’t too common.

    Comment by Shalcker — 6 November, 2011 @ 12:23 AM

  4. I really never know where to go with this one. I’ve played under most of the systems you describe and lots of others too and I can’t honestly say it’s ever made much difference. I personally dislike systems that reward everyone for participating. A huge part of the fun of MMOs for me is the part where you kill the monster and find out what he had. If it turns out he has a present for all of you it turns the whole thing from an adventure to a visit to Santa’s Grotto in a department store.

    Similarly, rolling on loot after a fight adds value for me as a player and is much better for roleplaying. I find it much more helpful for immersion if, having fought our way into the heart of a dungeon and defeated the evil overlord, as a group we then assess what treasure we have found and decide through a combination of discussion, agreement and casting lots who should get what than if a mysterious force from beyond simply distributes items to us.

    That said, it clearly doesn’t help immersion or roleplaying at all if five people have a quest to take the head of a bandit chief and they have to kill him five times, waiting 20 minutes between each kill for him to rise from the dead. I’d avoid that, however, by not giving a physical token to update such quests at all. Why do all members of the group need to have the head in their bag when they return to claim the award? I’d be happy in those kind of quests for the questgiver just to take my word for it.

    Overall, I’d prefer to permit of out-of-party healing, buffing and assistance but give no in-game benefit at all to the out-of-party party for doing it. I’d hope this would allow for altruistic or roleplayed participation while discouraging leeching and greed. It would, of course, open the door for powerleveling, but PLing isn’t something that especially bothers me. I’d keep all material and progression rewards strictly with in the group.

    I also would not provide any incentives intended to make any particular playstyle appear more optimal than any other. I would allow people to choose whether they preferred to solo, duo or group up based on whatever efficiencies or pleasures they felt they could derive from those choices. In other words, if you think you can kill six times as many orcs in a five man group than you could alone, then it’s in your interest to group. If you can only kill five times the number, then grouping is neutral. If you only kill four times as many, you would profit more from soloing those orcs.

    Put the decision directly in the hands of the players. A very efficient and skilled group will progress much faster than even an equally efficient and skilled soloist, but a mediocre group would slow that same soloist down. I don’t think there should be a reward just for hanging around in a gang.

    Comment by bhagpuss — 6 November, 2011 @ 4:46 AM

  5. Coming back to post question…

    From my experience, non-competitive approach (sharing) results in friendlier communities.

    Competitive approach results in higher perceived value of things you “earn”.

    Neither is strictly superior.

    Perhaps good way to do it is to be cooperative all the way to top, where you can introduce competitive elements to players already heavily invested into game.

    Comment by Shalcker — 6 November, 2011 @ 8:31 AM

  6. I really dislike the powerlevel fear that seems evident in most games. Often my friends aren’t the same level as me, and in most games, that meant that you couldn’t do stuff together. So what if some dude was so obsessed with hitting the cap in four days?

    Really, Brian’s best moment in this post is the discussion of “theme park” and a “right way” to do content. This shows up in the constant nerfage of sneaking, which came to be referred to as “bypassing content”. Whereas I always thought of it as “fun”. It also showed up in the EQ2 raiding scene as scripted fights, where raids ended up being line dances.

    So I think the focus on “leeching” is getting down into the weeds. MMO designers would benefit from GMing a tabletop game, where they would discover that when they do the very programmatic thing, it is derided as “railroading”.

    Comment by Toldain — 6 November, 2011 @ 11:52 AM

  7. *scratches head*
    I don’t understand why sharing and competition need be mutually exclusive. Forcing people to worry about mob tagging (competition) and giving credit for merely participating (sharing) are too binary as results. Why not a % of how much contribution took place? Only 1 head to take back to town to claim a reward? Let only 1 dude take it, but the turn-in carries credit for all who took place in the kill. This could be a tangent in and of itself :(
    It’s like society today: law for this, law for that, law to take into consideration the unexpected outcomes of law 132553… why not just focus on the design, get the game smooth and polished, and ship? Breed your playerbase (as any good designer should) into playing in a manner that you ‘approve’ of. All these systems and mechanics that ‘take into consideration’ a given scenario are often remedies to effects, not causes.
    Lastly: I echo Felix’s statement. Nothing to add.

    Comment by Ahtchu — 6 November, 2011 @ 2:25 PM

  8. How loot is assigned and how it can be distributed is really something that can encourage or discourage grouping.
    I like the “non-soulbound” random drops from a boss chest that Guild Wars does. Everyone has a chance to get something that can be traded to other players if they want it. There is no competition for one drop or DKP ruleset or /roll necessary and everyone has a chance to get something, hopefully what they want, that’s good.

    “Tagging” a mob for looting is also a strange MMO mechanic for those not used to it. Could loot not be assigned based on damage done to the target if someone is not in the group? So that they could get at least a little. Quest items would drop for everyone. I had this in Rift, my quest was to kill a miniboss and someone else did it, but my quest got updated as well. I liked that. Better than the alternative of having to wait for the respawn.

    Comment by Longasc — 6 November, 2011 @ 3:19 PM

  9. Oddly, Eve Online has a very good cooperative paradigm. Nobody worries about powerleveling, there is no leveling. If someone steals your loot, you can shoot them, or let it go. Share if you like, sell to friends, whatever. It’s odd to think that a game with such a cutthroat reputation actually does the cooperation space well, but it does.

    The notion of “bypassing content” or “you’re not doing it right” doesn’t occur to the gamedevs. They do try to tweak things to adjust emergent behavior, such as the changes to 0.0 they are contemplating. But the things they tweak are not “cooperation” features, but parameters about force projection, distribution of resources, and space ownership.

    Comment by Toldain — 6 November, 2011 @ 3:34 PM

  10. Toldain, that’s because (from all what I know so far, haven’t played EVE) there is no XP. It’s the typical sandbox & skill based leveling.

    You don’t get XP for killing NPCs or other players, which is good. You only get improvements of the skill you’re currently using (or in case of EvE: training). Kill monsters with a sword? Your sword skill improves.

    The worst thing that could happen for MMOs was the introduction of XP. The only games who obviously “did it right” where the old school learning-by-doing MMOs: Meridian 59, Ultima Online, Darkfall, EvE. And powerleveling has only a very small effect on this games, as Brian said. None of them (maybe with exception of EvE, I don’t know) ever had some ultra-mega-super-rare-legendary-epic loot. Meridian 59, Ultima Online, Darkfall… almost everything was craftable (ok, not in Meridian 59, it didn’t had a crafting system… but the loot was very common and easy to get).

    The second worst thing of course, was the tagging approach (first to hit a mob, gets the exclusive privilege to loot it). Most retarded idea ever. I always prefred the: Whoever does the most damage, gets the privilege to loot it, or even better: Don’t have any loot privileges et all.

    Instead, allow the person who does the most damage to loot the item normaly. Any item ninja, who take it, will be considered as thiefs and get flagged (lawless) for the player (or party) who had the privilege. This would allow the initial owner to attack and kill them, without becoming lawless themselve. If the thief kills the (rightfull owner who attempts to fight him), he gets flagged as murderer and has to take all of it’s consequenzes.

    That’s one thing, that 3 of the games listed above also had: PvP & alignment flags (murderer, lawless etc.). It’s just the most flexible system. It allows you to steal, but it will bring significant disadvantages to the stealer and allows the player to regulate such things themselves. The loot-stealer flags could remain forever for the player in question, until he’s killed by that person.

    This again only works, if there are some significant death penalties (loss of skill points (M59), dropping your whole inventory), which again only works if items are easily replaceable (crafting, common drops from NPCs). In this systems, grouping or helping out new people isn’t discouraged in any way, there is no experience to take away and the loot system doesn’t follow some stupid tagging rules.

    However, if you remove one of the aboves component, the whole system won’t work anymore.
    * PvP/PK system + alignment system
    * no epic/rare/BoP items, everything craftable and easy to get from NPC (crafted weapons = slightly better stats and durability)
    * Free-for-All loot + discourage stealing (via alignment system)
    * Death Penalties

    The only exception to the above was actually Lineage II, which had great PvP, no/low drop (unless being chaotic/murderer) and being level based (as opposed to skill-based leveling).

    TL;DR: Bring back old Sandbox, classless & skill-based MMOs back!

    Comment by Kosta — 6 November, 2011 @ 9:40 PM

  11. I do think games need to look at any aspect of the game where players effectively grief each other unintentionally i.e. quest updates, loot drops etc and try and remove them all. This process should remove a lot of the artificial barriers to grouping that have been set up. However i think the focus should be on removing the barriers to grouping rather than making it automatically more efficient no matter what. If you do the latter you make people group who hate grouping and that’s no fun for anyone. However if you just remove all the artificial barriers then the cost-benefit will shift to the point where the more sociable people will start grouping naturally.

    I also think a lot of the reasons behind the anti-grouping barriers originally related to twinking and power-levelling. There are players who are racing to max level, either the first time though or raiders levelling a needed class after someone quit the guild or a change in class balance or whatever. I don’t have a problem with that but if you are grouped with a gear-twink or a power-levelling buff-twink then you effectively get power-levelled too, even if you like the default pace of levelling. So i think these games should just give the people who want to race to max level a method of doing it that doesn’t effect the levelling game.

    Comment by bloob — 6 November, 2011 @ 10:23 PM

  12. As another important aspect, cooperation appeals more to women, while competition appeals more to men – quick google seems to reinforce this with research results.

    Comment by Shalcker — 7 November, 2011 @ 5:35 AM

  13. Great post and some questions I wish devs would consider more.

    @Kosta said: “The worst thing that could happen for MMOs was the introduction of XP. The only games who obviously “did it right” where the old school learning-by-doing MMOs: Meridian 59, Ultima Online, Darkfall, EvE.”

    I have to disagree. XP addresses “life experience” – when you’re 5 you have no idea how to drive a car but by the time you’re an adult you have a good idea even if you’ve never done it. You hear, see and read (i.e. experience) enough that you learn the basics for a lot of skills without ever actually doing them.

    Regarding tagging Kosta, you assume an open PvP system. Hopefully all MMOs won’t go that way as I then will stop playing MMOs.

    Comment by Djinn — 7 November, 2011 @ 12:03 PM

  14. Love And Hate In The MMO Blogosphere

    [...] “Brian “Psychochild” Green writes about sharing, and what MMOs can do to promote it – “The obvious solution is to stop punishing grouping and let everyone benefit from [...]

    Pingback by MMO Melting Pot — 7 November, 2011 @ 12:40 PM

  15. [Links] Something for the weekend

    [...] Psychochild writes a thoughtful blog on sharing as a game design feature in MMOs, asking why some devs seem so scared of allowing players to share things with their friends. [...]

    Pingback by Welcome to Spinksville! — 12 November, 2011 @ 12:34 AM

  16. Azuriel wrote:
    As the player attacking the mob, it annoys me MORE to know someone is leeching my kills than it would if they were straight-up tapping mobs before I could attack.

    Perhaps it’s the fact that I played a Feral Druid in WoW and couldn’t tag things at a distance until they added that feature to Fairy Fire, but I find the “tapping” thing to be much more annoying. Especially in the context of DDO’s Mabar festival, where the enemy would probably still aggro on me since I might be using a more powerful attack. In the “tapping” mechanic, I waste my time. In the sharing mechanic, someone else gets an easier time if they want but I still get my reward; if anything, I might have to hit the enemy one less time. :)

    WoW also has a lot of other problems beyond the tapping mechanic. The toxic community and attitudes go beyond this type of mechanic. But, to me, I find someone snagging the loot rights by hammering the attack key to be vastly more unfair and annoying than the thought that someone might get something a bit easier. You also have the issue that if everyone is just using 1-point damaging AoEs and nobody is killing them, then nobody is getting credit.

    Felix Plesoianu wrote:
    This isn’t a game design issue, it’s a cultural issue.

    Sadly, I would tend to agree. As I said, perhaps we should use games to show that sharing is a good thing.

    Shalker wrote:
    They were helping friends or guildmates, or were just bored when group call came up – and it created positive connection with other people in same group, since they were on same server.

    Agreed. As I said, in DDO the sharing mechanics made it worthwhile for someone to look for more group members in a quest he could already solo to try to get an item he wanted. I’ve also been playing with a group of people in DDO that I met essentially in a PUG. These mechanics do encourage social interaction.

    bhagpuss wrote:
    Similarly, rolling on loot after a fight adds value for me as a player and is much better for roleplaying.

    You can still do that in DDO. It’s just that it’s up to the individual if they want to distribute the loot or not. If my melee character gets a caster item, I can open it up to a roll. This is pretty common in DDO’s PUG raids where people get items they can’t use and can’t sell. This also avoids some problems like ninja looting, rolling “need” on an item you should have picked “greed” on, etc. I’ve never seen any loot drama in DDO, compared to the tons of loot drama I had previously seen in WoW in both PUGs and guild runs.

    Toldain wrote:
    This shows up in the constant nerfage of sneaking, which came to be referred to as “bypassing content”. Whereas I always thought of it as “fun”.

    I always enjoyed sneaking around in cat form on my Druid in WoW. But, yeah, it was interesting to see how the power of sneaking waxed and waned. I will say that DDO also gave me that rush, where sneaking up on an enemy and getting that initial sneak attack off was kinda neat if it obliterated the enemy. :)

    MMO designers would benefit from GMing a tabletop game, where they would discover that when they do the very programmatic thing, it is derided as “railroading”.

    Yes, exactly.

    Ahtchu wrote:
    Why not a % of how much contribution took place?

    That’s how EQ1 did it. The problem is that it favored people who could do better burst damage. So you’d have magic users who would wait for a group to engage an enemy, then nuke it hard when it was almost half dead. A couple big nukes spells would kill the enemy and give them credit. Didn’t matter that they were out of mana, because the suckers in the other group would keep the other monsters in the area occupied. Some people had this down to an exact science, and it was frustrating as hell to the new players.

    bloob wrote:
    However i think the focus should be on removing the barriers to grouping rather than making it automatically more efficient no matter what.

    There is still the overhead costs of organizing a group of people, so it’s rare that grouping will be “automatically more efficient”. It depends on the quality of the group. As you point out, the goal should be to remove the artificial barriers to grouping, such as monster tagging, etc.

    Interesting discussions, though. Thanks for the comments!

    Comment by Psychochild — 12 November, 2011 @ 4:28 PM

  17. So, what do you think? Doesn’t it seem obvious that we can have people working together just fine, even if not in the structure of a traditional party? Is there any reason why we need to keep around rules dealing with kill-stealing, xp splits, and all that other stuff? If so, what situations would be enhanced by these systems?

    I think that others have subconsciously noticed the observations you lay out so well here, and that is in large part what is driving the immense hype machine that has built up around Guild Wars 2. Whether it will ultimately work “as intended” when gamers have finished optimizing the fun out of everything (something I can’t comment on as I lack the gene that enables me to think like that) remains to be seen with no launch date yet in sight, but I welcome the opportunity to be able to join in on any battle without worrying about who’s “tapped” that mob, how much xp I may or may not be depriving the recipient of by my assistance, and the ability to level my character on my own and still participate in groups with my friends no matter how much they may or may not have been playing without me.

    Of course, I realize I sound like I’ve drunk the Kool-Aid on this one, but I’d love to see more analysis of how the changes proposed in GW2 are going to affect gameplay – if at all – rather than the handwaving away of “hype” that seems to be going on in most circles instead.

    Comment by Randomessa — 13 November, 2011 @ 4:11 PM

  18. Randomessa wrote:
    …I’d love to see more analysis of how the changes proposed in GW2 are going to affect gameplay…

    Let me say that I haven’t been following GW2 extensively (unless you count Ravious’ attempt to turn Kill Ten Rats into a GW2 blog ;). I don’t have any good contacts at, and most companies tend to keep developers out of early access if they can. So, I can’t offer a deep analysis, unfortunately.

    That said, I’d certainly like to see more developers looking at ways for people to cooperate. If a high profile game like GW2 can do it and influence others, that would be a great step in the right direction, in my opinion.

    As a side note, I don’t think it’s necessarily a gene that lets you analyze games. I’ve just spent (wasted?) a lot of time analyzing games. Eventually something sticks. ;)

    Comment by Psychochild — 13 November, 2011 @ 4:55 PM

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