10 June, 2007
This week, someone emailed me in an interesting challenge they wanted me to post up. Being the lazy sort, er, I mean… generous sort, I decided I would post it up for them.
This week’s challenge involves the question of dynamic worlds in MMOs. It was sent in by Bobby Thurman.
Here’s my challenge:
When making content for a MMO, the designer must be careful to allow players to progress independently through the world. This allows the world to become more personal for the player.
You also want players to be able to affect one another, group up, and change the world as a result of their actions. This is at odds with the quest giving NPCs remaining static for the younger players versus the world changing for the sake of the accomplished older players.
How do strike a balance between individual player experience and the shared world altering experience?
This, of course, is not a new topic. The dream has often been to try to have a dynamic world, but Bobby correctly points out that this can be disrupted, especially to new players. We’re running into this a bit in my current project, because we want the world to be very dynamic, but without some touchstones for players to reference, it can be overwhelming. Even logging off then logging back on to a radically different world during patches can cause people to get cranky. Now imagine that happening between the time you log off for a night and then when you log on the next day.
So, what do you think? Where is the balance that needs to be established between having a dynamic and exciting world and having something players can understand?
I’ll post some thoughts a bit later.