Monday, January 14, 2013

The First Uplink

on September 20th 2011 the Wildstar community team asked players "What kinds of in-game events do you like/want to see in WildStar? Live? Seasonal? Player-driven?"

I didn't see a summary of this in the upcomming blog posts in the next couple of weeks, but maybe I'll run into it in the future.

I'll give my answer.

Special events are the lifeblood of a MMO. It's the sort of thing you should expect frequently in a premium service. What do I mean premium? I mean $15 a month subscription based games. This is where I think most MMO's fall flat in today's market. As a community of gamers we've stopped expecting this service, so it's no longer delivered, but we still pay the fee. It's like how Cable used to not have commercials, that's why it cost extra. Then they started airing the occasional commercial...then it was just like normal TV, but we're still paying for it.

Regular content updates should be part of a basic service. Why else would you continue to play the same game for years?

What types of events would I like to see?

Holiday events are always fun. Some people think they break imersion, I believe the opposite. By connecting the game to our real world holidays we are able to more deeply relate to it. Plus, putting santa hats on bunny girls...need I say more?

Live events can be entertaining, but I feel a bit impractical. City of Heroes did several live events featuring the main heroes and villains controlled by the devs, This usually led to high player concentrations and poor experience. But depending on the scope these can be fun. Continuing to reference City of Heroes, there were Alien Invasions, Zombie attacks and I think one other type of event that occured server wide when some trigger was activated. These were fun events that happened infrequently, but often enough that if you missed one you didn't feel like you'd never see it again.

Speaking of one time events. These can form powerful memories for players. Ask a long time World of Warcraft player about the opening of AQ40. The key is making sure the event lasts a long enough period that players who want to participate can get involved and feel like they've had a chance to experience everything the event had to offer. Doing literal "one time events" has huge drawbacks, usually from over saturating your servers with all players logging in at the exact same moment to try and experience it, but also can generate frustration from players who are busy at the time of the event. Week long events that will only happen once are great! You will may have a segment of the players who aren't able to participate because they were busy that week, or didn't start playing until the next month. The key to keeping those players from feeling totally left out is offering these limited time experiences on a semi regular schedule. Keep the ability to earn new items or experience new events that will one day be removed from the game open and cycled. That way there are a collection of players who have their unique story to tell from when they were playing or were lucky enough to get that rare drop that isn't around anymore, and it's not all the same story.

This one got a little out of hand, Didn't expect it to be a topic I'd really get going on. Anyway, tomorrow is a weigh in and I'm not looking forward to it, I don't think it's going to be positive...or more to the point, it's going to be plenty positive.

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