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News & Features Discussion  » General: MMOWTF: No Nos for MMOs

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62 posts found

Novice Member

Joined: 1/07/04
Posts: 2425

OP  11/27/06 11:48:11 AM#1

Dan Fortier gives some free advice to MMO developers on what not to do with your MMO. MMOWTF is a weekly column on

Sometimes you look at the debacles that have occurred over the course of the short history of MMOs and you wonder: Do they ever learn? You would think that by looking back with hindsight at some of the mistakes that have been inflicted on us by shortsighted or incompetent developers that the next generation of publishers would have compiled a very comprehensive list of what not to do. Sadly, we see the same mistakes being repeated time and time again mixed in with a fresh batch of new blunders with every title released. Have no fear my fickle readers for I have created a short cheat sheet for all current and future designers called: No Nos for MMOs. Read and be enlightened!

The full column is here.

Dana Massey
Formerly of
Currently Lead Designer for Bit Trap Studios


Novice Member

Joined: 12/10/05
Posts: 663

11/27/06 11:54:09 AM#2
This is actually pretty good advice. Hell, #4 is why I left a bunch of other MMOs for CoH/V.

Novice Member

Joined: 11/25/06
Posts: 12

11/27/06 12:00:51 PM#3
That hit the nail on the head, those four just kill any - or atleast most - of the  interest I might have in a game.. If only every developer would read this...

Apprentice Member

Joined: 7/25/03
Posts: 1983

Is it over yet...

11/27/06 12:14:53 PM#4
     A big problem with modern mmorpg's is the linear nature of the quests. You follow the trail of quests the same way every time you play. This leads to the duldrums of your 4th charecter on WoW which felt like the 1st. In some games like AO and CoH it allows you to guide your own course. To much freedom can lead to the same situation where you dont feel like you have a purpose. Some would say EvE is like that, Im not so sure I aggree. In anycase I too play CoH because the storyline can progress at whatever pace you want. You also can pick which storylines to follow with no real consequences since theres no uber equipment. Mind you Id like to see more styles of dungeons and quests. Thats something doeable. Not so sure WoW can pull of a shift in there play style, let alone desire doing so.

Novice Member

Joined: 2/28/04
Posts: 51

11/27/06 12:19:05 PM#5

I can not speak for them all, but I do read and hear what is being said. I agree with most, if not all that was stated. There are a number of others out there as well, but as they stated, that is certainly a good start.


I will add this one:

Do not make a change, for change sake.


Novice Member

Joined: 1/05/05
Posts: 268

11/27/06 12:38:13 PM#6

    I pretty much agree with everything in this article (Unusually for me ). One rule i'd like to add is:-

    When a  balance/gameplay change needs to be made and there is an easy way and a right way, don't take the easy way and be prepared to explain the reason behind the change, not give some PR speak which basically says we thought it needed changing so we changed it.

    Most people will be more understanding if the reasoning behind a change is explained, they still may not be happy but at least they will understand why the change was made.

Novice Member

Joined: 11/18/05
Posts: 523

11/27/06 12:41:15 PM#7
"This may seem like a no-brainer, but anyone who has beta tested several MMOs can tell you a few horror stories of designers that completely disregarded important and persistent. Warnings about issues that ended up as game breaking bugs."


Pretty spot on article.

NGE Refugee.


Novice Member

Joined: 9/19/06
Posts: 427

11/27/06 12:43:35 PM#8

I loved the part, with the companies and silly promise...

WoW, Hero classes rings a bell, anyone? It was the thing that kept me believing, there was a reason for quick level'in towards 60, where from then on the hero class would be some sort of epic journey.

Such a shame... Just hate it when companies gives out a promise about something so damn important and awesome, then try to hide it away quickly after release. WoW is nothing but a crackgame now, with 7 million junkies worldwide.


Novice Member

Joined: 1/07/04
Posts: 2425

OP  11/27/06 12:52:18 PM#9

Originally posted by n2k3156
"This may seem like a no-brainer, but anyone who has beta tested several MMOs can tell you a few horror stories of designers that completely disregarded important and persistent. Warnings about issues that ended up as game breaking bugs."


Pretty spot on article.


You saw nothing.

Dana Massey
Formerly of
Currently Lead Designer for Bit Trap Studios


Apprentice Member

Joined: 4/12/05
Posts: 1246

Only jackasses label their PC specs in their sig.

11/27/06 1:04:01 PM#10

Good artical, one more thing to add though...

Don't always give in to your player base when the game already has a direction, give it time for the players to adapt to the direction your game is headed.

This is the exact reason why Jedi was implemented in SWG and why it was changed around how to unlock it 3-4 times(I stopped counting after I quit the CU), after that all hell broke lose and SOE lost trust in their players now the game sits to die slowly.

Originally posted by imbant

Did we say we were trying to do good for the game? the game is in the hands of aventurine, no one else...


Apprentice Member

Joined: 1/12/05
Posts: 1285

11/27/06 1:04:57 PM#11

Wow not what I expected from Dan considering his last few discussions and editorials I read.

I beta tested quite a few games and I agree with what he said about listening to your testers.  Plus about not worrying solely about endgame content (Blizzard pay attention!) was also dead on. 


Novice Member

Joined: 6/07/05
Posts: 224

Die trying

11/27/06 1:29:07 PM#12
Agree 100% with what the article said
zeronizer Xfire Miniprofile

Bitter Vet™

Joined: 9/13/06
Posts: 20048

Fools find no pleasure in understanding, but delight in airing their own opinions. Pvbs 18:2, NIV

11/27/06 1:44:22 PM#13

Can't disagree with any off the points raised by Dan... all great suggestions.   Personally I'd add:

Design your economy/gameplay to be resistant to gold farming and botting.


Arrogant, Condescending, Dismissive, Elitist, "Meany", you speak as if these are bad things?
Still currently "subscribed" to EVE, and only EVE!!!
"This is the most intelligent, well qualified and articulate response to a post I have ever seen on these forums. It's a shame most people here won't have the attention span to read past the second line." - Anon


Novice Member

Joined: 7/24/03
Posts: 20

11/27/06 1:55:36 PM#14

Now these was a good read

 It think it hit a nerve on me and a few other. Without breaking NDA, One beta game im testing i posted it on the Beta forum just to realize i was the fifth one!! But it didint stop their as soon as i hit refresh 4 other done the same thing. Their going the wrong path eq all over again arrggg


Novice Member

Joined: 12/16/03
Posts: 328

11/27/06 3:14:25 PM#15

I completely agree.

Might I add that MMOs should only be built by actual players that appreciate good gameplay.


Novice Member

Joined: 4/30/03
Posts: 104

11/27/06 4:00:52 PM#16

This was a great editorial. 

Game developers need to remember that the subscription nature of the MMORPG makes this a repeat business, and that relationships with the customers are key in any such business.  The issues mentioned in this article are basically CR problems.

I will add another one:

"Don't add/change an element because it is popular in game X if it is inconsistent with the rest of what you are trying to do with your game."


Novice Member

Joined: 2/26/04
Posts: 729

11/27/06 4:12:24 PM#17

Originally posted by Distortion0
This is actually pretty good advice. Hell, #4 is why I left a bunch of other MMOs for CoH/V.

Heh, number 1 is why I and most of my guild left COH. As well as number 4 bec ause it had almost no end game.

Novice Member

Joined: 10/01/06
Posts: 484

"Lunatic Fringe."

11/27/06 4:17:01 PM#18

Originally posted by Distortion0
This is actually pretty good advice. Hell, #4 is why I left a bunch of other MMOs for CoH/V.

Cryptic ( COH/COV) is one of the BIGGEST offenders of this articles 1st rule.
COH's Issue 5/ ED "DEBACLE" is STILL a sore spot among many of those who still play.

They basicly reset the game and at the same time obliterated dozens of builds.

Zarraa Voltayre
Ancient Legacy/Zero/Sum/Damage Inc

Dutchess Zarraa Voltayre
Reborn/Zero Sum/Ancient Legacy/Jagged Legion/Feared/Nuke & Pave.


Novice Member

Joined: 3/17/06
Posts: 91

"Live Long and Game"

11/27/06 4:22:35 PM#19
I think SWG is a good example of #1: "DON'T MAKE HUGE CHANGES TO YOUR GAME AFTER IT'S RELEASED." SOE changed SWG so many times in the first year, i mean the changes made sense at first, but then when they started messing with jedi and screwing with combat until it was a complete mess, thats where the line needs to be drawn.  Obviously SOE knew they had screwed up everything, because then they changed the system to CU, luckily i dropped out before and was fortunate enough to play on pre-cu and not suffer.

To comment on Haskbrick's comment on jedi, i have to say the original plan was working pretty well, only the super hardcore gamers basically would have gotten it, and it was dangerous to be jedi, it was so easy to be killed.  ...but then came the dreaded holocron...dun dun dun!  It inflated in game economy, and changed the game direction from having fun to grinding thousands of monsters for that one holocron.  SWG would've been sooo good had it not been for holocrons!!


Novice Member

Joined: 8/21/04
Posts: 1552

People take mmo''s way to seriously

11/27/06 4:34:09 PM#20
I almost agree, a game shopuld not change after it is released, but too evolve the game is good, to keep the end from coming, i mean end game, keep it going like an mmo should be, an ever evolving story with twists, quests and what not.

playing eq2 and two worlds

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