MMOWTF: No Nos for MMOs
Weekly Column by Dan Fortier
Editor's Note: This is an edition of a weekly column by Staff Writer Dan Fortier. The column is called "MMOWTF" and will look at some of the stranger or more frustrating events in MMOs as seen by Mr. Fotier. The opinions expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of MMORPG.com, its staff or management.
Number One: DON'T MAKE HUGE CHANGES TO YOUR GAME AFTER IT'S RELEASED.
At first glance this might seem to be a thinly veiled swipe at Sony, but it's really not, although what happened with NGE did draw a nose pinch and a slight head shake. My main beef with these kinds of changes is that it shows a lack of preparation and demonstrates a general whimsical approach to game design that doesn't fit well with the MMORPG genre. Players expect a certain level of stability in their game and woe to anyone who takes away a gamer's security blanket.
Number Two: DON'T OVER PROMISE.
The next time your fans ask you "Can I play an evil dragon with a rogue class?", think twice before you say "Why not?". Know your limits and keep your design goals realistic and you will be fine.
Number Three: TALK TO YOUR TESTERS
Generally speaking you want to have at least a couple people who are in constant contact with your testers and making them feel a part of the development process. They may be fickle of lack objectivity at times, but it's a win-win situation if you play your cards right.
NUMBER 4: DON'T PUT ALL YOUR EGGS IN ONE BASKET.
This isn't about casual vs. hardcore either, if you make it possible to take part in PvP or group content throughout the game you will be much more likely to avoid the 'endgame heavy' development issues further down the road. Sure you might tick off the power-levelers and your forums may have a few more "OMG where r the Tier 5 Mage Cloaks!!" posts, but it will save you more headaches in the end.
I think that's enough good advice for a Monday. Until next week why don't you earn yourself a few stars by contributing to this discussion? I'll be watching.