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Does Focusing Flourish or Fail?

Posted Aug 07, 2009 by Jon Wood

Does Focusing Flourish or Fail? columnist Sanya Weathers continues her exploration of MMOs from the development perspective with this look at focusing the game's design and whether it is a help or hindrance for developers.

One of my favorite questions to ask producers during interviews is, "What surprised you in terms of your player base?" The reason I love that question is because it's guaranteed content. Almost every other question in a standard MMO puff piece has the potential to end in a non-answer, either because the subject isn't allowed to answer or the answer was a null of some kind. The player base surprise question always has an answer, because the demographic reality of every MMO ever launched startled the developers in some way.

Early on in our genre's history, the surprise was, "Girls play TOO!" The developers did not employ girls, had never known any girls to appear down at the ol' hobby shop, and in several cases did not appear to know any girls. Certainly many had never seen an actual naked girl, given the surprising places breasts were attached to supposedly human torsos without supporting musculature.

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