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Garrett Fuller: The Price of Power

Posted Jul 15, 2009 by Dana Massey

Garrett Fuller: The Price of Power

Power. It's a tight rope for developers. How do you make players feel strong early, without giving them too much, too soon? In his weekly Wednesday column, Garrett Fuller examines this problem and looks at how some other games have pulled it off.

Another way MMOs do this is with the initial game story. There are two good examples here of how a game can make you feel important and powerful. The opening 20 levels of Age of Conan is the best example out there. Say what you want about the game as a whole, those first twenty levels are a marvel the first time you experience them. Secret missions, sorcerers, priests, and even prostitutes immerse the player in Conan’s world. Yet, you are the one crushing your way through Hyboria. The story line gives a player twenty levels of solo content and immerses them into their character. It makes them feel stronger, part of the story, like they are making a difference.

The Death Knight also provides a good example of an introductory storyline. From levels 55 to about 60, you are the story. Each Death Knight works for the Lich King to terrorize the Scarlet Crusade. NPCs scream and huddle away as they approach; they ride a dragon and burn buildings, it is intense right from the start. Warcraft has come a long way from killing ten boars at level one.

Read it all here.

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