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Player Perspectives: The Magic Number

Posted Jan 29, 2010 by Jon Wood

Player Perspectives: The Magic Number columnist Jaime Skelton looks at "the magic number" of players allowed into groups and raids and how more is not necessarily always better.

Jaime Skelton

I think we can all agree that underneath it all, MMORPGs are a bunch of numbers. Programming is, of course, more complicated than 1s and 0s, but ultimately all MMORPGs come down to a complex interchange of formulas, from experience, levels, and skills; to damage, attributes, and RNG. You could strip away the story, strip away the fancy armor and rare mounts, and run numbers and formulas in spreadsheets and the basest form of game and achieve the same functional result.

The problem with numbers is that alone, they strip away all the fun that a game can offer. Numbers don't make awesome weapons, incredible plots, or a world worth living in. Numbers can't create social interactions; they can't force two individuals to meet, like each other, form a bond, learn team-work, start a guild or PvP team, melt faces and boast of their prowess. Yet numbers hold the restraints for these interactions in an MMO. Numbers place limits on skill, restrict the usefulness of a person based on their choices as a character, and often are the deciding factor over whether a person is even needed.

Read The Magic Number.


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