Introduction Laralyn McWilliams Creative Director, Free Realms Sony Online Entertainment
Designing A Casual MMO <ul><li>Casual game audience differences </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Play sessions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul...
Change The Way You Think <ul><li>Keep the focus on players </li></ul><ul><li>Think outside the box </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t...
Theory, Practice, Results <ul><li>Design theory </li></ul><ul><li>Examples from Free Realms </li></ul><ul><li>Hindsight </...
Drivers and Passengers
Designer as Driver <ul><li>Plan the route </li></ul><ul><li>Equip the bus </li></ul><ul><li>Pick the stops and sights </li...
The Driver is Not the Focus <ul><li>The passenger is in control </li></ul><ul><li>It’s his trip, his money, his time </li>...
Focus on the Passengers <ul><li>Identify the passengers </li></ul><ul><li>Set guideposts </li></ul><ul><li>Assess competin...
Identify the Passengers
Understand Your Passengers <ul><li>Who are we trying to attract and entertain?  </li></ul><ul><li>How do they spend money?...
Understand Your Passengers <ul><li>Don’t base decisions on yourself or your own family </li></ul><ul><li>No matter how nor...
Understand Your Passengers <ul><li>Zandl Group Hotlists ( http://www.zandlgroup.com/HotSheet.html ) </li></ul><ul><li>Othe...
Identify The Passengers <ul><li>The Free Realms player </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Primary </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Boys a...
Understand Your Passengers
Understand Your Passengers
Understand Your Passengers
Set Guideposts
Set Your Guideposts <ul><li>Short set of goals </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Guideposts or landmarks </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Check ...
Free Realms Guideposts <ul><li>Virtual world for tweens, teens and casual players </li></ul><ul><li>Four play styles: each...
Free Realms Key Design Decision Create a game with a wide variety of activities that are all optional but all equally rewa...
Free Realms Interaction-Reward Cycle
Assess Competing Tours
Assess Competing Tours <ul><li>Tours that explore similar landscapes </li></ul><ul><li>Consider other experiences that can...
Free Realms Competing Tours <ul><li>Casual & Free MMOs </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Runescape </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Maple St...
Free Realms Competing Tours <ul><li>Other Games </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>EQ, EQII </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>WoW...
Clear The Path
Clear the Path <ul><li>Look at assumptions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Passenger’s point of view </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Analyze ...
Clear the Path
Design The Passenger’s Experience
Design the Passenger’s Experience A plan for the passenger’s experience + Speaks with the passenger’s voice + From the pas...
Design the Passenger’s Experience <ul><li>Traditional view of user stories:  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Written description use...
User Stories as the Foundation User Stories + Solutions + Implementation Details = Game Design
Design The Passenger’s Experience <ul><li>Assumption </li></ul><ul><li>Problems caused by assumption </li></ul><ul><li>Use...
Servers <ul><li>Assumption: A character is locked to a server </li></ul><ul><li>Problem: It sucks when my friend is on a d...
Servers <ul><li>User story: As a player, I want to play with friends on different servers. </li></ul><ul><li>User story: A...
Servers Hindsight <ul><li>Should have included transfer while in-game before launch </li></ul><ul><li>All languages + all ...
Servers Hindsight <ul><li>Need server recommendation logic </li></ul><ul><li>Jumping to a friend may mean a long download ...
Classes <ul><li>Assumption: A character is locked into a class at character create </li></ul><ul><li>Problem: I can’t unde...
Classes <ul><li>User stories:  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>As a player, I don’t want to make a long-term choice before I know an...
Classes Hindsight <ul><li>Too many different choices for players, all at once </li></ul><ul><li>Making a job cool = lots o...
Character Create Hindsight <ul><li>Putting job choice up front </li></ul><ul><li>Stronger link between favorite jobs and i...
Inventory <ul><li>Assumptions:  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Inventory space has to be limited </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Players...
Inventory <ul><li>User story: As a player, I don’t want to have to choose something to destroy in order to carry something...
Inventory Hindsight <ul><li>Unlimited inventory + players can’t delete unwanted items = oops! </li></ul><ul><li>Single cha...
“ The Fun” <ul><li>Assumption: MMOs are about systems and rewards, not gameplay. </li></ul><ul><li>Problem: I play casual ...
“ The Fun” <ul><li>User story: As a player, I want to have fun playing. </li></ul><ul><li>User story: As a player, I want ...
“ The Fun” <ul><li>Solutions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>For each mini-game, target a specific gender (or even gender + age) wi...
“ The Fun” <ul><li>Solution: Have a sense of humor! </li></ul>
“ The Fun” Hindsight <ul><li>Game developers are not normal </li></ul><ul><li>Investing in more 2D games to get the mix ri...
“ The Fun” Hindsight <ul><li>All play styles deserve progression and rewards </li></ul><ul><li>All minigames need progress...
“ The Fun” Hindsight <ul><li>Players love making their own fun </li></ul>
Stats <ul><li>Assumption: MMOs and RPGs need lots of stats. </li></ul><ul><li>Problem: How do I choose between gloves that...
Stats <ul><li>User story: As a player, I want to understand my choices without having to figure out how stats interact beh...
Stats
Stats Hindsight <ul><li>Stick to only derived stats, but add more depth </li></ul><ul><li>Find ways to better separate app...
Look & Feel <ul><li>Assumption: High fantasy is cool! </li></ul><ul><li>Problem: Fantasy is for nerds. </li></ul><ul><li>P...
Look & Feel <ul><li>User story: As a player, I want the choice to wear clothing that looks cool to me and to my friends. <...
Look & Feel Combat Non-Combat Costume Freestyle
Look & Feel
Look & Feel Hindsight <ul><li>Need more clothing choices in character create for girls </li></ul><ul><li>Need more bad-ass...
Progression <ul><li>Assumption: Characters level up only by playing combat </li></ul><ul><li>Problem: This game looks cool...
Progression <ul><li>User story: As a player, I want to be equally rewarded and level up my character by playing all of the...
Progression Hindsight <ul><li>Need more meaningful items </li></ul><ul><li>Need more consistency across jobs in terms of s...
Progression Hindsight + =
Sessions <ul><li>Assumptions:  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It should take many hours of playing to get “the best” rewards in the...
Sessions <ul><li>User stories:  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>As a player, I don’t want to have to commit all of my free time to a...
Sessions Hindsight <ul><li>Free Realms shipped too easy </li></ul><ul><li>Re-itemizing to get the best gear dropped rather...
The Open Road?
The Open Road How do you know if any of this is going to work? You don’t know until you try it
Solutions Lead to New Problems <ul><li>How do leaderboards work if your character isn’t linked to a server? </li></ul><ul>...
Solutions Lead to New Problems <ul><li>How do you keep stats light but meaningful? </li></ul><ul><li>How do you satisfy bo...
Design Cycle <ul><li>Identify the passengers: who is actually playing? </li></ul><ul><li>Set guideposts: what is most impo...
Parting Thoughts
Parting Thoughts <ul><li>Stay focused on your goals </li></ul><ul><li>Find creative solutions </li></ul><ul><li>Understand...
Parting Thoughts <ul><li>Design every system to stay flexible </li></ul><ul><li>Be willing to take risks </li></ul><ul><li...
Q & A
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Designing A Casual MMO

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Designing A Casual MMO

  1. 2. Introduction Laralyn McWilliams Creative Director, Free Realms Sony Online Entertainment
  2. 3. Designing A Casual MMO <ul><li>Casual game audience differences </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Play sessions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Competition </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Distractions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Skill set and skill level </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tastes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Genre preferences </li></ul></ul>
  3. 4. Change The Way You Think <ul><li>Keep the focus on players </li></ul><ul><li>Think outside the box </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t base everything on what you like or prefer </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t rely on your own judgment over focus and usability testing </li></ul><ul><li>Question “the way things have to be” </li></ul>
  4. 5. Theory, Practice, Results <ul><li>Design theory </li></ul><ul><li>Examples from Free Realms </li></ul><ul><li>Hindsight </li></ul>
  5. 6. Drivers and Passengers
  6. 7. Designer as Driver <ul><li>Plan the route </li></ul><ul><li>Equip the bus </li></ul><ul><li>Pick the stops and sights </li></ul><ul><li>Determine the cost </li></ul><ul><li>Provide entertainment along the way </li></ul><ul><li>All that control makes the driver feel important </li></ul>
  7. 8. The Driver is Not the Focus <ul><li>The passenger is in control </li></ul><ul><li>It’s his trip, his money, his time </li></ul><ul><ul><li>He can get out of the car any time he wants </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>He can post to his blog that the trip was awful </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>He can vow to never ride with you again </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Enough unhappy—or bored—passengers will shut you down </li></ul>
  8. 9. Focus on the Passengers <ul><li>Identify the passengers </li></ul><ul><li>Set guideposts </li></ul><ul><li>Assess competing tours </li></ul><ul><li>Clear the path </li></ul><ul><li>Design the passenger’s experience </li></ul><ul><li>Head out on the open road </li></ul>
  9. 10. Identify the Passengers
  10. 11. Understand Your Passengers <ul><li>Who are we trying to attract and entertain? </li></ul><ul><li>How do they spend money? </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Pre-planned vs. impulse </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Small increments vs. large purchases </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Retail vs. download </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Convenience vs. function vs. vanity </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What are they interested in? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What games do they play? </li></ul></ul>
  11. 12. Understand Your Passengers <ul><li>Don’t base decisions on yourself or your own family </li></ul><ul><li>No matter how normal or typical you feel… you probably aren’t </li></ul>vs.
  12. 13. Understand Your Passengers <ul><li>Zandl Group Hotlists ( http://www.zandlgroup.com/HotSheet.html ) </li></ul><ul><li>Other sources </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Iconoculture ( http:// www.iconoculture.com / ) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Intelligence Group ( http://www.intell-group.com/ ) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Look-Look ( http://www.look-look.com/look/index.html ) </li></ul></ul>
  13. 14. Identify The Passengers <ul><li>The Free Realms player </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Primary </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Boys and girls equally </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>10-15 years old </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Secondary </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Casual players </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Parents/Family </li></ul></ul></ul>
  14. 15. Understand Your Passengers
  15. 16. Understand Your Passengers
  16. 17. Understand Your Passengers
  17. 18. Set Guideposts
  18. 19. Set Your Guideposts <ul><li>Short set of goals </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Guideposts or landmarks </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Check them with every decision </li></ul><ul><li>Include development goals </li></ul>
  19. 20. Free Realms Guideposts <ul><li>Virtual world for tweens, teens and casual players </li></ul><ul><li>Four play styles: each equally important, equally rewarded </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Adventure </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Mini-games </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Simulation </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Socialization </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Quick to start </li></ul><ul><li>Easy to understand </li></ul><ul><li>Rewarding to play </li></ul><ul><li>Never assumes based on age or gender </li></ul>
  20. 21. Free Realms Key Design Decision Create a game with a wide variety of activities that are all optional but all equally rewarding Players do what they want to do and feel like they’re playing a game made just for them
  21. 22. Free Realms Interaction-Reward Cycle
  22. 23. Assess Competing Tours
  23. 24. Assess Competing Tours <ul><li>Tours that explore similar landscapes </li></ul><ul><li>Consider other experiences that can add fun to your tour </li></ul>
  24. 25. Free Realms Competing Tours <ul><li>Casual & Free MMOs </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Runescape </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Maple Story </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Habbo Hotel </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Club Penguin </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dofus </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Wizard 101 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dungeon Runners </li></ul></ul>
  25. 26. Free Realms Competing Tours <ul><li>Other Games </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>EQ, EQII </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>WoW </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Animal Crossing </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Nintendogs </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Warcraft 3 & DOTA </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Viva Piñata </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The Sims </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Gears of War </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Cooking Mama </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Puzzle Quest </li></ul></ul></ul>
  26. 27. Clear The Path
  27. 28. Clear the Path <ul><li>Look at assumptions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Passenger’s point of view </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Analyze each feature </li></ul><ul><li>Challenge every assumption </li></ul><ul><li>“ In writing, you must kill your darlings.” (William Faulkner) </li></ul>
  28. 29. Clear the Path
  29. 30. Design The Passenger’s Experience
  30. 31. Design the Passenger’s Experience A plan for the passenger’s experience + Speaks with the passenger’s voice + From the passenger’s point of view = User Stories
  31. 32. Design the Passenger’s Experience <ul><li>Traditional view of user stories: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Written description used for planning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Conversations about the story </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tests that determine when a story is complete </li></ul></ul><ul><li>A user story is the passenger telling you what he expects out of his trip </li></ul>
  32. 33. User Stories as the Foundation User Stories + Solutions + Implementation Details = Game Design
  33. 34. Design The Passenger’s Experience <ul><li>Assumption </li></ul><ul><li>Problems caused by assumption </li></ul><ul><li>User story </li></ul><ul><li>Other games </li></ul><ul><li>Solution </li></ul><ul><li>Hindsight </li></ul>
  34. 35. Servers <ul><li>Assumption: A character is locked to a server </li></ul><ul><li>Problem: It sucks when my friend is on a different server! </li></ul><ul><li>Problem: I can’t play when my server is down! </li></ul>
  35. 36. Servers <ul><li>User story: As a player, I want to play with friends on different servers. </li></ul><ul><li>User story: As a player, I don’t want server problems to stop me from playing. </li></ul><ul><li>Other games: Runescape, Wizard 101, Dungeon Runners </li></ul><ul><li>Solution: Play on any server, any time </li></ul>
  36. 37. Servers Hindsight <ul><li>Should have included transfer while in-game before launch </li></ul><ul><li>All languages + all servers = new problems </li></ul>
  37. 38. Servers Hindsight <ul><li>Need server recommendation logic </li></ul><ul><li>Jumping to a friend may mean a long download </li></ul>
  38. 39. Classes <ul><li>Assumption: A character is locked into a class at character create </li></ul><ul><li>Problem: I can’t understand that choice when I’ve never played the game! </li></ul><ul><li>Problem: If my class gets boring, I have to make a new character! </li></ul>
  39. 40. Classes <ul><li>User stories: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>As a player, I don’t want to make a long-term choice before I know anything about the game. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>As a player, I want to try different classes to see what I like. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Examples: Ultima Online, Runescape, Final Fantasy Tactics </li></ul><ul><li>Solution: Every character can unlock and play any class, any time </li></ul>
  40. 41. Classes Hindsight <ul><li>Too many different choices for players, all at once </li></ul><ul><li>Making a job cool = lots of investment in that job = expectation that subsequent jobs will be that robust </li></ul><ul><li>Looking at a mix of raising the level cap and making all new jobs </li></ul>
  41. 42. Character Create Hindsight <ul><li>Putting job choice up front </li></ul><ul><li>Stronger link between favorite jobs and identity </li></ul><ul><li>Gleam and Gloam are really important to give a sense of purpose </li></ul>
  42. 43. Inventory <ul><li>Assumptions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Inventory space has to be limited </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Players have to earn the right for more inventory space </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Playing inventory Tetris is unavoidable </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Problem: I have to decide what to throw away when I get loot! </li></ul><ul><li>Problem: I have to spend money to carry things I earned! </li></ul>
  43. 44. Inventory <ul><li>User story: As a player, I don’t want to have to choose something to destroy in order to carry something else. </li></ul><ul><li>Other games: None </li></ul><ul><li>Solution: Unlimited inventory </li></ul>
  44. 45. Inventory Hindsight <ul><li>Unlimited inventory + players can’t delete unwanted items = oops! </li></ul><ul><li>Single character inventory is 2 MB and growing, before housing </li></ul><ul><li>Implementing: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Inventory limits that are still much higher than other games </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Housing item storage closet to help players organize </li></ul></ul>
  45. 46. “ The Fun” <ul><li>Assumption: MMOs are about systems and rewards, not gameplay. </li></ul><ul><li>Problem: I play casual and console games, so I expect more polish than many MMOs provide. </li></ul><ul><li>Problem: I expect moment-to-moment fun! </li></ul><ul><li>Problem: Don’t assume because I’m a girl I want to cook, or because I’m a boy I like to race! </li></ul>
  46. 47. “ The Fun” <ul><li>User story: As a player, I want to have fun playing. </li></ul><ul><li>User story: As a player, I want all play styles available to me. </li></ul><ul><li>Other games: Puzzle Pirates, Puzzle Quest, many casual games </li></ul><ul><li>Solutions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Emphasize interactions and rewards equally </li></ul></ul>
  47. 48. “ The Fun” <ul><li>Solutions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>For each mini-game, target a specific gender (or even gender + age) with the mechanics. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Once you have solid targeted mechanics, create content to appeal to both genders. </li></ul></ul>
  48. 49. “ The Fun” <ul><li>Solution: Have a sense of humor! </li></ul>
  49. 50. “ The Fun” Hindsight <ul><li>Game developers are not normal </li></ul><ul><li>Investing in more 2D games to get the mix right </li></ul><ul><li>Improving 3D games so they’re easier to play </li></ul><ul><li>Improving the camera </li></ul><ul><li>Exploration should have been optional </li></ul><ul><li>Activities need to be clearly marked </li></ul>
  50. 51. “ The Fun” Hindsight <ul><li>All play styles deserve progression and rewards </li></ul><ul><li>All minigames need progression and rewards </li></ul>
  51. 52. “ The Fun” Hindsight <ul><li>Players love making their own fun </li></ul>
  52. 53. Stats <ul><li>Assumption: MMOs and RPGs need lots of stats. </li></ul><ul><li>Problem: How do I choose between gloves that have +14 INT versus +8 STA, +6 WIS? </li></ul><ul><li>Problem: I don’t want to have to use a calculator to choose a pair of pants! </li></ul>
  53. 54. Stats <ul><li>User story: As a player, I want to understand my choices without having to figure out how stats interact behind the scenes. </li></ul><ul><li>Other games: ? </li></ul><ul><li>Solutions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Only derived result stats </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Very few stats </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Shard system </li></ul></ul>
  54. 55. Stats
  55. 56. Stats Hindsight <ul><li>Stick to only derived stats, but add more depth </li></ul><ul><li>Find ways to better separate appearance from stats </li></ul><ul><li>Enhance “walking leaderboard” wearables </li></ul>
  56. 57. Look & Feel <ul><li>Assumption: High fantasy is cool! </li></ul><ul><li>Problem: Fantasy is for nerds. </li></ul><ul><li>Problem: I’m embarrassed talk about this game I play. </li></ul><ul><li>Problem: I think an MMO sounds fun, but I want a character that looks like me. </li></ul>
  57. 58. Look & Feel <ul><li>User story: As a player, I want the choice to wear clothing that looks cool to me and to my friends. </li></ul><ul><li>Other games: Gaia Online, Habbo Hotel, Maple Story </li></ul><ul><li>Solution: Free Realms is a mix of real world and fantasy—and players can look the way they want to look. </li></ul>
  58. 59. Look & Feel Combat Non-Combat Costume Freestyle
  59. 60. Look & Feel
  60. 61. Look & Feel Hindsight <ul><li>Need more clothing choices in character create for girls </li></ul><ul><li>Need more bad-ass appearance options for boys </li></ul><ul><li>Need more elaborate differences as progression rewards </li></ul>
  61. 62. Progression <ul><li>Assumption: Characters level up only by playing combat </li></ul><ul><li>Problem: This game looks cool, but I don’t want to fight! </li></ul><ul><li>Problem: The things I like to do aren’t “important” enough to level up or earn good loot! </li></ul>
  62. 63. Progression <ul><li>User story: As a player, I want to be equally rewarded and level up my character by playing all of the things I enjoy. </li></ul><ul><li>Other games: Puzzle Pirates? </li></ul><ul><li>Solution: Every job in Free Realms levels up, and there are jobs tied to almost every activity and play style. </li></ul>
  63. 64. Progression Hindsight <ul><li>Need more meaningful items </li></ul><ul><li>Need more consistency across jobs in terms of stars and abilities </li></ul><ul><li>Need more robust and accurate leaderboards </li></ul><ul><li>Achievements will be really significant </li></ul>
  64. 65. Progression Hindsight + =
  65. 66. Sessions <ul><li>Assumptions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It should take many hours of playing to get “the best” rewards in the game. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It’s not fair if everyone doesn’t do the same amount of work for the same result. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Problem: I like this game, but I’m not getting anywhere because I play for 2 hours a week. </li></ul><ul><li>Problem: I’m willing to spend more money to get more out of the game—why won’t you let me? </li></ul>
  66. 67. Sessions <ul><li>User stories: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>As a player, I don’t want to have to commit all of my free time to a game in order to find it rewarding. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>As a player, I want to decide whether or not I want to buy game-changing items. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Other games: Maple Story, Fiesta Online, Puzzle Pirates, Runescape </li></ul><ul><li>Solutions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Gameplay is in 15-minute chunks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Interactions give frequent rewards </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Game-changing items are available </li></ul></ul>
  67. 68. Sessions Hindsight <ul><li>Free Realms shipped too easy </li></ul><ul><li>Re-itemizing to get the best gear dropped rather than bought </li></ul><ul><li>Putting more limited time items on the Marketplace </li></ul><ul><li>Adding a wheel of prizes </li></ul>
  68. 69. The Open Road?
  69. 70. The Open Road How do you know if any of this is going to work? You don’t know until you try it
  70. 71. Solutions Lead to New Problems <ul><li>How do leaderboards work if your character isn’t linked to a server? </li></ul><ul><li>How do you set difficulty when the character progression is relatively shallow? </li></ul><ul><li>How do you deal with hackers/cheaters when anyone can create a free account? </li></ul><ul><li>How do you help players understand an unlimited inventory? </li></ul>
  71. 72. Solutions Lead to New Problems <ul><li>How do you keep stats light but meaningful? </li></ul><ul><li>How do you satisfy both casual and dedicated players? </li></ul><ul><li>How do you balance so many classes and play styles? </li></ul>
  72. 73. Design Cycle <ul><li>Identify the passengers: who is actually playing? </li></ul><ul><li>Set guideposts: what is most important to players? </li></ul><ul><li>Assess competing tours: has the competition changed? </li></ul><ul><li>Clear the path: what assumptions did we make that were wrong? </li></ul><ul><li>Design the passenger’s experience: how can we use data to refine or re-design? </li></ul><ul><li>Head out on the open road: did these changes improve the player’s experience? </li></ul>
  73. 74. Parting Thoughts
  74. 75. Parting Thoughts <ul><li>Stay focused on your goals </li></ul><ul><li>Find creative solutions </li></ul><ul><li>Understand that each solution creates new problems </li></ul><ul><li>Play the game in your head and look ahead for edge cases </li></ul><ul><li>Evaluate each decision against your guideposts </li></ul>
  75. 76. Parting Thoughts <ul><li>Design every system to stay flexible </li></ul><ul><li>Be willing to take risks </li></ul><ul><li>Be willing to kill your darlings </li></ul><ul><li>Stay in touch with your passengers </li></ul><ul><li>Keep focus testing! </li></ul>
  76. 77. Q & A
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