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Game development suggestions

So I nerded out and put together a document with all 18 years of MMO experience and expertise. Essentially these are my thoughts on what would make a game great and how to address some typical issues MMOs face.

I mostly did this for fun. I love working on these kinds of things and solving these kinds of problems. I could literally spend days just theorizing and exploring new ideas to solve issues.

At any rate, see below link if you are up for the challenge of reading it! =P


  • Sorry, you scared me off already. I failed the challenge :(
    This link may help you:
  • AzheraeAzherae Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Read it all.

    Glad you had fun.

    Maybe become a content creator to talk about MMORPGs in general and the state of the genre.

    You perfectly address the difference between 'a person who understands and can identify a design problem in broad terms' and 'a person who understands how to solve a design problem at the atomic level'.
    Sorry, my native language is Erlang.
  • maouwmaouw Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Hey, I'm one of the more vocal people - and I gotta be honest, I know more about what I don't want than what I do. Still, hope my 2c does something for you.

    I want to flag that a lot of your concerns from pages 8-11 have been echoed in these forums already.
    These ones particularly resonate with me:
    • Desocialization - MMO's becoming single player games, losing basic community interaction
    • Catch Up Systems - literally giving players a "skip the gameplay" button
    • Time Gated Content - Daily quests, Daily limits, randomized chores
    • Difficulty/Complexity - No sense of a dangerous world. Especially at high levels
    I think your other criticisms are valid too - but loss of mystery (because internet) is looking completely unavoidable. It's something the forums are still pondering - instead I think your emphasis on the RPG elements would help change player mentality a lot to stop thinking about trying to optimize. Do you think the hardcore players are more/less interested in mystery than the casuals?
    Hyper-inflation is also inevitable (if not in gold sinks, then in gear/material sinks and vice versa). The only way to truly reach equilibrium is to regulate sinks in direct relation to sources. If you can somehow do this in a non-linear way, it could become a gameplay feature (EVE?)

    Some comments on your "quick fixes":
    • Horizontal progression is something the devs have already discussed openly, they want a bit of both. (see here
    • Mentor System was up for discussion in a recent Dev Discussion - general player consensus was that it worked well in FFXIV but developed a weird social stigma (?) I don't have enough experience with the game to comment further here, but I do remember feeling intimidated by the system when I played - it's a bit too direct/intentional. I feel like even our real world governments are still stuck on this question "How to encourage employers to take on apprentices?"
    • Multilayered complexity - a minimal default way to do things plus an advanced option for the more invested. YES! I love this idea and think it should be applied at basically all levels of gameplay.
    • Time Gating - player backlash is heavy against explicit penalties when it has been implemented this way previously. Just implement it with a positive spin (but same effect): lower base exp with bonus exp modifier that wears off.
    • Decision Impact Mitigation - also known in these forums as "make decisions matter"
    • Lack of worthy pursuits - this is being handled by making game systems interdependent, so all facets of gameplay drive each other (centred on which nodes you build/tear down)

    Player Choice - For me, the gold of your post is in your revitilization of the RPG aspect of MMORPG.
    I'm totally on board with what you're saying about trying to make it more about situational choices that semi-permanently shape your character (and the world).

    Pacing - Instead of providing bonus exp boost for entering a new area, can I suggest that you let players earn a boost for a different activity. Completing a quest gives you boosted grinding exp. Grinding spawns a miniboss periodically. Killing a bunch of minibosses eventually makes them drop an item to enhance your next group dungeon. Completing a group dungeon enhances your gathering tools. etc. (not this linear, but you get the idea)
    I think it's more likely to encourage players to switch up their routines, otherwise we'll probably see them grind X and then grind Y and back to X again (which is still better than hogging the one grinding spot).
    I found this enjoyable as a core gameplay loop on a private server I played:
    • group quest for token and exp coupon.
    • grind with exp coupon and find shards.
    • RNG upgrade gear using shards.
    • If you rolled bad, spend your tokens to reset your item and begin the cycle again.
    Unfortunately, this example hits the limit when your gear reaches god-tier and you join a group of other stacked players and hunt down bosses for rewards that don't lead to anything.
    Another alternative I've seen is the flip side to your suggestion: areas that have seen less activity become "overgrown" with increased spawn/exp until someone grinds the area back to normal.

    Stat allocation - Sorry to break the news to you, but as far as I know, the only real stat distribution in Ashes will be via the tatoo system and via the way blacksmiths customize equipment. Base stats are all seeded based on race and class. See:
    But if you have other sources, do tell!

    General consensus on titles/achievements has been to steer clear of giving them functional benefits. This is because it tends to take away the focus from what was actually achieved, and becomes more about the stats. Recent discussion here: (

    A fun writeup!
    I was halfway through one for maplestory, but then I realized I was just venting my frustrations at the game and that's not particularly interesting for anyone. haha

    Feel free to push back! I'm keen to hear your thoughts.
    I wish I were deep and tragic
  • Kai37Kai37 Member
    edited September 2021
    Thanks to those who managed to read my mess of thoughts! much appreciated!

    In regards to your comments Maouw, your specific feedback was great!
    I definitely expected many of the issues I raised to have some presence here on the forums but I felt I couldn't leave them out without it affecting the flow of the whole document. In a sense, those matters were mentioned to bring weight and context to the other matters that maybe aren't mentioned in the forums. that was my hope anyway.

    Mystery - With the loss of mystery, this one is a real toughie and I think the best we can do is to slow it down... resolving this issue altogether is near impossible. As mentioned in the doc, having the devs change requirements for particular mysteries routinely without it being a set pattern, would definitely help slow down datamining. As would loot table rerolls based on when someone has received an item.

    Mystery - As to your question about hardcore vs casual, my simple answer would be that I believe hardcore players are more interested in mystery content. Casual players will chase the content in front of them as it is obvious, palatable and provides a reliable return on time invested. Mystery content is usually quite the opposite and requires specific dedication, time an potentially resources to access. My experience is that casual players are definitely interested in mystery content but lack the time / dedication to pursue something that isn't directly connected to their character advancement.

    Inflation - As far as inflation goes, I don't think this is necessarily fixable, however many things can be done to reduce the rate and length in which this occurs.

    Mentor System - I heard about FF's weird problem!! to be honest, I haven't seen a game system implement exactly what I am hoping for in regards to a mentor system but I could imagine there would be some additional issues born from this new feature that would require some problem solving.

    Time-Gated Content - on this issue I might be a bit naive when it comes to the forums general consensus, however my suggestion wasn't to time gate content but instead to slow player progression through difficulty of content rather than daily quotas. Would be interested in your feedback on this.

    Player Choice - dude, I am allll about the choice and I'm glad I'm not alone! thanks for the positive feedback.

    Pacing - gold. all I wanted was to create a system where players are rewarded for engaging in a diverse range of activities. What you have suggested does this in a less exploitable fashion so I'm happy. Whatever system is implemented needs to steer clear of daily quotas or limits though, instead have it based on a diminished return until you have received X amount of exp from 3 other types of activities or something. This will result in players being on separate cycles, leading to a more organic world (rather than the rush of everyone trying to clear the same stuff at the same time, each day).
    Lastly, I was hoping that stat allocation would have a part to play in AoC to help resolve exactly what you have addressed (that the rewards for many activities eventually become irrelevant which then breaks the diversity cycle). If you continued to receive exp for a secondary levelling system that didn't directly impact your actual level, however it only provided you with a small stat increase then the incentive to do these activities would still exist. That was my hope anyway.

    Stat allocation - don't have another source, thought I saw it on a dev update vid... I was wrong and am now sad ='(

    Achievements/titles - this one is really interesting. I can kind of understand this but at the same time I personally see the way the world works being literally the opposite. Every achievement in RL has a corresponding reward. Now I know this is a video game but my point is that the achievement and the reward typically go hand in hand because the human brain connects the two. If I was Usain Bolt I would have mentally and emotionally tied my wealth and success to my achievement of being the fastest man alive and neither would diminish each other, and instead would reaffirm each other.
    If I received a title for an achievement that situationally made sense for me to use, it would actually remind me of my past achievement and I would appreciate it more.
    Though I do see your point when it comes to achievement based talent points, however I'm not convinced that the achievement itself would become white noise depending on its difficulty. Like exploring a whole zone... yea sure, the talent points would be the main reason for doing it. Clearing a raid boss under certain circumstances and getting a title... in that case I imagine the talent points would take a back seat and be mostly unnoticed. This combined with infinitely tapering talent points would eventually make achievements inherently more interesting than the talent points themselves, especially at the higher tier portion of the game as you would need an insane amount of achievements to equal a talent point, and each talent point would barely improve your overall strength..

    Haha, I totally get that! I had one written u for WoW for I gave up on them... my poor little heart could only endure so much disappointment.

    Thanks again for all your feedback! its amazing and very helpful.
  • maouwmaouw Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    yeah, sure man!

    Like Rae said, you should float around and add your voice here and there.
    I wish I were deep and tragic
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