The Daily Grind: Does knowing how the MMO sausage is made ruin it for you?

    
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Ever have a day when a confluence of posts and quotes lead you to one big MMO-related question? This post is that question, and this is what led me here:

  • Massively OP’s Jef voiced annoyance for a certain in-dev game that releases frequent behind-the-scenes vids: “It’s a day that ends in y, here’s a video update! Just make the game, dudes; call when it’s done.”
  • A former game dev posted a long explanation on Reddit about how game design looks from from the inside out, likening game studios to stressful, messy “group projects in college” that are governed by marketing execs the less indie they become.
  • And finally, the folks at Extra Credits have been doing a series on MMO reward design, the latest of which is called Advanced Social Curve Design – Empowering the Community and is a must-watch for a student of MMOs.

That last one creeped me out. I mean, it’s not new information at all to any of us here, but to be reminded that a savvy game designer is manipulating your every in-game move from day one — ug! Talk about destroying the magic.

So this has all made me wonder whether knowing how the MMO sausage is made ruins the games for other folks. I don’t have the luxury of really putting it to the test because my life revolves around this industry, but sometimes I do think knowing too much about a game or a reveal or a patch or a studio robs me of a little bit of the joy of just playing for playing’s sake. I wouldn’t trade knowing away, but I do wonder. How about you?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!

 

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ManastuUtakata
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ManastuUtakata

CrowingOne ManastuUtakata 
Exactly where are you getting this measurement from? Are you developer yourself? Or is this clever semantics you are using? o.O
(And sorry for the late reply, I’ve been away.)

schmidtcapela
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schmidtcapela

dorn2 
Quite. After that series on social difficulty curve I’m rethinking if I should even keep watching Extra Credits; any game that follows what they say in those videos is a game I’ll flat out reject.

I mean, after seeing how much more I enjoy spontaneous grouping in GW2 and automated group creation with LFD/LFR over the manual way of doing those, I’m very unlikely to ever again play group content in a MMO that doesn’t have those kinds of features, while the video series explicitly tells devs to never built such automated systems and solutions into their games.

dorn2
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dorn2

That social video was just ugh.  It’s sad that so many designers follow that logic.

Video summary:

Extrovert = First Class Citizen
Introvert = Casual scrub

Craywulf
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Craywulf

I know how the corporate mechanizations works of the printing industry, and its not much different from other art/entertainment businesses. So have a lot more compassion towards a company that disappoints me in their decisions. I know they aren’t evil as fans like to portray. Most of the time decision-making boils down to communications between the personnel and the deciders. It’s a constant state of struggle for power.

Game development isn’t just about the game. It’s about the people climbing the ladder while making the game. Indie developers have the same squabbles, but are more direct and dire. Great vision is only as good as the employees that believe in it to see it through. It’s harder to do that when there’s a steep ladder from top to bottom. Communication gets lost and dissemination of agendas plague the game’s chance for success.

In short, its never whatvbit seems in game development.

ntellect
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ntellect

Thats the problem in my eyes. They have turned game development into a science to be disected and organized instead of just making game you would play yourself.

I honestly don’t know who is worse. The people making these horrible made games or the people who pay for them and keep them in business.

I really want the genre to implode and start over again so we can get back to the basics and create a world I can play in.

schmidtcapela
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schmidtcapela

Knowing how it is made — and, more specifically, how dev
manipulate incentives to keep people playing longer — allowed me to
better notice when I’m not legitimately having fun, when I’m just going
through the motions out of routine or for the sake of a promised reward
in the end, and stop playing any game where I notice that. In other
words, I’ve left games due to knowing how they are made, but it was
because that knowledge allows me to better determine if I am enjoying the
game.
Otherwise, no. In fact, if the devs publish insightful (and accurate) information about how they are developing a game, it makes me more likely to play enough of the game to get to the parts the devs described and see for myself how what they described turned out; I then get the enjoyment of both playing the game, and of understanding how it was put together.

(Then, of course, I dabble with drawing — enough to know the main techniques, with their advantages and disadvantages, at least — and I’ve been programming as a hobby ever since computer memory was measured in dozens of KB, so I do have the needed background to understand what the devs are saying and, more importantly, when what they are saying is bullshit.)

Cyberlight
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Cyberlight

Werewolf Finds Dragon Yes, but ignorance is bliss, and some days I’d rather be happy. ;)

Peregrine_Falcon
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Peregrine_Falcon

It used to be that guys just made a game and were then surprised when that game became extremely popular. Now that video games have become immensely more expensive companies aren’t willing to just ‘roll the dice’ and guess whether or not their game will become popular enough to recoup the money put into making it, so companies hire psychologists who specialize in what causes people to be hooked by games so that they can keep enough paying players to recoup their investment.
They’ve been doing this for over 10 years now and it hasn’t exactly been a secret.
I find gaming very interesting and hearing more about ‘how the sausage is made’ doesn’t discourage me or creep me out.
The information that I have learned to ignore is the developers’ pre-launch hype. This allows me to just play the game and enjoy it for what it is without becoming upset by all of the failed expectations and broken promises.

C4de
Guest
C4de

On the contrary, it makes them all the more interesting.

PurpleCopper
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PurpleCopper

You’d have to be EXTREMELY naive to think that games AREN’T applied psychology at it’s finest.