It’s my favourite time of the year once again: The mulled wine is flowing, the festive lights are all aglow, the weather outside is most definitely frightful while my fire is indeed delightful, and I have a major increase in my gaming time since uni’s out until 2016! I resurrected this old column earlier this year in March and I decided to see in the holidays by looking back on the 2015 entries and scrolling through your comments. It was great to look back at nine months of writing and feedback and see how the column has progressed in that time, and some of the topics sparked amazing responses in the comments that I believe deserve a second (or tenth!) read.
In this edition of MMO Mechanics, I’m going to revisit some of my favourite topics from this year and regather my thoughts on the topics discussed, popping it all together for you in one quick read. If you missed out on MMO Mechanics this year, this is a good recap before I launch into 2016, and if you’re a regular reader, be sure to take a peek to see if one of your comments is quoted in the article!
Fast-travelling to Massively OP!
I kicked off MMO Mechanics with an exploration of some of the most popular fast-travel mechanics offered in modern MMOs, and I was blown away by the depth of the comments on the topic. This column is perhaps the best case that one could put forward to justify our featured comments section: There’s always, no matter the topic, going to be something worth highlighting in there! I presented the argument that although fast-travel mechanics exist for the sound reason of abstracting away tedious and repetitive slack time that eats into our gaming hours, I was also keen to point out that over-reliance on fast and instant travel systems would ruin the rich worlds and context in which each zone is depicted.
Community: A barrier to exit or an exploited guilt trap?
When I wrote an article discussing how MMO developers can mechanise the community to form a strong barrier to exit, I discussed how important it is to create many in-game incentives for those who form and maintain connections with each other, be it in guilds, alliances, or just a similar bunch of players occupying the same map. I considered the perceived casualisation of MMOs to be a damaging force on the community barrier to exit and thus the lifespan of the games in question, and I made particular reference to group-finder tools as an example of these damaging mechanics.
New IPs and novel mechanics
One of my all-time favourite edition of MMO Mechanics was the piece on how non-MMO IPs could help to reinvigorate the MMO market by introducing more innovation in the mechanics department. The star of the case I presented was World of Darkness and how guild mechanics would be forever improved through the layered depth seen in the franchise. I went on to discuss some more popular ideas and how I’d use them to push various mechanics, even suggesting that turn-based strategic MMO combat could be possible.
Over to you!
MMO Mechanics was the first column I pitched to Bree that helped me secure a contract back at old Massively in 2013, and I still enjoy writing it just as much today. I adore the way the comments fill in the gaps I intentionally or unintentionally leave in my articles, and I’m hoping to see some great responses to this edition too. I only have so many words and so can only cover so many items at once, unfortunately, but I’m sure you can come up with some more great responses to MMO Mechanics articles that really further the topic at hand. If your favourite one didn’t make the list, be sure to let me know below. Happy holidays!