At the court of the Green Monster

From a post I wrote on the forums.

Moorgard: You can do all the planning and theoretical design in the universe, but trust me: when it comes down to actually populating a zone, implementing the quests inside it, creating the loot that drops there, and making sure it all ties together in a cohesive way that makes it feel like part of a living game world, all the armchair design stuff flies out the window.

It’s a totally different beast, and it’s really hard to appreciate the challenge of it until you’re actually tasked with doing it.

And populating a zone, implementing the quests and creating loot lists is a very, very, very narrow point of view on what game design is and its scope and meaning.

Even the fact that THERE IS a zone, that the zone is populated by quests and there are loot lists is already not a proven truth. That’s only ONE of the models possible, and one that today is particularly STALE.

So even your experience at SOE, which is absolutely unquestionable, is still a VERY limited point of view of what game design IS and the way you can portray a game. Your experience on EQ2, because of the derivative nature of that game, is very narrow.

If anything your experience can be a very good reason why the game you will build will look exactly like every other. Where what a designer do is solely about populating a zone, write quests and scripts and build loot tables as he was taught to do.

At this point things may sound as the other clueless guys that jumped between a bunch of projects before landing at Bioware to bring their TOTAL lack of ideas and inspiration there:

RV: The key points that we’re gonna do that no one’s done before in an MMOG are bring story, character, and emotion to it. Decisions matter, and NPCs aren’t pez dispensers, and you’re not in a grind.

And when you ask them how they found the magic recipe for Endless Stream of Quality Content and No Grind Ever what they say?

That they hired NINE writers and will use instancing. OMFG!

See, this is to say that those guys, and I use those guys as just the today’s example, just cannot see things from another perspective. Despite also THEIRS experience is ALSO absolutely unquestionable and to which your own pales in comparison. They have absolutely nothing to bring to the table if not a green monster envy for WoW.

“Me too! To the bandwagon!”

So, is the experience useful to think of something new or just to fall in the mold of uninspired mediocrity?

Of course I hope it will be not the case.

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