First details about Warhammer emerge

An article/preview from PC Gamer about Mythic’s online version of WARhammer leaked on the internet with some rough but already eloquent details about the game and its PvP structure.

The biggest surprise is the first few screenshots that are made available. If you were expecting a game with a harsher, gritty look, taking out the darker side of the setting… well, you’ll be deluded. They are going with even more caricatural, cartoonish, oddly colored and odd looking version of WoW.

Believe it or not, I’m not joking.

Not only they are copying the look of WoW characters, but they are also copying how the environments look and the pastel-colored textures of the buildings. Look at the background of the big image with the dwarf on the middle-right. Tell me if that texture doesn’t seem ripped off straight from WoW.

Even the style of the armors and weapons is cartoonish and clearly inspired to WoW.

Why Mythic? Why deluding with one aspect of the game that just everyone expected going in a completely different direction? DAoC has already a much more realistic look and the artists have proved to have a huge talent. You should have just moved further in that direction and create a more gloomy, realistic setting. Something that could have enhanced the feeling of violent battles and going in a diametrically opposite direction from WoW.

Instead they decided to go fight WoW in its own house. Copying its style even if Mythic’s artists obviously cannot handle it as well. Fighting fire with fire. How utterly stupid…

What can be said for those screenshots can be said for the first “design” details.

“PvP will be broken into four types: Skirmishes, Battlefields, Sceanarios, and Campaigns. Skirmishes are… two or more enemies clashing in unstructured combat. Battlefields… fighting for in-game resources, such as lumber mills and temples. Scenarios are similar to Battlefields, except these large-scale battles will be instanced and evenly matched by the server (adding bots to balance the sides).. and factor the most into which side takes a zone. Campaigns will be the PvP end-games – a final, humiliating invasion of the losing race’s capital city.
Once [the capital is taken, yay for wanton slaughter of NPCs]… the server’s metagame will spawn in AI reinforcements, drive out the invasion force, and then reset the server…. You get to keep [all your phat lewts]… At launch, there will be approximately 33 zones and 1800 quests…

“The four elements of RvR noted in the article are actually designed to be much more integrated than the author of the article lets on – Battlefields and Skirmish play take place in a shared RvR space, and Scenarios are adjacent to those areas as well. Dominance in these aspects of play combines to drive the greater Campaign, which moves the fighting through the world to keep things interesting, and can culminate – if the attacking force is skilled and persistent – in the sacking of an enemy city.

“…we aim to create a coherent RvR experience where players can participate when and how they care to, and where everyone contributes to the greater war. Certainly not every aspect of RvR will be for every player, but whatever aspect is for you will matter, and so you can play the way or ways you want to, whatever they may be, and still be an important part of the war.”

Yes, it sounds like WoW.

It’s already possible to have a rather precise idea of how the PvP will be handled. There are shared RvR zones with resource nodes and nearby portals to instanced BGs. Plus a single instance of Alterac Valley/Capital City Raid on each server to replace DAoC’s relic raids.

The difference from WoW is that these battlegrounds/zones seem more connected one to the other and the PvP space slightly more persistent. Similar changes in WoW would be wonderful and actually what I expected from that game. But for Warhammer? There were so many possibilities to explore, why chasing WoW’s tail even here?

The model seems clean and building on the solid premises of DAoC, but why not fully utilizing the potential of a completely different project to disclose that potential that DAoC only hinted? Why the decision to go with just a bland remix of the same elements?

Some of the most important details aren’t revealed, for example how these zones are interconnected, how the guilds will impact the game, the amount of player-controlled spaces and, hopefully, structures and so on.

For the rest it is just “more of the same”, with a different name to dissimulate the “already seen” feel:

“…”Death” isn’t permanent in Warhammer Online[sic, and they really do know it is WAR, he just calls it that 4-ez, as they say], but each death-ish mishap will bring you closer to the brink of insanity. Die too often and the accumulated insanity points will befin to drain away the amount of experience you gain…”

Which would translate as “exp debt” if we wish to call things with their proper name.

“You’ll also get to choose from two different archetypes: the Warrior and the Adept. Warriors, not suprisingly, rely heavily on brute force. Adepts are better at skilled professions. Each puts you on a unique career path in which you’ll be able to make selections that further detail your profession (A Human Warrior, for example, may rise through the ranks of being a soldier, a rifleman, mercenary, knight, and ranger – sometimes mixing and matching facets of each if desired).”

The archetype/profession system seems the same used in Imperator, which borrowed it from EQ2, which borrowed it from a bunch of other games.

While the NPC starting guilds exist already in DAoC, same for the emphasis on early-level RvR.

There are only two little points that are interesting, if what they hint is correct (but I doubt it):

PvE goes towards RvR..

Eschewing character levels altogether, Warhammer Online [sic] will be a what-you-see-is-what-you-get world.

That this game will be completely without levels and based on a skill system, I’ll believe only when I’ll see it with my eyes, and for now I remain highly doubtful.

PvE flowing into RvR is instead a critical problem. I was going to write about this for DAoC but it’s a valid concept in general. The PvP absolutely needs a PvE side to be strong, these two parts shouldn’t be kept separated as two absolutely independent elements. One should flow in the other, create a “gate” on the other side.

This is probably the most important aspect for a PvP game, right now, as it is for a “sandbox” game. The need to have PvE content as a “direction” to structure the gameplay and the game world. Slapping the players in PvP just doesn’t work and is a short-legged solution.

Between the other things you can also enjoy Sanya hopping around the new community to try convince everyone about how Mythic will take into consideration the community, this time.

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SOE acknowledges the issues with the european version of “KoS”

While both Smed and Scott Hartsman confirmed my previous rants through mails and PMs, the official announce also arrived on the boards:

European Distribution of KoS

We’ve been made aware of an issue with the European distribution of Kingdom of Sky that can cause our European customers to experience lengthy download times as a result of missing files on the disc. As such, we will be granting customers who purchased the European distribution of KoS an extra week of free game time after registering a Kingdom of Sky key. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

See? I wasn’t crazy.

As far as I’m concerned this is no biggie and I hold no grudge. I usually can suffer more or less temporary technical issues. It was just a bad surprise because I ordered the boxed version with the sole reason to avoid the download.

You know, I even thought this was another new “smart” idea. Slap in the expansion code with empty expansion files on the install DVDs so that the box could go in production right away without waiting for the development to be finalized. With all the recent discussions about unfinished expansions it started to look as a plausible scenario.

Instead it was just a mistake. At least.

EverQuest 2 – Trilogy ?!? (aka: SOE forgetting to include the expansion in the expansion DVDs)

What is this? A fucking joke?

Yes, those are 50 hours of download.

I WAS going to write down some sparse comments because I just received the retail version of “Kingdom of Sky” but what I see under my eyes is a level of incompetence UNMATCHED till today.

I ordered the expansion from This is the english, european version distributed by Ubisoft. I received the box sealed and intact. Inside there are the two install DVDs, a map and two sheets, one with the exp code and another with a trial code.

The fun begins as I start to read the sheet with the expansion code:

Quick Start Guide

Installing EverQuest II Trilogy

EverQuest 2 Trilogy? What the heck is this? Let’s continue:

Follow these steps and the setup prompts to install.

1. Insert the “EverQuest II Trilogy Disc 1” into your DVD-ROM drive. If the disc does not automatically play, open “My Computer” and double-click on your DVD-ROM drive. Double-click the “Trilogy” icon.

2. Follow the prompts trough the setup process.

3. If you don’t have the original version of EverQuest 2 installed or Desert of Flames, the installation program will prompt you to install both as well as Kingdom of Sky.


To begin with there is no fucking “EverQuest 2 Trilogy”, secondly there is no fucking “Trilogy Disc 1” nor a “Trilogy icon”. But just “Kingdom of Sky Disc 1” and a setup program. The expansion is NOT supposed to include “Desert of Flame”, but just the base game and “Kingdom of Sky”.

But you want to know the very best part?


Yes, you got it right. These install DVDs not only do not install “Desert of Flame” as erroneously reported in the quickstart guide, BUT THEY DON’T EVEN INSTALL THE EXPANSION I BOUGHT.

I swear I tried and retried, I unistalled everything and restarted from a clean state. The only part that these DVDs install is the music files of the expansion. But NOT A SINGLE FILE OF THE ACTUAL ZONES, TEXTURES AND MODELS. NOTHING. NADA. ZILCH.

This is the log of the patcher:

[14:17:48] Patcher: — File Discrepancy M for [Expansion 2: Kingdom of Sky] exp02_ZDDS.vpk: File not on local machine
[14:17:48] Patcher: — File Discrepancy M for [Expansion 2: Kingdom of Sky] exp02_ZSet.vpk: File not on local machine
[14:17:48] Patcher: — File Discrepancy M for [Expansion 2: Kingdom of Sky] exp02_ZShdrs.vpk: File not on local machine
[14:17:48] Patcher: — File Discrepancy M for [Expansion 2: Kingdom of Sky] exp02_dun_halls_of_fate_epic01_sepulcher.vpk: File not on local machine
[14:17:48] Patcher: — File Discrepancy M for [Expansion 2: Kingdom of Sky] exp02_dun_dragon_necropolis_sg.vpk: File not on local machine
[14:17:48] Patcher: — File Discrepancy M for [Expansion 2: Kingdom of Sky] exp02_dun_halls_of_fate.vpk: File not on local machine
[14:17:48] Patcher: — File Discrepancy M for [Expansion 2: Kingdom of Sky] exp02_dun_halls_of_fate_epic01_sepulcher_sg.vpk: File not on local machine
[14:17:48] Patcher: — File Discrepancy M for [Expansion 2: Kingdom of Sky] exp02_dun_halls_of_fate_epic02_devourer.vpk: File not on local machine
[14:17:48] Patcher: — File Discrepancy M for [Expansion 2: Kingdom of Sky] exp02_dun_halls_of_fate_epic02_devourer_sg.vpk: File not on local machine
[14:17:48] Patcher: — File Discrepancy M for [Expansion 2: Kingdom of Sky] exp02_dun_halls_of_fate_sg.vpk: File not on local machine
[14:17:48] Patcher: — File Discrepancy M for [Expansion 2: Kingdom of Sky] exp02_dun_lair_of_scale.vpk: File not on local machine

This is just an excerpt because it continues for EVERY SINGLE FILE starting with “exp02” or “kos”.

If there was a reason why I didn’t got the expansion through the digital download is because EverQuest 2 has these huge downloads that I’d gladly dodge since I’m not on broadband. No, I’m not in broadband, okay? I have no problems with CD-sized downloads, I can wait. But things get a bit more annoying with DVD-sized downloads. So I decided to go with the retail option.

And what I get? Install DVDs that do not even install the expansion files? Are you kidding me?

So I got it for a code, a map and two pieces of paper filled with WRONG INFORMATIONS?

I don’t know. This goes just WAY beyond everything that is believable and remotely acceptable. Congratulations.

I can only HOPE that this is about the european distributor screwing up big time and that SOE isn’t in any way involved.

EDIT: I added the detailed patcher log for all the files of the expansion. They are ALL missing with the exception of half of the music files and five of the sound files.

Eve-Online: still niche?

This last Sunday Eve set a new record of active users online at the same time: 23.811

That number beats even City of Heroes highest daily peak, with the difference that those are also spread between fifteen servers. So, still niche?

The subscription numbers are the highest between the mmorpgs not coming from the major, consolidated companies and, probably, already above some major licences. The gap between other medium-sized games (but with zero growth) like DAoC is quickly growing thinner.

Eve launched nearly three years ago (5 May 03) and is picking up just now, again demolishing the assumptions about product life cycles, players chasing the “new shiney” and the predominance of the fantasy settings. This despite the game has a very, very bad accessibility and a type of gameplay that most players don’t feel effective.

A week ago the whole server cluster running the game has been replaced with 64bit hardware to buy some space for the growing playerbase:

tranquility returned at 0019 gmt, eve is reborn
reported by kieron | 2006.02.22 19:11:27

The Hardware Upgrade has been completed, Tranquility has returned with 70 dual-core, dual-CPU AMD Opteron LS20 Blades in 5 new IBM Blade Center Chassis.

reported by Oveur | 2006.02.22 20:40:36

Well, this upgrade went according to plan. Ok, not according to plan, it went a lot better than planned and for a while we were wondering if we were really CCP anymore, delivering before the schedule. We’re at least grateful that this upgrade was the one Mr. Murphy took a vacation from and we think you’ll agree.

It hasn’t been a completely smooth road though. Our websites (which also moved to the new hosting center) have had dns problems, the load balancing protocols has been acting up causing three days of intermittent availability and our download service didn’t propagate the mini-patch which told the client to connect to the new Tranquility IP address.

Next, we intend to upgrade our database layer to 64-bit 4-processor monsters allowing us to cram in a “couple” of Gigabytes of RAM. Does 64 Gig worth sound ok to you? It does to me! We’re also looking into more RAMSAN solid state disk storage in that upgrade. Nothing but the best for EVE! ;)

There’s a new patch nicknamed “Blood” scheduled to go live this Thursday (2 March) with more server-side optimizations and (finally) the addition of the four new asian-themed bloodlines. Plus a bunch of other minor tweaks and fixes. The patch notes are available here (but you need a valid account).

And this is just the beginning before the next major update (Kali), scheduled for June. Even if you can safely bet it will be delayed.

The game is alive and kicking. It seems things are starting just now.

Beside the elements of success already underlined in the past, I think that a big role is being played by the business model. We discussed in the last months about removing the barriers between the players and work on a game world more consistent and coesive. Where all the elements are connected together. But the very first step to achieve these goals is about approaching the development so that those solutions are made possible.

Eve-Online doesn’t have a fragmented dev team between the expansions and live content, they don’t shift the developers from a position to another and from a project to another. The development process itself is built as something coesive and consistent. The major content patches aren’t limited to improve the “margins” of the game, adding more zones and content at the perimeter of a mudflated, arid model that isn’t advanced in any way (and that the developers are actually SCARED to even look at). Instead there are core progressions on all levels. The game is taken, observed and maintained as a unit. The players aren’t selected and divided by the expansions, instead these expansions are IMPOSED on everyone. They aren’t optional, they are mandatory because they are part of the game at all levels. Without lines of division. Truly delivering the myth of “ongoing development” that isn’t just limited to maintain and stretch the life cycle of a dead-end.

A “sandbox” game also needs a whole new approach to the development. Eve has it and is demonstrating its validity. Even if its accessibility barriers are still chocking its full potential:

The average EVE player only stays for 7 months.

Every single game that aims to move away from the linear model (from point A -> to point B), needs also to steer away from the standard development process. This is an obligatory requirement. Not anymore an option.

In the Diku clones, different play-styles can barely interact with each other. If one friend is playing his first MMO and catass’ing to the extreme he will leave the other guys in his dust and they will not be able to do content he can. Meanwhile your saying he’s a shitty friend if he doesn’t want to go repeat content he already repeated 100 times to get where he is now?


The system sucks, it stops people from playing with the people they want to play with.

Sure, f13’ers are starting to reach a level of MMO-maturity that they know how to avoid this, look at the EQ2 guys. The people who play tons spread their playtime over 2-5 characters while those who are ultra casual just level one. Meanwhile there is the whole sidekick/exemplar/whatever system so that they can make more efforts to play together.

In EvE, we dont have as many of these stupid problems.

a) offline training means there is no required /played to access content.
b) EvE lends itself well to solo + chat play.
c) The different playstyles fit together nicely, in WoW a crafter is off in stupid zones hitting up resource nodes and a pvper will never see him. In EvE the crafter wants the combat characters around to cover them while they mine. The industrial players are the ones that make the corp strong, combat characters provide BPO’s (when we can afford them) for items we repeatedly need for war.

But for people who are just getting into MMO’s they almost invariably will have a hard time playing with the people they originally set out to play with, just too many things that are setup to divide the population into sub-groups. Raiding is not the only culprit but it is by far and away the worst.

Simply put: in a “systemic” game world all elements are tied together, the dots are connected. Each element has a “weight” in the system that affects everyone else.

In a systemic model:
– The players are brought together. The model is represented as a circumference, where the players/dots create groups or “cells” and move within while bouncing one against the other (creating alliances, conflicts, politics etc..). The space belongs to them (known) and is “managed”.

In a linear model:
– The players are spread apart. The model is represented as a segment, where the players are pointed toward an obligatory direction and have a set position that “qualifies” them toward the other players. The space is external, alien (unknown) and only conquered and progressively consumed.

By delving some more it is possible to transform those two into cultural models but I won’t do that here. Which one is more appropriate for an online game? You choose.

And yes, mmorpgs work as living bodies.


This is a post I snag from F13 as a reply to the thread that I also copied here.

It’s not really a problem of good or bad friends. The point is that the game isn’t going to encourage a friendship. If anything friendships can BREAK thanks to these games. I think we could add this to the list of the lessons that mmorpgs are teaching today :)

If I started up a character now and hit 60 in WoW in 20 days I wouldn’t be at the max level. I mean, I’d be 60, but there are other “level 60” people who are 5x more powerful than my new character.

I’d have to camp some fuckiing shithole for 6 months with 39 other faggots before I’d be “max level”.

When I hit 60 early on in WoW, my best friend from high school started up. By the time he hit 60, a month or so later, and wanted to do UBRS and Scholo, that was the last thing that I wanted to do. Even for a person I’ve known for decades. Random people don’t have a chance.

It takes a special person, special DURRRRRR or SPECIAL special that’s got 5-6 purple items to run with a group of strangers through UBRS. Or get attuned for MC.

One guy I know through IRC (I have screenshots of me killing him in UO beta, old ‘enemy’ I guess) started just 3 weeks behind his clan and he tried for a week to get people to help him get attuned. These are people that he’s been gaming with since UO.

He quit in frustration because everyone was busy chasing the shiny and nobody wanted to help kill dragons.

ANYWAYS, tangents. Further tangent, it’ll be sad to see all the level 60 raid content go 100% wasted as soon as the expansion comes out and the shiny is pushed 10 or 15 levels further. You’ll see people botting in Azshara instead of doing Stratholme.

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Here’s a PSX emu that works, yay!

On my long list of things to do but gone in the limbo there was a page where I wanted to collect some detailed informations to configure all the japanese RPGs I used to love on the PSX and that are always not too simple to make work flawlessly on the emulators.

Well, it seems I don’t need to do that anymore. I just found out a brand new PSX emulator that is quite amazing (the version I’m using is the 1.2).

Till now every PSX emulator worked with complicated plug-ins that were rather hard to configure properly. This one is the siplest thing you can desire, no plug-ins or configurations at all. It works right away and better than everything out there. It’s great. And, in particular, it’s being actively developed, so it can only get better.

There are actually a few minor issues and things you need to sort out before being able to run games. To begin with you still need to find over the net the original PSX rom (SCPH1001.BIN – if you cannot find it over the net you can try with a filesharing program) and put it the “bios” directory, then you may have problem running the games from the CDs because the program requires a wnaspy32.dll file. Even this file shouldn’t be too hard to get if you see the program asking for it. I had a copy in a cd-burner program and I copied it directly on the emulator root directory and everything worked prefectly. There’s nothing else you need to figure out, if not configuring the controls, memory card and full screen resolution (the emu stutters if not in fullscreen).

The emulator works right away. The image is perfect, the sound is perfect and the full motion videos smooth as silk. No need to dig and mess with obscure options. Just load the CD and play. On my computer the CPU usage of the emu is INCREDIBLY LOW, something around 10% or less. So it should run smooth on every configuration without a problem.

I’ve tried it with various games that usually had many problems or quirks with the other emus. Chrono Cross works absolutely perfect, Legend of Mana is perfect, Metal Gear Solid is perfect, Vagrant Story has very minor problems with a few sounds (like the steps), Dragon Quest 7 has a minor problem with the interface not shading properly (some menus overlap), Valkyre Profile is perfect (and this one always had sound glitches with other emus that I was never able to sort out completely) and Breath of Fire 3 is perfect. I own nearly ALL RPGs that were out on the PSX so I’ll continue to run more test as I have time.

Other annoying general issues I encountered and that I hope will be solved in the next versions are the aspect ratio of the screen not set correctly in some games running in non-standard modes (for example Dragon Quest 7) and some configuration problems with the joypad that seem already know. If I try to configure my joypad with the support to the analogic sticks the game crashes, but it works ok if set it as a “normal pad”.

The emu also works with compressed CD images (.cdz), the program to create them is under the /util subdir.

Important note: The emu stutters and seems to run slow if you play in windowed mode. This isn’t because the hardware is not powerful enough since the CPU usage will always be rather low. If you switch in fullscreen (alt+Enter) the games should run smooth as silk.

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NCSoft – Subscription numbers for Q4 2005

NCSoft finally released a detailed report for the previous year. You can get the zipped .pdf directly from here.

These are the three pages you may find more interesting:
Detailed report for Lineage
Detailed report for Lineage II
Detailed report for City of Heroes and Guild Wars

This is the data I extrapolated:

2,293,227 subs worldwide
9,059 in US

Lineage II
1,525,497 subs worldwide
76,435 in US + EU

City of Heroes
194,000 subs worldwide (which is US + EU only)

Oddly enough it seems that Lineage gained a huge number of subscribers, in particular in Korea and at the loss of Lineage 2 that goes down from 2+ millions worldwide. Like if they got swapped. With China also contibuting to the loss of L2. Lineage instead gains 400k just in Korea and in the last three months of the year.

City of Heroes has gained nearly 50K in the last three months of 2005 and probably thanks to the release of City of Villains. Looking at the general trend it seems the game suffered heavily WoW’s release (it was down to 124k) but continued to grow steadily from there.

I also notice that in Korea the number of concurrent users compared with the total subscription is *extremely low*. When Lineage was above 2 millions subs the highest daily peak was barely above 130k. The subscriptions are roughly FIFTEEN TIMES the number of the daily peak. In the US that daily peak would correspond on average to 500-700k subs max. Definitely not anything like two millions, and consider that in Korea they don’t even have all the different timezones that keep the US players way more spread over the hours. In China this is even crazier, the total number of subscriptions could go up to TWENTY TIMES the number of the daily peak.

Considering City of Heroes, the highest daily peak is also very low (23k for 190k subs) if you compare it with the numbers coming from DAoC (roughly around 30k for something like 160-180k subs) or Eve (22k for 100k subs).

It is even more odd if you compare those numbers with those from Lineage 2. With only 76k of subs the daily peak goes up to 28k. Only 1/3 of the CoH subscribers logs in during a day, compared to the 60% of L2 subscribers logging in during a day. It’s like looking at two extremes…

Impressive also the numbers of Guild Wars. In Korea it failed completely but it got nearly 1,300k accounts activated in the western market (US+EU).

Quick note on death systems

This ties back to some thoughts about death penalties, permdeath and all the other silly ideas that recursively come up in the discussions. It come up in a thread about Vanguard but my comments are in general.

Shorter and straight to the point.

Simply put, harsh death penalties make you aim lower and lower (and grind more and more), bland death penalties make you aim higher and higher (and retry and challenge).

In two words: risk mitigation.

The process described is EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE of creating tension. It is about removing it in potential. It’s about encouraging the boredom and repetition.

What you didn’t “get” is that harsh death penalties (and harsh environments in particular) create “community”.

Also. Don’t confuse again journey with destination. “Risk” and “tension” are good in the *journey* (WoW has plenty of these). If we reduce the risk and tension to just a penalty on the experience points, we only continue to put the focus on the wrong element.

So yes, there’s good tension and bad tension.

No math in games, thanks

More heresies for the win!

I was reading Chris doing experiments on a hypothetic skill based game and wondering what is the point. I really cannot understand what’s the goal, what he is trying to do.

Why the players should be fed with something like: change = ( rating2 ) / MAX(rating)2 * -1 + 1

What the hell is that? What does it represent? What it is trying to tell me?

Math has never been all that eloquent to me but I suppose I’m not alone. Before coming to the mmorpgs I’ve played and read many pen&paper rulesets, from the simplest ones, to the most complicated and rich. I always liked more those more detailed but in ANY case they were complicated on the mathematical level. They were only complicated in the mechanics and choices available. The purpose was always clear and they were still able to simulate and describe nearly ALL the situations you could imagine.

I believe that the difference between a computer game and a pen&paper one is about the target. The pen&paper games were always supposed to be managed by a human brain and be DIRECTLY FUN. Why we needed “rules” in the first place? To simulate situations, to define a structure within the game could be played. You could do completely without any rule (the most rabid roleplay experience) but we moved progressively to simulate situations and create “games”. Defined situations. Where the control of the character is not totally yours.

Considering that those rules were the fabric of the game and that they were directly managed by a game master and the players, those rules were always planned to be easily usable. Directly defined WITHIN the game space. They were symbolic and mathematically “light”. There could have been tables of reference to use for the critical rolls but no game ever required you to use a calculator and write down formulas to come up with the result five minutes later.

But why computer games need to be different? Why the need to complicate the mechanics to the point of making them “unreadable”?

The brain is a symbolic structure, it is not a mathematical structure. When we close our eyes and dream we dream of symbols, not of numbers. The numbers say nothing to us and for the great majority of the players MATH IS NOT FUN.

Even if the computer games need to be translated into math to work, this doesn’t mean that this level has to be fed to the players. Again, there was nothing that the classic pen&paper rulesets weren’t able to simulate. So why not keeping a simple approach? Why not design games that are intended TO BE USED BY A HUMAN BRAIN?

These are games. The rules are the game we play and those rules must be transparent and readable. The math doesn’t add anything valuable to a roleplaying game because these games are about symbolic structures, myths, culture. They aren’t mathematical puzzle games. That’s not the level that I believe the players appreciate. We want to be heroes and adventurers, not mad scientists. We want to roleplay, evocate myths. “Wish impossible things”.

If I’ll ever design a game my goal will be to create a ruleset that is symbolic heavy and mathematically light. Something that could be easily translated to a pen&paper game and played right away. Complex mathematical functions and formulas should be banished from the ruleset and everything should be transparent.

The whole ruleset should be planned to be used by a human brain quickly and reliably in all its parts.

Design something should be as closing the eyes and “portray” a situation. “Design” as dreaming. Design as the very first practice of “roleplay”. Like imagining a movie. Simulating a reality. Evocating symbols. Summoning experiences.

Yes, game design has its own language. But this language should be always shared with the players. There must be an underlying competence in the use of the same language.

When I close my eyes I don’t see mathematical formulas. The math is “cold”, it is not able to communicate. It is not able to create emotions. Game designer and players need to share the same language.