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MMO Mechanics: Predicting the future of MMO game mechanics

I've been thinking heavily about the future since our parent network's budget cuts were announced, so I decided it would be very apt to pen my last edition of MMO Mechanics with that same train of thought. The industry has changed remarkably over the last decade with trends like the free-to-play...

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MMO Mechanics: Procedural generation is the future

MMOs are infamous for the exorbitant amount of both time and money that is required to make a fantastic end product. Much of this effort and expenditure goes into producing very specific content such as leveling zones, quest chains, and dungeons. The classic themepark MMO in which all the rides are...

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MMO Mechanics: Three old mechanics I want back

My column has typically heralded modern MMOs as superior advancements of the genre we all adore, but in this week's MMO Mechanics I want to share a small list of some old mechanics I still mourn today. Many older MMOs featured gameplay that could simultaneously exasperate and impress players,...

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The Soapbox: Old content should stay relevant

The archetypal themepark MMO model, as popularised by World of Warcraft, is a race to the level cap in order to unlock the best content on offer. New content is tacked onto the endgame regularly, accompanied by improved gear and perhaps a higher level cap. It's a system that's designed to keep...

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MMO Mechanics: Comparing vertical and horizontal progression

MMO players strive to obtain some kind of tangible progression each play session, but the method by which that progression is delivered varies greatly across the genre. Archetypal themepark titles frequently rely on level-based progression that culminates in climbing through gear tiers at endgame,...

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MMO Mechanics: Encouraging the daily grind

I've written before about how developers use clever mechanics to lower the barrier to entry in order to encourage more people to play MMOs, but how do they keep players interested after they have rolled a new character? More often than not, MMOs greatly benefit from hanging onto players for as long...

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MMO Mechanics: Balancing game economies

Most players won't need an economics degree to play an MMO, but strong mechanical forces under the bonnet still guide our actions in our favourite titles. Virtually every financial exchange can be broken down into an effort equals economic gain equation: We put in our hours, and the game economy...

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The Soapbox: The Raid Finder ruined raiding

I don't typically limit myself to ranting about only one game at a time, but I decided to make an exception this week and speak out against World of Warcraft's Raid Finder mechanic. I was running a small and modestly successful raiding guild when this system was introduced, and my team definitely...

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MMO Mechanics: Exploring death mechanics

They say death must come to us all, and that inevitability extends to our characters in MMOs. The death of our characters may be inconvenient when we want to plough through content, but penalising failure is an essential part of any MMO and further incentivises success by making you learn from your...

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MMO Mechanics: Lowering the barriers to entry

In the increasingly competitive MMO genre, games have to do all they can to keep you as a customer. MMOs have traditionally been quite difficult games to really get into since they typically require a considerable time and money investment and we tend to play them for stretches of several months to...

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