A quite different interview [follow up]

It seems I wasn't the only one who enjoyed talking about approaches to MMO design when I spoke with MMOGamer earlier in the year. I got sent a link last night from a Lord of the Rings Online player who had seen a lengthy thread on the games forums discussing the interview. While I wasn't aiming any of my points against anyone speciifcally, it was a very general discussion, some of their forum users were using it to poke at their own designers that isn't really the point of such discussions. There was though some good discussion, and it is always interesting to watch what direction a discussion you have started takes.

It also prompted one of the games senior designers to make a dev blog post on the subject, taking issue with what I said about how some designers seem to fall into the trap of trying to force players to play the way they would like them to rather than maybe turning it around and asking why we can't better support what the player actually wants. I think possibly he and I would agree on most things if talking face to face, as he points out there are of course many valid factors that in practice limit a designer (be it technology, platform, resources or time) and mean we still operate under some constrictions. That's the cool part about a design philosophy discussion, it can go beyond the restraints of reality a little. Like I said when I first posted the interview, I don't think anyone working on MMO games could claim to have mastered the genre, the goals and ambitions I talked about are more the inspiration and the targets we work towards. They are the things you always bear in mind, always try and bring into the equation as much as possible. It's important to have design ambitions and not just accept the status quo, it is what allows us to continue to grow the genre.

Anyway, it was interesting to see people reacting to the discussion in that way and engaging. Constructive discussions on these subjects are what helps drive things forward.