26
Jul
12

Stop Wasting My Time, CCP

A blog I discovered recently is by Ryan Shwayder, ex-Game Designer at ill-fated 38 Studios. His site features a regular ‘MMO Development Lessons‘ series of articles, and the latest one struck a nerve with me.

Time is a player’s most precious resource. Use it wisely. Do not create time-sinks for the sake of taking up their time. Don’t make them waste their time doing things that aren’t fun in order to get to things that are. Don’t arbitrarily create timers that will be likely to spend a player’s time. […] This is a fairly straightforward lesson, but it’s easy to violate if you aren’t careful.

Some time-wasters are fairly obvious. […] Some are a little more subtle. For example, if you make a daily instance run/quest/whatever have a 24 hour no-repeat timer, you’re going to waste a player’s time. Why? If I complete the quest at 8:00PM on day 1, I can’t do it until 8:00PM on day 2. It takes me 10 minutes to do it, so on day 3, I can’t do it until 8:10PM. I might also fail to start the quest instantly, so I will slowly push the time I can do the quest later and later. How do you solve it? Either make the daily timer actually correspond to once a day (e.g. you can do it on Monday, and Tuesday, and Wednesday, and so on) or adjust the timer back from 24 hours (to something like 22 hours). […]

*cough* Jump Clones *cough*

As a player with not a lot of free time, the absolute last thing I want to be doing is waiting around pointlessly because I’m stuck in high-sec after jump-cloning to inject some skills after yesterday’s playing time. The strict 24-hour jump clone timer is a prime example of bad game design.

It doesn’t even need a lot of work to fix. Just add a skill like

Infomorphic Resilience (4x)
Reduces the jump clone cooldown timer by 2% per level.

and you’re done.

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7 Responses to “Stop Wasting My Time, CCP”


  1. July 26, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    Good point, succinctly made.

    EVE’s game design certainly has an over-reliance on the waiting mechanic. It works well for the character advancement system, but it’s almost like they decided that it worked so well, they’ll use the same concept for everything. Inconvenience gameplay was born.

    • July 26, 2012 at 11:12 pm

      The waiting mechanic serves a key function in Eve. It’s because it’s a slow logistical game that we can have meaningful and asymmetric combat. Going from a 24 hr JC timer to 22 or 23 doesn’t in my opinion break that but it’s important that big alliances can’t teleport 5000 people across the map, kill someone, then teleport home again.

  2. 5 Ted
    July 26, 2012 at 10:41 pm

    The surest way to get CCP to stop wasting your time is to stop paying them to do so.
    Reason surely hasn’t worked with them.

  3. July 27, 2012 at 2:00 am

    I agree that the skill you suggest would be useful.

    However, his article is written to the design of poorly constructed Dialy Missions in your common run of the mill hack and slash. Most of these present multiple daily missions for players (a way to force them to log in) to go kill something or do somehting. Doesn’t matter.

    His lesson is however extremely outdated. I can’t remember an MMO that I played with a Daily that didn’t just simply reset at a certain time (TOR reset at 2AM, WOW is 3 AM if I remember, and most others are like that). But then again, 38 studio lessons, what can we really expect?

  4. July 29, 2012 at 11:16 am

    ah, not sure whether i ever posted it in CCP’s suggestion forum. But, i thought having 1 jump clone but have the skill = times you could jump per day.
    of course, you’d have to destroy all but one jump clone or else ccp would delete them randomly once the patch came out (which of course, in true Red Dwarf style, noone would want this fix)


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