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Lessons GMs Can Learn from World of Warcraft 132

Posted by Zonk
from the fun-is-the-operative-word dept.
Martin Ralya writes "As a tabletop RPG gamemaster, I've been thinking about what GMs can learn from World of Warcraft ever since I first logged in. After close to 200 hours of WoW time, I've come up with 9 lessons GMs can learn from World of Warcraft."
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Lessons GMs Can Learn from World of Warcraft

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  • EVE (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mboverload (657893) on Sunday February 19, 2006 @12:11AM (#14753025) Journal
    EVE Online can take note of 1, 2, 3....and 6 and 7.

    =(
    • Re:EVE (Score:5, Informative)

      by TomHandy (578620) <tomhandyNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Sunday February 19, 2006 @12:19AM (#14753046)
      I'm not sure I understand, what specifically do you think EVE needs to take note of in those items? Like item 3, Travel Should be Easy....... given the scope of how large the EVE universe is, I was struck by how useful and easy the tools were for going through the atlas and setting your autopilot (and even having control over whether it plotted a course for you through dangerous areas or not). And for 2, "details matter"; in my time with EVE I thought that it was very detailed and there seemed to be an incredible amount of depth in how the universe's economy had been set up, etc. And 6, "style should shine through"; how does EVE fail in this area in your mind? I thought the UI and "look" of the game was very stylish. Regarding 1 and 7; well, I guess that is a matter of opinion. Does everything have to be "fun"? I don't know, I guess in that case, yeah, you could argue that EvE wouldn't fit the bill. I'm just not sure this should be a rule though, some things can be interesting but not necessarily "fun". And regarding item 7, I would guess though that if you did enjoy EVE, you'd probably leave every session "jazzed" about the game.
      • > For style, see Earth and Beyond. It had (it's dead now) a distinct style.
        > The UI really isn't that great. The icons are not intuitive.
        > If you get killed, then have to spend 30 minutes+ and 700,000+ ISK just to redo your ship, that's not fun. Well, most of that time is waiting for your ship to travel 4 AUs a second, then unwarp 15KM away from the fricken stargate/station and have to wait 30 seconds until it actually docks.

        I like EVE, don't get me wrong. I just think that it has some serious
  • by TomHandy (578620) <tomhandyNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Sunday February 19, 2006 @12:14AM (#14753036)
    When I saw the headline, I thought it said "Lessons GM Can Learn from World of Warcraft"........ thought it was going to be about how WoW could help the automotive industry.
  • What is a GM? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by loddington (263358) on Sunday February 19, 2006 @12:15AM (#14753038) Homepage
    I read the article and I still dont know.

    Must be very important whatever it is.

    • Re:What is a GM? (Score:5, Informative)

      by zerocool^ (112121) on Sunday February 19, 2006 @12:34AM (#14753091) Homepage Journal

      GM, at least in the tabletop paper and pens and dice roleplaying world, means Game Master.

      He's the person who makes up the quest, who sets up enemy encounters, who is the final authority on what happens. The better the GM, the more enjoyable the game. Creativity is a blessing in a GM.
    • by bradleyland (798918) on Sunday February 19, 2006 @12:36AM (#14753098)
      The submitter spells out World of Warcraft in the title, but uses an acronym for GM? WoW... I mean, wow.
    • GM's in the WOW sense are the server police. They are the ones that issue bans, suspensions, warnings, name changes etc.
      • Re:What is a GM? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Bombcar (16057)
        That confused me, I though he was writing this to the Game Police of WoW, but no, he's telling Game Masters how to make tabletop gaming more like WoW, and therefore more fun.
        • Re:What is a GM? (Score:2, Informative)

          by masterzora (871343)
          You forget that tabletreasures.org is a site specifically for GMing (in the PNP sense, not the WoW sense) tips and whatnot. The term GM is expected to be used without explanation.

          Now, as to why the /. submitter didn't explain it, that's a whole different ballpark.

    • Yeah, well I first read "General Manager" and thought this was the latest business craze book. Like The Tipping Point or Blink! -- but this time with knights and orcs. WoW does have gold farmers, so it must be able to teach middle management something...

    • Well, the thing is, if you don't know what a GM is, then the article, and in fact the entire treasuretables site, is not only not targeted at you, but probably not of any use to you either.

      That said, a GM is the Game Master of a Role Playing Game.

  • Table Top (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 19, 2006 @12:18AM (#14753045)
    Ah, but all the things that WOW does well aren't what makes a good role playing experiance. For instance a high fantasy game where everything is epic can be just as much fun as a low fantasy game where the conquests are small and the people real.

    I think the author misses the point. The strong part of a table top role playing game is that there isn't limits. Players don't have to go and kill all those bad guys to finish the quest or complete the mission in a way the GM ever imagined. To make a table top game more like WOW would be to short change players.
  • by travail_jgd (80602) on Sunday February 19, 2006 @12:23AM (#14753060)
    1. Everything should be fun
    I don't disagree with this in principle, but one player's fun is another's tedium. I know a player who loves big soap operas focused on her character... not fun for the rest of us. OTOH, I don't mind combat, but the soap opera doesn't have fun -- she thinks it's boring.

    And there's a difference between working with your players, and catering to them. Sometimes the lows make the highs stand out more.

    3. Travel should be easy
    Not necessarily. Being able to easily go from point A to point B in a fantasy game robs both places of their uniqueness.

    The inability to move quickly also sets up tension. One campaign I DM'd had the players encountering a cursed artifact, which had to be hand-carried to its destination. (Teleports were randomized.) It made the game a lot easier than "OK, we take the sky cab to the big city"

    5. Every class should have lots of things to do
    Again, it comes back to working with players, versus catering to them. If a player is told that the game is going to be mostly role-playing, but creates an undead-slaying machine, I don't see the DM as being responsible for throwing in numerous combat encounters with skeletons.

    8. It's okay to make changes after the campaign begins
    9. Err on the side of being over-the-top

    It really depends on the campaign, setting, and style. I definitely wouldn't say these are "hard and fast rules".

    • 3. Travel should be easy

      In fact, unlike WoW or computer/generic experience, with tabletop RPG are a team game. You team with the GM and other players. When the game starts, the fun starts. I played lots of games where we never reach the "point B", hell I have even played game where my character cannot go outside his house alive :-) much less start the adventure.

      RPG has more to do with story telling. If you have nothing interesting with the travel from A to B, you skip it.
      • One thing that wasn't mentioned yet is the fact that travel doesn't start out being easy in WoW. The only flight point you know by default is the one of the city you start out in. The rest have to be found before you can use them. Meaning you have to hoof it, or know a warlock with a couple of friends. In my guild of over 300 characters, that almost never happens, people usually just make the trek themselves while others are busy raiding MC or UBRS or whatever. Certain flight-point journeys are awful. (I ma
        • Flight-time was what my guildmates and I considered our "break time" (kinda helps to get up every once in a while, yaknow?)

          So get up, strech, hit the bathroom, grab another drink, whatever. Get away from the screen every so often.
  • Wow (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CableModemSniper (556285) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .odlapacnagol.> on Sunday February 19, 2006 @12:23AM (#14753061) Homepage Journal
    If you needed to play WoW to learn these basically common-sense principles for GMs, I am going to have to flamebait and say that you were probably a mediocre GM before you learned all these "lessons" from an MMORPG.
    • You'd be surprised (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Moraelin (679338) on Monday February 20, 2006 @03:47AM (#14759442) Journal
      You'd be surprised how many people _are_ too unimaginative to be a good GM.

      And it's not just some 14 year old GM-ing in his spare time with his buddies, but there are some big names in the MMO industry who don't get those points either.

      E.g., having recently reactivated my EQ2 account, it amazes me that Sony just doesn't get it either. You can tell that, in all that clueless thrashing through random changes to the game, they're _desperate_ to copy whatever magical element WoW has, and preferrably one-up it. But they just don't get it.

      You can tell looking through their change logs that they expect it to be some lone disparate element (like "hmm, maybe our crafting was too complicated?" or "hmm, maybe we could simplify the classes too?") that they can stick into the non-unified heap that is their game, and instantly have a WoW equivalent. They just blatantly don't get for example point 2 on that list: details matter. There is no magic amulet you can stick into a heap of disparate parts and instantly have a polished product. Yet that's just what Sony is feverishly trying to achieve.

      And even when someone points out to them that lack of a unified vision, like Penny Arcade did recently about the EQ2 graphics, they'll just get a flame email from SOE telling them to STFU if they don't have their graphics in a major commercial game. Again, like Penny Arcade got.

      And just to give an example of why PA is right, it's not just that Sony stuck together graphics that don't belong together. It's that they also ran it all through some "look what we can do!" shaders and whatnot that just make it all worse. E.g.,

      - the more I play it, the more it becomes obvious to me that they _must_ have some depth-of-field effect, because the graphics just go blurry with the distance faster than mip-maps and filtering should cause them to. At any rate, faster than in any other game. Playing the game makes me feel like I've suddenly gotten a bad case of myopia.

      - the textures may be right, but just about everything has a gloss effect that just doesn't belong there. Everything looks like the same kind of molded plastic once any kind of dynamic lighting enters the scene. Whether it's a rock or tree or a deer or a weaver's loom, everything looks like plastic.

      - water surface effects also snag the edges of objects in _front_ of the water and smear them around (basically incompetently written shaders again)

      - and while I'm playing on a very high end machine, I still can't help wonder about the idiocy of using exclusively shaders for texture details instead of detail textures, and offering no fall-back to detail textures. So basically there is no middle ground. Everyone who doesn't have a high end machine won't see it as slightly worse graphics, but will see it all looking like _ass_.

      - the lower part of any breastplate or long coat is attached to the pants model, not where it belongs. Why does it matter? Because if you wear pants that aren't from the exact same set, it looks like your coat changes colour in the middle. (And the recent "fix" of just giving newbies a sorta "disguise" vest that overrides the pants, gloves, sleeves and everything, is just another way to feel wrong. It tells me that someone finally realized the problem. Except instead of fixing the actual problem, they've just tried sweeping it under the carpet at least for levels 1-9 with a cheap quick-and-dirty hack.)

      That's just some of the details noone paid attention to after more than a year in the graphics department alone.

      But the list of wrong or inconsistent details goes deeper and pervades every single aspect of the game. E.g., only now they seem to have finally fixed fish so they swim _in_ the water, instead of hovering _above_ the water. E.g., only now fish actually stop at the border of the water instead of chasing you on land too. But the list is mile long, so I'll stop here.

      And that was just point 2. Rest assured that they missed most of the other points on that list by a mile too. I just
  • by Inoshiro (71693) on Sunday February 19, 2006 @12:23AM (#14753063) Homepage
    I already cancelled my WoW account. After level 40, the demands placed on time are really high for someone who doesn't want to do instances with pickup groups, and has no time for a guild. I did play the game for a good 7 months. Here are my thougts on this list:

    "Many massively multiplayer games require that you kill endless armies of the same boring enemies to level up. You can do this in WoW, too, but the quest system is so robust and rewarding that you don't actually need to."

    No, instead you can either go and kill 1 guy (and bring back some trophy), go and kill several guys until they drop the loot you want, go and talk to someone, go and get something, go and take something, or go and do several of these in a chain. The quests are pretty much the exact some gameplay wrapped up with different names and faces past level 12.

    And, of course, once you reach 60, you do these for reputation purely on top of the runs into molten core to get your purple set. I hope you like loot gambling, because it is a week between instance resets, and it can be up to 4 weeks for some people to get 1 extra bit of purple gear if they play all the time.

    Seriously, I could sit and play DS or GBA for hours while "playing" WoW (where playing consisted of clicking on an enemy, and then waiting for it to die; repeat). I read several novels while doing it also.

    "3. Travel should be easy"

    yea, and you should get your mounts at level 30. The level 30 to level 40 slog is very much punctuated by periods where I spent up to half an hour moving from one location to another in order to finish some of the mail-man style quests. That sucked.

    "In nearly 200 hours of gameplay, I can count the number of times I've logged off frustrated on one hand. "

    Says a person who hasn't been ganked by the elite guards that are around Southshore during a particular quest. I was killed 7 times in the space of a few minutes, and I was level 38 at the time. It wasn't fun.

    "WoW's developers tweak the game through patches -- many players would say they tweak it too often, but the principle is sound: Don't be afraid to change things that aren't working,"

    You know what's not working for me? Starting alts at level 1. If I'm spent the hours to get to 30, start me with a level 10 alt. If I'm 40, give me a level 15 alt. Max it out at say level 20 alts for level 60 main characters, and make it an option upon character creation. Nothing sucks like having to wade through the 20 hours of repetitive "I'm a newbie who can't play WoW" every time I want to get at alt out of the baby area and into the main part of the game.

    Of course, WoW does have strengths as well.

    "6. Style should shine through"

      I agree here: WoW gets this right. Everything fits well together. No other MMO I've played is quite like this (except possibly Ultima Online, circa 1999).
    • by aapold (753705) *

      And, of course, once you reach 60, you do these for reputation purely on top of the runs into molten core to get your purple set. I hope you like loot gambling, because it is a week between instance resets, and it can be up to 4 weeks for some people to get 1 extra bit of purple gear if they play all the time.

      Which would be the case if you left it to just that. Any reasonably organized guild creates a point system (on ours its called "DKP", dragon kill points) which govern the rules of instances like

    • The quests are pretty much the exact some gameplay wrapped up with different names and faces past level 12.

      For those people who haven't played it, WoW's quest system is exactly this simple. Your quest is to acquire X number of item Y, and take it to person Z, thus unlocking the next quest. That is it. That is what all of the quests are. Sometimes the person gives you an item right away and tells you to take it halfway around the globe. Sometimes you have to go halfway around the globe to kill a bad guy
      • by Inoshiro (71693) on Sunday February 19, 2006 @07:25AM (#14753996) Homepage
        "But the quests I've done this session included curing a sick girl who went right back to sleep, killing some people because they were stomping on the grass, keeping some courier from getting robbed by highway bandits, and fighting crocodiles for handbags. None of these were particularly "over the top." None even left any impression on the world at all. They barely registered an impression on me."

        These I view as flavour quests. Much like the flavour text of the goblins (stationed at the Lordaeron ruins) who ask you to bring back some nice meat from Orgrimmar, they add a certain sense of being in the game.

        The big thing working against this is how none of it is at all randomized or meaningful in the greater scheme. Everytime any character of the correct level happens through that path, the same girl will be there who is being attacked by bandits. Everytime. There is no time you will come across the same NPC who is happy because someone else saved her (or will even mention the name of the person!). Your actions have no lasting effect on the world, making the MMO part of WoW be neutered into playing the Warcraft 3 RPG levels with a world-chat system.

        I don't think it would be so hard to increase the # of quests about 4x, and then make it so that they run on different, random timers, so that each playthrough (since all your alts are exactly the same) could have a randomized encounter, or that you could interact with the consequences of other people's encounters.

        Perhaps the entire world could be set on a 4-month timer, where everything boils to a head. Over time, as it reset, things could be changed as well. A chance to spend 4 months carving my name across a continent, regardless of my level, would certainly provide me with incentive to play (much more so than the creative guild loot point system the other replier mentioned).

        WoW has a lot of potential because the company seems to have more in mind than just killing rats in a tunnels, but so far it's been Diablo on a much larger scale in terms of gameplay. I find myself appreciating Gradius and Ikaruga much more after playing WoW for most of 2005 -- they're short and sweet :D
        • I don't think it would be so hard to increase the # of quests about 4x, and then make it so that they run on different, random timers, so that each playthrough (since all your alts are exactly the same) could have a randomized encounter, or that you could interact with the consequences of other people's encounters.

          And you would be wrong, unfortunately. Content like quests take a lot of time and effort. Coming up with a quasi-original storyline, writing it out, proofreading, coding up the mechanics, and de
        • This won't work. Why? Because how fun would a game be if every single quest you tried to do was already done by someone else?
      • For those people who haven't played it, WoW's quest system is exactly this simple. Your quest is to acquire X number of item Y, and take it to person Z, thus unlocking the next quest. That is it. That is what all of the quests are. Sometimes the person gives you an item right away and tells you to take it halfway around the globe. Sometimes you have to go halfway around the globe to kill a bad guy for an item, which you then take the rest of the way back. Sometimes you have to hang out and kill 50 guys unti
    • You know what's not working for me? Starting alts at level 1. If I'm spent the hours to get to 30, start me with a level 10 alt. If I'm 40, give me a level 15 alt. Max it out at say level 20 alts for level 60 main characters, and make it an option upon character creation. Nothing sucks like having to wade through the 20 hours of repetitive "I'm a newbie who can't play WoW" every time I want to get at alt out of the baby area and into the main part of the game.

      I agree with most of what you said, until tha

  • by SnoopJeDi (859765) <snoopjedi@@@gmail...com> on Sunday February 19, 2006 @12:26AM (#14753072)
    I'm not a WoW player, but I did play a character up to level ~11 or so, and I was BORED out of my skull. I would do a quest, and while the description might have been thorough, I wouldn't call it fun or ideal. "In order to become a master ranger, go kill 10 beetles"

    That doesn't do it for me. Maybe the high-level quests are fun, but then, that's not a good system, grinding up a ladded of xp and gear, the latter being hoarded by higher levels and sold at extortionary prices just to get to the fun.

    I constantly compare other MMO-style games to Guild Wars, because ANet did a great job. When you start off, you're "recruited" by Sir Tydus, and told to go train to help the Ascalon Guard repel Charr invaders.

    Compare that to killing beetles. I liked WoW, although it wasn't quite my style, but there are some things that just click or don't click with players. If you like it, you like it a LOT. If not, you play something else.

    Despite my opinions on WoW, I think TFA points out the good foundations for a great game.
    • To somebody familiar with the game (how to get around, the mechanics etc), getting to level 11 takes less than 8hr (far less - I'd probably do it in about 4). This is on a single character (which is only one out of eight races and and one of eight classes). A lot of classes don't even get class-defining skills until until they hit at least level 10 (ie - that's when the hunter gets his pet). Real PVP doesn't even start until your late teens. Compared to a typical single player RPG with 80-ish hours of g
      • by Anonymous Coward
        If it takes 120 hours to reach a specific level, just say 120 hours and don't convert it to days. I don't know many people who can stay up for 5 days straight, playing a game or not.

        As you said, it's not a game for everyone. I'm a gamer with a job, house, wife and small child and I find about 6 to 8 hours a week to play. If it takes 120 hours to reach the better content in a game, I'm not interested. It would take me 15 to 20 weeks just to reach that. This isn't about wanting instant satisfaction, but
    • my friend (who had to quit due to a new job and new city) said that you should play your characters to lvl 20 before making any decisions on races or even likely the game itself... and i found that to be OH so true, even on my first, pretty weak character. the world, your abilities and just things in general start to open up at level 16-18 and are just beginning to get fun at 20. i'd suggest giving it one more month. it's a blast! the only reason i'm not playing is due to a hardware shuffle that's left me w
  • by Universal Nerd (579391) on Sunday February 19, 2006 @12:28AM (#14753077)
    I can understand clearly what he means, the world of online RPG - be it WoW or a NWN-Persistent World - is very compelling, especially when role playing is an important part of the game. It's clear that PnP games lack the visuals, special effects and dynamic movements of a MMO world.

    That said and taking his advice into consideration, one problem still sticks out. Most pen and paper game have one GM while online games have, at least, a team of GMs - most aren't actually online all the time but they're all developing new content and quests for adhoc/preplaned parties of adventurers.

    A PnP game needs to be scripted by the GM and conducted by him and that takes time and preparation, something that not all of them have.

    Combat, in games, is decided in seconds (against weaker foes) but in a tabletop game, it might take a few minutes to squash a group of goblins, not to mention that combat has to be worked one player/monster at a time since the GM can only give full attention to one thing.

    Good advice, but not very easily implemented without a computer with a NWN-like Aurora Toolkit to create your own fantasy world in.
    • It's clear that PnP games lack the visuals, special effects and dynamic movements of a MMO world.

      It is not so clear to me. When my party was almost killed by a bear a few weeks back, I don't think any visual effects designer could as effectively portrayed that bear as terrifyingly as my players minds' eyes could. The human imagination is after all not bound by the constraints of technological possibility; thus a party of good role-players with fertile imaginations and a merely competent GM can have a muc

  • Many massively multiplayer games require that you kill endless armies of the same boring enemies to level up. You can do this in WoW, too, but the quest system is so robust and rewarding that you don't actually need to.

    Of course you don't need to kill a metric fuckton of mobs in WoW to level up. However, you need to do a metric fuckton of boring repetitive quests for faction if you want to progress in the game after level 60. TB faction, city factions, Argent Dawn, Silithus (whatever the faction is called t
    • Your obviously didn't know how to play a warlock. You forgot handing out healthstones to everyone, and every half hour using a soul stone on the priest. Then there's also the shadowbolt spam! ;) Endless fun. Four skills our of two dozen used. Weeee.
    • So what does a priest do in raids? Chaincast flash heal.

      Then they go pvp and *click click click click* 4500 damage. Fear. snare. healed. Win.

      *Click click click click* 4500 damage. Fear. snare. healed. Win.

      *Click click click click* 4500 damage. Fear. snare. healed. Win.

      *Click click* stunned. Wait for stun to wear off. Fear. *Click Click* 4500 damage. Snare. healed. Win.

      *Click click click click*

      That's called "balance" I'm told.
       
    • He basically talks about the start game in WoW, not about the endgame tar pit.

      Yes, WoW starts fun and ends up just a repetitve mindless chore to keep you busy while you're still in the "but I'll lose my level 60 uber-char and all my online 'friends' if I quit!" denial stage. (Which, btw, starts with a rationalization stage along the lines of: "this is, uh, the meat of the game, really. I'm only doing it because, uh, it's _fun_ to spend 2 hours waiting for everyone to log on, to do the same raid for the 50't
    • Erm, only bad priests who don't know how their skills work chain-cast flash heals in a raid.. they tend to run out of mana quickly.
  • Also (Score:5, Funny)

    by cubicledrone (681598) on Sunday February 19, 2006 @01:12AM (#14753195)
    1. Make sure there is a ridiculously powerful class/race combination in the game that requires absolutely no skill but that (with only five buttons) can do 350 damage per second perpetually at enormous range against other classes that have no defense whatsoever.

    2. Put a race in the game whose only purpose is to be defeated by undead. Write this into at least four storylines. Celebrate the wanton destruction of a civilization that survived millenia only to be overrun by a maggot-infested gibbering rabble.

    3. Require hundreds upon hundreds of hours of effort for a chance to roll on one purple item, only to be screamed at because you win.

    4. Be really clever and make your "ugly" race the good guys (Cairne is Obi Wan Kenobi, Thrall is Abraham Lincoln) and make the humans led by a deranged genocidal maniac.

    5. Give spellcasters the damage mitigation equivalent of a WWII destroyer.

    6. Put elves in the game only so everyone else can make fun of them.

    7. Put items in the game that by themselves are more powerful than a level 15 warrior.

    8. Put trade skills in the game that never advance. Ever.

    9. For the holidays, put Old Man Santa Winter five feet from the most crowded place on two continents.

    10. Make sure all combat is designed around "make the other guy's character stop moving."

  • by farker haiku (883529) on Sunday February 19, 2006 @01:27AM (#14753228) Journal
    I started playing World of Warcraft (WoW) at the end of 2005, and it's been a blast so far.

    In nearly 200 hours of gameplay, I can count the number of times I've logged off frustrated on one hand.


    Quick math: 49 days this year means this guy has played 4ish hours a day.
    • "Quick math: 49 days this year means this guy has played 4ish hours a day."

      Either he has no life, or he has a great job. :)
    • A friend of mine tells me that during classes, half the students play wow. Music sucks anyway, so why bother with it?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 19, 2006 @01:59AM (#14753297)
    1. Everything should be fun

    Agreed. However, grinding X number of monsters because you were told to for a reward instead of grinding X number of monsters for the XP and drops does not make it fun.

    2. Details matter

    Generalities of gameplay matter more. The group or die mentality of the end-game is a hold over from a lame scramble to cover lack of content in early EQ that should have been designed around a long time ago rather than perpetuated like pointless mazes in text adventure games.

    3. Travel should be easy

    Travel should be interesting. They only have to make it easy because the travel in between is boring. It would help if they didn't purposely put each part of a quest in different areas just so the travel in between makes it longer and seem more "epic." Rather than have you travel the same routes hundreds of times give players interesting things to do along the way.

    4. Item management should be simple

    Item management should be non-existent. I shouldn't be spending *any* time manipulating items around as it has nothing to do with gameplay. And if you do want to put it in as some sort of limiting factor, how about taking size into account? You can't carry 10 more flowers, but hey, you can carrying that dragon's head no problem.

    5. Every class should have lots of things to do

    Agreed. Clearly written by someone that has not gone on raids where every class gets to do one thing. Over. And over. And over. If anything it should be written as "Every class should have unique things to do" but that doesn't hold true in WoW for all classes either.

    6. Style should shine through

    Gameplay should shine through more.

    7. Everyone should leave every session jazzed about the game

    You clearly do not constitute everyone. Ending a session after giving up with a 2 hours wait in queue for battlegrounds or looking for a pickup raid or getting tired of said pickup raid after the 8th wipe does not constitute jazzed.

    8. It's okay to make changes after the campaign begins

    It's better to do it right the first time.

    9. Err on the side of being over-the-top

    Especially when it comes to bandwidth and server capacity. Doh! Or better yet, how about don't err. Or at least don't make err's that other companies have made in the past.

    Anonymous to avoid karma like the plague.

    Oh, 9+ characters lvls 6-60. And done. See you in the next game that is fun until it is played out.
    • I cant believe they modded you down for this. poitsn 2, 4,5 7,8 9 are dead on for the most part. Being jazzed after being camped by a 12 year old for 2 hours is hard. 5 - Yea be a water vendor and decurser..I mean mage...We die at the drop of a hat yet Rogues and Hunters are the ones who get the one shot one kill( aimed shot and ambush ).
  • 1. Everything should be fun

    Define 'fun'. I once RPed with a GM who would throw in random unexpected traps and then have us figure out a way of getting out of the trap Macguver-style. It was annoying at times, but the 'solutions' we came up with sometimes were hilarous. (One time we fell down a random pit hole and 'got out' by blowing out the floor only to fall down into a -pre-arranged- pit hole on the next floor below.)

    2. Details matter

    Duhh...

    3. Travel should be easy

    Why? Its bad enough people rush thr

    • I agree with the comments of MMaestro. Now for some of my own for the OP.


      This guy sounds like someone who has never had a good GM. Its all in the presentation of the game by the GM that makes it fun. WoW seems fun like a GM should be at first because the "world" of the game of WoW is immutable. WoW will not change itself to give you more items no matter how much you whine, unless you work for them, a PnP GM might however. WoW won't let the awesome spellcaster hog everyones time while he goes off and ma
  • by Achoi77 (669484) on Sunday February 19, 2006 @02:13AM (#14753331)
    I've had a WoW account since launch, played the beta, been to a few end game raids, and when reality set in, I've realized I was averaging around 5 hours a night every day, so I forced myself to quit after all the Molten Core raids netted me nothing except for lack of sleep.

    Before WoW, I played Anarchy Online for about 6 months. I dont know what playability is like now on that, but in the initial months the networking issues and memory leaks caused the game to be virtually unplayable. I can't beleive I played AO for that long.

    Before AO, I was an avid EQ player. I've logged on much much more time in EQ than WoW, but progression was much slower, but I've felt that the community in EQ was much more tight knit than in WoW (likely due to an attraction towards the older demographics of gamers). Gear in EQ was much harder earned, and people will recognize the hard work an individual went through in order to earn that epic weapon. I still miss EQ and the community it generated.

    Before EQ, I was keeping up with the status of Origin and awaiting the release of Ultima Online. I think I've had the worst gaming experience with UO (in terms of stats), always being frustrated, always being PK'd (this was before OWO split the servers to PK and non-pk), trying to mine some metal, make some armor, cut some wood, all the while trying to stay alive and not lose hours and hours of work to some gang of punk kid tankmage player killers. Hopefully I'll earn a few bucks in order to get some basic gear so I can go out to adventure and kill some orcs, check out the other towns. And make sure I'm with enough people so I don't end up being another victim of someone looking for a cheap kill for easy loot. If you weren't careful, people can break into your house and strip it clean the next time you log in. Life in UO was a bitch, and you had to play HARD in order to simply survive. Wimps were relegated to the cities and barely left the borders.

    My fondest memories of all MMORPG's are all from UO, but I've had the most fun playing WoW (the same type of fun I experience when I play Counterstrike). WoW is an extremely polished online game. But IMHO, WoW has even less roleplaying elements than it's RTS predecessors (you know, warcraft). WoW is simply an FPS draped in RPG elements. If you plan on PvPing in WoW, you better know your combat gametheory (and have all your action commands binded to shortcut keys for quick access). If you plan on PvEing in WoW, the better you know your combat gametheory against mobs, the faster you can grind. If you plan on joining end game raids, the smoother communication you have amongst your raid group, the less likely chance you have of wiping. Enough gametheory and time devotion will grant you certain notoriety in your local WoW server as a powergamer.

    In UO, you weren't well known in your local server unless you were VERY famous (i.e. Hulkamania, Xavori, Imanewbie). All the powergamers wore cheap robes over their insane gear in order to hide their 'true abilities.' There was an element of distrust and deception in UO, and visual clues gave away nothing. But simply due to the fact that your actions can affect the servers you were on means there was a level of immersion that exists in UO that doesn't exist in current MMORPGS. For example, players got together to create their own player run cities. They built everything themselves, the buildings, furniture, everything.

    The problem with permanence in the world is that it's easily exploitable. For several months, there was a land shortage as everybody and their mother went to plant their own house on any plot of land they could find. The number of houses were so many it began to affect gameplay against the rest of the world (random mobs that spawn in the world started to spawn in the houses, which were of course locked, which means you wouldn't run into it). Future MMORPG designers saw that and decided that players cannot have their own houses in the world. That's the start of it. They've whittled down everything that made a rolep

    • My fondest memories of UO were buying my first house in a player-run city, then opening up a regent shop in it. I made enough money to eventually buy a larger house off someone in the same community. That was what most of my gameplay centered around as well as just hanging out in our town but I loved it.
    • All in all I agree with you, except for this one part.

      Nobody fishes for fun in WoW. Same thing with building trinkets, making clothing and food. Even building fires in WoW gave you stat benefits.

      My Pallie was a tailor, simply so that he could wear different clothes during RP. :)
    • In UO, there were quite a few people interested in starting up an acting troupe and stage an entire play at the local theater house. And even more interesting, there were quite a bit of people interested in watching. Yes yes, it's incredibly geeky, but who the hell cares, it's a role playing game. Can you even imagine something like that in WoW?

      It doesn't happen all the time, but I've seen it. My guild has done it a few times.. of course, we are on an RP server, and I've gone on a few user-created role-pl

  • Travel should be easy

    Travel may be easy in WoW, but it sure is boring, and takes a rather long time. That was my main beef with WoW, why do I have to go through the same animated sequence time and time again.
    • Travel in WoW had one fantastic side-effect on me. After playing WoW and then going back to try City of Villains the former "slowness" of City of Heros/Villans travel was absoutely meaningless. You can get your travel powers in CoH/CoV by level 14, and I used to feel that it had to be that low because of how slow you are on foot. After WoW I felt like I was Jesse Owens.

      Travel should be easy, and it should be fast when the things you're travelling by are simply not important when you don't need them to
  • 1. Everything should be fun
    4. Item management should be simple
    6. Style should shine through
    7. Everyone should leave every session jazzed about the game
    8. It's okay to make changes after the campaign begin

    A lot of these lessons are really just traits of the game system. A game system will encourage a certain style of play and if that style is not something you can groove to, then the experience won't be that great. So perhaps the real lesson here is use a system that rocks, and your game will be grea

  • by mdarksbane (587589) on Sunday February 19, 2006 @02:30AM (#14753378)
    It would be nice if someone combined the scale of WoW with some of the advantages of tabletop gaming.

    I mean, have a full time staff of the sort of people who work at the renn fairs actually playing the major NPCs and monsters.

    Imagine that if your raid got to the lower depths of Molten core and instead of a scripted encounter there were actual players behind the monsters.

    NWN has a DM mode you can do, but I haven't heard of anything like this applied on an MMO scale. I can just see a lot of room for a more real experience.

    Heck, even make a it a tiered system where valued members of the community can enter the lower npc ranks with different functions in return for a waive of the monthly fee.

    I just see all of the great player-created worlds that blend almost seamlessly in some MUDs I've played, and I can't help wondering what neat things you could do to match those with a modern MMO.
    • Read "Diamond Age"? They have something very similar. Actors around the world, brought together by broadband and good VR, acting out mini-parts on a just-in-time schedule. It's a neat concept that is fleshed out a bit more by Neal Stephenson.
    • Even better maybe, if a player reaches a certain level in their account then they can choose to take the place of NPCs throughout the game, and as they level up their main account, they can get more options in the NPCs, example:
      lvl 10-20 they can be some random NPC(monster) throughout the early world
      lvl 21-30 they can also become NPC boss characters (whatever the stronger things in quests)
      31-40 any non quest/non endgame NPC in the world
      41-50 any quest NPC
      51-59 any endgame NPC
      60 "Quest Master" (could design
    • there is a forum-based role-playing game online called santharia - my best friend is nuts about it. It is pretty much like tabletop, except it consists of mainly roleplaying and very little actual statistics, eg no dice rolling for damage etc. Actually, it's more like co-authoring a book, almost. I realise this is probably not what you mean, but is pretty cool all the same. (they have designed a whole world)
  • I really think the "9 lessons learned from WoW" are rather obvious. I think that 200 hours playing wow is nothing, and is probably why the article stinks. Lack of actual experience. I have 45 days sunk into one character. 200 hours is not enough time spent to full understand all the aspects of WoW. While I think it is a great game, and I USED to enjoy it. There are flaws that show themselves after spending so much time playing. The comments about purple items taking months to get is correct, and it does suc
  • Eberron [wizards.com]
  • by Yeechang Lee (3429) <ylee@pobox.com> on Sunday February 19, 2006 @04:06AM (#14753587) Homepage
    * The all-new Pontiac Gryphon.
    * Put up hot new cars at auction on late Friday afternoons, so that those who want to buy a new car to show off to their friends later that night and over the weekend will want to snap them up immediately.
    * The totally-redesigned Chevy Mechanostrider. (A subcompact.)
    * Lobby governments to raise the driving age to 40.
    * Replace warning lights on dashboard with the phrases "u left key in ign kthx," "0ut 0f wip3r fluid!!!", "buff m3 w/ 0il plz," and "LFG >91 Oct."
    * All cars will ship with Goblin(TM) Jumper Cables XL. (No guarantees on them actually doing any good.)
    * 40-main raids on the super high-level Japan instance. Watch out for the Toyota and Honda boss encounters!

    And, the number-one lesson GM can learn from WoW:
    * To paraphrase Henry Ford: "You can paint it any color, so long as it's rouge."
    • To paraphrase Henry Ford: "You can paint it any color, so long as it's rouge."

      Ok. Now I KNOW I spent too much time on the WoW forums... when I saw that, my first thought was "It's ROGUE, you goddamn mouthbreathing moron. ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE!!"

      Then I realized it WAS a color you were talking about. I'm so glad I got out when I did.

      And that was 6 months ago.
  • Bah, that's nothing! In the original Baldur's Gate, I'd played a total of over 200 game days. Even excluding the time required to switch disks and load the next map section and the parts of the game that were replayed because I died, time paused during combat, etc. that's over 400 hours of game play. I'd guess it's closer to 600 hours when you consider everything else.

    All the more startling when you consider that such a number of game hours were completed in a single semester of college, and that the total
  • Two of my hobbies include tabletop GMing and staffing at a MUSH. A MUSH, for those who aren't aware, is a text based roleplaying game. As staff, I help maintain the code, look over character applications, handle XP spend requests, and (most importantly) devise and GM plots for the players.

    It's a fairly popular game. We get around 50-70 people during peak hours, and the most important thing you can learn when running a game in a MUSH is that MUSH is NOTHING like tabletop. Some things carry over, but if you t
  • by Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) on Sunday February 19, 2006 @07:56AM (#14754068) Journal
    > As a tabletop RPG gamemaster, I've been thinking about
    > what GMs can learn from World of Warcraft ever since I
    > first logged in. After close to 200 hours of WoW time,
    > I've come up with 9 lessons GMs can learn from World of Warcraft.

    Here's five more, courtesy of the Imp:

    1. People will perform boring, repetitive tasks ad infinitum if you give them little rewards. Note to self: figure out way to make lad enjoy and remember to take the trash out each week.

    2. Giving something a glowing green, blue, or purple label will make them drool. See also: yellow, gold label. Note to self: re-wrap packages of broccoli and Brussels sprouts in shiny gold foil.

    3. Mini-games like throwing a snowball or medicine ball, or leaping high into the air and turning into a snowman can entertain for hours. Note to self: raid bargain bin at CompUSA, splice in calls to said games via !shell commands to some 3D game with a scripting engine, and direct child's face to new "game" the way Benny Hill redirect's the lilolman's face, turning it with both hands then slapping him on the back of the head.

    4. After 80 years of moving at a snail's pace, gaining a hideously expensive horse that lets you move at 1.5 x a snail's pace is, for some reason, considered awesome. Note to self: all he needs is a rusty 10 speed, not a car. Put green bow on it with gold foil lettering, "Awesum-o Speed Demon!"

    5. Miniscule, statistically insignificant bonuses are slobbered over due to mathematical illiteracy. Note to self: Also add "+5 Iron -- Increases Strength" in shiny purple foil to broccoli, Brussels sprouts
    • 5 is so true, My brother was talking about some piece of gear in WoW as being awesome because it had some HP enhancing buff, which was something along the lines of .05% of his HP. i explained to him that even with ALL of his gear having that buff he would have less than a 10% increase in HP.

      in EQ2 almost all of my gear has either upgraded some stat by 3% or more or a significant increase in DPS, though i will pick up the fractional point improvements if they are free stuff like monster loot
  • 10: Make your friends wait outside of your house for hours before you let them in to play.
  • Am I the only one that thinks this article has less to do with regular PnP games, and more to do with WoW?

    I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm sure it's great, I don't play it, but this article has maybe 2-3 lines og real advice for PnP GM's.

    To me it seems like the author is more interested in promoting WoW, than doing what the article title said the article was about.

  • A GM is basically a support person who you page when things go horribly wrong in the game that normal mechanics can't fix. A lot of what he posted doesn't relate to them at all but to other areas of the game (eg. Events people, Developers, etc) .

    For example in 99.99% of all MMOGs step 1 where a GM organizes an event normally means that 100's of players get slaughtered for the GMs pleasure. Fun for the first 1-2 times.


  • The biggest problem with MMOG's is their insistence on combining character progression with PvP.

    Where a one month old character can insta-kill a one week old character, a two month old character can insta-kill a one month old... and completely disregard of the player skill level.

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