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How They Made World of Warcraft 140

SiliconJesus writes "Rob Pardo, VP of Design at Blizzard, gave an interesting keynote at the Austin Game Conference outlining the Blizzard philosophy on designing game content, core and casual players, and why story should always drive the game." From Raph's writeup: "If you extend the leveling curve too far, it becomes a barrier. You hit a leveling wall. Our walls are shorter and there are less of them. The short leveling curve also encourages people to reroll and start over. We had some hardcore testers who would level to 60 in a week. There was much concern within the company. But I would tell them that we cannot design to that guy. You have to let him go. He probably won't unsubscribe, he's going to hit your endgame content or he'll have multiple level 60s. In games with tough leveling curves, it discourages you from starting over." More is available from the conference, with Gamasutra having a rundown on Mark Terrano's writer's keynote, and Gamespot's piece on the MMOG Rant session. Paneled by the likes of Matt Firor, Lum, Rich Vogel, and Jessica Mulligan, that must have been entertaining to see live. One more thing - WoW has 7 Million subscribers now.
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How They Made World of Warcraft

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  • by PFI_Optix ( 936301 ) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @10:59AM (#16059823) Journal
    Large quantities of crack and heroine. Every user...ummm...player knows this.
  • by Refelian ( 923767 ) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @10:59AM (#16059827)
    They made a pact with the devil?
  • and the reason for short leveling... the ADHD market is huge!!
    • by Fishbulb ( 32296 )
      The what is huh? Oooh, fudge!
    • by wbren ( 682133 )
      Leveling from level 1 to level 10 takes about 2 hours. Level from level 1 to level 60 can take anywhere from a month or six months, depending on the player. It's the old bait and switch routine, played out virtually. When I started playing WoW, I thought, "I'll be 60 in no time!" But then I slowly realized that it would take a significant amount of time. I think that's one of the reasons WoW is so popular. It draws you in by allowing you to level quickly, and then you're trapped. Drug dealers do something s
    • by Rhone ( 220519 )
      Yeah, I guess ADHD is prevalent among the masses of WoW players who have full-time jobs (and even, god forbid, family obligations!) and would like to experience end-game content within a year after they start playing.
  • by Desolator144 ( 999643 ) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @11:14AM (#16059956)
    They really overkilled the issue. They could have just said "Unlike other games, we made it not suck" or more specifically, "We decided to limit including features that people wouldn't like" and it still would have been just as accurate. All they really did was not screw up like most other MMOG companies.
  • Progress (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 07, 2006 @11:23AM (#16060029)
    "If you extend the leveling curve too far, it becomes a barrier. You hit a leveling wall. Our walls are shorter and there are less of them. The short leveling curve also encourages people to reroll and start over. We had some hardcore testers who would level to 60 in a week. There was much concern within the company. But I would tell them that we cannot design to that guy. You have to let him go. He probably won't unsubscribe, he's going to hit your endgame content or he'll have multiple level 60s. In games with tough leveling curves, it discourages you from starting over."

    I always thought that the best way to create a MMORPG that catered to multiple targets is to have various paths and progress rates for everyone to choose from. Suppose you have a rank based system where (by default) levels 1-50 had one rank, 51-60 had 2, 61-70 had 3 and so on (for a total of 100 levels) where each rank took about 1-2 hours to successfully get; this would provide a challenge to most of the more casual players. At the same time you could provide Hero-Classes that have 1 rank for levels 1-10, 2 ranks for 11-20, 3 ranks for 21-30 and so on; to get to the level cap with these classes would be far more time consuming.

    Now, if you gave a "talent" point (to steal WoW terms) for every rank, and each of the individual tallents were pretty weak the hero classes would have more abilities (and slightly stronger abilities) than the regular classes but would (probably) not become uber-invincible; thus they could exist in the same world together.

    If correctly implemented, you'd hope that 75% of people would choose the "normal" path and enjoy their travels through the game; if done poorly 75% of the people would grind their way through a hero class hating the game while alienating the 25% of people who just want to have fun.
    • I think easily 75% of people want to "max out." Look at SWG. On one hand, everyone wants to be a Jedi. But even the non-jedis picked classes that were very powerful.

      If you had a class that took longer and was somewhat more difficult to play as, but was inherently stronger, I'd say that definitely 75% of people would choose that class, regardless of the other classes. Why? Because they play games to be strong and powerful. Sure, there's always some people who like to role play, but for them the idea

    • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

      As a casual player I don't like getting pwnt by kids who play wow from the second they get home from school (3pm) to either until mom makes them sleep, or they pass out (2am).

      In my opinion games should be designed around responsible play habits. More than 3 hours per day is bad for adults and kids alike. There are other games than WoW, people can play those when they run out of content. There will certainly be more content coming. Most people I know still have not even seen blackwing lair, and there are 2 r
    • Re:Progress (Score:5, Insightful)

      by fleck_99_99 ( 223900 ) <bela@ma[ ].rr.com ['ine' in gap]> on Thursday September 07, 2006 @12:45PM (#16060702) Homepage
      If correctly implemented, you'd hope that 75% of people would choose the "normal" path and enjoy their travels through the game; if done poorly 75% of the people would grind their way through a hero class hating the game while alienating the 25% of people who just want to have fun.
      I've seen this kind of thinking before. (Old Star Wars Galaxies, I'm looking at you.) At the end of the day, time-sinks don't work as deterrents. If the "Hero class" is more powerful, then players WILL schlog through the grind for it. It goes something like...

      Player grows normal character. Player sees difference between normal and hero. Player grinds hero. Hero is more powerful. Content is too easy. New content is generated to challenge heroes. Hero is now mandatory.

      The idea isn't meritless, though -- it's just tricky to make it work.
  • yeah, right (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MarcoAtWork ( 28889 ) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @11:30AM (#16060090)
    In games with tough leveling curves, it discourages you from starting over.


    the levelling curve in WoW is very steep once you hit 60, after you are, say, 5/8 T2 and exalted with the BGs the impact of rerolling is HUGE, not to mention that very likely you'll be stuck in 'alt city' with your guild (having to pass on gear etc.) and have to always use your main whenever possible.

    I can see somebody just hitting 60 with a mix of greens and blues thinking 'hey, that was fun, let me redo it on another character', but the situation is a lot different for the raiding crowd: yeah, it takes a couple of weeks going to 60 (esp. with friends helping you PL and so on), but it takes many many months progressing further, getting your profession's recipes, getting reputation, getting raid gear, getting PvP ranks, etc. etc. etc.
    • by rob1980 ( 941751 )
      That's why they said up front: easy to learn, difficult to master.
    • the problem is that the raid gamers skew it against casuals, because they cange te standard. It doesn't help that people come up to me and mock my lowly armor (most of which i made ingame myself!) just because i'm not a raid gamer.

      i like the game... i'm growing to dislike some of the players...
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by llefler ( 184847 )

        It doesn't help that people come up to me and mock my lowly armor (most of which i made ingame myself!) just because i'm not a raid gamer.

        A while back I had someone ask my why my lvl 30 warrior didn't have weapons that glowed. I just laughed and went back to hunting. I've been playing since the US stress test and my highest level character is 42. I do have 5 characters on my primary server though. I tend to solo a lot because I'm in no rush to level and spend a lot of time exploring. The best thing about MM

    • <quote>after you are, say, 5/8 T2 and exalted with the BGs</quote>
      I don't play WoW and to me that just sounded like you're a scaled down version of a terminator with musical talent :)
  • by bugnuts ( 94678 ) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @11:33AM (#16060116) Journal
    Unfortunately, this isn't true with WoW.

    That is, unless you consider the story while levelling to be:

    "Greeting [Playername], we have been expecting you for a while now. We of the [Foo] Brotherhood have been trying to drive back the [Enemy] from the [Place] and are in dire need of some [Animal Anatomy]. Please collect [1..20] [Animal Anatomy] and return to us when you're done!"

    [Animal Anatomy] Collected 0/[1..20]

    • Any game can be made to look stupid,silly, or pointless if you just pick out something you don't like and beat it to death.

      Most MMORPGs have FedEx, collection, and rescue style quests. Hell many stories have the very same elements. One thing people who put forth your comment is that they never offer anything realistic as an alternative to the existance of the type of "story/quest" they bemoan.

      I bet you never read the complete text of the quests involved, let alone the chat of the NPCs giving it to you? T
      • by bugnuts ( 94678 )
        Sorry, I've actually played the game since closed beta and run one of the oldest and largest casual guilds. As such, we do all the quests for fun.

        Blizzard put these quests in the game to relay a story but also to provide a distraction from the leveling process

        The latter part of this has been acknowledged by Bliz. When constructing the "level grind" they were correct that actually levelling your character felt empty without tons of quests. And they set about adding literally thousands of quests to the gam
        • Bah, as far as fantasy worlds go, the Warcraft universe has always been a travesty. Why do people suddenly complain? I didn't complain when it was an uninspired, silly world. Take it for what it is.
    • You know, I really can't stand when people say "there is no story" with Wow. These are the same people that did a trial of the game, honestly didn't know what they were doing and left.

      Your quote is indicative of a quest log (for those unfamiliar with Wow, the quest log track the physical objectives need to do to complete the quest). Missing is the rest of the quest text and the dialog you often have with the questgiver explaining WHY you're doing the quest. Missing is the dialog of NPCs you meet while do
      • by Medieval ( 41719 )
        "Rajaxx! Remember when I said I'd kill you last?! I lied.."
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by snuf23 ( 182335 )
        And yet the story text still doesn't explain why when you have to collect 20 goblin ears you don't get two ears per goblin killed. In fact often times you don't get any.

        "We have been plagued by raids from the neighboring goblin tribe. These goblins are a vicious folk. They chop the very ears off each other to indicate their sheer evil ness. I want you to go and claim the few remaining ears of these goblins and bring them back to me!"

        • by Chyeld ( 713439 )
          Troll tribe - population 100.
          Booty Bay - population 2000.

          I think it says it all there.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Omestes ( 471991 )
      I agree and disagree. While the day-to-day content was very much mindless "step and fetch/kill", it does at least have a grand over-arching story, which isn't half bad. I remember finally completeing the Onyxia quest, and having the guards escort me through town, and inviting a massive cloud of newbs to watch the guard slaughter her. I actually had some emotional resonance to that, it made me feel proud. Perhaps this was because I was playing on a RP server, so I had a bit more pathos for my character t
  • Designing? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 07, 2006 @11:35AM (#16060128)
    What do they mean designing? I thought they stumbled across this other world during some sort of weird programming experiment and just coded up a way to access that world remotely.

    I mean, I know that the characters/creatures/buildings/etc. look like they are made of polygons, but they HAVE to. It would be impossible to transmit that many raw video feeds across the Internet and still have a decent framerate.

    If you used the device from the movie Tron then you could get inside and see what it is actually like - but the government won't let you.
  • There are several problems with the crafting system, that I would have loved to have seen fixed (Disclaimer, I stopped playing 8 months ago). the first is that you max out in crafting and it becomes fairly worthless for you in the higher levels. The second is just that crafting maxes out so easily. The third is that you can always find better items than you can craft for your level (and rather easily at that).

    Crafting's only real advantage was your ability to make things for lower level characters and sell
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Lord_Pain ( 165272 )
      I will have to disagree with your opinion.
      I am not saying you are wrong but there is a different angle here.

      You can get better items then what is crafted if you Raid often.
      I have a Blacksmith who made most of his own equipment and they were great! He is 60th and he STILL uses what he made. Why? Because he does not Raid often.

      So people like me the Crafting system is fantastic.
    • I also quit a while ago but engineering and also alchemy were invaluable while i was leveling. There are some of the engineering caps/goggles that i had on for 10+ levels from when i made them. It totally depends what class your playing whether or not the gear will be relevant. Engineering makes some sweet rogue gear and potions are quite invaluable to a mage.

    • by Necroman ( 61604 )
      The FFXI crafting system was interesting. You could spend all of your time doing only that if you had the money to pull it off. Problem was, you couldn't really make any money until you were skill 60 or higher. And getting to 60 took a ton of money (depending on the skill). All I have to say, my linkshell had some high level crafters (we did end-game stuff). And I saw this message on my screen:

      Sekeran lost Damascene Cloth.
      Sekeran lost Damascene Cloth.
      Sekeran lost Damascene Cloth.

      Loosing materials while
    • by Gropo ( 445879 )
      I would tend to concur with you on a basic level; having recently started anew on a PvP realm for the change of pace--armed with a much better knowledge of the game--I decided to clothe my new mage with tailoring skill.

      In the case of tailoring, you can make great items for yourself up to approximately level 22-24 at which point you're killing so many damn mobs for wool and silk cloth that you quickly character-level beyond from your tradeskill-level... while at the same time making enough silver from quests

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @11:53AM (#16060281)
    Yes, it's not really hard to hit 60 in WoW. But that's not the end. It's the beginning of the grind.

    In WoW, every character is essentially the same. There are no "stat points" to push around (more dex, more str, more hp, more whatever), the only thing resembling "stat points" that you distribute is your talent points which can be invested in one of three trees. Now, unless they changed it HEAVYILY since I dumped it, there is (depending on your character class) 1-3 ways to stat it, unless you want to end up with a useless character.

    In other words, there are 2 different kinds of healers, 2 different kinds of Fighters and, if I remember correctly, one kind of Paladin that does not suck worse than a $2 whore.

    So at 60, if there wasn't anything else, everyone would be at the same level. If you're 4 years or 4 weeks old, you're the same. And here comes the difference: Equipment. That's about the ONLY thing that divides the cracks from noobs. And, of course, the best equipment (read: the stuff you need to actually join raids for the top level mobs) cannot be made or bought, you have to be lucky enough to be there when it drops (because, of course, it also cannot be traded).

    In other words, you spend your next year killing the same ol' stinkin' monster over and over and over, just to see your drop finally been looted accidently by some idiot.

    So yes, the leveling curve ain't steep in WoW. But the grind is there, oh boy, it is.
  • Maybe they could make additional levels that allowed you some free play or some kinda more serious experience? I just can't believe that you couldn't add in some freaking HARD puzzles when you get to the highest of levels that challenge the hardcore without making it impossible for the novice to get to a few new levels more easily.
  • It ain't all good. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @12:09PM (#16060407) Journal
    Because of WoW's eight (count them EIGHT) characters per server per user account and no limit to the number of servers you can be on WoW has a far greater sense of your character merely being a toon or even just a nickname on irc. But on IRC everybody knows your IP wich makes you at least somewhat identifiable.

    WoW suffers from the internet problem of complete anonymity. Be an asshole all you want, if you end up getting the ramifications for it then you just switch to an alt. Everytime there is a problem with the big servers the smaller ones get swamped by people just being annoying because, well, because they can.

    So the so-called low-levelling curve and easy re-roll capabilties of WoW also has a down side. To counter, in SWG you had one character per server and a limited number of servers. Be an asshole and you had to face the consequences.

    Now imagine a MMORPG were your account gets you just ONE character with ONE name. An alt means buying the game again. So if you get ignored by lots of people that actually has an effect.

    I am not saying that it is THE way to go but just that WoW's way of doing things is not without its negatives either.

    Oh and about the so called casual user being able to get on just as good as the hardcore player. What a load of bullshit. The hardcore player will be able to grind the same instance over and over again, farming all the "phat" loots and kitting himself out of with all the best gear.This allows him to win in PvP easily wich again gives the player better gear.

    Sorry, but WoW like every MMORPG rewards those who can/want to play the most hours. Oh and EVE fans. Think about this for a second. While getting new skills is not based on the amount of time logged in, nonetheless you HAVE to login every now and then to select a new skill to learn plus the game is heavily based on equipment wich is gotten by money wich is only earned while you are playing. So EVE just moved the focus from grinding XP to grinding money. Still the player that can afford to put in the most amount of time gets an advantage.

    Perhaps this really can't be solved. After all it is part of live, train more in a sport/hobby and you will be better then someone who doesn't.

    What instead perhaps MMORPG's should focus on is on making the whole game across the entire XP curve FUN. Yes that first quest and the last quest to be the same FUN! Idiotic perhaps but think about it. Was the first level of Doom, Half-Life a chore? Or were these games fun from the moment you entered the game, not just after you passed level X and gained weapon/skill Y?

    If you want my opinion on why WoW is a success then it is simply because MMORPG's upto WoW just plained sucked donkey balls. WoW still sucks in many way but at least it stays away from the donkey's. Their main competitor SOE on the other sucks donkey balls but has its eye on the horses and wonders about elephants. WoW is a success not because it is that good but because it just ain't as bad as what came before.

    For those who actually played Everquest 1/2 and WoW just compare the two. What really did WoW do different? What major innovations did it make? If you compare the design spec of EQ vs WoW instead of say EQ vs UO or EQ vs SWG or EQ vs Eve then I think you would be hardpressed to tell the difference. It is a bit like comparing Doom/Quake vs Unreal. Just what is the difference?

    What it comes down too is that WoW is slightly better done. Graphics that work in style and performance (but still hardly perfect). Quests that focus less on (kill 10 bears, go back, kill 10 bears, go back, kill 10 bears, go back, rince and repeat until you are blue in the face). Quests that do not have as rare spawns as their objective (although WoW just like EQ1/2 suffers from the need item X to drop wich doesn't to complete, just less).

    WoW is also less obsessive then EQ2 especially about crafting. Just que the items you want and sit back instead of forcing some extremely boring mini-"game" on you.

    WoW ain't a better game t

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Sorry, but WoW like every MMORPG rewards those who can/want to play the most hours. Oh and EVE fans. Think about this for a second. While getting new skills is not based on the amount of time logged in, nonetheless you HAVE to login every now and then to select a new skill to learn plus the game is heavily based on equipment wich is gotten by money wich is only earned while you are playing. So EVE just moved the focus from grinding XP to grinding money. Still the player that can afford to put in the most am

    • "WoW suffers from the internet problem of complete anonymity. Be an asshole all you want, if you end up getting the ramifications for it then you just switch to an alt."

      Wow.. Theres no way i would play a game where i was personally identifiable with the character. This is not a problem with the internet, this is a strength of the internet. It teaches people how to deal with assholes (obviously you never bothered to hone this skill). There will always be assholes, personally identifiable or not. If all you c
      • I'm not the GP, incase you don't check, but I have learned one very good rule in life: People will only behave decently when they suspect that you could lunge at them and beat the shit out of them if they don't behave.

        Fear is the greatest motivator, and the internet takes it away. What if everytime you were a prick to someone on the internet you got tasered? You'd be a lot nicer, right? Ever noticed how people used to be 'so much more polite' (or atleast, from what I have read it seems they used to be,

    • Because of WoW's eight (count them EIGHT) characters per server per user account and no limit to the number of servers you can be on WoW has a far greater sense of your character merely being a toon or even just a nickname on irc.

      It's actually 10. But how is this a bad thing? If I get bored of the character I'm playing, I can take a break and play a new toon of a new class with new professions with my friends on the same server without having to destroy all my hard work by having to delete my characte
  • by Catamaran ( 106796 ) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @12:27PM (#16060555)
    I would like to see a MMORPG or MMO-virtual-reality that is
    • Free Open Source
    • P2P - No server, no centralized control
    • No rules of engagement - Users can define their own roles and interactions, opting in or out as they wish
    • Extensible - Provide framework and encourage users to create landscapes, features, graphics, etc. In short, to create the virtual reality. All such features must be freely licensed so that each can build on the work of others.
    I imagine that some of the existing game engines could be modified so that every client becomes a server as well. Does anyone know of any projects like this?
    • Wouldn't work out too well. You'd have people hacking the game ala Diablo (and that wasn't even P2P). Now where did I put that Hex editor...
      • But if it were Open Source, wouldn't it be easy to detect who was cheating and simply not play with them? How did Diablo solve the problem?
    • Short answer: No (Score:4, Informative)

      by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @12:59PM (#16060835)
      Long answer: Hell no.

      Idea is unworkable for so many ideas. The first is simply the amount of time and varied resources that would need to go in to the project. An MMORPG world requires a ton of art, sound and level design assets to be compelling. This isn't something the traditional geek is good at. However, even supposing you got all that part out of the way P2P just isn't possible. The load it would place on each client system, and line, would be crushing for any area where there's a few hundred players gathered. Also P2P has a problem of cheating. Who do I trust for what a given monster is supposed to be doing?

      To work effectively as a real MMORPG, you've got to have some beefy servers. As a somewhat analogous situation, take the difference between IM and IRC. IM is something you could do totally P2P. Really the main function of the servers is just to let you find your contacts. You can send messages directly. However IRC relies on the presence of a server. After all, if you tried to have each and every client responsible for sending out hundreds (or thousands) of copies of each thing a person says, it'd crush a normal person's line, even broadband. So to work you need a server on a good line that aggregates everything and sends each person only one copy and only what they need.

      Likewise with games. P2P works fine for something like C&C Generals. Each computer only has to communicate with a few others, maybe 5-6 at most. Also each game has nothing to do with any other, so if someone cheats, the other clients can just disconnect that one, doesn't affect anything overall. However it doesn't for something like WoW. If I move in a zone where there's 400 other players, they all need to know about it. It'd be just about impossible for my client to send that update to all of them at the same time, and for all of them to do the same thing. The chatter would be crushing. You need a central aggregation point.

      The closest you can maybe get is a sort of half MMORPG like people do with Neverwinter nights. People run area servers, which link together. So a bunch of individuals run servers on their computer, each which supports like 64 people and represents an area. However that means only so many people can be in an area at once, and if that server dies, that area dies (and maybe delinks other areas). True P2P just isn't feasible.
      • Thanks for the detailed answer. So the problem is the complex interactions which need to be handled by a single server? How powerful does it need to be? Could the grid delegate a server for these interactions and then fall back to P2P mode so-to-speak? Don't games like WoW run multiple servers? How do the servers stay in sync?
        • by dcowart ( 13321 )
          For WoW they have multiple 'realms' running on a single server. That is one of the facilities that has let them make cross-realm battlegrounds. The clients aren't jumping servers, just realms on the same server.

          If a client performs an action, that action is sent to the server, the server makes sure it's a valid action, and then sends the result of the action back to the client and to other clients that are "Close" (within X radius, or same zone, continent, whatever). That seems to be the way WoW works.
          • That's very helpful. Thanks for the info. I know nothing about games or graphics, but I do know that there are some great FOSS tools available like ICE [zeroc.com] for distributed computing, blender [blender3d.org] for graphics, so maybe the time is ripe for such a project. Or maybe the idea isn't feasable. Time will tell.
            • Sorry for the late reply; I found this thread in meta-moderation.

              Anyway, I've been thinking about this kind of thing too. I think the most realistic thing to do in the short run would be to start an artwork library, with textures and 3D models and levels and such, that would be licensed such that it could be used in any Free Software game. Only after we've got most of the pieces should we start putting them together, you know?

          • by xappax ( 876447 )
            I wonder if nethack can be coded to an MMORPG ;-)

            You jest, but the author of the best rogue-like game, ADOM [adom.de], is working on a massively multiplayer version called Jade [adom.de]. I think there's a market of nostalgic text-based RPG players out there who would be all over this kind of thing. I've always found that as the sexiness of an online game's graphics decline, the number of jackasses decrease and the number of thoughtful, interesting roleplayers increase accordingly.
        • The specifics of the WoW backend are held fairly tightly. However from what they have shown yes each actual server is a cluster of computers. Those computers then connect to a backend database server, shared by many realms. The DB server is probably big iron from IBM (I'm guessing here based off of the kind of job openings they had).

          The way it works is all clients connect to a server. Regardless of if it is physically many machines, it's logically a single server. That system then handles all interactions.
          • I don't think they would use a database in the way it seems you are suggesting. When I trade an item with a player, certainly fields in a couple of DB tables aren't being updated. What most MMO's do is keep everything in memory and periodically serialize to disk. Take a look at RunUO [runuo.com] (it's fully GPL'ed) for a system like this. Granted RunUO is a a single server only solution, most MMO's run single shards or "servers" on clusters of computers, each serving zones within a world, and they also don't necess
            • they also don't necessarily serialize the entire world at once (they do some tricks to get around duping that could occur by not doing so).


              Can you provide any references or links regarding those tricks?

            • Well, as I said, I don't know for sure what their back end is, they won't say. What I do know:

              1) All game data is jsut a database. It's usesally not setup as a formal DB, just a flat memory/text file, but that's what it is none the less.

              2) MMORPGs have massive amounts more data than normal games, which demands better storage.

              3) Other MMORPGs have used enterprise DBs as backends. Sony said they used Oracle for Starwars Galaxies.

              4) Blizzard went on a hiring kick for people who know Oracle. They also hired peo
              • Wow, yeah.. I just kinda shat out a response without looking into it.. and based on some really dated knowledge of my own. Here's [next-gen.biz] a listing that backs up a lot of what you're saying. I don't think they would need people who have "Worked with multiple large databases greater than 1 Terabyte in size" to handle their billing databases...
          • Suppose each server is responsible for the interactions within a given region. From what you say it looks like it would be necessary to limit the maximum number of players within each region. And there would need to be a protocol for players to transition from one region to another. And there would need to be a torrent/rsync-type process to keep the worlds in sync. And there would still be anomolies caused by concurrent events on different servers and those would have to be smoothed out somehow. Not to ment
    • By the way, I just discovered this thread [multiverse.net] which touches on P2P and custom content.
      • Oh, and, replying to myself again, here's a link to something called The Croquet Project [opencroquet.org] that seems to be almost exactly what I was looking for.

        The Croquet project is an effort to develop a new open source computer operating system built from the ground up to enable deep collaboration between teams of users. To do this, the project seeks to define and develop a system is focused on the simulation and communication of complex ideas. We call this "communication enhancement" - the direct extension of the abi

  • If only.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by geniusj ( 140174 ) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @12:40PM (#16060671) Homepage
    If only they could have put as much time and polish into their server architecture as they did into the game itself. Obviously, it's still successful regardless, but I still consider this their biggest flaw.
  • Amazing, actually (Score:3, Insightful)

    by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @12:57PM (#16060816) Journal
    I RTFA and am continually amazed at all the people who bother to post with "Ah, I find WoW to be too boring." or "There's nothing to do" or "There's no story, it's just grinding quests."

    OK, we got it - you didn't like the game. Now eff off. 7 million other people disagree.

    See, Blizzard is a company. They don't have a sacrosanct goal to keep YOU entertained. If what they do appeals to 15 people who are willing to pay (note that part), and annoys/frustrates 5 other people, that's a successful strategy. In Blizzard's terms, if they offend 1 million hardcore gamers, but bring in 7 million casuals - that is a WIN (entirely setting aside the fact that for the same $15/month, a hardcore player is going to use FAR more bandwidth than a casual, be more hypercritical of everything, whinge more on the forums, all of which cost the company more of their own cash....)

    Unless the 5 annoyed people are willing to pay 3x as much as the first 15, it makes business sense to appeal to the mass. It's democracy in action, and people vote with their dollars. It's the same reason that Ultimate Deer Hunter 3D is/was commonly near the top of the game sales charts. I might find it a joke, any regular game player might find it a joke, but people BUY it.

    Companies are after your dollars, not your aesthetic approval (except insofar as it brings in dollars). Don't like it? Try to pay your rent with aesthetic approval and see how far it gets you.
    • Extra, extra! Read all about it! Businesses want to make money!

      Okay, that's enough sarcasm for this post.

      I think what you're ignoring is that threads like this make for exceptional market research for Blizzard. Even if they don't actually use all the information you're whining about people whining about, they're certainly better off for knowing what the "disgruntled market" is looking for, and having thought about why they're not doing it.

      There are several good reasons why Blizzard never publicly admits
  • Not Just With MMO's (Score:4, Interesting)

    by twoallbeefpatties ( 615632 ) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @02:31PM (#16061486)

    I've been talking to other friends lately, and many of them say that they won't even finish a lot of the games they play, just because they don't have the time to do so, and playing through a game a second time quickly becomes a real luxury reserved for people with time. Yet many people who play through WoW create a second character, for three reasons - one, you don't feel like the end is so far out of reach that it's pointless to split your attention; two, the gameplay is different and has different rewards depending on the class that you choose and the paths that you take; and three, the gameplay at lower levels is still rewarding. When you look at the recent trend in console RPG's, I think there's a lesson that should be learned there about game design. I heard a lot of people telling me about how the new Dragon Warrior has some great old-school gameplay, but I just can't get myself excited enough to play through a game that innocuously huge that I know will take me a half a year to complete. The much hyped underground hit Disgaea, I picked up and began playing but sold on eBay halfway through the game because I didn't feel like I was being rewarded accordingly for the amount of time I was putting into it.

    Games like Civilization, on the other hand, I'll not only play through one campaign, but eventually come back to play other campaigns, because I don't feel like I'm in an endless battle, nor do I feel like starting from the beginning puts me back on a trail that I can't complete. I can't stand to play a level 1 character in a standard RPG, because the real fun doesn't much start until you have several abilities. With games like WoW or Civilization, it's not so much that the early game is lacking so much as it's a separate entity. With Civ, you move from world building to intermediate diplomacy to the endgame race to complete your ultimate goal. With WoW, you go from simpler questing and personal grinding in the early game to the emphasis on five-man raiding after level 40 or so to the preparation for large raid content. The biggest difficulty is making early game content feel less like just a learning process and preparation for later material and feel more like its own separate part of the game. I would much rather see shorter games which emphasis on making the experience different each time you play the game than see games that focus on one huge, unique experience.

What this country needs is a good five dollar plasma weapon.

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