MMORPG Quest Design: Too Much Information

Way Too Much Quest-Text

When Players log into an MMORPG, they like to play it, not read a book. This doesn't mean that there shouldn't be a storyline in the game. But more often than not, the amount of text is way over the top. World of Warcraft limits the amount of text for a quest to 511 characters – and this is still too much. There is a reason why Twitter limits the text to even fewer characters, with obvious success. Continue reading


KPI – Key Performance Indicators (Retention Rate)


There are many different Key Performance Indicators (KPI) used in online games to determine the success of a game. One of the most basic, most common and most important metrics is the retention rate.

Retention rate measures the amount of players who join a game and return to continue playing after a predefined time period.

Most common is the use of three different time frames, the 1-day retention rate, the 7-day retention rate and the 28-day retention rate (some use 30 days but because 28 days is exactly 4 weeks later and some players tend to play always on the same weekdays, 28 days is probably the better metric). Usually the retention rate is given as a percentage of returning players.

A successful facebook game for example should have retention rates somewhere near 40-20-10, which means 40% of the players return on the next day to continue playing, 20% should return after 7 days and 10% after 28 days.

Sadly retention rate is often calculated in different ways and even many commercially offered metrics tools either don't feature this very important indicator at all, or use very different ways to calculate it.

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Psychology in Community Management

I talked about „Psychology in Community Management“ at the Community Manager Conference 2010 in Leipzig/Germany. You can find the slides with some added comments as a PDF file here.

I discussed theories about how our brain works and how to use this knowledge in community management, I also showed a method of using Transactional Analysis to measure the health of communities and to aid in the daily work of community managers.

Feel free to send me comments or questions here or by email.

PDF File: Psychology in Community Management


The Level of Difficulty in MMORPGs

There has been some discussion about the right level of difficulty in (role-playing) games recently. Jeff Vogel says on his Blog "Make your game easy. Then make it easier", his point is that games are recreational times and "People will happily forgive a game for being too easy, because it makes them feel badass. If a game is too hard, they will get angry, ragequit, hold a grudge, and never buy your games again".

Brian "Psychochild" Green on the other hand argues that failure is part of the gaming experience and there needs to be a feedback loop for the player. A game of Chess isn't fun when the opponent loses on purpose.

I like to look at the topic purely from an MMO standpoint:

To understand the level of difficulty in games one has to take a step back and look at what is behind motivation in games.

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Level Design Tutorial für Torchlight

Patrick Blank, Lead Level Designer bei Runic Entertainment, hat ein dreiteiliges Video Tutorial darüber gemacht, wie Levels für das kommende Online Rollenspiel „Torchlight“ erstellt werden. Er erklärt dabei sehr anschaulich, wie ein Level aufgebaut wird und wie Scripte und Trigger in den Tools der Designer funktionieren. Sicherlich nicht nur für Torchlight Fans ein interessanter Blick auf Level Design für Computer Rollenspiele.

Level Design Tutorial bei TenTonHammer


Player Generated Content und Richard Bartles Keynote von der IGDC

Richard Bartle hat die Folien seiner Keynote zur Independant Game Developers Conference 2009 online gestellt. In „Pleasing the Teller“ oder vielleicht besser „Alice in Wonderland“ spricht Bartle, wie immer sehr anschaulich und unterhaltsam, über die Problematik heutiger MMORPGs bei neuen Inhalten mit den Wünschen der Spieler mithalten zu können und über Player Created und Player Generated Content.
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Living Game Worlds 2008 Conference

Bei Living Game Worlds 2008 | A Symposium finden sich jetzt unter anderem Videos der Veranstaltung. Unter den Sprechern sind auch Raph Koster, der die Evening Keynote hält, und Richard Bartle, im Pioneers Panel, sowie viele weitere, bekannte Namen.