Sunday, October 15, 2006

Ch..ch..ch..Changes

On Slothmud III there have been a lot of changes over the past nine years. We are embarking on making another (in my opinion small) change that is likely to be accompanied by a decent amount of controversy. The controversy is aggravated by the fact that though it is a small change, it seems to be relatively confusing (or perhaps I haven’t figured out how to easily explain it).

A few of the administration have discussed our approach to minimizing the controversy and have come up with a few simple steps. The approach revolves around being proactive with communication before we implement the change. Typically we announce changes after we implement them, so this is a pretty big departure. We’ll see how it goes and if we continue the practice.

Specifically we discussed the following steps: We will post an announcement on the Slothmud webpage announcing what is changing, when it is changing, why it is changing and what we expect the impacts to be.

Though we have the answers to all of these questions, it got me to thinking about all of the changes we make in general and how best to answer those questions. It got me to thinking that at a high-level that all of the changes we make go to ensure we have a game that has the following characteristics:

  • Is Immersive
  • Stays challenging at all levels
  • Rewards risk takers
  • Rewards explorers
  • Creates a cooperative atmosphere for players
  • Encourages grouping
  • Minimizes repetitive tasks or makes necessary ones easy (we are Sloth after all!)
  • Is fair to all players
  • Is balanced for all classes
  • Integrates well into the web experience

I’ll work on breaking this down into some more detail and you may end up seeing some version of on our homepage.

This brings me to the last point about changes on Slothmud. We have historically made changes that are in line with the above goals, but they have mainly focused on how they impact experienced and long time players and made a few changes that help truly new players. This applies to the majority of changes for the past nine years. From now until then end of 2007, I’d like to swap this with the intent of expanding our player base.

2 comments:

Kjartan said...

Actually, a large number of the changes I've made, and everything I've done in years that was content-related instead of code-related, has been to do with expanding our player base.

And look at talking mobs... the initial feature set of talking mobs is all about the newbies.

Clink said...

The intent of my post was not to discount anyone's effort in this area. We certainly have spent a lot of time on expanding our player base, but it hasn't always been our focus.

Talking mobs is a great example the "new direction." We just have to rally more of our group effort in this area.