• [USGamer.net] How World of Warcraft Was Made: The Definitive Inside Story of Nearly 20 Years of Development

    The developers behind World of Warcraft tell the story of its history, from the original beta to today.

    For 14 years, World of Warcraft has remained not only active, but relevant. It didn't define the massively-multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) genre, but it continues to evolve with the genre. World of Warcraft has sold millions of copies, made billions of dollars, and won hundreds of awards. With the release of its seventh expansion Battle for Azeroth, WoW still boasts a thriving fanbase.

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    1. Fusion's Avatar
      Fusion -
      [Rob] Pardo also spearheaded a system that was meant to prevent players from burning themselves out on the game. Blizzard was doing pre-release testing and the team noticed that some players would play for far longer than intended. Some players never logged off, with multiple people talking turns on a single characters. Blizzard didn't want an endless treadmill, so Pardo came up with a plan.

      "We felt like, 'Okay, that that's not great behavior.' And there's a certain amount of wanting to save people from themselves," he says.
      The idea was rested experience. When you logged into the game, you gained full experience for a set period of time. After leveling for a bit, you'd eventually drop down to gaining half of the experience that you'd normally gain. Players absolutely hated it. So Pardo flipped it around. The early, enhanced leveling was framed as the player gaining bonus experience, while the non-rested state was framed as normal, making players were much happier.

      "From a purely numerical standpoint, it didn't really affect how fast you were leveling, but it had a huge psychological effect on how people thought about the system," says Pardo. "As a game designer it was a great learning experience for me and I made it actually one of the game design values of the studio: Make it a bonus. Whenever you're trying to prevent players from doing something in your game, ask the question 'Is there a way to create a bonus to do the opposite behavior?'"
      I'm sure I saw this before somewhere, but it's a good solution :-)