Tuesday, June 08, 2010

The Great Return

Yes! Internet my sweet... how I've missed you so.

Oh my! Excuse me reader, I didn't see you there! *blush*

I was just showing the internet how much I have missed it while I was away. I'm sure you can understand that, or have you yourself had the internet for far too long to remember just how boring life can be without it. Well just in case you find yourself spending all your time on the internet and cant remember how else to cure your boredom I've now returned from that great beyond known as reality and can guide you through it.

I'm not sure why my players and I still haven't started playing the steambike game, but I know it must have something to do with how little I've tried to bring them together. So for you GM's out there... don't do what I've done and let you're players slip through your fingers. Players can be very slippery, either they have work in the morning, or a paper to write, maybe a baby to feed, or some sleep to catch up on. But it's all just an excuse to get away from the routine your game brings to their lives. So don't let your games become a routine! I mean don't get me wrong, its wonderful to have a schedule for them to follow so they can plan on being at the next game, but you cant let the game turn into mundane mojo! It's gotta be something more like Magnificent Masterful Melodic Mojo... at the least!

A good way to shake up the game and keep the players on the edge of their seat is to throw in special events. Don't, however, get these special events confused with storyline markers. I mean have a random meteor shower or earthquake, and the story can have been effected by it, but the story is still about getting to grandma's house before the wolf eats her. Special events are a common tactic of MMORPG's. (Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game's such as World of Warcraft or Runescape for those of you who are still learning terms) In MMORPG's there isn't really an end to the story. While there are many side quests, bosses that take 100 players to kill, and rare items to collect, the best you can really achieve is a level cap. The level cap is the highest level available to all characters in the MMO. It's put there partially as a way to keep balance in the game and a way for players to finally reach a conclusion. This conclusion however is fairly pointless as there is never an end to the game itself. The game is given the appearance of being different and growing and changing by the special events that the GM's sprinkle into them.

In the MMO world a GM doesn't run the game the same way a GM would run a paper game. In the MMO world a GM is more like a peace keeper and a mechanic then a story teller, or a dark and evil mysterious force. Because, truth be told, the game has already been created. The game was thought out ahead of time and all the monsters have timers and random spawn points where they eventually come back to life with brand new items on them. The random events however, those are usually the GM's doing. Which is very good I think, because if I was getting paid a small salary to keep the peace and repair the glitches in a game where someone from Australia can teabag someone from Alaska, I would want the freedom of artistic expression too! Most MMO GM's come up with special events like "ALL THE MONSTERS ATTACK THE CITY" or "TWO CITIES CLASH OVER WHICH CLAN WILL RULE THE AREA" but these are classic cases of a condition called Pitiful and Lazy Event Design.

I'm not a MMO GM myself, and I hear it's actually work (sometimes). So I'm not bashing the job, but I do find it very boring when the same events just repeat themselves time and time again. The events that people like are the kind of events where the sky is falling, the dragon is out of the dungeon, the NPC that always sells them their favorite potion just cracked and is on a murdering streak. Events where GM's open up the Player Killing fields and allow PK everywhere not a town. Sure, players like events where EXP is tripled with monster kills, and where item drops are more rare and more frequent, this is no doubt true. However, they also like it when portals appear out of nowhere that can take them to a yet undiscovered realm where they can meet new people and fight different monsters without the hours of field travel required normally. They appreciate the chance to become famous by getting their name on a list of recent and most worthy victories! Or there's always the ever enticing Guild Wars, where two or more factions of actual players get rough and start some shit in the town square!

So when you're making your own paper game keep these thoughts in mind. The players want reality to be thrown to the wind. That's why they came to you, and it's why they play. Take what they know about your game and make it new again with a special event every now and then. Keep these events original and tasteful. I say tasteful because as Special of an Event as it is to kill your best player forcing them to start over, if it's a rude or humiliating death then it has the opposite effect your looking for. Then again... Killing players does make for one hell of a Special Event. I mean there's almost always an epic final battle or something, and the players all feel the danger become real. It makes players want to come back for more and its fun to watch them cry^^
Eh, who am I to say anything. I love killing players. . .

*Bum Buum Buuuuuuuuuuum!!!*

No comments:

Post a Comment

Everyone's a critic...