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Wednesday, March 27, 2002
GDC 2002 Discusses Future of MMORPGs
11:53 AM | Richard Porcher | Comment on this story

Today, GameSpy has posted an interesting report on discussions that took place at the Game Developers Conference this month. At the conference, special attention was given to the rather nebulous future of on-line role playing games.

Much of the discussion was devoted to the issue of control: specifically how much control should be retained by the game developers, and how much should be doled out to gamers.

Here is an excerpt from GameSpy's report on that discussion:

A major part of establishing a controlled environment revolves around managing user expectations, a phrase that came up again and again in several sessions. Most designers agreed that to date many games have done a poor job of letting the user know up front what kind of world they were stepping into and how conflicts were to be handled. Laws, and the enforcement of them, would have to be clearly outlined in order to maintain strict control of the game without a bunch of upset or confused players.

While most developers seemed to agree that a theoretical "online Disneyland" was a good way to create a world enjoyable to most players, a tightly controlled world unfortunately comes in direct conflict with an even stronger sentiment shared among the next-gen game designers. They wanted more dynamic worlds, not less, and more power for the users to shape those worlds.

The dilemma of this issue is this: do you maintain a tightly controlled world, and risk turning off gamers who want a more flexible gaming system, or do you relinquish that control to players, thus giving them more input into the state of your world, but also giving them the freedom to make life miserable for other gamers? This has been the central issue for all MMORPGs to date, and the future of these games revolves around finding an equitable solution.

This is a fascinating report which should be of interest to many Mac gamers, even though our choices of MMORPGs is, at this time, rather slim. Follow the link to read on.

GameSpy: The Future of Massively Multiplayer Games

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