Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Off-Season Rules Revision

After this weekend, pretty much every game will be in its off-season. Plot teams will change, camp sites will appear and disappear, and most importantly, rules should be revisited.

One of the biggest problems in any game is the stagnation of the rules. There is always something you can do better - you just have to do it. But in order to find out what those are, you have to take a step away from your creation and listen to the players.

Blizzard did.

World of Warcraft started out as an imperfect game, yet has become the biggest MMORPG in the world. They did so by listening to their customers, implementing UI functions that people created with addons, streamlined parts of the game to make it more user friendly, just because that's what the customers wanted. It's also important to note that what the customer wanted has changed over time. That's why you can't be content that one system of rules will work forever.

I encourage every game to have some sort of survey where the players can discuss the rules, list what they like, list what they don't like, and so on. That way, if there seems like an overwhelming number of players that dislike something, you can change it. This is particularly true if you're using playtests.

I know that Wastelands already does an end of the season rules revision. How about your game? If you run it, have you listened to your players lately? If you're just a player, have you voiced your concerns to the ownership lately (or at least tell them that they're doing a great job)?

1 comment:

  1. I agree that it's always a good idea to look at rules changes, and the off-season is a good time to do it! And you bring up a good point about not getting complacent - what worked a few years ago might not work as well with a high level game. Or, at the least, you might need to take into account higher levels and changes in playstyle.

    Exiles does review rules every year. Last year it was the whole rulebook, so this year it is more individual rules and effects. With a small game, we had the opportunity to sit down with our staff and some players, which made up a large percentage of the dedicated player base. We got their thoughts and ideas face to face, which was great. That's harder in bigger games, but sitting down with at least a few players, not staff or owners or anything, provides great perspective!