One of the dangers of trying out new designs in a MMO is that you might make yourself vulnerable to problems which have mostly been solved in other games. Take the /who and /tell command, which have been used by gold spammers for quite some time. Most modern games now have systems in place that allow you to ignore unwanted messages and quickly report them to a GM. The tell system in Funcom though actually stores messages even while a player is offline. As a result a lot of people are logging into Age of Conan and being greeted with a ton of gold spam.
Since most of the tells are being sent by disposable characters who are often deleted after a round of gold spamming, there is no point putting them on an ignore list. It's kind of funny seeing a game system abused right away and in such a severe manner. It makes you wonder what the developers were even thinking when they chose to store tell messages for offline players. Did no one even see the potential for gold spammers to make use of the system?
I think from now on every MMO studio needs to hire a group of people whose only job is to poke holes in their game design. I'm not even talking about beta testers though more of them would be nice also. No what I'm talking about is a group of guys who sit at the far end of the table who say repeatedly "That isn't a good idea, and here's why". Some systems like the honor ranking system in WoW, the crafting system in Tabula Rasa, and the chat UI in Age of Conan are just too horrible and and they should never had made it off the drawing board. Some of these issue need to start being caught before they are even coded and definitely not after they've been implemented.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Posted by Relmstein at 6:03 PM