The murmur of the snarkmatrix…

August § The Common Test / 2016-02-16 21:04:46
Robin § Unforgotten / 2016-01-08 21:19:16
MsFitNZ § Towards A Theory of Secondary Literacy / 2015-11-03 21:23:21
Jon Schultz § Bless the toolmakers / 2015-05-04 18:39:56
Jon Schultz § Bless the toolmakers / 2015-05-04 16:32:50
Matt § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-05 01:49:12
Greg Linch § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 18:05:52
Robin § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 05:11:02
P. Renaud § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 04:13:09
Jay H § Matching cuts / 2014-10-02 02:41:13

Starting areas

This short post is about starting areas in MMOs. When you create a new character in, say, World of Warcraft, where do you begin? How much of the world is available to you, and how soon?

Here’s the author Keen’s ideal starting situation — one that apparently goes against the grain of modern MMO design:

Players start hours apart, and in areas of the world so different from each other that the social mechanisms are different. I remember seeing people say, “We do things differently in this part of the world.” Someone hunting in Crushbone might be used to players behaving differently than those in Blackburrow. Even the experiences are totally unique; players on one side of the world might have a dungeon crawl deep into the depths of a vast cavern network, and players on the other side fight camps of orcs in a forest. The unique experience matters because people can swap stories.

Because people can swap stories! That’s so great, and so important. I don’t know exactly how this applies to domains beyond MMOs, but I’m quite sure that it does.


I don’t know exactly how this applies to domains beyond MMOs, but I’m quite sure that it does.

It certainly does. That’s exactly how it is in the real world. We’re all playing vastly different sides of the same game.

other domains…

This week I saw a performance of The Drowned Man by Punchdrunk it’s an immersive piece over four floors of an old Royal Mail sorting office in London

The audience enters in groups at 10-minute intervals and the group I was in got split between two of the floors once we’d gone through an initiation. The night I went entrance started at 7pm and the climax of the show was at 10pm, in between I wandered around seeing bits and pieces of story emerge and die away again.

Yes it’s amazing, dreamlike, non-linear experience of the story which loops three times during one evening. But I came out wanting to talk about it and wanting to go back for more – that never happens to me, I never want to talk about a performance just after I’ve seen it. And if I do go again, I’ll be active in the Facebook group set up by fans to talk about the experience and share insights, maps and character info.

With a more linear show, all you can say afterwards is “I loved that bit when…” or “I didn’t get why she…” With this sort of thing you get to talk about your experience and know that no-one else has had exactly the same evening that you have.

This post inspired me to go check out World of Warcraft. Because despite knowing all about it, I’d never actually played.

Have you?

After 30 minutes on the site, I still haven’t signed up or started – I spent the entire time learning about WoW. Seems that every new player has to go through this, like an elaborate map to find the starting line.

Wondering if there’s a link: broad filters/barriers to entry and better stories (or just more committed story swappers).

The snarkmatrix awaits you

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