Category Archives: MMO Game Design

LOTRO vs. SWTOR: Who Handles the IP Better?

Many games are based on pre-existing imaginary worlds. Lord of the Rings Online (LOTRO) and Star Wars: the Old Republic (SWTOR) are two such MMO games that have become popular, not in the least due to their IP. But which of the two handles the IP better?

IP and Licensing

Intellectual property (IP) is an intangible ownership that is based on creations of the mind. While the word technically focuses on the possession of creations, fans often use it to refer to the collection of ideas themselves. This is how it will be used in this article.

For a fair comparison, let’s look at what intellectual property each MMO has access to. I’m going to assume you are


Four Things Western MMOs Can Learn from the East

I’m not a fan of the favoritism some people have when it comes to Eastern versus Western MMORPGs. Historically, I’ve spent more time in Western games, but I’m not going to write off a whole hemisphere because of it.

An enemy encampment in Blade and Soul

Ultimately, I think both regions’ design philosophies have their pros and cons, and both could benefit by taking lessons from the other. This being an English language site, I’m guessing most people here have a pretty good idea of what Western games have to offer, so let’s start with a look at what the West can learn from Asian games.

Strong Character Creators

These days the gap between Western and Eastern character creators… Continue reading


How a PvE Survival Sandbox Could Surpass PvP

These days it feels like you can’t swing an epic Sword of Valor in the MMO space without hitting three or four survival sandboxes. They’re the latest trend every developer is eager to jump on, following WoW clones and MOBAs.

A screenshot from the survival sandbox DayZ

But this is one fad that’s mostly passed me by. There are a few reasons for this, but one of the biggest is the focus on PvP that dominates the survival sandbox genre. I’m not a big fan of PvP, and I’m even less a fan of the free for all anarchy that is the preferred style of competition in survival games.

PvE-focused survival games are rare, and multiplayer versions thereof… Continue reading


Ragequitting an MMO: Does it Work?

Perhaps you’ve done it yourself: ragequitting an MMO. After all, falling in love with an online game is something that happens to many of us. As you spend many hours in the MMO of your choice and the years progress, things will inevitably change, and not always in a direction you like. Where did the magic go? You may have written several threads with your concerns on the official forum. You may have included suggestions that would fix the game for you, but it all falls on deaf ears.

The changes you dread so much are still happening and suddenly you realise that logging in makes you feel frustrated rather than happy. This may be the time to “hit them where it hurts”, unsub and logout of the game… Continue reading


Checking up on the WoW Clones of Yesteryear

When World of Warcraft achieved a heretofore unknown level of success for an MMORPG, everyone and their monkey wanted a piece of the action. As a result, the MMO industry experienced a long stretch where nearly every big name release sought to copy most of the core mechanics of Blizzard’s juggernaut.

An Elf character in Lord of the Rings Online

“WoW clones,” they were dubbed, and while fans often rankle when the term is applied to their favorite game, more often than not the shoe fits. Sure, most of them had some special twist to the formula that they shouted from the rooftops in an attempt to stand out, but at their core they embodied the same core formula. Tab… Continue reading


Are MMORPG Character Stats Actually Serving a Purpose?

Whether it’s attributes on gear or points spent on the character sheet, character stats are one of the most universal aspects of MMORPG design. If you looked hard enough, you might be able to find some MMOs without character stats, but it’d be a pretty short list.

The character stats pane in World of Warcraft

And yet there are a lot of problems inherent with the way MMOs handle character stats. These problems are so fundamental and so widespread that you probably don’t even think about them most of the time, but they’re no less real despite that, and I have a much harder time identifying what good stats actually do.

It’s enough to make you wonder: Are character… Continue reading