Wednesday, April 9, 2008

First Post!

Welcome to Player Versus Developer!

I've got a somewhat neglected blog of my own, but I didn't really want to clutter it with constant MMORPG chatter that maybe 5 people reading it actually care about. Then I realized that I write several paragraphs a day in comments on OTHER peoples' blogs and news sites that, in all likelihood, no one reads anyway. If I'm going to take the time to write stuff no one reads, it might as well be for my very own site, where at least I can find it again. :)

So why is my blog called Player Versus Developer? In online role playing games, people generally talk about one of two types of game play. One is Player Versus Environment (PVE). PVE gameplay is, at its heart, a puzzle game - you have a character with X abilities, which you apply to beat a scripted challenge. The challenge typically doesn't change much from attempt to attempt, so it's a question of trying until you get it right. The other type of gameplay is Player Versus Player (PVP). In PVP, you've got the same character and the same ability set, but now the goal is to beat another player. One of you is going to win, one of you is going to lose, and then you (hopefully) play again.

Regardless of which type of gameplay you prefer, MMORPG's revolve around converting time spent playing into a reward. That reward might be leveling up, it might be advancing crafting skills, it might be earning purely cosmetic titles and rewards, it might even be throwing an in-game tea party for your in-game friends. But if players are doing it, there's probably a reason why, and these reasons are typically influenced by a third group... the game's developers.

Player Versus Developer (PVD) is my term for the incentive structures behind online games. Participating in a raid is a PVE activity, joining a battleground is a PVP activity, and, well, spending time on blogs and websites figuring out how to get the most in-game rewards out of the least in-game time is a PVD activity. Unlike PVP, where the two sides are essentially playing the same game, the two sides of PVD do very different things. Players generally want to get the most rewards for the least time because, well, more is more than less. Developers generally want to design content that players will enjoy, but they also want that content to LAST since their paychecks are being determined (indirectly I would presume) by how many players stick around. Updating the game with patches and expansions is the developer's side of PVD - determining whether and how to use it is the players'.

And how all this applies to day to day life in MMORPG's? That's what this blog is going to be about. Welcome!

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