What a week! Thanks to all of you who joined us for the inaugural week of Firm Ground Below – both the players who have participated in the discussions here and on Reddit, as well as the developers and designers who joined us. As first weeks go, this one has been a wild success – we’ve had over a thousand unique visitors to the site; far more than I anticipated. That number has sent a clear message: we’re collectively hungry for a space that provides intelligent discourse about the design of interactive, immersive worlds – and over the coming weeks, with your help, we’ll continue to pursue the creation of that space.
Our Conversations This Week…
- We launched Firm Ground Below: A Conversation on the Design of Interactive Worlds. You can read more about the purpose of this site, how we arrived at the name “Firm Ground Below”, and about the author. Additionally, you can read my thoughts on why this discourse is necessary and how 2015 is shaping to be another important flashpoint in MMO development.
- We looked at H1Z1’s monetization strategy, coming to the conclusion that a key way to monetize interactive, immersive worlds is by giving players tools to spur interaction and conflict.
- We looked at the importance of player choice and autonomy in interactive worlds, and examined how H1Z1’s systems supported choice.
- In our most popular post of the week, we called out H1Z1’s need for a creative director, and called out continuity conflicts between systems, lore, setting, and backstory within the game.
Where We’re Headed in the Near Future*
- An Elder Scrolls Online (Subscription) Post-Mortem. I was one of the first fifteen external testers for the game and read the tea-leaves early. We’ll take a look at some of the designs that benefited the game alongside some key decisions made by Zenimax Online that shot an arrow into their knee.
- We’ll discuss why I’m less excited than most about Guild Wars 2’s expansion announcement.
- I’ll present a history lesson on the importance of user-generated content in interactive worlds and look at how Neverwinter and EverQuest Next/Landmark are smartly embracing player construction.
- We’ll stick our tongues in our cheeks and have a discussion about the “Vision” of Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen.
- Further H1Z1 design discussion – starting with a discussion around loot.
Have some topics that you’re eager to discuss that you don’t see above? Leave a comment below so we can add it to the slate.
*A Note: I’ll be out of town on business this upcoming week, so posting will be more sporadic.
Thanks for your continued support of Firm Ground Below.