Development Manifesto

Level 7
May 15, 2009
A lot of people have a lot of different ideas about how games should be made and played. Some people want to play a game that is not the game I am making. So this is just sort of my development ideals, so people can get inside my head and know what my end goal is.

As of version 2.0:

Noob/Pro Relationship:
I always try to find a line where I can allow casuals to enjoy my games, but can offer a good gaming experience to players who already enjoy the genre. The wider the audience you try to appeal to, the more bland your game becomes. So my stance is that I want casuals and elitists to both be able to enjoy the game. Casuals should be able to play through the entire story of the game, without having to beg for help, or farm the same thing forever to progress into the next area. Once the story ends though, it is time for the elite players to come on. The game becomes item farming at that point; with ever-ramping up difficulty, that doesn't scale with the loot. You need to use skill and teamwork at this point, as well as learning boss mechanics.

I try to focus on human involvement. I am not a fan of AFK farming, AFK grinding, or simply auto-attacking. I am also not a fan of viewing APM as a level of skill. So I try to make educated decisions the currency. I want players to think about what they are doing, and why they are doing it. What is the trade-off? Often players complain that they want both A and B, when they are forced to pick 1; but if everyone got everything, nothing would be unique. I believe that all thought out builds should be viable. It is fun to watch the flow of the game, as the flavor of the month changes. Some of the most powerful heroes are ignored. People gladly give up 10% survival for 2% DPS, then complain when they die. These are all choices, based on a players chosen play style. They aren't specifically ideal, but they are all viable. Using support heroes as primary damage dealers is viable, using physical attackers as spell damage DPS is viable. Getting no survival and dying constantly is viable (and the majority of players believe this is ideal).

To go along with that; I want players to feel connected to those choices, and feel that their hero is their own. You grow and progress with your hero, you customize it to your liking, and there is no min/max theory to chase. the game variety is different enough that you need every stat. You can build any hero around any stat, as long as you have thought it through. A single hero may be played 3-4 different ways in the same game. I want players to break the meta and enjoy the game. You will never out DPS death, out regen cast costs, or dodge ALL damage. There is padding on all sides that make it impossible to nail down "perfection" and that allows you to wiggle a lot.

End Goal:
This game will end, and I am okay with that. I dont want it to drone on forever, slapping new content onto old, trying to get just a little more life out of it. I want the game to be enjoyable, and I want it to be remembered as enjoyable. Nothing is worse than playing a game until you are sick of looking at it. This is a game, it will end.

that said, there will be substantial end game opportunities for those who seek them. Tying it all together into a game, rather than trying to make the pieces fix is gonna be a little challenging. There will be some repeatable content, in the form of raids, castle defenses, ect. there will also be the heroic dungeon system we have now. Loot will far outclass anything purchasable, for the farmers of the game. But again, the end game is going to be party based. I want to find a way to allow solo play; but it just isnt viable that players should be able to do solo what others need a party for. It is the most challenging design feature I need to figure out.