Zen Of Design

The design and business of gaming from the perspective of an experienced developer

Month: January 2008

Shadowbane Nukes It From Orbit

There seem to be a lot of people shocked at the news that Shadowbane has decided to press the reset button with their next patch, resetting all characters, items and player-built cities. They are almost equally shocked that the player-base is almost uniformly supportive of the move.

Shocker number three: when I was working at Wolfpack some years ago, I was strongly advocating doing the same behind the scenes. Even more so, I advocated making a ‘reset button’ a core part of the game mechanics. The truth of the matter is that clean shard launches were typically Shadowbane’s most successful times, in terms of player interest, surpassing even launches of the expansion packs. Continue reading


World of Warcraft hits 10 million.

Blizzard’s numbers included paying subscribers, people within their first month of free game time, and internet cafe users who have accessed the game in the past 30 days, but excludes those using promotional trials and of course, those who have managed to kick the habit entirely…for now.

Incidentally, the numbers cited show the most substantial growth in Asia, whereas I believe both Europe and NA have remained comparatively flat for the last few months.

By the way, that sound you hear is a zillion MMO powerpoint pitches being updated to contain the sentence “If we can only get 10% of WoW’s player base, we’ll have a million players! Then its money hats for everyone!”


Sorry I’ve been away. Things have been quite busy in my private life. Of note, the wife and I spent the break househunting, and just before new year’s, we put an offer down on a house. The house is awesome – a new construction home that someone else had built with a ridiculous number of add-ons, but which they then could not afford due to being unable to sell their old home thanks to the housing crunch. To add insult to injury, we hear that they managed to sell their house right after our offer was accepted. Continue reading

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