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Dumping Sand on the Theme Park: Emergence

A few days ago, I wrote about the Trifold Curse, and how that ultimately leads to burnout, both of countless MMOs and the developers who make them. It’s not a good situation, but how can it be avoided when the vast majority of the industry at present is based on building feature-rich theme parks*?

*A sizable portion of players, judging by the number of MMOs made to get their attention, prefer the simpler theme park approach to content over the situations that evolve organically in sandboxes like EVE Online.

Enter what I term emergence:

Emergence is the use of simple, but layered mechanics to create a complex, nuanced, and ultimately unpredictable encounter, while retaining the ability to be comprehended.

Sounds really complex, doesn’t it? Fortunately, elements of this concept already exist in some of the most recent content released forĀ Guild Wars 2, which I will use as a case study for this post.

Continue reading Dumping Sand on the Theme Park: Emergence

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