Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
Here are some tips for reducing the feeling that users are “buying their way
to victory.” These guidelines can apply to both PvP and PvE games:
l Limit the duration for which a purchased item can be used by any single
player. For example, if a player has an item that grants them faster healing,
rather than allowing them to enjoy that power indefinitely, give it to them for
a limited duration. This lets you repeatedly sell the item as a consumable,
but also helps balance out what might otherwise be overpowering to other
players. Even the most vigilant will forget to “re-up” their item, or decide
to try to play without it, and so on. A set duration also allows your players
to see the comparable value of the item. They are regularly reminded that
the small expenditure increases the enjoyment of their gaming experience,
or it allows them to spend their money on other items you might offer, thus
increasing the variety of their game experience.
l Make the advantage indirect, such that it isn't obvious to the player's oppo-
nents when they might be using a particular “buff.” For instance, imagine
that you let the player buy an item that allows them greater speed in the con-
struct of new buildings; rather than simply decrease the player's time to build
each building, consider designing the item instead to reduce the amount of
lumber, or metal, or brick required to construct the building. This way, the
increased speed at which a player can build isn't patently obvious to their
opponents, but your player still enjoys the same net effect (more buildings in
the same time).
l If your game features a metagame loop, like the XP model in Call of Duty
or the Summoner advancement model in League of Legends , for example,
accelerators that allow players to advance through the metagame at a faster
pace tend to be quite popular. This model is in contrast to items that directly
make a player more powerful mid-game, which are often perceived as cheat-
ing or as “breaking” the game.
l Balance out the items that grant players certain advantages by allowing
experienced opponents to either earn or buy a specific defense or counter-
move. Yes, Player 1, you can buy something that makes your initial tennis
serve 25 percent faster, but Player 2 may have a backhanded return that
reduces any speed bonus to no more than 10 percent. Such balancing strat-
egies will limit a player's “sure win” purchasing options and force more
tactical play. You can still allow for an advantage to the player who just pur-
chased the new item, but experienced players will be able to recognize and
adjust their gameplay accordingly, reducing their frustration and everyone's
competitive gaming experience.
l Rather than selling users a “nuke 'em from orbit”-type ability that eliminates
all obstacles or enemies on the screen, give players a powerful attack or abil-
ity that still requires their active involvement. For example, rather than a
“smart bomb”-type weapon that kills everyone on the screen, sell them a
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