This Blog isn't dead

I am just very busy at the moment, sorry for the lack of updates. I am also flying to Casual Connect soon to hold my talk about League of Legends. I hope that between there and GDC Europe / Gamescom I get time to update here.

Cheers Teut


Why do you forget

People forget online games are 35 years old. People also forget that commercial MMO's are 18 years old. They also forget that plenty of professional research has been done decades ago.

So I am always surprised that f2p publishers and their ceo's, designers or producers present surprising new discoveries about their players although it has been written decades before.

Let me give you some sources everyone should read completely before even claiming the "news" is yours:

The Daedalus Project

By Dr. Nick Yee the one and only long term research about player behaviour in online games - and plenty of other topics. Must read for everyone working in online games.His research is so important that he now works at Ubisoft doing exactly this: researching player behaviour in online worlds.

Edit: Link to his player behaviour paper: http://www.nickyee.com/daedalus/archives/pdf/3-2.pdf

Dr. Nick Yee is one of my mentors of everything I know about online games.

Designing Virtual Worlds by Dr. Richard Bartle

He invented the thing you know? Reading the book has to be done with a grain of salt though as he is hooked in the old world. Still his research he has done at the University of Essex is so fundamental that it should be fundamental knowledge for everyone in online games.

Raph Koster

My 2nd mentor is Raph Koster, designer of Ultima Online, Star Wars Galaxies and many more. He talked about online game design at conferences 2 decades ago but not many people remember that. Most of his talks are still available on his website. Worth a read. Or two.
True treasure and could be seen as laws of online game design:


Any of this new to you? Then you should bow to the wisdom of the above three people and humbly thank them for their openness!

MMO's where invented here


Lack of Updates - but!

Sorry for the lack of updates but I am pretty busy either visiting conferences or assisting my customers. So Ubisoft Blue Byte released two further titles into open beta you might want to try:

Panzer General Online


Might & Magic Heroes Online (German only, English follows soon!)

Cheers Teut


F2p is not a genre

I discuss a lot about the design & business side of f2p. Often enough in these discussions people mix and match games and argue with them only because they are f2p - right?

If both are f2p they should be comparable yes?

Well - no. Let me give an example. I use Assassins Creed Black Flag to show open world game play while you come up with the retail version of Angry Birds to counter my argument. Both are retail games right? You would find that silly wouldn't you. Both are targeting different audiences and are different genres.

So why oh why do you argue with f2p games only because both are f2p? Because both are free and such comparable?

The business model f2p is NOT the games genre. So stop mixing up games in the discussion.

So please stop using Clash of Clans in a f2p MMO RPG discussion. Why do you refer Farmville 2 in a discussion about World of Tanks. Why do you use Candy Crush Saga as a reference when we talk about f2p FPS.

Only because all are f2p? Think again.

Stuff one game does in f2p does not mean it works for your game. Stop copy/pasting things.

Stop saying "But I see game xyz is doing ... so we need to do ...". You don't know if what they do is successful - you don't have their data.

You assume ... and how one of my bosses always says "Assumption is the mother of all fuck ups"

Watch this making of "Triple Town" for some really excellent advice.


Quo Vadis 2014

The title doesn't mean I am asking where we go in 2014 but it is the name of the largest developer conference in Germany happening next week April 8th to 10th.

My talk on Thursday morning will dissect the monetization of Puzzle & Dragons. After my talk about doing the same with World of Tanks was so successful I decided to expand those topics. Btw this is the first talk I will hold on an iPhone!

At Casual Connect 2014 in San Francisco in July I will repeat that exercise with League of Legends.

I am doing this simply to educate teams how these games work. I usually pick top f2p games for this as they aren't at all "evil" - which seems to be a major criticism of f2p. I assign 3 pillars on those dissections:

Public Metrics
Numbers and data I find online, either from services like Appannie, Comcast or simply from the game providers PR or shareholder messages.

Own Monetization & Online Game Experience
I use my professional skills to take the game apart into its foundations and mechanics and examine them for their functions.

Self Experimentation
I play the game as a player for a while (usually until mid game) and then as a payer (note the missing L) and research what this changes in the game experience compared to the former experiment.

Those three usually give me enough information to understand fully how the game works in terms of game mechanics & monetization.

I hope to see you at one of the above conferences.