Comment Spotlight: Cryptic’s Model

I was going to try a positive spin on Cryptic’s approach, but Sente covered it, so let’s pull that up from the comments:

The philosophy that Cryptic has applied here is one that is “player-driven development” in the sense that feedback from the players should drive much of the development of the game.

I think it is a nice idea and also something that puts less risk into the project, which I think is needed for MMOs. But going with a traditional subscription-based model topped with an item shop does not fit that well into this approach to development.

The offerings of 6 month/12 month/lifetime subscriptions for STO and CO is also something that does not quite rhyme well with this development approach.

Given the choice if Cryptic should have spent 2 years or 5 years developing STO I definitely prefer the current approach of 2 years. But it is not fair to ask customer to pay to wait for them to develop what initial player feedback might indicate.

I forgot at which blog I read a little model showing moving “release” a few steps earlier in several waves of “fix bugs and add content” (link it [thanks!] if ya got it). Of course, a downside is if an entire system fails. City of Heroes underwent massive overhauls to basic systems in years of beta, such as back when Origins were very important rather than 98.72% decorative. If you decide that your entire combat system needs to be re-done, there are few positive synonyms for “NGE.” If they decide in 2011 that Champions really should have been class-based, that is hard to graft on top.

: Zubon

4 thoughts on “Comment Spotlight: Cryptic’s Model”

  1. Ask players what they want, and they will tell you this and that.
    Then you deliver what you think players wanted, and they tell you they actually wanted it… differently.

    I think this is what happens with the death penalty debate in STO right now. Nobody has any clue what this “Death Penalty” shall be. And after they developed the whole game without a death penalty, they now try to figure out how to put a “meaningful” and “appropriate” death penalty in the game.

    I already got a survey “what do you want next blabla”.
    The most wanted thing and necessary, totally vital for the game was the addition of the missing TOS miniskirts.

  2. What the developers need to focus on if they release early are the elements of the game that they are quite sure how it should work out, is in their comfort zone etc.

    After that is in place, look at the more risky/innovative/insert-buzzword-here features and see how it works out.

    @Bhagpuss: The developers may very well know what they want, but that may be different from what the players like.
    If the games are not just going to be clones of existing ones there will be a certain amount of risk and extra effort/cost involved.

    Lots of software development outside gaming go for iterative approaches and taking a few features at a time (including releases) rather than everything at once – no reason that MMO development should be that much different.

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