Mike Skocko

Favorite Video Game Mechanics

After Matthew broached the subject of playing Warcraft together (here), I began thinking that we need a place for blue-sky concepts that might give rise to new Game On functionality. So, without regard for what might or might not be "possible," what are your favorite video game mechanics?*

*Feel free to add game mechanics from any genre that add to your game-playing pleasure.

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Matthew Miller

Posted on 5/19/15 6:58:48 AM Permalink

Just posted a bigger write-up over on my coursegame blog: 3 Big goals for course-games. Key things I've noticed about WoW vs Gnimmargorp (my game).

  • Complete freedom to fail
  • Rich story/world with no driving purpose
  • Tiny chunks with lots of repetition and iteration

Mike Skocko

Posted on 5/19/15 8:12:29 AM Permalink

From my comment on Matthew's post.

Where's the +1 / Like button?

I know from reading the forums that veteran players (those with far more years of play than I) lament how easy it has become to level—how anyone can do it now. Perhaps, like us, it takes time to balance story (something I'm sorely lacking) and mechanics while keeping players in the Zone (of Proximal Development).

Flow is the elusive element when designing a self-paced, student-centered, gameful learning environment.

Matthew Miller

Posted on 5/19/15 9:04:55 AM Permalink

Mike Skocko

Posted on 5/19/15 9:24:20 AM Permalink


Going back to sleep. Will check that tomorrow. Zzzzzz...

Ryan Hayes

Posted on 5/14/15 4:04:15 AM Permalink

THAC0. :)

I hear so many complaints from the younger generation when it comes to AD&D mechanics. It is too complicated they say. THAC0 really throws them off.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 5/19/15 7:44:08 AM Permalink

Threw me off, too. I have zero D&D experience and pages like this and this leave me wondering how we might leverage any of those mechanics.

Although... The multiplier might be used in conjunction with random loot to boost the chance of a rare drop.

Hmmm... You might be on to something. Pondering...

Matthew Miller

Posted on 5/10/15 6:05:28 AM Permalink

One of the interesting things, to me, about the early levels of WoW is how everything seems to tie back to a central story. The game opens with a cinematic, of course, that sets the stage and gives the broadest strokes of the story. But every quest is related to an individual or small group; it's their story. This is one of the things Brandon has recommended I think about, too: who are the various character groups in your world, what are their motivations, and then who are the individuals and what are their motivations and storylines?

As I get quests, it's clear that in the human section of WoW, there has been great upheaval recently and nobody has time to take care of the little stuff that is plaguing the various groups. That's the player's job, as I begin leveling up. This is fairly parallel to the design I created for Gnimmargorp, but much more nuanced than I wrote in the first iteration. This has inspired me to be much free-er in my story creation. Especially at the early levels, I can give the world flavor by telling individual stories rather than by trying to give the players bits of the central storyline to start with. It also lets me throw in much more humor, as quests, quest givers, and even just the notice of the quest can become small jokes in various ways.

So much to do this summer!

Mike Skocko

Posted on 5/9/15 8:52:22 PM Permalink

It's been fun leveling with Matthew this past month. We're on a new server (different than my primary) so my wealth and resources are isolated (for the most part) and we're bootstrapping ourselves.

What struck me about WoW the first time I played (and still feels key) is how the player is addressed by name by the quest givers. I like how the first quest involves an NPC reading the character's name off orders, almost stumbling at the attempt to be welcoming. In other words, you're not familiar to anyone but over time your fame spreads and you become known wide and far.

That's something I want to work harder at incorporating into the story next year.

I still remember how thrilled I was when Vincent created ShortcodeBuddy (a predecessor to Game On) and we were able to use the getdisplayname shortcode for the first time. Now it's just a click of the GO's WYSIWYG widget and [go_get_displayname] creates the magic.


Matthew Miller

Posted on 5/6/15 7:39:31 AM Permalink

Playing WoW this week, I was invited to "Darkmoon Faire." This is a lovely little sub-game that appears in the WoW world once a month, involving unique quests, small carnival games and 'rides.' Each is a chance to practice basic game skills, or a chance to complement your current activites with additional quests for extra bonuses. So far, I haven't seen anything new in the Faire.

As I explored, I starting thinking this is a great framework for formative assessment opportunities for students. Building in a periodic chance to engage in small quests that review existing skills or knowledge, as well as additional opportunities for reinforcing activities, all wrapped into an engaging, whimsical sub-storyline. Could create a very non-stressful environment for formative feedback.