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In this Wednesday's column, Jess Lebow presents "Design By Bug," an insider's look at how most MMOs are really assembled. Lebow has worked on Pirates of the Burning Sea and Guild Wars, as well as a being a novelist and writer for Wizards of the Coast and Magic the Gathering.
Each Wednesday, his column appears exclusively on this site.
MMOs regularly take more than five years to develop. (Some even longer.) Creating a fully realized virtual world just takes a long time. Even if you have a big team, there is still so much to do, that it’s not uncommon to have companies with well over a hundred employees working on just that one game.
With that many people, it’s often difficult to get everyone moving in the same direction. Don’t get me wrong. Every company has a core group of creatives whose job it is to create and maintain the vision for the game. But if these people are doing their jobs right, and they are trying to make a game that isn’t just a copy of something else in the marketplace (the serial numbers neatly covered up with a new art style), then they are pushing to break new ground. They are looking for new and interesting ways to innovate, come up with fun interaction types that give players a new experience, or find new ways to enhance old mechanics.
Check out Design By Bug.
Formerly of MMORPG.com
Currently Lead Designer for Bit Trap Studios