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Andrew Tepper drops in to answer our questions for our latest Q&A. This interview focuses on the third installment of his social-Egyptian MMORPG. Unlike most games, A Tale in the Desert begins anew with fresh challenges once the players solve the goals of the previous tale. Recently, A Tale II came to an end, sending this game back into beta.
| MMORPG.com: What would you say are the major distinguishing features between ATITD3 and ATITD2?
Andrew Tepper: In ATITD 1 and 2, we had a very good retention rate 50% - through the point when a player becomes a Citizen. Typically that is 5 or 6 hours. And the game was very good about letting you know a good first goal the path to Citizenship was laid out as a checklist that could be accomplished in any order.
Once a player became a citizen, the game branched enormously, and provided no snack-sized goals. Only the most self-directed, focused players did well in that post-citizenship phase, and that was a huge flaw in the game design.
In ATITD 3, we've introduced the concept of Levels. All the main goals (the Tests) post-citizenship have checklists associated with them. Complete a checklist, and you have completed Principles of (the Test), and advance by one level. So for example, the Test of the Obelisk challenges you to build the tallest Obelisk in your region. Principles of the Obelisk requires you to build a 14 cubit-high Obelisk. While Tests sometimes have goals like the biggest, the most highly rated, or the most complete, Principles all have fixed goals.
You can read the Q&A here.
Formerly of MMORPG.com
Currently Lead Designer for Bit Trap Studios