I still may not be interested in playing Diablo Immortal, but I appreciate their "Orb Debt" strategy if only because it seems to be inconveniencing just the right people.

There aren't many strats meant to punish/prevent bad behavior implemented by companies that manage to do that.

When I played Neverwinter Online, the absolute best feature was the Foundry. Anyone could use their free account to make amazing adventures with objectives, loads of lore characters, giant monsters reskinned as kobolds, snarky questgiver text, and more.

Yeah, the main quests were nice, but if you weren't looking for [specific loot item] the Foundry had a lot of variety since it was all user-made content.

Granted the system was buggy as heck, with spawn points on solid rock clipping you into the void and monsters running away or refusing to spawn, but even then people made some really cool things. You could even get tipped Astral Diamonds (The higher end currency that was not a real money equivalent but closely tied to real money) by other players if they really enjoyed your adventure.

Then people started gaming the system.

"Here's a Foundry Quest where a lot of non-ranged mobs are corralled in a pen, use your ranged attacks to level up with lots of XP!"

That was an easy fix, they let non-ranged mobs jump to a player. Many people found out the unimaginative XP Grind maps were now a lot harder when 100 spiders all jumped out of their cage to say hi.

"Complete this quest in seconds by clicking on that thing right there!"

Foundry quests used to reward you with green or better loot, but after speed questing became a trend your only reward was vendor trash. There was also an average completion time requirement or your Foundry creation was penalized. I forget exactly how.

The creative use of game mechanics didn't stop, so eventually Cryptic just ... turned the Foundry off.

I kept playing for a bit more, but that took a lot of the fun out of the game for me.

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In short: If it's an online game, some players are going to do their best to make sure all players can't have nice things.

Most online game creators have no idea how to manage this, especially if it's a free to play game.

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I think the nicest solution is to outsource the problem, and let the players maintain their own servers.

Minecraft does this.

Unturned does this.

I don't run into griefers or whales on my friend's Minecraft server, and it's fun.

Granted there's limits. I don't know how easy it would be to host a modern MMO on your average "$5.99/month" shared hosting solution for Minecraft.

From the developer's end, giving away control of the server cuts off or at least subverts a lot of monetization options. They can get by, and even thrive without them, but going to an exec and saying "What if... instead of making money ... we made /less/ money ..." likely has a limited appeal, even after you factor in how much they pay to maintain their own servers.

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Elekk: Gameing and Other Delightful Pursuits

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