Tobold's Blog
Saturday, July 12, 2008
The Shandalar Project - Your turn

My apologies if the Shandalar discussion has been too one-sided up to now, but that is the nature of a blog: I get to describe my ideas first and readers can only add comments. Not much I can do about that, unless I turn the blog into a Wiki or some other form of more interactive media. But me stating my ideas doesn't mean I'm not listening to yours. There has been a lot of very good input, amidst some not-so-constructive criticism of the "this will never work" type. Not that we'll ever find out whether it will work, as nobody, not even me, is ready to really develop Shandalar the game.

Now I propose we discuss how we could continue the project. Do we just leave it there? Do we vote on various points? Do I try to write it all again, modified by your input? What can we do? In which direction do we want to move our hypothetical game Shandalar?

As I'd like to contribute to this general discussion as well, here is one thought: How close should Shandalar be to classis games like World of Warcraft? The chapters I wrote were deliberately aiming for as different as possible, creating a game without levels, without classes, without stats, without gear. But of course we could as easily make a game with levels, with classes, with stats, with gear, a game which would be a WoW clone with cards for combat. What features of World of Warcraft would you say Shandalar absolutely can't work with, and what features would you say would be better to leave out to differentiate ourselves from WoW?
Shandalar has, from my reading of your posts:
1. realtime navigation in a 3D world
2. colours
3. ability cards
4. decks
5. quests
6. booster packs
7. colour points
8. equal-exchange trading

At a similar bullet-point level, WoW has, off the top of my head:

1. realtime navigation in a 3D world
2. classes
3. levels
4. skills/stats
5. spells/abilities
6. gear
8. feats
9. quests
10. exp
11. gold
12. groups
13. raids
14. pvp
15. tradeskills
16. profit-making farmers

and M:TG has:
1. colours
2. cards (of ~5 main types)
3. decks
4. mana
5. booster packs
6. tournaments
7. profit-making traders

I certainly don't think you can start with all the systems of WoW, add cards, and end up with something that makes sense.

On the other hand, you do need look at the full set of mechanics of both games, and make sure you are covering all the ground that needs to be covered.
I've put no real contribution to this. But it seems to me that you have the same basic thing you are trying to avoid.
I just am not seeing much difference in the overall process. go out and quest and grind for cards that give me abilities and combat capability. This will cause those with good luck to "gear up" faster and those with bad luck to fall behind. And those that are willing or able to buy booster packs will always be better off.

I could see where some people might enjoy the game but I don't really see anything that leaves any of the frustration or negative aspects of the old MMO problem behind. This discussion makes me wonder if anyone ever will.
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