Wu Wei^10 Developer Diaries #1: Gears of War

It is no secret that Wu Wei10 is a work in progress.

As I implement it in my classes and allow my students to play around with it, I have an instant pool of beta-testers, debuggers, designers and proof-readers — my students themselves! In their hurry to figure out killer combos and strategies, they make the game an even better one without even realizing it. And often, they do this by pointing out loopholes.

But here is where they differ from me. As the game designer, instead of loopholes I see possibilities. I see chances to make the game work better and tighter, and to allow for the best experience possible.

The best example of this would be the major upgrade to 2.0 or “The Art of War” expansion. I’ve noticed that even with the rush to earn Chi, teams were not casting spells. Somehow there was a reluctance on the part of everyone to make the first move. My solution? To make the first move urgently inevitable.

I’d liken this to a set of gears. In 1.0, the gears were in place but they weren’t clicking together. Some gears would turn, but their teeth don’t even touch other gears. The gears also varied in size, and some could run the entire engine without the rest.

So for 2.0, the first thing I did was to make sure that the gears clicked with each other. I made sure that when one gear moves, the other four move as well. This explains the apparent depowering of the Fire spells, the nearly complete rehabilitation of Wood and Water, and the powering up of Earth and Metal. Now each element is even more unique and important; winning the game will be impossible without them working together.

But I didn’t just make sure that one set of five gears would move each other. I also had to make sure that the six sets of gears move each other. This explains the heightened competitive play in 2.0 and why now, teams are forming powerful but unstable alliances and are at each other’s throats.

There are still some classes where the action has to really pick up, but all it takes is for one gear to move. Try it.

I’ll end my first Developer Diary here. I’ll write more of this and in the future, I’ll give other tidbits of Wu Wei’s past and where it is headed next.

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