Category Archives: WILA

WILA Pokémon X/Y – Clothing

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This week I want to discuss something a bit more specific and mechanical: the clothing in Pokémon X/Y, and how it ultimately relates to engaging the player. Picking out a character’s clothing is the kind of thing which shows up in various games, but it’s not as simple as putting in extra art assets and telling the player to have at it. Here’s why clothes don’t just make the (wo)man, they can make the game too.

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WILA Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn – Crafting

It’s been a while since I wrote WIHILA Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn,  and those articles are not a prerequisite for this one (but you’re welcome to go have a read anyways if you haven’t yet). Now that I’ve spent some time (understatement) playing the final release , I’d like to draw some lessons about basic mechanical system design from what has easily been the most engaging part of this game: the crafting.

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WILA Dragon’s Crown – Conveying Story Without Stopping the Action

Here in the WILA posts, I oscillate between picking out a single game mechanic and elaborating on its many design benefits, and highlighting a single theme or goal of a game’s design and picking out the design choices which serve that theme or goal in the game. For Dragon’s Crown, I’d like to do more of the latter and talk about how the game packs itself full of story (of the flavorful characters, locations and histories kind) without stopping the action.

But first, a generally non-controversial assertion: players like playing.

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WILA Tales of Xillia – Player and Character Resonance

[Note from Dustin: We’ve got a special guest writer this week – Florencia Minuzzi from teawithflo.com. She also happens to be my partner in a new game design venture. As a writer, I felt she was more qualified to step up and talk about today’s topic: creating resonance between the player and the main character of a narrative game. Nothing is really spoiled beyond the first few minutes of the game, but if you prefer to play knowing nothing, then you’ve been warned. I’ll leave the rest to her.]

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WILA Shin Megami Tensei IV – Money in an RPG

Hey everybody, apologies for the break, but vacations happen from time to time. I’m back, so let’s get started. While on holiday, I blazed through Shin Megami Tensei IV. I had a few things in mind to write about it, but when I read Dyl’s post last week I knew it was a good opportunity to follow up on theme.

While discussing the post last week with my brother, I hit upon the argument multiple times that some of his comments reflect something about him personally, but are also signs that the mechanic as a whole is a bit broken. By ‘the mechanic’ I mean money acquisition and purchasing of resources in most RPGs, and by ‘broken’ I mean that it ultimately just wasn’t accomplishing much in the game to justify its use as a mechanic. I don’t think I’m alone in this assessment, but instead of dwelling on the reasons for this, I would rather spend my words here focusing on how I think Shin Megami Tensei IV quietly improved on the standard.

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WILA Final Fantasy XIII-2 – Communicating Narrative

This has been a long time coming. Anybody who has spoken with me about games, especially role-playing games, knows that Final Fantasy 13-2 captivated me. I was never sure when (or if) the time would come that I would find a productive and self-contained angle from which to approach it.

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WILA D&D Next (Non-combat Gaming)

Many people like many different things about Dungeons & Dragons – the storytelling, the fantasy action, the camaraderie, the layers of customisation. It’s safe to say that I like the philosophies behind D&D Next: understanding what the game means to everybody who plays it (or might play it given the chance) and reconciling those motivations.

However, I did enough talking about general goals in WIHILA D&D Next. Instead, let’s talk about something more specific which I’ve had some experience with during the playtest: non-combat rules in D&D Next (because rules for engaging with games which don’t involve combat don’t generally get enough love). More specifically, new rules for Exploration.

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