Gaming Small Talks(01)Illusional Possession in Game Design (含中譯)

Clash of Clans is a well-known mobile game published by Supercell. There are always exceptional designing details in it for designers to dig out.

The core game play of COC is looting others’ villages. Players devised a series of tactical decisions to crash opponent’s elaborate defense plan. When offense scheme works well, player indulged in ecstasy watching their troops rob Gold and Elixir with joy.

However, although the loot was put into your storage and added to your dashboard, it still not belongs to you. When it comes to game progress, the effect of Gold in COC is totally different from Gold in RPG games. Precisely, the Gold in COC was an Illusional Possession. That’s to say: unless you spend it out, it doesn’t really push your game progress ahead and it might easily be took away by other attackers.

What actually controls your game progress is the builder. The loot is an Illusional Possession which will never belong to you unless you command your builders to spend it on constructing something. The number of builders is so limited; the only way to get more builders in early game is through IAP. Under such scenario, once players get addicted to the core game play of COC, it seems inevitable for them to hand in their credit card numbers and finished their first payment. The key point of Illusional Possession is: it’s never easy for people to give up things that they once struggled for—especially when they believed that it can be ascribed to their prudent decisions.

Nonetheless, for game designers, the critical factor they have to strictly control is merely the correlation between payment and builders. Too much supply in soft currency like Gold and Elixir won’t lead to a catastrophic consequence. For example, it won’t actually let a keen player surpass others too much, nor will it allows them to consume game contents too fast.

The similar design of urging first payment via Illusional Possession in early game is also used in Supercell’s eminent farming game, Hay Day. Maybe you can find it yourself.

Actually, it’s also an terrific metaphor for life. What is the thing we really have? What is the thing merely something on our dashboard but always mess us up? That’s a good question.

▎Critical Concept: #IllusionalPossession, #Decisions, #Ecstacy, #FirstPayment, #Content


〈遊戲設計——虛擬擁有感〉

部落衝突(Clash of Clans)是Suppercell的成名手機遊戲大作,也是手遊史上的一段傳奇。在遊戲中,有非常多值得挖掘的設計細節。

COC的核心玩法是掠奪他人的村莊。進攻方的玩家可以設計出自己的戰鬥決策,以破解對手的防守計畫。當戰鬥順利進行時,玩家可以快樂地觀賞部隊從對手村莊裡掠奪出大量的金幣與魔水。

儘管掠奪來的戰利品會被放進倉庫,也會顯示在遊戲的儀表板上。然而,這其實是一種「虛擬擁有感」——以遊戲進度的觀點來看,COC的金幣與RPG遊戲的金幣是完全不同的概念。會這麼說的原因是:在COC裡,擁有這些金幣並不會加快玩家的遊戲進度,同時這些資源也很容易再被搶走——除非,玩家能把這些資源花掉。

而真正掌握遊戲進度的其實是建築工人:所有的戰利品其實都是假的,直到玩家命令建築工人把它消耗掉,才算真正落袋為安。在遊戲前期,建築工人只能透過付費取得。而一旦玩家愛上COC這樣的核心玩法,乖乖交出首儲去購買工人,似乎就變成一種完全合理的選擇。營造虛擬擁有感的關鍵在於:玩家其實很難放棄那些他們透過奮鬥而得來的獎品——尤其是當他們認為這些戰利品來自於他們英明的戰鬥決策時。

然而,對設計者來說,他們真正需要嚴格控制的是付費與工人數量間的關係。玩家獲得過多的軟貨幣(也就是金幣與聖水)並不會為遊戲帶來災難性的後果。舉例來說,這不會讓極端沈迷的玩家超越其他人太遠,他們也無法因此更快地享用並消耗遊戲內容。

類似透過虛擬擁有感來刺激前期首儲的設計,其實也被Supercell應用在他們的農場遊戲Hay Day上,有興趣的玩家不妨可以尋找看看。

事實上,虛擬擁有感也是一個絕佳的人生隱喻吧。什麼是我們真正可以擁有的?什麼又只是儀表板上的數字,卻總讓我們牽腸掛肚,拿不起但也放不下?

▎關鍵字: #虛擬擁有感, #決策, #快樂, #首儲, #遊戲內容

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