Game design is a tricky thing to do. Even piggybacking on a game system like 5E, which is excellent but not without flaws, leaves much to consider. Before I ask you to provide feedback on your experience in the game, I think it’s important to talk about the design philosophies behind Living Erenel.
My personal opinion on Living Erenel is thus as of Season 4, Week 7. The game is a top-shelf whiskey poured into a glass with a few holes in the sides. The content is excellent, but we have a few glaring problems to fix before Living Erenel can reach its full potential.
As always, I’m not one to shy away from significant changes (or scraping design/ideas entirely.) The most important thing to consider when designing a game is the behaviors the game encourages from the community. Design goals for Living Erenel are below.
Decisions Matter. Provide the players with opposing choices and tasks to accomplish. Make them work together creatively.
Time and resources are limited. Players won’t have the means to do everything they wish and need to make meaningful choices with what is available (downtime, gold, etc.) Solidifies the previous goal.
Play when able but reward engagement. Design the game so someone with a busy schedule can feel included in the world while rewarding those who play the most. Players should feel part of the world regardless of roleplaying for one hour a week or playing in weekly adventures. As long as a player makes an effort, the game will too.
Don’t fragment the community. D&D campaigns generally focus on specific play styles. When dealing with a large-scale game like Living Erenel, the game needs to cover a wider variety of play styles in character and dungeon master options.
The Journey should be fun. Living Erenel is a game broken into weekly segments. Similar to standard TTRPG campaigns, the road to gaining power and influence should feel rewarding from beginning to end. Providing too much upfront dampens the journey and weakens character experiences.
Currently, the most significant issues with the game, in my opinion, are as followed in alphabetical order.
- Consistency between games/dungeon masters
- Faction tribalism
- New player experience
- System bloat
A few things I think Living Erenel does exceptionally well in alphabetical order.
- Communicating major changes
- Consistent updates and improvements
- Creativity among dungeon masters
- Providing a safe gaming community
- Responding to feedback and answering questions
- Value short term goals
Providing the Living Erenel experience requires a herculean effort of data management and organizational prowess. Planning and executing a game of this size is impressive, and everyone who helps should be commended for their effort! The sky is not falling by any means.