The counterintuitive effects of a prosocial online game
Halo’s multiplayer is balanced across over 1000 objects, more than 40 of which are unique weapons including the Sniper Rifle, which has over 200 functional fields including one that determines the minimum time between shots. In Halo 3, that time changed from 0.5 seconds to 0.7 seconds, changing less than 0.00001th of the overall game data, an immeasurably tiny balance tweak that should not have been noticeable, let alone significant.
This session will address this design decision in exhaustive detail. Why 0.7 seconds? Why that particular field? What processes and design principles lead to that change? How was it proposed, tested, and evaluated? What were its effects on the game’s balance? How were those effects evaluated to the effects of the infinite number of other changes that could have been made? What were the external considerations, such as community reaction or target demographics, that influenced it? And what can be learned from that change to improve our ability to make changes in the future?
Woodland Secrets is a companion podcast to the Forest Ambassador project that brings the works we curate into conversation with a wide range of guests.
Source: Woodland Secrets
As always, the important thing, and the most practical and universal advice I can give is: think quite hard about the problem you’re trying to solve and then try something out and see if it works