Freesky Online Dev Journal: Just Say No to Multi-Character Play

The developers of Freesky Online ( http://fo.igg.com) are publishing a series of Dev Journals to give players a look behind the scenes at all the fun and hard work that went into the game. They’ll also be sharing some of their latest plans for the future. Today the designer Tim from the Dev team has a few things to say about why they decided against encouraging multi-character play.

As we all know, it takes a lot of creativity and effort to find new and more interesting ways to bring players together to compete in a fun, fair environment. When we develop a game, we try our best to give players an experience that is not only visually pleasing, but also provides a level playing field for all to enjoy. It’s called fair play, and that’s why we are working to discourage the use of multiple characters on the same account.

I am a big fan of browser games and played through a LOT of them. One thing that always leaves a bad taste is when someone ruins the competitive balance by running multiple characters. For instance, it’s our great honor to have a player named Joe in our game. Sadly, Joe is not a strong believer in fair play, and he created 17 characters under one account. Those characters work as a team, so one can move resources to meet another’s needs. With so many characters, it’s easy to sacrifice one to help another succeed. One player can make a team of characters and possibly bring a city down on his own. To sum it up, multi-character play poses a great threat to other players who want a fair game. Someone like Joe tips the balance until the only way to win is to run more characters than your opponents.

That’s why we are striving to create a multi-character-free environment. Monitoring IPs is one thing we can do that’s both somewhat easy and effective. While we allow one player to make as many characters as they please, they can’t trade or battle with one another. As a result, it’s pretty much pointless to create a lot of characters unless you want to increase our online player counts.

Still, we want to do more to promote a fair game. If a player uses many characters to trade items and then to soup up Rep, we need to do something about that. We ended up fixing the trading system so it would not add to your Rep if trades don’t make a profit. This measure effectively limits attempts to boost Rep by cycling a large amount of resources through many characters. On top of that, we started to keep a close eye on trading periods, trade counts, and of course price. The system stops seriously exploitive trading automatically.

After planning, testing, developing, and testing again, we have put many measures in place to discourage such behavior. Since FO was launched in April, we have stepped up efforts regulate this activity. Now we regularly clear out multiple characters on accounts. So gone are the humiliating days when an entire alliance could be wiped out by a single player.

Visit http://fo.igg.com to learn more about Freesky Online. Visit http://www.igg.com for more about IGG and its ever-growing variety of games.


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