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The Daily Grind: do traps and puzzles make content more fun?

Adrian Bott

In a showcase of coming Age of Conan content, Erling Ellingson pointed out new traps as a main feature of the revamped dungeons. The dungeons would feature cunning Indiana Jones style hazards, with non-obvious solutions, such as firing an arrow into a huge stone eye in order to slay an otherwise unkillable snake.

However, everyone who's seen the video will now know what to do in that event. That's the thing with puzzle-type content: once you know the trick, you've solved it. A tough boss is just as tough each time you encounter it, but you only ever have to solve a puzzle once.

Having said that, puzzles can offer a level of satisfaction that boss-fighting and minion-crushing just can't. Some players welcome an intellectual challenge in an MMO. The original tabletop roleplaying games that preceded MMOs still feature puzzles and pitfalls, so why not MMOs?

Should content designers include puzzle-type content as well as the tactical challenges of combat? Do you enjoy finding a puzzle in the course of a quest, or does that sort of thing detract from the pace of play? Is trick-and-trap content that has a clever solution a waste of developer resources, or an important facet of MMO gaming?

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