Creating the environment
During a conversation the other night with a fellow Final Fantasy XIV player, a statement was made: "It's not the developers' fault how players behave." Which intrigued me, because it's a sentiment that I see a lot, and one that makes logical sense. It's also one that's almost entirely wrong.
Making one's bed
Player behavior and developer implementation are linked, let's face it. If you make something the most efficient way of accomplishing a goal, you are by definition implying that that's what you want players to do. It's why I don't buy into the idea that the developers aren't in charge of what players do; they can't tell you how to play, but they can sure as hell encourage or discourage your activities. As I'm working on doing some game design right now, let me say that this is front and center in my mind, and it's something that a clever design can use to herd players. If you know players will want to grind, you can put tools in to encourage that grinding in a certain area. It's also something that works better with subtle encouragement than discouragement, giving incentives to do X rather than Y instead of punishing people who do Y... You get the idea. Enjoy the article!