How Hub Worlds Shapes Video Game Design

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So, a gaming hub is essentially a house. If dungeons, levels, and quests are massive, deadly tasks that players take on, hubs are the sighs of relief. These are spaces where you feel safe, where you can practice your skills, chat with other people, or discover new things about the game world. Whether platforming, dungeon crawling, or gaming are active mechanisms, then the hub is a place for passive actions.

That’s a way to describe Orgrimmar and Stormwind from the now 16-year-old massively multiplayer game of Blizzard. World of warcraft. Cities serve as starting areas, and while they’re not where your character first appears in the world, they’re the first play space you’ll find populated by other players and NPCs. Cities are diversifying, offering players the ability to communicate, sell items, plan events, store, and craft items. Typically, these are spaces that players return to after their activities elsewhere in the game world. Although they are not hubs from a level design standpoint, they do carry within them. spirit of a hub.

Adventure games, platform games, and multiplayer games aside, hubs have been crucial for another genre: the dungeon crawler. Released last year, Underworld is a great example. The game received praise for the way it handles player death and replayability, but also for its characters. Based on Greek mythology, Hades uses his central world to tell and develop the stories of the characters. But in order to do this, the story and character dialogue are mostly removed from the main game mechanics. Their story arcs and personalities are central to the player’s experience, rather than showing it through gameplay.

But while single-player hubs tend to be more story-driven, multiplayer games used their hubs as a sort of arsenal. And when it comes to “hubs equal to armories”, destiny and Warframe live in both glory and infamy for their designs. While Warframe recently created open world areas, there will be nothing quite like the sleek and minimal hub level area that is the Orbiter. contrary to Underworld“An almost expansive and lore-rich hub, the Orbiter, the player character’s ship, is almost like an interface in itself. It’s where the Tenno store their weapons and gear, travel through levels, and even train their players. canine companions. This is also where players can purchase other warframes and weapons, making it not only areas for post-game pause and quiet, but also a kind of market. That’s understandable, being given that Warframe sees itself as a kind of free-to-play economy. But what about Destiny 2?

Destiny 2 gained some notoriety and controversy in that although it was a game sold at retail, micro-transactions were still carried out in the so-called ‘tower’, one of the centers of the game The tower inside Destiny 2 works much like Orgrimmar and Stormwind City. However, the hub is closed, with players moving from there to other levels of the game. But aside from the social aspect of the tower, there are also a few vendors who ask the player to buy micro-transactions before they go. be able to sell goods. This makes an interesting distinction between single player and multiplayer hubs.

Where one tries to expand mechanics as a way to tell a story and develop a world around it, another seems more interested in the function of a hub level. The two Warframe and Destiny 2 design their hubs as a way for gamers to take a break from the action, yes. But they are also markets and stores where they can buy materials and other items. And as multiplayer and single player seem to move further apart, it looks like the hubs will be implemented as a general design, rather than a specific mechanic, adding a division between a maximalist and minimalist approach to said. design.


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